Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Eight Oars in the Water

“Rowing isn’t a huge thing for most high schools, so we mainly get kids with no experience at all,” says head coach of the University of California San Diego men’s crew, Zach Johnson. “UCSD just this year started handing out scholarships, spread equally across all athletes, for $500 a year. Most of my kids are engineers or in physics, so that’s really not much at all — probably two books. It’s a little bit of an incentive program.”

On Saturday, April 5, Johnson’s team will compete for the Copley Cup in the 35th Annual San Diego Crew Classic. “The Copley has everybody, all the top teams, and UCSD was invited to participate in that this year because we won [Cal Cup] last year. Harvard, Yale, Princeton — eight of the top ten teams from last year are coming. My guys are feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but I think we have a good crew. They can really move a boat.”

The race will be held in west Mission Bay. “The starting line is right underneath the SeaWorld gondola ride and goes to Crown Point Shores,” Johnson explains. All crew races are 2000 meters, which, Johnson says, the best crews can cover in under six minutes. “Last year we had a three-way photo finish. There was four-tenths of a second between the first- and third-place teams.”

The university has seven eight-man boats (or sculls), each costing between $30,000 and $40,000. “That would be a really nice car, but [the boat] doesn’t have cup holders, and you have to supply the engine,” Johnson quips. Individual oars cost between $300 and $400.

Johnson says manning the eight-oared scull takes as much skill as it does endurance and that, unlike many other sports, teamwork eclipses individual performance. Each scull is 55 feet long and a foot and a half wide at the center. Eight men operate the oars, and a coxswain (the oarless team leader) sits at the stern.

“You can put the best rower in the world into the boat, and it doesn’t make that much of a difference. It’s really about all eight guys and how they lock onto each other,” says Johnson. “There is so much technique. It’s like teaching figure skaters to be endurance athletes and to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. If one person makes a different hand movement, the entire boat goes off.”

The most common mistake crewmembers make is to “catch a crab.” As Johnson explains, occasionally a rower will fail to release his oar in time with the rest of his crew and, because more water passes over the top of the blade than under, the oar gets stuck. “Then the handle that was coming back keeps coming back like a big lever and catches you in the chest — with the boat going 15 to 20 miles an hour in one direction and the handle going the other, you’re going to lose.”

Rowers make between 35 and 40 strokes per minute. “When it happens,” Johnson says, referring to catching a crab, “it happens fast and violently.” It’s not uncommon for rowers to be ejected from the boat by the force of the out-of-control oar handle, though Johnson says it has been over two years since he has seen this happen.

Most upper-level rowers are tall and lean. “The taller you are, the more leverage you have.” Of course, a tall crew does not guarantee a win. “Last year the winning boat had two kids over six feet tall, and the rest were all six feet or under and 170 pounds — all very scrappy and light.” Johnson says cross-country runners, water-polo players, and swimmers tend to be the best rowers. “They do a lot of laps and are used to pushing themselves really hard and constantly moving.”

Members of Johnson’s crew each have about 5 percent body fat. “We lean them down. I had a kid who literally lost 50 pounds just from the season.” This despite taking in between 4500 and 5000 calories a day. The rowers train in Mission Bay three to four hours a day, six days a week, putting in as much as 20 miles of rowing per day.

“You find that collegiate rowers spend almost all their time together,” says Johnson. Because they start practice as early as 5 a.m., “most college kids, if they want to get any sleep, have to be in bed by 10 o’clock. You don’t find many college kids who go to bed by 10. My kids, by their third or fourth year, are all living together. I’ve got six guys in one house, three or four in another.”

Though he doesn’t see a lot of interaction between the men’s and women’s crews at UCSD, which he attributes to the teams’ different schedules, Johnson has been to three rower-marriage weddings in the past two years.

— Barbarella

35th Annual San Diego Crew Classic
Saturday, April 5
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 6
7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Crown Point Shores Park
Mission Bay
Cost: $7, under 13 and military are free
Info: 619-225-0300 or www.crewclassic.org

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego Lotharios rejoice at news of mandatory 10 pm nightlife shutdown

Closed Doors = Closed Deals

“Rowing isn’t a huge thing for most high schools, so we mainly get kids with no experience at all,” says head coach of the University of California San Diego men’s crew, Zach Johnson. “UCSD just this year started handing out scholarships, spread equally across all athletes, for $500 a year. Most of my kids are engineers or in physics, so that’s really not much at all — probably two books. It’s a little bit of an incentive program.”

On Saturday, April 5, Johnson’s team will compete for the Copley Cup in the 35th Annual San Diego Crew Classic. “The Copley has everybody, all the top teams, and UCSD was invited to participate in that this year because we won [Cal Cup] last year. Harvard, Yale, Princeton — eight of the top ten teams from last year are coming. My guys are feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but I think we have a good crew. They can really move a boat.”

The race will be held in west Mission Bay. “The starting line is right underneath the SeaWorld gondola ride and goes to Crown Point Shores,” Johnson explains. All crew races are 2000 meters, which, Johnson says, the best crews can cover in under six minutes. “Last year we had a three-way photo finish. There was four-tenths of a second between the first- and third-place teams.”

The university has seven eight-man boats (or sculls), each costing between $30,000 and $40,000. “That would be a really nice car, but [the boat] doesn’t have cup holders, and you have to supply the engine,” Johnson quips. Individual oars cost between $300 and $400.

Johnson says manning the eight-oared scull takes as much skill as it does endurance and that, unlike many other sports, teamwork eclipses individual performance. Each scull is 55 feet long and a foot and a half wide at the center. Eight men operate the oars, and a coxswain (the oarless team leader) sits at the stern.

“You can put the best rower in the world into the boat, and it doesn’t make that much of a difference. It’s really about all eight guys and how they lock onto each other,” says Johnson. “There is so much technique. It’s like teaching figure skaters to be endurance athletes and to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. If one person makes a different hand movement, the entire boat goes off.”

The most common mistake crewmembers make is to “catch a crab.” As Johnson explains, occasionally a rower will fail to release his oar in time with the rest of his crew and, because more water passes over the top of the blade than under, the oar gets stuck. “Then the handle that was coming back keeps coming back like a big lever and catches you in the chest — with the boat going 15 to 20 miles an hour in one direction and the handle going the other, you’re going to lose.”

Rowers make between 35 and 40 strokes per minute. “When it happens,” Johnson says, referring to catching a crab, “it happens fast and violently.” It’s not uncommon for rowers to be ejected from the boat by the force of the out-of-control oar handle, though Johnson says it has been over two years since he has seen this happen.

Most upper-level rowers are tall and lean. “The taller you are, the more leverage you have.” Of course, a tall crew does not guarantee a win. “Last year the winning boat had two kids over six feet tall, and the rest were all six feet or under and 170 pounds — all very scrappy and light.” Johnson says cross-country runners, water-polo players, and swimmers tend to be the best rowers. “They do a lot of laps and are used to pushing themselves really hard and constantly moving.”

Members of Johnson’s crew each have about 5 percent body fat. “We lean them down. I had a kid who literally lost 50 pounds just from the season.” This despite taking in between 4500 and 5000 calories a day. The rowers train in Mission Bay three to four hours a day, six days a week, putting in as much as 20 miles of rowing per day.

“You find that collegiate rowers spend almost all their time together,” says Johnson. Because they start practice as early as 5 a.m., “most college kids, if they want to get any sleep, have to be in bed by 10 o’clock. You don’t find many college kids who go to bed by 10. My kids, by their third or fourth year, are all living together. I’ve got six guys in one house, three or four in another.”

Though he doesn’t see a lot of interaction between the men’s and women’s crews at UCSD, which he attributes to the teams’ different schedules, Johnson has been to three rower-marriage weddings in the past two years.

— Barbarella

35th Annual San Diego Crew Classic
Saturday, April 5
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 6
7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Crown Point Shores Park
Mission Bay
Cost: $7, under 13 and military are free
Info: 619-225-0300 or www.crewclassic.org

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Mexico after the millenium

Smuggling, TJ nightlife, deported, TJ as hip destination, can't stop thinking about TJ, cross-border kidnapping
Next Article

Music follows nature – the Moldau, Central Asia's steppes, the Alps, the Appian Way , cliffs of Cornwall

We find Siegfried resting under a linden tree
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close