Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Harbor Report: Rowing into champion status

By Len Bose
January 23, 2015 | 2:52 p.m.

While moving around the harbor the other day, I noticed all the different college alumni flags flying from homes and boats and the different stickers on cars passing by.
I started to wonder: What is our harbor's home team, the team we can all get behind and take pride in?
Later, while driving over Pacific Coast Highway and onto Lido Peninsula, I looked down the harbor and noticed the Orange Coast College rowing team working out on its eight-man rowing shells. Right then I said that's our team.
The first intercollegiate event held in the United States was a rowing race between Yale and Harvard on Lake Winnipesaukee, in New Hampshire. The tradition is still held on the Thames River in New London, Conn.
The OCC men's crew team, founded in 1953, is the only community college crew team in the country. Review the team's history, and two names — Dave Grant and Jim "Jorgo" Jorgensen — jump out. Both have a long history with the school and our harbor.
OCC's crew won its first Freshman National Championships in 1980 and has gone on to win five more. In 1985, the team traveled to China to compete and has produced seven Olympic medal winners along with three world champions. OCC also has an outstanding women's crew team, which will be another story in the future.
Paul Prioleau has been the head coach of the OCC men's program since 2011, and I had a chance to catch up with him for an interview over the phone. The men's team consists of 52 members — 46 oarsman and six coxswain. Eighteen members of the team are second-year rowers, with nine having had experience before starting their first year. Most kids start rowing as freshmen in college.
To try out for the team, you have to be a full-time student at OCC with at least a 2.0 grade point average. The ideal height of an oarsman is 6-foot-4 and weight is 195 pounds. Because the sport is based on physical endurance, triathletes and people who have competed in swimming or water polo are the most sought-after by the coaches.
Of course, there is always room for a "Rudy." That's the person who has harbored dreams of rowing at OCC, and nothing is going to keep him from the dream. In fact, last year's team had two members under 6 feet — 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-9, respectively. This time of year, practice is Mondays through Saturdays from 6 to 8:30 a.m., along with an afternoon workout each day.

"Crew requires a high amount of dedication and commitment," Prioleau said. "It's a lot of hard work, and the satisfaction you get is working hard at teamwork and camaraderie as a team. It teaches kids how to work hard and be persistent."
The local regattas in Newport Harbor start March 14 with a dual match with UC Irvine and continue March 21 with a dual with UCLA. On April 12, Chapman University will host a regatta, and on May 9, the 49th annual Newport Regatta will take place. All regattas start at 7 a.m. and are raced down the North Lido Channel.
I asked Prioleau what's fun about being a crew coach, and this is what he said: "You get a huge amount of satisfaction from watching the students with little direction at the time. You grab them and bring them down to the boat house, and they get hooked on the sport. They really turn to driven, dedicated students, athletes and they suddenly get a new purpose in life."
He explained that parents often tell him, "We have never seen our kid get up voluntarily out of bed before 7 a.m., and now he is getting his homework done and getting to bed by 9:30 p.m. because he has crew in the morning at 5:30 a.m. How did you do that?"
OCC's team name is the Pirates. When reviewing the history of the team, I noticed the term "Pirates System." I asked the coach what that stands for. "Hard work and persistence is rewarded," he said. "We live and die for the team."
You can follow our harbor's team on Facebook under OCC Crew and visit its website,

The school has been blessed with donors and is always looking for further donations. In fact, there is a rather unique opportunity to supply the school with a new electric coach boat. How cool that would be to see your family name zip up and down the harbor for the next 20 years.
I have attached the team's roster on my blog site at along with a couple other donation ideas. I also wanted to give a big shout-out to Jorgensen, my OCC sailing team coach, who gave me my first break on the harbor.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

Orange Coast College Men's Crew
Jan. 2015
AtkesonLoganNoviceHuntington BeachCA
AzadiAriaNoviceNewport BeachCA
BallardRobertNoviceCosta MesaCA
BorthCraigNoviceCosta MesaCA
CarterLoganNoviceLong BeachCA
CocotisAndrewVarsityHuntington BeachCA
ColeWestonNoviceLos AlamitosCA
CoultrupGrantVarsityHuntington BeachCA
CullyAnthonyVarsityYorba LindaCA
Darval-ChangJaceNoviceCosta MesaCA
FlotronMakennaNoviceNewport BeachCA
GentrySevinNoviceNewport BeachCA
GoodmanDylanVarsityFountain ValleyCA
HaddenMaxwellNoviceFountain ValleyCA
HarriganAlexandraNoviceSan ClementeCA
HarrisMichaelVarsityGold RiverCA
HeieckDevonNoviceSan CarlosCA
HernandezRyanNoviceCosta MesaCA
JenkinsAlexanderNoviceLaguna BeachCA
KentSierraNovicePalos Verdes EstatesCA
KobelConnorVarsityHuntington BeachCA
KollingRyanVarsityNewport BeachCA
KouyoumdjianMatthewVarsityCosta MesaCA
McnamaraDanielVarsityEl Dorado HillsCA
MendezIvanNoviceSanta AnaCA
MortonGarinnNoviceCosta MesaCA
RosenauMasonVarsitySanta AnaCA
RubioNicholasNoviceCosta MesaCA
RussellMichaelVarsitySan DiegoCA
SalvioLorenzoNoviceCosta MesaCA
San FilippoCarlyVarsityYorba LindaCA
SchmedingElizabethNoviceCosta MesaCA
SevertsenAaronNoviceSanta AnaCA
SowlesCharlesNoviceWest HollywoodCA
StuderJacobNoviceLos AlamitosCA
TortesDominikNoviceNewport BeachCA
WilliamsBenjaminVarsityCosta MesaCA
Wills-KingJoshuaNoviceNewport BeachCA
WrayChaseNoviceBelvedere TiburonCA
WrightIanVarsitySan Juan CapistranoCA
YanovskiyMaximNoviceMoscow, Russia
ZinovyevArnoldVarsityHuntington BeachCA

In regards to donations for the Buc's: You can sign up for any type of donation from handing over five dollars to purchasing four man rowing scows, which the team needs.

I left out how you can starting rowing before college. NAC is your best bet, you will find a team in Long Beach and the Sea Scouts Base have a new program running that is said to become very strong.

"If you know in your own heart you are to be something, you will be it... Do not permit your mind to think otherwise.  It is fatal."   Gen. George Patton

CHECK out some of the comments I received:

Hi Len,

I enjoyed reading The Harbor Report  -  Rowing into champion status.
Thank you for the shout out, however you earned your first break on the harbor and have not looked back.
Congratulations on pursuing your life's passion (calling) to the fullest. Newport is a better place from your 
curiosity, persistence and consistent reporting. 
Continue to make your life a masterpiece my friend.


HI LEN , Just read your article about the OCC CREW. I was so happy to see crew, any crew, get some press! I used to HOUND Steve Virgin to write about all of the NAC boys winning gold and State and NATIONALS when my son was there. Now my son is on CAL CREW, one of the most competitive along with UW. I have to say, crew teaches these boys
Integrity, manners, great sportsmanship, and above all of that,
Drive and accountability! I watched my little boy go from a bit shy and unsure of himself (as with many teens) to an amazing leader and driven to succeed in every area of his life!! I credit much of this to Nick D'Antoni, a brilliant coach at NAC! He had just the right balance of structure, discipline, and a great motivator. So, here's the 4 rules of crew:
Sorry this is soooo long, but these boys work so hard every day, sometimes 6 hours a day and deserve recognition. Thanks for your great article!! Row Fast - Row Hard!
Patti Delahanty BCYC.

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