IRA National Championships: Washington rowing leads the way; Cal not far behind
Seeking their fifth-consecutive national championship, the Washignton Huskies looked as polished as ever heading into Sunday's Grand Finale; the four boats that raced, Varsity 8+, Second Varsity 8+, Third Varsity 8+ and Varsity 4+, will move on.
"Semifinals take a lot out of a lot of people," head coach Michael Callahan told gohuskies.com. "We wanted a better performance than yesterday, which we got. So we really feel good about that and we know we have to bring it all tomorrow.
All four teams won their respective heats on Saturday, with Varsity 8+ and Second Varsity 8+ winning by more than three seconds.
Varsity 8+ had the fastest time, coming in at 5:32.741, three seconds ahead of second place Harvard.
Perhaps just as impressive as Washington was Cal, who placed all five of their boats into Grand Finales on Sunday. The Second Varsity 8+, just 0.20 seconds away from victory, and the Varsity 4+ were the only squads that did not win their heats.
“We wanted to get everyone in the Grand Final and that is a testament to these crews that everyone got through to the final,” said California head men’s crew coach Mike Teti to calbears.com. “These guys have been tested all year and they have grown from each experience. Now, we need it put it all together for tomorrow. This is what you train all year for.”
The team was impressive across the board. Third Varsity 8+ won by almost four full seconds, and the Bears emerged as Washington's biggest threat to their five-peat.
The Cardinal will also send their Varsity 4+ to the Grand Finale on Sunday, giving the Pac-12 three teams in the event. With a time of 6:25.781, they won their heat and, along with Cal and Washington, will look to dominate the finals.
Varsity 8+ will also be joining them at the finals, where they will compete in the C final, after falling just short of making it to the Grand Finale.
The finals start tomorrow morning. Stay tuned to pac-12.com for all of the results.