And here it is. It’s for the USC crew team. Go, Trojan Navy. Do it to it.
USC Crew Team Begins Season with Promising Results
With the fall collegiate rowing season just getting underway, the USC Men’s Crew (The Trojan Navy) is already exhibiting signs that they are poised to have one of their strongest showings in years.
The team’s season opened this past weekend at the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival in Newport Beach. With sixteen different collegiate teams represented in a field of thirty eight-man boats, USC’s varsity eight finished fifth in the field and ninth overall, besting the top crews from regional competitors University of San Diego, Loyola Marymount, UC-Irvine, Arizona State, UCLA, and national powerhouse Orange Coast College, to name a few.
“It was a great showing,” said coach Danny Johnson, who comes to the Trojan family after rowing competitively for Orange Coast and UC-Berkeley in the past. “This race marks a true turning point for the team.”
Men’s rowing was a varsity sport at USC throughout the post-war era, strong from its inception in 1948 and running continuously until 1993. In that time, it produced a number of storied competitors, including Conn Findlay, who went on to win three Olympic medals – two of them golds – in paired oar-shell competition, and Julian Wolf, who managed the 1984 U.S. Olympic rowing team. The intercollegiate squad folded in the early 1990′s due to Title IX, only to be revived at the turn of the century as a club sport.
As a non-NCAA-affiliated organization, the team has had to as spend much of its time fundraising as training these past few years. Luckily, it seems those efforts are finally starting to pay off. Though they are still working to pull together enough capital to buy a new boat, they were recently able to purchase two used eights – both of which have seen multiple national championships – from the training fleet of UC-Berkeley. And though they’re not as swift as spring sport racing shells, it appears they’re already making an impact in the water.
“We were able to surprise the team with the boats on the day before the event, and I think it made a huge difference,” said Coach Johnson. “The varsity had a great race, with a thirty-three strokes per minute pace. As a pure point of comparison, we lost to UCLA last year by twenty-seven seconds, and this year we managed to best them by twice that. A one-and-a-half minute turnaround in a fifteen-minute race – that’s something.”
With three eight-man teams in the water – including a JV boat and a Novice squad that, despite some early-term errors, also turned in solid races – The Trojan Navy has shown solid improvement from years past and looks to the coming season with well-earned sentiments of promise and pride.
Their next race is the ’09 Head of the Harbor, hosted by USC and featuring squads from Arizona State, Orange Coast College, Loyola Marymount, UC-Irvine, UCLA, and UC-Santa Barbara. The event, which takes place on November 15th, will be held at the Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington, CA and will begin at 9:00 A.M. For more information on spectating the event, call (949) 677-9145.