Oakland Strokes rowers capture a fistful of top finishes at Long Beach Invitational Regatta.
Long Beach — The Oakland Strokes’ less experienced rowers came through in a big way at the Long Beach Invitational regatta last weekend. The men’s and women’s novice, freshman and JV boats took home six first-place and two second-place awards. The women’s lightweight two also scored a second-place finish.
Coaches see the race as good predictor of the team’s chances in the season-ending USRowing California Southwest Junior Regional Championship (CJs) regatta, May 4 - 6. The CJs are the qualifying races for youth national championships in June. Strokes boats frequently qualify for the prestigious nationals.
With the club coming off two out-of-town regattas on back-to-back weekends, coaches chose to rest many of their A boat rowers to give others a chance to experience the Long Beach competition.
“All of our boats did better than expected,” said men’s varsity coach Dameon Engblom. “Our lightweight men’s eight finished third with just four of our most seasoned guys, and we got close to the winners, Long Beach and Marina. With our strongest rowers we can beat both those crews. And if we do that at CJ’s we’ll probably qualify for the nationals.”
“Long Beach is a great experience for the rowers to measure their ability versus their class,” said women’s varsity coach Derek Byrnes. “They get to do a ton of racing because it’s a 1400-meter course and we can race them over and over again. Plus, it’s very much a team bonding experience.”
The Long Beach Invitational hosts 24 teams and more than 1,200 rowers. It’s the biggest all-junior event in the Southwest conference.
Oakland Strokes, a 200-member junior rowing club for middle and high school students, represents 29 Bay Area high schools and has sent countless student-athletes to college rowing programs across the country. Each year the Strokes boats place strongly in local, regional and national championship regattas. Its boathouse is on the Oakland estuary near the High Street Bridge.
For more information contact Diane Moe, firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-878-1677