Photo by Alex Anderson | Cal Poly Humboldt women's rowing team dig deep in the women's V4 race at the Blue Heron Regatta on April 1.

Crew teams sweep at Humboldt Bay regatta


by Alina Ferguson and Jake Knoeller

While the weather may have appeared bleak, spirits were high at the April 1 Cal Poly Humboldt men’s and women’s crew home regatta at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. Both the teams completed a “clean sweep,” winning every event they took part in.

“We did pretty good,” said Adrineh Smith, a freshman rower on the women’s team. “We were doing pretty good at holding our splits, which is our speed, and we did a really good job with something that we’ve been working on recently, just shifting our stroke rate from regular to a sprint and vice versa.”

While it was wet and rainy, importantly it was not windy. The rowers row through rain and shine, but the one thing that would be a concern is the wind, as it could potentially tip the boat. 

The events began at 8 a.m., but this did not stop supporters from showing up for the Lumberjacks. Fans from all over the school came to watch these rowers take on Chico and Sonoma State’s club teams as well as Saint Mary’s, a Division 1 school in California. The Humboldt men’s rowing crew is a club sport, while womens’ crew is a NCAA division team. 

The regatta took place at the Marina in Eureka, which meant the rowers also had to contend with other ships and boats going by. The rowers were accompanied by speed boats that were there to track them to make sure they did not veer off course. Another one of these boats was there to guide out other boats from clashing with the rowers.

“It’s really awesome seeing everyone come out especially because it’s raining and it’s cold,” said Midalia Garcia, a freshman rower and coxswain on the women’s team. “They didn’t have to get up that early, but they came to support us.”

The men’s crew team has a chant that sounds like a fog horn calling its rowers home. When Humboldt rowed, the crowds would chant a long, “Huuuuuuumboldt.” 

There are different types of boats: the 4, 8, double and single. Their naming refers to the number of rowers in the boat. For the 4 and 8, they have what is known as the coxswain.

The coxswain does not row, but they steer the boat. They sit at either the bow or stern of the boat, depending on the size. They are connected via a microphone and speakers that run alongside the boat. The coxswain is the one that gives them direction, where to turn, when to go faster or slower, etc. 

Garcia rowed in the 8 and coxed the 4, making for a busy day. 

“As being a coxswain, I’m pretty much the eyes and ears of my boat,” said Garcia. “I’m keeping track of their speed, I’m telling them the distance we are from the other boats, I’m trying to motivate them, and I’m trying to also work with them on their technique to make sure that they’re rowing effectively.”

Peter Yaskowitz has been a member of the men’s crew for 2 years. 

“It is my new favorite thing to do,” he said. “It is addicting.”

Humboldt’s success often comes from the desire to win, not only for themselves but for their supporters.

“We were just talking before we went out about how this is our home course and we really wanted to make our fans proud,” said Malia Seeley, a senior rower on the women’s team.

They did just that, building more excitement for the future.

“It just makes me really excited for the rest of the years, even next year and the years forward,” said Ellie Walters, a freshman rower on the women’s team. “I’m excited to win.”

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