On Saturday, March 5, UC Irvine Rowing hosted and competed in the California Challenge Cup at Marina Park in Newport Beach. Schools from across the state competed, with about 250 athletes and spectators on a brisk, windy morning. In this duel-style sprint race, each school entered two boats that went head to head in three different qualifying rounds. This is where the race diverged from past years, when the qualifying scores were totaled and the fastest boats competed against each other for one of the six final cups for men and one final cup for women. This year, however, 20 mph winds that picked up throughout the morning of racing led to the final cups being canceled for safety.
“The swells on the water were coming into the boats, and multiple crews had to try to pump out some of the water before the race in order to lighten their boat,” said junior coxswain Grace Sanders. “Even through these rough waves and crazy winds, the rowers still ended the day with big smiles on their faces.”
This was the first year that both men and women competed at this regatta.
“UC Irvine Rowing came out of this regatta as a better, more experienced team, and the athletes are extremely excited to continue making this season the best in UCI history,” said head coach A.J. Brooks.