Husky Rowers Not Bothered by Harsh San Diego Weather

April 7, 2001

San Diego, Calif. - Driving rain and strong winds caused a nearly six hour delay in the race schedule but it didn't bother the Washington rowing team as all six Husky crews won their heats and advanced to grand finals after the first day of competition at the 28th annual San Diego Crew Classic on Mission Bay.

The men's and women's varsity eights and the freshman men's eight were able to compete in and win their heat races before competition was suspended at 10:15 a.m. because of increasingly harsh weather. Aside from the conditions, the regatta got a late start in the morning while race officials tried to remove large amounts of kelp from the race course. That put the schedule about 20 minutes behind from the start. Seventeen races were contested before competition was suspended because of the weather. The Washington women's junior varsity crew was on the start line and the men's jayvee was on the water warming up for its race when the competition was called. All boats in the warm up and starting area were escorted en masse down the race course to exit the rough water at the launch area. Officials resumed action at 4 p.m.

The stoppage was also precipitated in part by the USC women's junior varsity eight, racing in heat one of its event, as the crew saw its shell get swamped and sink as it crossed the finish line. The boat took on water over the last quarter of the race but the crew still managed to finish second and advance to the grand final before its boat sank. Rowers jumped out and were brought to shore by rescue boats.

'I guess we are always appreciative of the `climatic challenges' we face in Seattle,' said UW novice women's coach Eleanor McElvaine. 'It prepares us for a day like today. We kept telling the rowers `you've done this before, you've rowed in worse water than this.' It sets us up to be much more relaxed than some of the other teams out there. It really pays off.'

'It's an outdoor sport,' added head men's coach Bob Ernst. 'That's the game. We practice in this stuff everyday at home. If you intend to be a big-time athlete, you have to perform when it's time. You can't sit around and wait for the moment that suits you. We try to help our rowers learn that.'

The men's varsity eight, racing in a strong tailwind, opened the day with a three-quarter length victory over Wisconsin, covering the 2,000-meter course in a time of 5 minutes, 49.54 seconds. The Badgers crossed at 5:51.01 and Pac-10 rival Oregon State was third at 5:52.63. The race had to be restarted after Wisconsin hit a stray buoy in its lane. Crews were past the official breakage mark of 100 meters, but because there was an obstacle on the course, officials called the boats back.

California, two-time defending champions of the Crew Classic's Copley Cup, won the first heat in 5:43.17, followed by Penn at 5:46.44 and Yale at 5:50.97.

The women's varsity eight advanced easily, leading from start to finish and winning its heat by over three boat lengths of open water, in a time of 6:26.03. The Husky women enter the Whittier Cup grand final Sunday as nine-time defending champions in the prestigious women's race. Washington has claimed 15 Whittier Cup crowns since racing began in 1978. The Huskies will meet Pac-10 rivals California and USC in the grand final, along with Notre Dame, Clemson and perennial power Virginia.

The freshman men's eight wrapped up the morning before the weather got any worse, winning its heat in 6:10.29, going seven seconds up on Oregon State, who crossed at 6:17.40.

The Husky junior varsity eights did not let the cold temperatures, wind and rain deter them as each won their heats handily when action resumed late in the afternoon. The women's eight, aftering sitting out on the water for nearly two hours in the morning, wasted little time in securing its spot in the Sunday final, racing out in lane three and winning its heat in 6:56.28. Oregon State was nearly two boat lengths behind at 7:01.63.

'This morning was hard because we were so cold,' said senior Leslie Rattan, who rows in the three seat in the jayvee boat. 'We were supposed to race at 10 a.m., so we launched at 9:00 and ended up getting off the water at 10:40 by the time everything was decided. We were out there for almost two hours, freezing and waiting and waiting and waiting for the race to start. When we came back out in the afternoon, it was cold again and still rainy and windy. It was hard to relax and be happy and get pschyed up to race again. But our crew did a really good job of focusing and changing that mindset and just going for it. From the first stroke of the race, we had an awesome start, and just took off. That set the tone.'

The men's junior varsity, racing in lane four, took a comfortable lead early and never let up, winning in a time of 6:19.8.

'We were one of the first crews they stopped when everything was called off,' said men's jayvee coxswain Ryan Marks. 'Your adrenaline gets flowing and you're ready to race and then you have to sit around for four hours. It's rough. But the guys did a good job of getting fired up again and keeping their focus. We went out and executed our race plan really well.'

Washington's novice women wrapped up the day with a resounding victory, winning their heat in 7:16.9, with no other crew within six boat lengths. Second-place Davis finished at a distant 7:40.82.

Racing for the Huskies begins at 12:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon as the novice women's eight aims to extend a three-year win streak in its grand final. The freshman men put their two-year streak on the line at 1 p.m. The women's junior varsity eight, which had an eight-year win streak snapped last season by Virginia, races at 1:10 p.m. They are followed by the men's junior varsity at 1:20 p.m. as the Huskies attempt to defend a title in that race as well. The premier races of the Crew Classic - the Jessop Whittier Cup for the women's varsity eight and the Copley Cup for the men - are set for 2:10 p.m. and 2:20 p.m., respectively.

Lane assignments for the Copley Cup grand final are as follows: 1, California. 2, Washington 3, Penn, 4, Wisconsin. 5, Yale. 6. Oregon State. All other lane assignments were not available at press time.

San Diego Crew Classic
Day 1 Preliminary Heat Results
April 7, 2001
Mission Bay, Calif.

Copley Cup Men's Varsity Eight (top three advance to grand final)
Heat 1 - 1, California 5:43.17. 2, Penn 5:46.44. 3, Yale 5:50.97. 4, Navy 5:59.42. 5, Stanford 6:02.09., 6, Sacramento State 6:03.78.

Heat 2 - 1, Washington 5:49.54. 2, Wisconsin 5:51.01. 3, Oregon State 5:52.63. 4, Temple 5:54.37. 5, Purdue 6:06.01.

Jessop Whittier Cup Women's Varsity Eight (top three advance to grand final)
Heat 1 - 1, Washington 6:26.03. 2, California 6:34.26. 3, Notre Dame 6:34.70. 4, Texas 6:35.58. 5, Stanford 6:41.61. 6, Oregon State 6:44.39. 7, Duke 6:46.51.

Heat 2 - 1, USC 6:28.50. 2, Virginia 6:33.80. 3, Clemson 6:35.91. 4, Washington State 6:36.30. 5, San Diego State 6:47.20. 6, Villanova 6:59.12. 7, Sacramento State 7:10.23.

Men's Freshman Eight (top two advance to grand final)
Heat 1 - 1, California 6:05.0. 2, Orange Coast 6:25.57. 3, Virginia 6:41.10. 4, Sacramento St., 6:41.63. 5, Santa Clara 6:41.93. 6, San Diego 7:10.97. 7, UCLA 7:19.10.

Heat 2 - 1, WASHINGTON 6:10.29. 2, Oregon State 6:17.40. 3, Stanford 6:29.06. 4, Davis 6:31.79. 5, UCSD 6:41.71. 6, USC 6:45.41. 7, Cal Maritime 7:00.43.

Heat 3 - 1, UCSB 6:34.2. 2, Irvine 6:35.57. 3, Long Beach 6:42.58. 4, Chapman 6:44.99. 5, Washington State 6:49.63. 6, Loyola Marymount 6:49.67. 7, San Diego State 7:02.0.

Women's Junior Varsity Eight (top two advance to grand final)
Heat 1 - 1, Washington State 6:51.3. 2, USC 7:01.03. 3, Stanford 7:22.04. 4, Tulsa 7:27.25. 5, Kansas State 7:34.25. 6, Sacramento State 7:46.75. 7, Irvine 7:56.52.

Heat 2 - 1, Washington 6:56.28. 2, Oregon State 7:01.63. 3, Duke 7:10.11. 4, Texas 7:15.43. 5, Davis 7:22.84. 6, San Diego St. 7:39.63.

Heat 3 - 1, Virginia 7:03.5. 2, Notre Dame 7:10.33. 3, California 7:10.35. 4, Clemson 7:12.33. 5, Tennessee 7:28.97. 6, Orange Coast 7:29.37.

Men's Junior Varsity Eight (top three advance to grand final)
Heat 1 - 1, California 6:07.2. 2, Penn 6:25.59. 3, Oregon State 6:27.59. 4, Davis 6:54.67. 5, UCSD 7:20.57.

Heat 2 - 1, WASHINGTON 6:19.8. 2, Yale 6:23.55. 3, Orange Coast 6:24.28. 4, San Diego St. 7:04.87.

Women's Novice Eight (top two advance to grand final)
Heat 1 - 1, California 7:25.10. 2, Stanford 7:37.23. 3, San Diego St. 7:49.07. 4, Kansas St. 7:53.20. 5, UCSD 7:57.23. 6, Long Beach 8:18.29. 7, Chapman 8:26.29.

Heat 2 - 1, Washington State 7:19.28. 2, Virginia 7:22.10. 3, Oregon State 7:31.94. 4, Irvine 7:34.41. 5, Texas 7:44.72. 6, St. Mary's 7:54.26. 7, San Diego 8:00.43.

Heat 3 - 1, WASHINGTON 7:16.9. 2, Davis 7:40.82. 3, Sacramento St. 7:47.57. 4, Orange Coast 7:49.46. 5, USC 7:51.51. 6, UCSB 7:53.93. 7, Santa Clara 8:05.77.

Post race quotes
Mary Whipple - women's varsity eight coxswain
'We had a very good start. We blasted off we were pretty much up from the start on the whole field. We got up a length on all the crews during our 20 high and we just stayed there. We were kind of shaky becuase of the tail wind but we knew everybody was experiencing the same conditions. We were pretty confident despite not being as stable as we would have liked it. We just kept it constant the whole way. We didn't take it up. We just stayed long and controlled until the finish.'

Tim Lewis - Men's varsity eight coxswain
'The wind was blowing pretty tough and they got us off to a quick start. I think we may have been a little bit too relaxed. We were really comfortable. We jumped out half a length right away, within 10 strokes. The guys stayed relaxed and their heads were in the boat. As soon as we lengthened, we started moving back on the field and started moving up on Wisconsin. Then Wisconsin hit a buoy that was in the middle of their lane. We were through 100 meters, the breakage point, but the buoy was out of place so they called us back. 'We got back in and I told the guys it was just like last week at home against Oregon State. We knew what they were going to do and knew we needed to come off a bit harder. We did and we were right there with them off the start. We hit our rhythm right away, about 400 meters in, we were long and driving the boat really well. We started moving up and steadily moved away from everyone, all the way down the course. 'Everyone has a lot of respect for Wisconsin, and Cal, Penn and Yale and Oregon State. We were just going to try and have to row our own race in the final. The guys are pumped. They are excited. We're going to give it all we've got.'

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