Our Team

It’s one thing to be a first year, walking into the Anteatery at 8am, bleary eyed, dreading class in an hour. It’s a whole other mentality to be totally focused, a workout completed, and with your day well under way. Every member on our team is driven by that same mentality, and it’s not because of the lure of scholarships. Almost every person who shows up to that boathouse before the sun has even risen is fueled by their own desire to improve themselves, to refine their body, their mental state, and their well-being. The boats are made with a common desire for greatness, and it’s not as if we’ve trained our whole life for it. UCI’s rowing program is a new opportunity for everyone to find out their true potential, and to meet guys and girls who strive for new levels.

University is an entirely unfamiliar chapter in most people’s lives, and the sport provides a solid foundation both mentally and physically for its athletes to succeed. Whether through the weekend races, the shared experiences, and shared desire for growth, collegiate rowing at UCI provides a base level of athletic and collegiate proficiency that many students will struggle to reach on their own.

One of the largest problems that new college students face in their now-independent lives is self-accountability, which often arises through lack of structure in their daily routines. Any member of the Crew will tell you that while waking up early doesn’t sound appealing, the motivation and focus it provides to complete extra tasks is unmatched. Beyond this, fellow oarsmen are always able to help one another with class and other knowledge, an aspect that non-athletes may struggle to find.


Rowing is an excellent avenue to pursue fitness, sportsmanship, competition, and all kinds of fun. On top of these rewards, rowing finds a way to sneak little lessons into your life. It isn’t until after it’s all over, and you’re surrounded by people who have never touched an oar, that you realize how empowered you’ve become by the time you spent pushing yourself to row.

The attention to detail it takes to correctly and precisely rig a shell so that she performs flawlessly on race day. The ownership of personal weakness it takes to refine your technique and iron out your flaws day after day. The grit and spirit it takes to race your hardest to the very end, not quitting because you’re ahead, or behind, or not sure at all where you stand. The teamsmanship it takes to dedicate yourself to a group of people, and to strengthen yourself for them, and to receive their dedication and encouragement and use it to drive all of you towards your goal. The unbreakable attitude it takes to wake up so early every morning, to push yourself so hard beyond what is comfortable, and to so stubbornly demand the best from yourself and those around you.

The experienced oarsman will learn each of these lessons. When you leave rowing, the lessons will not leave you. Your peers will admire you for the strength in your character, for your resilience in times of struggle, for your confidence in your ability to improve yourself with nothing more than consistent effort. I feel so much stronger for my experiences in rowing, and I feel so proud when others recognize that strength in me. The best thing I ever did for myself was commit the time to learn these lessons in college, but truth be told, as a freshman I did not join crew to learn any of these lessons. I joined because I wished to make friends and have some fun in a boat. The gift of rowing is that, for those who participate and stick with it, it grants that wish a hundred times over, and then some.

Khalid Elassaad, Class of '18