Rhythm of racing

SPU rowing competes in first regatta of the season

Isabella Tranello, Sports Editor

The SPU women’s rowing team getting together for a quick huddle. (Courtesy of Matt Oclander)

After weeks of rigorous training and early morning practices on the water as the sun slowly rose around them, the Seattle Pacific University rowing team competed in their first regatta of the fall season. 

The women traveled to Lakewood, Washington on Sunday, Oct. 17 to compete in the American Lake Fall Classic. The team raced both their second varsity and first varsity teams. This event in Lakewood had a unique racing style and varied from the traditional Olympic format of rowing. 

Instead of having the boats lined up side-by-side on a 2,000-meter course, this regatta had the teams depart from the starting line single file in intervals. The teams were allowed to pass each other and their placing was determined by their total elapsed time from start to finish. It was not necessarily based on who crossed the finish line first. 

The course length was also changed as the teams raced on a longer course of 5,000-meters.

The second varsity team competed in the Collegiate Junior Varsity event and placed second with an elapsed time of 20:32.3. They lost to the University of Portland by more than a minute as they clocked in a time of 19:29.4. 

This boat was led by junior Moxie McCandless, who saw this race as the teams’ first opportunity to get back into the rhythm of racing. 

“There were not a ton of hard expectations going into the race about where we were going to place and things like that. We were all just getting back into a racing mindset, especially coming out of COVID. We were all just focused on putting down some hard strokes and doing the best that we could,” McCandless said.

Freshman Victoria Brohard was also among the other Falcon rowers racing on the second varsity team. This was her first real race on the water this fall. She raced in the seventh position on the boat and was proud of the result despite it being an unknown experience. 

The team getting prepared to set out on the water. (Courtesy of Matt Oclander)

“I was really nervous. I didn’t really know what to expect, but going into it a lot of my teammates also didn’t know what to expect either,” Brohard said. “It was a scary feeling being unprepared, but the calm nature of my team was what I felt helped us do as well as we did. We had to calm ourselves and remember that we know how to row and we know how to do what we do best.”

The first varsity team, otherwise known as the Falcons’ top four-oared crew, competed against a larger scope of teams on Sunday. Despite the tough competition, the team came in third, finishing the race with a time of 21:32.8. 

The Falcons were only 20 seconds behind the second-place team, the Seattle University Redhawks, who clocked in a time of 21:12.7. The winning team of this race was also from the University of Portland who won the race with a time of 20:51.1. 

This team was coxed by senior LeeAnn Arrington and included many of the Falcons returning rowers. Some of these returners included juniors Jacinta Grandel and Macie Leach and seniors Danielle Johnson and Avalon Tarbet-Mendoza. 

The team had wanted to enter another four-oared boat in the race, but it was ultimately scratched due to some sicknesses on the team. 

Coach Caitlin McClain was proud of the results from both teams and is looking forward to witnessing how the team will improve as they move towards future regattas and the start of their official season. 

“Overall, I was very pleased with the results. We placed second and third in the two races that we entered and we raced against Division I teams,” McClain said. “On paper, I am very proud of what they accomplished, but in terms of how we carried ourselves on the racecourse, managed our emotions of race day, and executed the race plans that had been discussed, I would say that each boat did well in achieving our set goals.”

The rowing team only has one more competition this fall on Nov. 7 at the Head of the Lake Regatta in Seattle Washington. This annual event is hosted by the University of Washington and will take place at the Montlake Cut. 

The Falcons’ regular season will begin in the spring quarter. Their schedule has not yet been finalized but will be released in the spring.