Washington sweeps Brown in five races to open rowing season
Washington, the defending Intercollegiate Rowing Association champions, posted open-water victories in five races against Brown, a traditional Ivy League power, in rainy, mildly choppy conditions.
By Terry Wood
Special to The Seattle Time
The Washington men’s rowing team got its season off to a fast start Saturday morning on Montlake Cut.
The defending Intercollegiate Rowing Association champions posted open-water victories in five races against Brown, a traditional Ivy League power, in rainy, mildly choppy conditions.
In the varsity-eight showdown, Washington outdistanced the Bears by nearly two boat lengths, winning by almost six seconds — 5 minutes, 57.36 seconds to 6:03.12.
“I was definitely pleased with the full team effort,” men’s coach Michael Callahan said. “Team depth is really important to us, and the two ways we want to mark our team is the speed of the entire team, boats one through five and also the varsity eight. Today we hit on all cylinders.”
UW’s second varsity won by 14 seconds (6:05.55 to 6:19.73), the freshman eight by nearly 20 (6:02.97 to 6:22.44). In calmer waters, the third varsity won by exactly 10 seconds (5:54.48 to 6:04.48) and UW’s top varsity-freshman combo eight won by almost 19 seconds.
Brown, ranked seventh among men’s varsity eights (UW is No. 2), brought 45 rowers to Seattle and used boats and oars loaned by Washington.
“They gave us great equipment,” Brown coach Paul Cooke said. “Our challenge was just not moving the boats fast enough.
“I thought our varsity rowed a good race, but some of the other boats were shown up by the Huskies as far as how aggressive you can be on the racecourse.”
With just three returnees from last year’s championship V8 boat (coxswain Sam Ojserkis, stroke Mathis Jessen and seventh seat Alex Bunkers), Callahan was interested to see how UW’s new mix would respond to high-caliber competition.
Callahan said the V8 race was a back-and-forth battle early but UW took command between 900 and 1,100 meters (in a 2,000-meter race), expanding a two-seat lead to almost eight.
“We felt we were really an unknown to ourselves,” he said, “so today we wanted to do what we’ve done in practice. You don’t know if you’re going to do that on race day. It was really pleasing to the coaching staff that they stuck to their race plan and didn’t get rattled when people took seats back from them.”
• Senior captain Rob Munn of Redmond rowed in the V8′s fourth seat. Callahan said the V8 lineup is in flux. “There’s some pretty good competition between the top two boats,” he said. “Our 2V8 rowed very well today, and they’ve captured a lot of momentum in practice the last 10 days. A lot of those guys want shots at the top boat.”
• The eighth-ranked UW women rowed at the San Diego Crew Classic on Saturday. The event concludes Sunday.
• UW men will race at Brown next year. Cooke appreciates the chance to row a dual at UW. “This is a difficult place to come and feel good about yourself,” he said. “Washington has won the team trophy at the IRA (finals) for the last five years, so this is a really strong program.”