USC women's rowing head coach Zenon Babraj and seniors Jennah Blau and Melanie Grindle
May 4, 2013
USC Head Coach Zenon Babraj
On defeating UCLA for the 12th straight year
"Well, it's always great to have a clean sweep in the NCAA boats against UCLA and take a 12-0 record against them. The races were hard. With this outgoing tide and a screaming tailwind, it's a very difficult place to row. I think they did a great job. Some races were close, but that's a dual race. I'm very happy and very proud of them."
On how this dual race serves as a tune-up for the Pac-12 championships
"This is a very difficult period for us. We're going into exams and some [student-athletes] are already running into final exams in their classes. Really, with this race, we try to take it from the run. We don't really try to prepare because it's very difficult to squeeze in the practices, here. We don't want to lose the volume, so we just come and race and see what happens. It's not really something we'll use to gauge from. In the past, we've had very close races, here. It's more important for us to think further forward."
Melanie Grindle, Sr. Starboard
On defeating UCLA in the annual dual race
"It's a really good way to finish it off, to have my final dual meet be three victories for USC. It's also really important because we're trying to practice for Pac-12s and get ready, so this is a good test run for us against another Pac-12 school."
On USC's undefeated 12-0 mark against the Bruins in the annual dual
"It's something that's really cool to uphold. It's a nice tradition, but I think it's also 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."
On the varsity eight's race against UCLA
"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. They did not move away after the first thousand, so they really gave us a run for the money, this year."
Jennah Blau, Sr. Coxswain
On winning the dual
"This race is really tricky because UCLA likes to make it really hard on us. Obviously, with study week, finals kind of just started, so everyone is really tired. Everyone's got finals on the brain instead of racing. It can be really hard to try and focus on just racing. They don't make it any easier by having this race super early. Those are definitely some of the challenges going in. We knew what we had to do."
On the varsity eights race and victory
"With the tailwind, it made the race very fast, so there's no time to wait around. 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. We came off the line a little slow, but our starts are getting better. We've been last off the start in our last few races, so we're getting a little faster. Right about the 1000 meters, we kind of started to walk away about 750 meters in. We gained a lot of speed throughout the middle of the course, which I think was really nice especially because everyone is here at the 1250. We kind of sat on the bow ball on the end, but I think we're going to focus on continuing to learn how to move throughout the course because we definitely can't get comfortable. We have Pac-12s in two weeks. UCLA is fast, and Stanford and Cal are fast. That's what the main goal really is; just trying to stay strong throughout finals week."
On upholding USC's undefeated record in the dual race
"It's really great. Ever since I've been here, we've always won this. They try to do whatever they can to make sure we don't win, so it's nice that we're kind of undefeated in all of our varsity boats. It's really nice. It's just really good to show that we own LA and that no one else is going to take it from us."