Over Memorial Day weekend, the UC Irvine Men’s Crew team wrapped up their 2018/19 season with a strong performance at the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, Georgia.

In the first heat of the regatta’s premier event, the Men’s Varsity Eight (MV8+), UCI drew the toughest match-ups of the day.  With only the top three of eight boats in the heat proceeding directly on, the varsity eight crew earned their spot in the A/B Semifinals, posting a time of 6:15.09, finishing bow to stern with Purdue, the #1 seed of the entire ACRA Championships. Later in the afternoon, the Men’s Novice-4 (MN4+) also finished second in their heat, placing them in the Semifinals for Saturday.

On Saturday morning, the Men’s Second Varsity-8 (M2V8+) finished fifth in their heat but came back charging in an afternoon repechage, vying for a spot in the A final. Despite a heroic surge against UC Davis, the M2V8+ crossed the line second, placing them in the Sunday B finals.

Sandwiched between these two races, UCI’s MV8+ raced their semi-final heat, again drawing the fastest heat of the day.  Our MV8+ beat out UCSB in a photo finish claiming fourth and placing them in Sunday’s Grand Finals. Soon after, UCI’s MN4+ finished second behind Georgia Tech to advance to the A Finals.

Sunday morning started off strong with UCI’s M2V8+ dominating the B Finals, finishing three boat lengths ahead of the competition and posting the sixth fastest time overall from the M2V8+. Following shortly thereafter, the MN4+ took fifth in the A Final. In the last event of the day, UCI’s MV8+, the only West Coast school and school west of Minnesota to advance to the Grand Finals, led the first five hundred meters of the race, battling a quartering headwind in the outside lane, finishing sixth out of eight crews. Coming together before the Grand Finals, our West Coast peers cheered us on as the “Best in the West.”

Men’s Varsity 8+ prepping for Grand Final with coach Brooks. – Photo Credit Lisa Cohen


Race rally call from Carlos Dominguez - varsity coxswain, Translates to “we go together!”
MV8+ at ACRA

Varsity 8+ Shoving off for practice row – photo credit Coach Brooks

UCI Crews at ACRA

Despite a bumpy year with retention, this year’s novices came together in order to send off four of the top novice athletes to compete at ACRA. For novice rower, Arya Oalee, a first-year Mechanical Engineering Major, placing fifth was a lesson to learn from, leaving him excited for next season.

Said Arya, “I think ACRA was probably the biggest test for us. It really exposed our strengths and weaknesses. Going into next year, I’m really excited to become the best rower I can be. We have a strong, young team that already did well this season, and we’re going to get a whole new group of novices. I’m excited about our potential, which is really high.”

For the M2V8+, which consisted of seven returning oarsmen, and one graduating oarsman (Colin Petree), ACRA was the place to prove to themselves, to show their strength and to grow as a crew. After losing to Orange Coast College and UC Davis throughout the racing season, and despite narrowly missing the A finals, the M2V8+ came back as they promised to, posting a time in the B Final that beat both Orange Coast College and UC Davis in the back-to-back A Final.  The team all agreed that they had all found something special during the ACRA National Championships that they can build on: confidence and belief in each other.

This year’s MV8+ showed the passion and patience that is essential for a young crew’s increasing success. With an eye to peaking during the National Championship weekend, the MV8+ had to withstand a series of early-season challenges from crews that were often both more experienced and peaking before the June Grand Finals. Throughout the racing season, the MV8+ persistently sought speed, responding to all challenges with a drive to improve. After a series of losses, many within a few seats, the MV8+ continued to endure and roll with the punches. By the time ACRA came around, they had shown their resilience by beating out the crews they lost to throughout the season, representing the West Coast in the Grand Finals.

The UCI Men’s Crew team has its eyes set on next year’s season already. With only one graduating oarsman, the team will be deep with returning oarsmen and ready to start out on top.

Men’s Varsity 8+ Final Ranking:

  1. Deleware
  2. Michigan
  3. Purdue
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Boston College
  6. UC Irvine
  7. Minnesota
  8. Connecticut
  9. UC Santa Barbara
  10. Bucknell
  11. UCLA
  12. UMass
  13. Vermont
  14. Orange Coast
  15. UNC
  16. Virginia
  17. UC Davis
  18. Ohio State
  19. Washington State
  20. UGA
  21. Pittsburgh
  22. Grand Valley
  23. Western Washington
  24. Vanderbilt
  25. University of New Hampshire
  26. Colorado
  27. Kansas
  28. Virginia Common Wealth
  29. Chicago
  30. Northwestern
  31. DePaul
  32. Texas

UC Irvine finished 8th in combined team points out of 82 competing institutions.