Crews not content with weekend result

Most of the time when a crew team wins two gold medals and three silver medals at a regatta, they come away feeling successful. The Falcons, however, are not your typical crew team.

"We were hoping for more," said sophomore Alicia Apple. "We were expecting to win all the races."

At Saturday’s Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships held on Lake Stevens, the Seattle Pacific University crew team left a wake of medals behind them.

The women’s varsity four boat took first place for the seventh consecutive time. The men’s lightweight four also placed first, as they improved their record to 4-0 on the year. Three other boats placed second, but it was the final three boats that finished fourth or lower that was the cause of the Falcons’ disappointment. However, not everything was under the Falcons’ control.

Sophomore captain David Stalsbroten, who said the team "came into the weekend with high expectations," pointed out that "choppy water and boat wakes" caused significant problems for a few of the boats.

The men’s novice boat "caught a crab" during their race, which caused them to fall behind. Catching a crab, said Apple, is when "your blade catches in the water."

The boat has to stop rowing until the oar can be squared again, causing the team to lose precious time.

Apple said that because of the conditions, one of the boats actually filled with water making it extremely difficult to race.

Sophomore Ryan Flynn said the team was "definitely not" satisfied with the results of the race. The Falcons were expecting to "dominate every category," he said.

Seattle Pacific was following up a regatta in which the women’s varsity four had lost their first race of the season — something Apple said "was a motivator for everyone on the team."

The Falcons wanted to come to Lake Stevens and regain their winning stroke, which for the most part they did. "Everyone on the team stepped it up," Apple said. The loss the week before was "really difficult," she added, but the coaches pushed the team hard last week in an effort to better prepare them.

The Falcons are now looking ahead to Saturday when they will compete in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. "It’s going to be a big challenge mentally," said Flynn.

It is easy to get rattled because the event is much more organized than the normal regattas that the Falcon’s participate in. "People hold the bow of your boat (at the starting line)" Flynn said.

The competition promises to be tough as well. "Everybody’s going to be bringing their A-game," he added.

"We are hoping to come away with a victory," Stalsbroten said.

However, SPU will be competing against some boats that they haven’t seen before. "There are some fast California schools," said Stalsbroten.

He expects UC Berkley, in particular, to prove tough to beat in the men’s lightweight four race. Stalsbroten also pointed out the Willamette women’s team as a likely contender in their class. Despite the opposition and competing on a grander scale, Flynn believes that all of the Falcons’ boats "have a really strong shot (at winning)."

The Falcons are taking their preparation seriously. Flynn said the team is in the midst of a special workout program and that they must abide by certain nutritional standards. The first half of the week involves "protein loading," while carbohydrates will be the focus of the second half of the week. The special diet is designed to build strength and stamina, allowing the team to peak for the regatta.

As far as which teams will be competing in which races, Apple said, "Teams can take whatever boats they deem worthy of going."

The coaches choose the boats that they think have the best chance of winning their race. It will be a challenge for the Falcons, Apple said, because there will be "some schools that we haven’t seen yet."

However, if the Falcons can stay focused, they can continue with the success that they have enjoyed all season long.

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Title: Crews not content with weekend result | Author: Casey Calamusa | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2004-04-28 | Internal ID: 3948