The Mills crew team returned from their first race of the season on March 1 in Newport Beach without a win but with a taste of what the season will bring.
Although they lost, Cyclones raced hard and found where Mills currently stands compared to Chapman University, another division three school.
“There was really good racing by all boats and overall the whole team showed a lot of potential for the whole season,” said Crew Coach Wendy Franklin.
Three boats, all varying in skill levels, were in the water last weekend racing, in what is also known as a regatta, against Chapman.
These included the Varsity 8, which are the eight most qualified rowers, the Novice 8, which includes eight beginning rowers, and the Varsity 4, which includes three varsity and one novice.
The Varsity 8 boat only lost by a mere four seconds to Chapman, with a time of 8:02 minutes.
“The Varsity 8 is the fastest that I’ve ever had here at Mills,” said Franklin. “I’m excited to see how they do.”
Varsity 8 rower Chelsea deSouza said she felt that her boat rowed extremely well for their first race and sees nationals as a feasible goal for her and her teammates this season.
“We just need a couple more weeks and we’ll beat Chapman next time,” said deSouza. “I think most of our rowers have the goal of nationals in mind this season.”
Athletes in the Varsity 4 boat, consisting of mostly second year rowers who’d only raced together four times, found their boat to be more confident than last year.
“When I look back on how I felt during last year’s regatta in Newport and this year’s regatta, the feeling is incomparable,” said Varsity 4 rower Emma Giboney. “Last year most of us were novice, so we were really nervous, and we were completely mentally unprepared.”
The Varsity 4 rowers had only been in the same boat together for their fourth time, and yet they still raced sturdily and were able to pinpoint areas that need progress.
“We rowed a very strong piece in that our boat has very good technique,” said Fong. “The area that needs improvement now is strength.”
After gaining perspective on the upcoming season from their first race, the crew team knows now how hard they have to work to be at the top.
“I think if the athletes continue to work hard and we continue to see good progress, that the racing season will be very successful,” said Franklin. “In general, this team shows a lot of heart.”
The crew team raced this past saturday in Sacramento against several schools.
To view race results, visit row2k.com.