No. 1 USC Rowing Knocks off No. 6 UCLA in Annual Dual
May 4, 2013
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MARINA DEL REY, Calif. - The top-ranked USC women's rowing team swept three varsity races against sixth-ranked UCLA to claim a 6-1 win in the annual rivalry dual at Ballona Creek on Saturday, May 4. The Women of Troy remain undefeated in 12 duals against the Bruins since the dual's inception in 2002.
"It's always great to have a clean sweep in the NCAA boats against UCLA and take a 12-0 record against them," said head coach Zenon Babraj. "The races were hard. With this outgoing tide and a screaming tailwind, it's a very difficult place to row. They did a great job. Some races were close, but that's a dual race. I'm very happy and very proud of them."
UCLA scored the first point of the day with an open-water victory in the novice eight race. The Trojans made a pair of last-minute substitutions to the novice lineup and struggled to maintain pace with the UCLA novice crew. By the midway point of the 2000-meter course, the Bruins had created a sizable lead and maintained their advantage to cross the finish line at 6:29.70 to beat USC's time of 6:48.80.
In the day's main event, the Trojans fired back with a strong performance from the varsity eight. USC held a four-seat lead at the 1250-meter mark, but the Bruins made moves to stay within striking distance. The Trojans' final push in the last 500 meters sealed a 2.5-second win for USC, 5:54.10 to 5:56.60, and put the Women of Troy in control of the scoreboard with a 3-1 advantage.
"With the tailwind, it made the race very fast, so there's no time to wait around," said senior coxswain Jennah Blau. "You kind of have to make moves from the start and catch the faster water. We made sure we did that, and it was good. Our middle thousand was really awesome."
USC's victory kept the varsity eight undefeated against the UCLA V8 in 12 all-time dual meetings.
"I think we improved our speed in the first 1000 meters, in this race, as opposed to our previous races, but UCLA stayed with us really well for a long time, there," said senior captain Melanie Grindle. "They did not move away after the first thousand, so they really gave us a run for the money, this year. I think it's really awesome that we can do it on our own water, and we can do it on their water here, too; in different conditions and everything."
The second varsity eight took to the water with a chance to clinch the dual victory for the Trojans and received a strong fight from the Bruins. Both boats were neck-and-neck as they crossed the 1000-meter mark, but USC created a little space down the stretch. UCLA made another move and had the Trojans' backs up against the rocks, but USC turned up the heat to turn the Bruins away for a 2.4-second win, 6:03.00 to 6:05.40. The 2V8 victory clinched the Trojans' fifth point of the day and secured a dual victory for USC.
The morning's final race created the most drama with the closest finish of them all. The Trojans led by three to four seats at the 750-meter mark, but had created a bow-to-stern lead by the time the two crews crossed the 1250-meter mark. USC continued to lead heading into the final 500 meters, but UCLA made a big move to close any remaining gap in the final 50 meters. With bow balls jockeying for position, the Trojans crossed the finish line just three tenths of a second earlier than the Bruins, 6:39.80 to 6:40.10, to tack up the sixth point of the day.
USC's focus now turns to the Pac-12 Championships which are set to take place on Lake Natoma on the morning of Sunday, May 19, in Gold River, Calif. The Trojans last won the team title in 2007. Please visit www.Pac-12.com or www.USCTrojans.com for more information.
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