The UCSD women will face crews from schools including Central Oklahoma, British Columbia, UCLA, Miami and defending NCAA Division II champion Western Washington in its quest for three trophies. The varsity eight "A" and "B" boats will row for the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Cup, the third varsity and second novice eight crews will compete for the Carley Copley Cup and the novice eight will vie for the Mission Federal Credit Union Cup.
"We will have our work cut out for us, and we need to bring our A game in order to make the final. Our goal is to make the grand final," said UCSD women's head coach Pattie Pinkerton.
At last year's Crew Classic, the Triton varsity eight finished fifth in the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Cup grand final race, clocking in at 4:42.84, almost a full ten seconds ahead of last-finisher UC Santa Barbara's "B" shell. The UCSD varsity eight "B" boat captured a third place finish in the DII/DII/Club Petite Final, edging Chapman by two seconds for a time of 7:56.48.
The Triton women have been working hard in preparation for the Crew Classic, and Coach Pinkerton has shuffled some rowers around for what she believes will be their best opportunity to get winning results. In addition to some seat changes within the boats, Pinkerton announced that UCSD's recruited freshman will race for the novice eight, and not their normal second varsity eight boat.
"Our lineup hasn't changed significantly, but Alexis Jacques has moved into the stroke seat [in the varsity eight boat]. She really gets the boat fired up for the sprints at the beginning and brings in the finish," Pinkerton said. "We've been working a lot this week on consistency, putting the 2 halves of the race together and I believe we're ready to do that. The women are motivated and confident."
On the men's side, the Tritons' field of competition will consist of national heavyweights Harvard, Cornell, USC and UCLA as they vie for several trophies, including the coveted Copley Cup. The other trophies in Triton contention are the Derek Guelker Cup (novice eight), Sharp Cabrillo Cup (JV eight) and the Joan Ward Memorial Trophy.
The men's varsity eight will race for the Copley Cup for the third consecutive year, having captured the program's first-ever grand final qualification for the trophy in 2011. The Tritons finished fifth overall last year with a time of 6:13.20, one second ahead of last-place Temple and one second behind fourth finisher Oregon State.
Spectators are encouraged to attend, as there will be various family-friendly activities, live music and a Jumbotron that will screen the races from start to finish at Crown Point Shores on Mission Bay. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the gate. Children under 12 and active military with ID are free. Parking is $15 per car at Crown Point Shores, or a complimentary shuttle will provide transport to and from a free lot at Ski Beach.
UCSD's first boat will race at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The event will span the entire weekend, with races running from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. See the links above for the complete racing schedule and additional spectator information.