Newport Aquatic Center teams take first place at Newport Regatta

The UCLA men's varsity eight won the 58th annual Newport Regatta on March 18.
The UCLA men’s varsity eight won the 58th annual Newport Regatta on March 18.
(Courtesy of Marcel Stiffey)

The Newport Regatta is typically a college-only affair, but it was a deeper field this year as high school teams were allowed to compete.

One local club, Newport Aquatic Center, took full advantage.

Newport Aquatic Center’s men’s and women’s varsity eight teams each took first place in a competitive field last weekend, at the 58th annual Newport Regatta in Newport Beach.

The men’s varsity eight winning lineup for NAC consisted of coxswain Jake Bazulto, Andrew Buda, Lonnie Laster, Kian Aminian, Travis O’Neil, James-Anthony Chavos, Charlie Talley, Nick Gonzalez and Nic Samen. They finished the race in 6:15.70, almost five seconds faster than second-place NorCal Crew.

The winning NAC women’s varsity eight team included Hannah Hykes, Michaela Banta, Sidney Harris, Vivi Spitz, Olivia Wilson, Lauren Brown, Julia Channel, Chloe Sorensen and Olivia Aceves. They crossed the finish line in 7:02.09.

“It was a beautiful morning on Newport Harbor for racing and a great opportunity to see strong competition from San Diego and NorCal crews,” Newport Aquatic Center men’s varsity coach Nick D’Antoni said. “It’s exciting to ‘sweep’ a home race in the eights but equally important that the field will only get more challenging as the season progresses, so we’ll have to look for ways to build from this performance.

“The first varsity eight had a gritty race, and we’re currently ranked seventh nationally, so hopefully with the weekend’s win we’ll improve our ranking and look forward to defending our San Diego Crew Classic title in a few weeks.”

Among other Newport Regatta results, UCLA won the collegiate varsity eight, and host Orange Coast College won the freshman eight competition.

The event featured a number of 2,000-meter races, UCLA head coach Marcel Stiffey said.

“Winning this regatta, with all its tradition and history, is a great moment for us,” Stiffey said. “It shows that we’ve realized our potential, and we plan to carry this ambition with us for the rest of the season.”

Next on the schedule for these teams is the 50th San Diego Crew Classic, which runs from March 31 through April 2.


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