Here’s a video of our co-ed sprint heat from the canoe races at PSWC 2014, courtesy of captain Jake’s parents. This was the first heat we’ve won in years! Our team took advantage of DiSCovery II’s straight speed and their extensive preparation on their way to qualify for the small final. The coed race consists of two down-and-back laps for a total distance of 400 meters.
I’ll start off by putting this into perspective and context. Historically, USC ASCE typically places top-three in one or two events at PSWC. Our 18-school conference, combined with perennial powerhouses in the concrete canoe competition, make our conference one of the most competitive of the 15 in the country.
Last year, our only victory, albeit significant, was our first-place environmental win. This year, going into the awards banquet we didn’t expect much, but were proud of our collective effort.
We started out with a 1st place victory in the Scavenger Hunt competition. Despite having a team less than half the size of many other schools, our focus and determination led us to win one of the most fun events, finding cool spots and things around SDSU’s campus and San Diego.
Our Steel Bridge team ended their competition with a disqualification in the lateral load test, preventing them from moving on to the much-anticipated load test. So we were shocked, and thrilled, when they went on to win three awards.
Steel Bridge won 3rd place in speed, completing the construction of their bridge in roughly 18 minutes. They also won 3rd in bridge lightness, thanks to their new structural design that utilized better steel. Despite the disqualification, our team placed 3rd overall, earning a national qualification!
Last year, our Concrete Canoe team had their first canoe to successfully survive every race in three years, but placed 14th overall. Despite significant deductions in the oral presentation and final product categories due to technicalities, we placed 6th overall and won 3rd in design paper!
Our paddling team also did well, placing 7th overall. Highlights included our women’s slalom team placing sixth, our 4-person co-ed team winning their heat, and our men’s sprint team winning the small final by less than a second to place 6th, after missing the big final qualification by only a second.
Considering where we were just a year ago, and the fact that most of this year’s USC ASCE PSWC team were first-time attendees, all of these results are spectacular. But as we were celebrating our successes, we won an award that we never expected: 3rd place overall for the entire conference!
The overall conference rank is determined by summing all of the weighted points earned for each event, including canoe and bridge, the smaller design teams, and the sports tournaments. To win, a school must be well-rounded, participate in every event, and fight to win individual games, even if they don’t win entire sports tournaments. USC ASCE has not placed this high in the overall conference rank since 1994. Our 3rd place finish would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire team.
Here’s the event placement breakdown that led to our 3rd-place overall finish:
- Concrete Canoe – 6th
- Steel Bridge – 3rd
- Technical Paper – 5th
- Geotechnical / Geowall - Participated
- Environmental – 5th
- Surveying – 7th
- Impromptu & Mystery – Participated
- Family Feud Quiz – T5th
- Basketball – T5th
- Volleyball – Participated
- Ultimate Frisbee – T5th
- Tug of War – Participated
- Kan Jam (2 teams) – T5th, Participated
- Scavenger Hunt – 1st
- Concrete Bowling – Participated
This year, we proved that just because we have a smaller department, fewer resources, and less time than other schools doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful. Let’s celebrate our victories, analyze our weaknesses, and come back next year ready to take 1st!
PSWC 2014 Started off with a beautiful day of Concrete Canoes and Steel Bridges on display!
All of our design teams are busy with last-minute preparations for PSWC 2014. We’re off to San Diego tonight, excited to compete!
We’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on our concrete canoe and its auxiliary components over the past few weeks. Our cut-away section is a seven-foot-long space shuttle, complete with red steel stands (not pictured):
Our two stands include a massive asteroid (made out of concrete, of course), and a special robotic guest:
We’re building some other cool stuff, including a canoe, of course, but you’ll have to wait until PSWC to see everything else. For now check out the construction pics:
After pour day, we decided to re-pour this year’s canoe with a better reinforcement product, as the reinforcement led to the canoe being much thicker than we had designed. But we’re saving this first canoe for practice! Here it is, fresh out of the mold:
Yes, it’s so smooth, it’s shiny!
Our 2014 Pour Day for Concrete Canoe went well, with three layers of concrete and two layers of carbon fiber grid reinforcement going into our homemade mold in about ten hours of work. Roughly fifteen members helped out including a few dedicated non-canoe-team helpers. We finished off the bulkheads, so the only remaining concrete placement will be for the edges and any patches.
The Concrete Canoe Team has just launched a new showcase website for our Concrete Canoe! The site features a concise summary of each year’s canoe going back to 2011, including key pictures, the design paper, PSWC results, and more.
Now that 2014 is almost upon us we need your help to finish designing and to build our next canoe. If you’re interested in canoe email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to get involved!
We’ve all recovered from PSWC 2013 (the ASCE Pacific Southwest Regional Conference) and are ready for a final summary. This year we co-hosted the conference, with most of the events taking place on the USC campus. Despite the added commitments of hosting, we were competitive in many events and made several improvements over last year.
Environmental Design Team
Our big win was our environmental team’s 1st Place finish! The team worked long hours and it paid off. Multiple design iterations, a large team, and excellent leadership enabled the group’s success. Since most of the team isn’t graduating yet, including the captains, we expect a strong showing for next year as well.
Concrete Canoe Team
Our Concrete Canoe made big improvements over our last several years’. For our seniors, this was the first time our canoe survived all the way until the final, coed race, when four people must race in the canoe at once. Naturally, our primary senior leaders celebrated our success by all racing together for the first time. Our final product was extremely buoyant and only faced minimal cracking issues (except during transportation). While we may not have had the prettiest canoe, it improved significantly over last year’s in aesthetics and we expect to improve further in coming years with the help of a larger team, better year-to-year knowledge transfer, and additional funding. A total of five schools were unable to race their canoes by midway through race day this year, so our solid (if heavy) canoe represents a huge accomplishment.
Steel Bridge Team
The Steel Bridge Team also completed a successful final product at PSWC 2013. Our bridge team is also young this year and only one team member (our head captain) is graduating, so we’re expecting better and better bridges over the next few years. We hope to grow this team larger as well, which should help ensure that we have regular strong finishes for years to come.
PSWC 2013 Rankings & Thanks
Overall, our conference rank for 2013 is 12th, a one-place improvement over last year, out of 18 competing schools. Detailed final scores and rankings information can be found here. But our biggest accomplishment is successfully co-hosting the conference. PSWC 2013 ran extremely smoothly thanks to the tireless work of our E-Board and PSWC planning committee, especially our Conference Co-Chairs Oscar and Theresa. Thanks to everyone’s hard work, we put on an amazing conference, while still faring well in competition!