Meet Heather Hargreaves and Greer Uu of California women's crew. Hargreaves and Uu will be blogging throughout the 2012 campaign on CalBears.com. Hargreaves, a junior, rowed on the freshman eight as a freshman in 2010. Uu, a sophomore, rowed on the junior varsity eight in 2011.
May 24, 2012 - Heather Hargreaves
After seven long weeks of training and racing this spring, we have finally made it to NCAAs in West Windsor, N.J. Following a six-hour flight from San Francisco, we arrived in Philadelphia last Sunday ready to train on the Schuylkill River in Conshohocken, Pa. for the next few days.
Villanova graciously let us use their boathouse and waterway to get some more practice in before our final push this weekend on Lake Mercer. Having only trained and raced in California for the past two years, it was awesome to see a change of scenery. The lush tree-lined Schuylkill, with a freight or commuter trains charging past us every few minutes, was very different than the golden hills and mooing cows we are used to at Briones. The new sights were not the only things we enjoyed. Conshohocken - the locals call it Conshee - also offered a wide array of places to shop and eat, such as the team's new favorite supermarket, Wegman's.
For our last day in Conshee, coach Dave [O'Neill] let our trainer Carol [Rogers] experience what it is like to be on Cal crew by switching her into stroking the second varsity eight for Becca Lindquist. For her first time ever in a boat, she did great! Not only did she row without catching a single crab, but we kept up with the varsity eight, as well, for the few strokes she was in the boat.
Now that we have been on the East Coast for a few days now, the Golden Bears are ready to show off all their hard work for the races this weekend. We hope to see and hear our fans out there this weekend!
May 21, 2012 - Greer Uu
Hey Bears! We just finished a long and difficult week in Northern California with the conclusion both of finals week at school, PCRCs (Pacific Coast Rowing Championships) and the Pac-12 Championships. This week, each athlete discovers what it truly means to be a student-athlete. Although it was difficult at times to balance studying for finals, taking exams and finding times in between to practice with your boat, the team managed to successfully get better.
There was great anticipation for the races on Sunday morning at the first ever Pac-12 Championships. The racing field throughout Pac-12s is especially competitive this year. Everyone went into their individual race with an open mind, knowing that every team has an equal chance of winning the race.
Since the beginning of the year, it has been a team goal to win at PAC-12s. Although we had a rocky start to the year, collectively everyone made the decision to buckle down and do the work necessary to win.
The waters were calm and the sun was shining on the beautiful lakes of Lake Natoma on Sunday morning. Each of the boats from California finished first and received gold medals, clinching the first ever Pac-12 Championship. After the races, the team was ecstatic and excited to officially qualify for the NCAA Championships.
After a team meeting, Coach Dave [O'Neill] gave the closing thoughts of the week to sophomore Papa Hipango, who coxed the varsity eight to victory after their cox box died during the eventful race.
Although it was an exciting weekend, the season doesn't end here. We still have the NCAA regatta in West Windsor, N.J., where once again, anyone can win. I'm excited to see what's in store for the next week. I'll keep you updated. Go Bears!
May 2, 2012 - Greer Uu
May is here and the California women's rowing team just finished a fun and successful weekend down at Redwood Shores, completing the last dual of the season against Stanford. This is personally one of my favorite races because all crews compete collectively as Team Jill, wearing aquamarine uniforms in honor of Jill Costello. It was also fun to see the alumni from both Cal and Stanford battling it out down the course, prior to the collegiate races. Determined to defend the Lambert Cup, all Cal crews finished victoriously. A sincere thank you to all friends and family who came out to support California and Jill!
After the big awards ceremony, our team had a special ceremony to support and recognize the seniors, Elise Etem, Kristina Lofman, Becca Lindquist and Tanya Wolfram for their final regular season race. Head coach Dave O'Neill presented the first Jill Costello Scholar Award to Kristina Lofman, who best represents Jill's competitive spirit and positive attitude through both trials and triumph. Upon receiving the award, Kristina made a heart-warming speech that had eyes watering throughout the crowd.
With only two short weeks left before the Pac-12 Championships at Lake Natoma, we need to continue to improve as these races will surely be close. I'm so excited to see what's in store for the rest of the year! Stay tuned and go bears!
May 1, 2012 - Heather Hargreaves
Thanks to all the parents and alumni that came and supported us last weekend at the Washington dual. We were definitely feeling the California love!
If you have ever personally been to a regatta, and looked over at our Cal tent for the student-athletes, you have probably seen us doing different things - stretching, running, yoga, you name it. We all have our individual pre-race rituals that we do to warm up for that giant 2k effort. While it might look like we are all doing our own things, there is one thing we all have in common - we all have our ear buds in blasting music. Whether it's a dubstep playlist that gets your heart pumping or a single rock ballad that you listen to on repeat 20 times, few of us could imagine getting into our race without our pump up jam.
Here I have compiled eight-track playlists (for those of you that remember eight-tracks) for each varsity boat that raced against Washington last weekend to show you what is on our iPods.
Second Varsity 8
I personally like to listen to Robin Thicke before a race because hearing his smoothness and swagger gets me into the zone before I race. Allison Declercq supports her hometown's prodigy Eminem by listening to "Lose Yourself" - a classic locker room pump up jam. Greer Uu listens to Justin Bieber, and you would be surprised by how many of our teammates know the lyrics to this song, especially when it comes on in the van. One of my all time favorite songs that made a playlist is Lynn Anderson's song "California Soul" by Maximillian. Hailing from Bainbridge, Washington, Lynn is the only athlete from the 2013 class that is not from California, so she listens to "California Soul" to remind herself where she truly belongs - California.
One song that did not end up making the list, but definitely deserves some recognition is "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. When Jennifer Helssen swings the van by to pick up the second varsity eight you can count on this song blasting on her stereo!
Thanks again for reading the blog! Stay tuned for Greer's update on the Big Row and Team Jill next week.
April 18, 2012 - Greer Uu
It's back to work for the Cal women's rowing team, and everyone is excited to keep improving and working hard after the successful weekend at the Lake Natoma Invite. After not doing as well as we would have liked at the San Diego Crew Classic, the team was happy to finish with four first-place finishes in the freshman eight, second varsity eight, varsity eight, and varsity four events.
One of my favorite parts of the regatta was meeting the Wisconsin second varsity eight after the final race against them on Sunday morning. The girls were nice enough to give us a pink pinata in the shape of a number one!
In addition to getting to race against a number of different teams, the Lake Natoma Invite gives every team great racing experience for the championship regattas like Pac- 12s and NCAAs, where crews race more than once. A major team goal this weekend was for every boat to go faster in the second half of the race. Every boat seemed to commit to this goal, making the races successful. Thanks to all the volunteers who made the races run smoothly, and thanks to all the sponsors, parents and friends for the support.
Freshman Anne Duval had closing thoughts for the week. Anne rowed in bow seat of the varsity four, which won every race this weekend, and she also rowed in the freshman eight that won in San Diego. Being one of the undefeated Cal rowers thus far in the season, she provided the team some great insight into her racing success. Keep up the good work Anne!
As a whole, the team enjoyed the short hour drive back to Berkeley (compared to the long, 10-hour drive back from San Diego a few weeks before) after the long weekend of racing. Everyone is excited to see what is in store for the next few weeks!!
April 9, 2012 - Heather HargreavesHey Bears!
After a 10-hour car ride, the team has returned back to the Bay from competing in the San Diego Crew Classic this past weekend. While we were expecting some classic beautiful sunny Southern California weather, we were met with typical Berkeley weather - overcast skies and an aggressive headwind for the grand finals on Sunday. Thankfully, we are used to training in these conditions and the elements were not a limiting factor for race day.
We are very proud of our bear cubs, the outstanding crew who took home the Laurel Korholz trophy for winning the novice eight event. Laurel Korholz was also proud to have the trophy back at Cal where she graduated in 1993. These next few weeks the whole team will be working hard to add more trophies to the boathouse. Having seen the novice team's success, the older team members have more to prove in the coming weeks. With a fourth-place finish for the varsity eight, a fifth-place finish for the second varsity eight, and a second place-finish for the open eight we realize there is room for improvement.
Fortunately, the Golden Bears have a chance to see some of the crews that finished ahead of us at the Lake Natoma Invitational on April 14th in Gold River, Calif. We are raring to go race again and show the other crews what Cal is made of!
March 27, 2012 - Greer UuSpring break 2012: Destination, Cabo San Briones!
School is out of session, and while others head home on their spring break getaways, Cal women's crew is in full force at Briones. Things are heating up as the team prepares for the first race of the year this weekend at the San Diego Crew Classic. For the past few days, practices have been very intense with great competition throughout the squad in various race pieces. After a few days of multiple 1250-meter races, freshman Ingvild Ronnigen proved to be a fierce competitor, winning almost all of her pieces. Great job, Ingvild!
In preparation for the upcoming season, the team drove down to Redwood Shores for the annual Blue vs. Gold Regatta. This inter-squad competition has been a Cal crew tradition for years. Senior Kristina Lofman, captain of the blue team, and senior Elise Etem, captain of the gold team, put together competitive varsity and second varsity eights to face off in a flat out, two-thousand-meter dual. With racing tanks on the line, each team was determined not to lose their shirt. After some intense races, the Gold varsity eight won by 2.9 seconds and the Gold second varsity eight also won by a large margin, clinching the Gold team victory and forcing the blue team to hand over their tanks. Go Gold!
Stay tuned for more spring break activities and results from the San Diego Crew Classic!
March 20, 2012 - Heather HargreavesHey Bears!
Although it has been raining here for the past week, our training has been heating up. Last week we did our second 2k erg test of the season, and there were a lot of great efforts and personal bests. Three standouts on the team for most impressive erg performances, since our last erg test earlier this month, were Paparangi Hipango ('14), Allison Declerq ('14) and Vanessa Gerber ('15). It has been inspiring to see many of the younger team members step up through the past few months, and they will play an important role in the overall team performance at our first regatta of the season - the San Diego Crew Classic - at the end of this month.
The team continues to prepare for our racing season by amping up our intensity at practice and by competing with each other head-to-head in our annual Blue versus Gold regatta next weekend. In this intra-squad race, Gold team captain Elise Etem and Blue team captain Kristina Lofman will make boat lineups for their respective teams to race against each other for bragging rights. The Blue team has been the favorite in the past, having won the last time we held the Blue vs. Gold regatta. However, the Gold team edged out the Blue team at the Head of the American earlier this year in the fall. One thing for sure is that there will be some great racing next weekend as we push each other on our home race course at Redwood Shores.
Also it was great to see everyone who came out to support Jog for Jill last weekend. All of the women on the team as well as the coaches appreciate everyone who helped us continue Jill's legacy together to beat lung cancer by participating in the 5k and donating to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Thanks!
March 13, 2012 - Greer UuHey Bears!
Just finished up another productive and awesome week on the beautiful shores of Briones! Because of the lovely water we had over the past few days (minus the torrential winds experienced on that Tuesday morning) we were able to get in great practices, as well as start those base tans in the California sun.
With just over two weeks left until the San Diego Crew Classic, everyone is amped up with excitement. The side-by-side racing down the 1500-and 1250-meter courses this week has been intense and fun. These practices give each rower a great opportunity to work on good racing mentality, especially through the last 250 meters of a race.
Everyone was together at the erg room on Friday afternoon, and all bets were off during the intra-squad competition on the ergs. The crew was randomly divided in groups of five and had to work together to complete six, 1000-meter pieces and eight, 750-meter pieces. After the erg portion of the workout, the team moved on to two other physical and mental tests - the wall sit and 10 sets of stadium stairs. Although the workout was challenging, the team was forced to work together, which made completing the workout a feat.
This past Sunday, Cal women's crew, along with many other teams and organizations at Cal and throughout the area, participated in the third annual Jog For Jill on the Cal campus, in honor of Jill Costello. It was nice to see members of the Berkeley community supporting such a wonderful cause and honoring an important member of our team.
Stay tuned for next week's blog, as this weekend we face off in our final "Blue vs. Gold" race. Go (Gold) and Go Bears!
March 1, 2012 - Greer UuHey Bears!
Last week Cal women's crew was in full force, celebrating President's Day with a 6K-erg test and an extra row in the afternoon. Although the erg test did not go as well as planned for some, the hard work, on the water and on land, paid off through the end of the week.
The team showed up to the erg room on Friday morning curious to see what the mystery erg workout was going to be. Anxiously awaiting what workout Dave would write on the white board, hearts raced as we discovered we would be doing one of the hardest workouts of the year - 9X2K. This workout goes beyond the average erg workout and challenges each rower's racing mentality. As a whole, Coach thought the team took a good step forward due to the amount of people who successfully completed the workout.
Cal woke up bright and early (5:30 am!) on Saturday, piled into vans and drove up highway 80 to the familiar shores of Lake Natoma for a scrimmage with Sacramento State. The morning was packed with solid races, great practice for the spring races to come in those very lanes. It was nice to see Sac State sporting aqua-blue lung cancer ribbons in honor of Jill Costello.
Junior Jennifer Helssen and sophomore Maya Lefao finished the week off with closing thoughts after their personal success throughout the week. Once again, I'm excited to see what's in store for the rest of February and on to March!
Feb. 27, 2012 - Heather HargreavesHey Bears!
The team has been in full swing for February training since we have been putting in more time on the water and we have just concluded our annual "pairs regatta." Cal women's crew pairs regatta has a longer standing tradition than our singles regatta. Not only does this intra-squad race condition us for the 2k season, but it also develops our technique in small boats. Since pairs are small boats, they are more sensitive to the subtleties of a stroke which trains rowers to be more efficient with their rowing styles.
In all, sixteen pairs were selected to participate in this year's regatta with four boats in each final. Over the course of three days, we had a qualifying regatta for the heats on Thursday, four heats and four repechages on Friday and four semifinals and four finals on Saturday. It was a full weekend, but everyone gave their best efforts which gave us great results. It was no surprise that many who were in the grand final for the singles regatta also made it to the grand final of the pairs regatta. Sophomores Agatha Nowinski and Michelle Leason had a great race, winning by open water. They were followed by Paparangi Hipango ('14) and Elise Etem ('12) in second, Erica Rippe ('13) and Rosie Popa ('14) in third and Kristina Lofman ('12) and Maggie Simpson ('13) in fourth.
Nowinski and Leason were definitely a favorite combination heading into the pairs regatta this year, given that they had posted the fastest pairs time for Cal at Head of the American this past November. Although it is only their second year on the team, Nowinski and Leason have again showed the team their extraordinary dedication and teamwork by coming out on top again.
Other standout performances included Dani Riggs ('14) and Ingvild Ronningen ('15) who fought their way through their heat and their repechage to win the B Final. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the pairs regatta this year! There was great competition and racing from everyone, and I personally can not wait to carry this momentum to our first races this spring.
Feb. 14, 2012 - Greer UuHey Bears!
As mid February rolls around, most would say "love is in the air" with Valentine's day approaching, but on Cal Crew, mid February means racing is in the air with only a few short weeks until the start of the racing season. The 2x6K workout last Friday morning certainly posed as a great physical and mental test, especially after the long workouts of the week. The Bears stepped up to the challenge of going faster on the second piece with a focus on a positive mindset. The new erg room speaker system, blasting the classic workout song "Space Jam," pumped everyone up during the last 4k. Junior Jenn Helssen made a standout performance, setting her personal 6k record on the second piece of the day. Friday afternoon, the Bears headed down to the Berkeley Marina for a nice team run, which ended on the pier, overlooking the beautiful San Francisco Bay.
Saturday morning's practice concluded a beneficial week of high-volume workouts on and off the water. After a long morning of intense racing, we were all excited to welcome a visit from alumna, Denise Sangster, who graciously brought breakfast to the boathouse and shared her personal experiences at Cal with the team. Freshman Bridget Sullivan officially ended the week with an insightful closing thoughts. Everyone is gearing up and excited to start racing at the end of next month!
Feb. 6, 2012 - Heather HargreavesThis past week the team held its third annual singles regatta where 18 freshmen and varsity team members were selected to race against each other in singles for 2000 meters. This race is an important tradition for Cal women's crew, not only because it provides valuable insight for selection, but it also creates a competitive environment that inspires us to push our limits and prepare for the spring racing season. Without a doubt there was great racing from the qualifying races on Thursday all the way to the finals on Saturday.
Senior and Norway native Kristina Lofman was the favorite this year since she is the defending champion from last year, and she proved her sculling prowess by taking the gold home again this year. She was followed by sophomore Paparangi Hipango, representing New Zealand in second and junior Erica Rippe in third, who was the first American to finish in the top three since Shay Seager won in 2010. Other standout performances include sophomore Rosie Popa in fourth, sophomore Agatha Nowinski in fifth and freshman Maria Maydan in sixth.
In singles regatta tradition, the winner sings their country's national anthem. Kristina, joined by the petite final winner freshman Ingvild Ronningen, sang a beautiful rendition of the Norwegian national anthem.
As the singles regatta concludes, the team continues to prepare for the spring racing season by putting in hard work every day at practice and gearing up for the pairs regatta later this month.
Jan. 31, 2012 - Greer UuHey bears! Spring season is finally here, and the bears are off to a good start heading in the right direction. Last Friday concluded the first full week of spring classes, and the final eight-hour practice week ended with an all-around great effort on the 6k erg and 2k run test. Prior to the start of the erg, head coach Dave O'Neill knew many of us were fired up, ready to break our personal records - and he was right! Standouts of the morning included the fastest erg, Elise Etem, and significant improvements from Michelle Leason, Aggie Nowinski and the "sneak attack" Stephanie Ding.
Despite the step forward, coach arranged one final 6k for the end of February, so the team can continue to raise the bar to exceed personal and team goals.
Last Saturday officially started the first full 20 hour week of practice. What a better way to start than with a Super-Saturday, which it definitely was - 4x2k, complete with a run and lifting component. The water at Briones was flat and the sun was shining, a perfect touch to the first (of many) 2ks for the spring 2012. After a long and productive morning, coach Dave concluded the week noting the importance of setting and reaching our objective goals, always redefining what "good" is.
Freshman Vanessa Gerber had awesome closing thoughts for the week. She mentioned how excited she was to finally be doing some 2ks and gave some great advice to the team, making sure we take full advantage of the time we have together.
As a whole, the team's staying positive, working hard and is excited to see what's in store for racing this spring!