Men's Rowing Fall Recap



Nov. 9, 2012

Article written by Michelle Human.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Having come off a top ten finish in the prestigious Head of the Charles preseason regatta which took place in Boston on Oct. 20th; a 2nd place in the Head of the American Saturday Oct. 27th on Lake Natoma near Sacramento, and a 4th place finish by the Frosh boat at the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival on Nov. 4th, the USD Men's Rowing team has every reason to be optimistic in looking forward to their upcoming Spring racing season.

"The best part in a race is when you pass another boat," John Bacic, a sophomore oarsman from Dallas, said. "You look back and think: I'm stronger, I'm fitter, I've trained so much harder than you....and we've been passing [a lot of] boats."

The team finished 9th out of 46 boats at the Head of the Charles, a renowned international regatta consisting of a 3.2 mile course that attracts 10,000 highly motivated athletes each year. The Head of the Charles regatta committee invites only the best crews in the world to compete on its waters and is known as the world's largest rowing regatta. This was USD's first showing at the Charles, and due to their strong performance they have received an invitation to return next year.

Prior to the race, Head Coach Brooks Dagman had to select the four rowers and one coxswain who would travel to Boston and compete in the Men's Collegiate 4+ Race. The selection process was very tight and in the end returning sophomores John Bacic and Will Bastien were joined by freshmen Henri Hicks and Ryan Sandy. Sophomore, Caroline Barrett was their coxswain. Despite their relative youth, this USD Crew turned some heads on this large international stage as they chased down and passed three other boats en route to their 9th place finish, posting the fastest split of all boats down the home stretch.



The following weekend, USD selected a pair of 8s to travel to Sacramento in order to compete against some of the top Universities on the West Coast, such as UC Berkeley, a perennially ranked rowing powerhouse, at the Head of the American on Lake Natoma. It was the first time in USD history that the Toreros beat a crew from UC Berkeley. San Diego's 1st boat finished in second place, between the two boats from Cal, while their 2nd boat finished in 6th place.

This last Sunday, USD entered 4 crews at the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival in Newport Beach. The highlight was the Freshman 8 placing 4th only behind crews from Cal and Stanford and were well in front of the rest of the competition. With this highly successful season of Fall Racing coming to a close, these men will shift into their winter training period; building on the power and endurance they have shown on the race course while also continuing to become better technicians on the water developing boatspeed. Throughout this period the team will continue to forge an even closer bond with each other as they strain for endless hours on the oar handle.

"Our strongest characteristic is our brotherhood; we've had a great team dynamic these past couple races," Bacic said. "Due to the intense workouts we subject ourselves to, we become really close as a team, and through that closeness we will push that much harder for each other as well as be able to get our goals accomplished a lot easier; as a team."

With more than three months to prepare for the primary spring season in which the team will compete against other universities from the East Coast, PAC-12, WCC and WIRA brackets, USD Men's Rowing has set itself in an ideal position to come into its own, creating its own destiny and making a mark within the rowing world. Through reviewing statistics and crunching numbers, Coach Dagman is hopeful that as his team continues to strengthen and adapt to the challenging training regimen he has set out, qualifying for the IRA National Championships, always a weighty task, will be within reach. Returning for his 22nd year at the helm of USD Men's Rowing, Coach Dagman asserts that this current Torero crew has the potential to be stronger than any other he has seen over the years.

"They're going to be skilled, they're going to know how to race, but above all they are not going to give up in a race," he said. "It's their mental attitude that will win championships, and you can't put a price on toughness."