The 2017 American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships includes a community college familiar to the four-year university heavyweights—familiar because they have a history of winning. To use the wrong sport’s metaphor, the Orange Coast College (OCC) rowing team punches above their weight.
Student athletes from four-year universities have been in training twice as long as those from Orange Coast College (OCC). Yet the OCC Pirates men’s rowing team is looking to add a 12th national title to their 60-year history. The most recent title was won just last year, so no one would be surprised to see the Pirates do it again.
Rowing is one of the few Olympic amateur sports remaining. Teamwork is the sport’s theme, and OCC makes it a focus of training and performance. If there is a secret to the Pirates’ success, this is it—but it’s no secret. Read more: Orange Coast College | Twitter and Orange Coast College | Niche
“You’ve got eight moving parts and everyone has to work together,” says current Men’s Coach Cameron Brown. “It’s not just the physical development, but the mental maturation as well.” Many crew members had no rowing experience before community college, a point of pride for the coaches
“It teaches you physical and mental skills that allow you to overcome anything,” explains 22 year-old Novice team captain Daniel Amado. He rowed for Los Alamitos High School before being sidelined with a back injury, and is only returning to the sport this year: “Rowing makes you strong enough to bounce back.”
Formed in 1947, OCC is the top-ranked Orange County community college in the number of students it transfers to California colleges. The school’s year-round program is one of the nation’s foremost community colleges, with an enrollment of 25,000 students each semester.
Orange Coast College offers excellent facilities and over 135 academic and career programs. The David A. Grant Collegiate Rowing Center is the college’s storied boathouse, which hosts one of the largest and renowned public nautical programs in the US.
Orange Coast College students have competed in the world championships and the Olympics. The Pirates’ spirit and dedication indicate much more to come.