Rigorous Rowing in Southern California Makes a Splash

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Rigorous Rowing in Southern California Makes a Splash

Warren Lee tests his endurance as he practices for an upcoming competition.

Warren Lee tests his endurance as he practices for an upcoming competition.

Photograph courtesy of Warren Lee

Warren Lee tests his endurance as he practices for an upcoming competition.

Photograph courtesy of Warren Lee

Photograph courtesy of Warren Lee

Warren Lee tests his endurance as he practices for an upcoming competition.

Matthew Basilio, Staff Writer

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Think Southern California, think sunny beaches and houses on the coast. Southern California has a multitude of beaches embedded within its cities, yet sports that depend on beaches are not very popular at high schools—specifically, the art of rowing. Rowing is not offered in many high schools around Southern California. High school rowing has long been in the East Coast’s culture, while the West Coast is still catching up. In Southern California, there are beaches like Corona Del Mar State Beach, Laguna Beach, Venice Beach and many others. However, rowing in Southern California is becoming more popular due to the multitude of beaches in the area and the strong surf culture among the locals.

 

Rowing is a very taxing and difficult sport. One must have a certain amount of athleticism to keep up with the rest of the team, as well as chemistry to make sure their strokes are in sync with one another. Without a strong mental capacity, it will be tough to be successful in long and tough races, and rowing competitions can have lengths of up to 2,000 meters.

 

There are two forms of rowing: sweep rowing and sculling. In sweep rowing, each rower has one oar, held in both hands. This type of rowing is generally done in pairs of four or eight. Each rower is referred to as either port or starboard, depending on which end of the boat his or her oar extends to. The port side is referred to as the stroke side while the starboard side is referred to as the bow side. The other form of rowing is sculling, where there are two oars in each hand; sculling is typically done in quads, doubles, or singles.

 

Rowing has few rules and regulations. The equipment that is used must be fully operational and not defective. Rowers are allowed to compete in a higher skill class than their own, but not a lower skill class. A competitor’s eligibility to compete can be based on their age or skill. Penalties can also occur due to false starts, which is when a boat’s bow crosses the plane of the starting line before the green light flashes. In addition, a boat must meet the minimum weight—not including oars, bow number, and items not fastened on the boat. Competitors must also be weighed while wearing their racing uniform without shoes or other foot gear.

 

One of the most accomplished rowing teams in Southern California is University of California Irvine’s (UCI)’s Anteaters. Weeks ago, UCI’s rowing team, known as Men’s Crew, traveled north to Folsom, California to race at the Western Conference Championships on Lake Natoma. Men’s Crew consists of a variety of members from different backgrounds, from volleyball to even badminton. The men all brought something special to the team, whether it be leadership or just pure strength.

 

Rowing is not only popular with men, but also quite popular with women. University of Southern California (USC)  women’s rowing team travelled to Lake Natoma in California to compete in the Head of the American Regatta, which kicked off USC’s first competition of the 2017-18 year. Their race took place on Saturday, Oct. 28 against some of the top rowing programs from the West Coast.

 

Although Beckman High School does not have a rowing team, there are a few people who row in high school. “You have to be really committed; it’s a really demanding sport,” said junior rower Warren Lee. “Definitely during races, like a 2000 meter, it can be really tiring. You need to push through it, it really is a mental sport.” Along with taking many Advanced Placement (AP) classes, Lee rows for the Newport Aquatic Center while also managing Link Cru as a student coordinator.

 

Living in Southern California, there are many ways to become active like playing basketball, surfing, hiking, or even playing beach volleyball. But another way to get in touch with Mother Nature and get a great workout is definitely rowing. There are a multitude of teams and clubs to choose from. To join most rowing teams and clubs the requirements are very simple. The criteria consists of having some rowing ability, general fitness and conditioning, a good attitude and coachability, and a weight adjusted erg score. Surely, to get involved with a team and to get a great workout, rowing is a great option.

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