The University of Victoria Vikes had a strong showing against some of the best collegiate programs in North America over the weekend, as the men’s lightweight eight claimed second behind MIT and the women’s eight won their B Final at the San Diego Crew Classic.
The men’s lightweight eight crew was making their debut at the event and they did it in style, joining with MIT to dominate in the preliminaries on Saturday morning before returning to the water with another solid performance Sunday. In the preliminaries, MIT (6:32.457) and Victoria (6:35.231) were over ten seconds ahead of third-place UC Santa Barbara (6:45.485).
On Sunday, MIT once again raced to the front of the group, posting a time of 6:43.312 to finish in first ahead of the Vikes (6:48.198). UC Santa Barbara (7:01.483) once again took third while Sacramento State (7:10.072) and UC Berkeley (7:10.677) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“The lightweight men are pleased with their debut in U.S. Collegiate rowing,” said head coach Aalbert Van Schothorst. “This young crew now has a much better sense of what it takes to succeed within the U.S. Collegiate system and will focus their efforts for the next year with the intent to come back and claim victory. The result will support the momentum already in this crew and drive that moving forward.”
The women’s eight ended up in the Petite Final after finishing fifth in their heat on Saturday. The Vikes (7:06.687) managed to exact some revenge on the UBC Thunderbirds (7:09.681) in the final, defeating their rivals by just under three seconds to finish the event on a high note.
The Thunderbirds entered this year’s competition with bragging rights in hand, having beaten out the Vikes by slim margins at the event in both 2014 and 2015. The Vikes have now edged out UBC in two straight events after taking the Brown Cup on March 26.
“I am pleased with the way my crew rowed,” said head coach Rick Crawley. “Very hard to race from lane 5 as the course is a disadvantage the further out you go from lane 1. Having said that there were some fast crews out there as well as most of the field were ranked in the top 20 of the NCAA.
“It was very gratifying to clarify our crew as the top eight in Canada with a wire-to-wire victoria over UBC in the B final,” he added.
Men’s Collegiate Lightweight Grand Final
UC Santa Barbara 7:01.483
Sac State 7:10.072
UC Berkeley 7:10.677
Women’s Collegiate Varsity Jessop-Whittier Petite Final