Cal, Stanford, and Washington Varsity Eights Take on the East in IRA Grand Final

June 5, 2009

Live Results | Live Webcast | IRA Championships Central

2009 Men's Rowing IRA Championships

Championship Dates           Thursday, June 4-Saturday, June 6
Location Lake Natoma, Gold River, CA
Championships Central
Day 1 Recap
Live Results Provided by JAMCO
California Crew
Oregon State Rowing
Stanford Crew
Washington Rowing


Day 2 Recap:

Courtesy of

California's varsity eight blowout performance in the first semifinal on Day 2 of the IRAs may end up having the greatest significance come Saturday's lunch hour final. Cal had open water on the field by 800 gone, and they had to be thankful for it, as there wasn't even any light let alone water separating the three crews vying for the two remaining Grand Final qualifying spots.

Harvard, Boston University and Wisconsin duked it out for the full 2000 meters minus none, racing within 4-5 seats of one another the whole way, with all three of them in the crucial third position at some point, and indeed at several points. Entering the final 500, just when it looked like BU was done, Harvard got themselves just clear of the fray while Boston started a push for the line that really very few people on shore thought would amount to much more than a Hail Mary effort. But the guys in the boat obviously thought they had a shot, and BU busted their bow ahead of defending champ Wisconsin by 0.4 seconds to take the third and final spot in the final.

Before the varsity eight semis started, an alum from one of the competing schools commented that his alma mater was in the 'better semi.' Which one was that? The first one, described above, or the second one that had WASHINGTON and STANFORD in it, both of whom have beaten Cal at some point. The Sprint winner, Brown, was also enlisted in the heat. Both semis were gnarly.

The second semi didn't quite provide the fireworks that the first had, however, with Stanford owning the first 1000, Washington owning the second, and Brown in a very solid and almost unchallenged third the whole way. From lane 1 to 6, Saturday's Grand Final reads:

Talk about east vs. west.

Most of the repechages played out as expected - in every case, the higher seeded crews advanced. Among the frosh eight races, Princeton gave Cornell good chase, and Stanford did the same with Wisconsin in the second varsity repechage, but otherwise the reps did not feature any truly tight races, which may have been helped in part by the brisk cross headwind that spread out the field throughout the day.

The Saturday program at the IRA would typically start with the heats of the light men's eight, but this year there are only seven entries, so it was decided the championship would be rowed as a final only, seven across. This also changes the order of racing for the last races of the day, as previously the lightweight races were run last to allow sufficient recovery for the crews before having to race the final; in the absence of the morning heats, the heavy men's eight has been moved to the end of the program.

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