SAN DIEGO – In front of thousands of spectators along the shores of Mission Bay, the UBC Thunderbirds men and women proudly demonstrated their ability to excel against some of the best college teams anywhere with strong performances in Sunday’s final, which included a best-ever finish for the varsity women, who won the Cal Cup.


The varsity men had an outstanding day against some highly-ranked US teams in the invitational Copley Cup competition. The Thunderbirds hung on to a tight field rowing out of a tough spot in the unfavoured lane six, rowing back from sixth place at the 1000-metre mark, coming through the Syracuse and George Washington and were running up on Stanford to finish fourth at the line. California, with an internationally-laden roster, won the event with Northeastern in second.

“It was really a great way for our senior athletes (Rob Gage and Evan Cheng) to finish their Thunderbird career and great for our returning guys to experience the speed and high caliber of rowing you see here. You got to be doing a lot of things right to be in this game or you are off the back in a hurry,” said UBC men’s head coach Mike Pearce.

The junior varsity men had a great row to finish fourth as well hanging in with California’s third 8+ and finishing ahead of San Diego, Stanford, Gonzaga and Orange Coast College.

“It has been a goal to drive an increase in the depth of our program and the past two weekends have demonstrated this has been achieved, a great job by coach Andrew Knorr and his crew,” said Pearce.

The varsity women’s eight topped off what could be the most successful season in women’s rowing history at UBC by winning the Cal Cup. The T-Birds improved on their performance in the heat race and lead the final from post to post laying down their fastest time of the weekend. Their win guarantees the team an invitation to race for the prestigious Jessop-Whittier Cup next year at the San Diego Crew Classic.

“The girls stayed focussed and dug deep today to pull off the win, once again I am proud of the team an look forward to next season,” said UBC women’s coach Craig Pond.

In the novice 8+’s, UBC had both boats advance to the Petite Finals, both of which were held on Saturday afternoon. Both crews placed second, the men by less thn 2 seconds, and the women by less then 1. The men, coached by Ben Dove, and the women, coached by Sheryl Preston, both had great races and these results point to some exciting depth for UBC Rowing in the coming years.