Husky Rowers Set to Open Quest for Third NCAA Title

May 23, 2001

Gainesville, Ga. - The Washington women's rowing team has adjusted to the time change and the weather and went through final tuneups Wednesday as it prepared to open its quest for a third national championship when the 2001 NCAA Rowing Championships begin Thursday morning. The regatta, only the fifth since the sport became sanctioned by the NCAA in 1997, runs May 24-16 on Lake Lanier, site of the 1996 Olympic rowing events.

The Huskies, who arrived in town last Saturday, endured stormy weather the first few days of practice but welcomed sunshine and 70-degree weather Wednesday. Heat assignments were announced and the Huskies, the top seed from the West, open competition in the first race of regatta, with the varsity eight in lane four. The Huskies met west coast rival Southern California in that first heat Thursday morning. The Women of Troy, who are an at-large entry in the regatta, are the only crew to have beaten the UW varsity this season. The junior varsity, or second varsity as its called in NCAA competition, drew lane three, racing in heat two of that event at 9:20 a.m. The varsity four, two-time defending champions in the event, races in the final heat of the day, in lane four at 10 a.m.

Washington, currently ranked third in the country, enters the NCAA Championships with two titles to its credit, in 1997 and 1998, the latter which it won on Lake Lanier. East coast power Brown is the only other school to have claimed an NCAA title, setting up a possible tiebreaker between the two rowing powers in this fifth year of competition.

The NCAA Championships are comprised of 10 teams and each team is required to field a varsity eight, second varsity eight (junior varsity), and varsity four. In addition, nine eight-woman boats from institutions not represented in the team competition are selected to compete for the varsity eight tittle. There are a total of 311 competitors. Along with Washington, the following nine schools earned team invitations: two-time defending champion Brown, Boston U., California, Harvard, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State, Princeton and Virginia. Among the crews earning team NCAA team bids, the Huskies have only faced California this season, defeating them at Pac-10s, San Diego, and their annual dual. USC, which handed Washington it's only loss this season, is in the mix as an at-large invitee. Syracuse, Yale, Michigan State, and Rutgers also earned the varsity eight at-large bids.

Preliminary Heat Schedule - Thursday, 24 (all times EST, lanes 1-7, left to right.
Varsity Eight (top two from each heat advance to semi-finals, all others to repechage)
Heat 1 8:00 a.m. Rutgers, Ithaca, USC, Washington, Iowa, Virginia, Wesleyan
Heat 2 8:20 a.m. Boston U., Harvard, Syracuse, Michigan, Western Washington, California.
Heat 3 8:40 a.m. Ohio State, Michigan State, Princeton, Brown, Williams, Yale.

Junior Varsity Eight (top three from each heat advance to semi-finals, all others to repechage)
Heat 1 9:00 a.m. Princeton, Ohio State, Michigan, Harvard, California.
Heat 2 9:20 a.m. Iowa, Boston U., Washington, Brown, Virginia.

Varsity Four (top three from each heat advance to semi-final)
Heat 1 9:40 a.m. Harvard, Virginia, Michigan, Iowa, California
Heat 2 10:00 a.m. Ohio State, Princeton, Brown, Washington, Boston U.

Husky Head Coach Jan Harville says: 'Everyone is doing great physically and mentally. Our practices have been good since we arrived. We had some stormy weather initially, but it's become like a sunny Seattle day, in the low 70s with a slight breeze. Someone turned the thermostat down for us. We are as ready as we can be. We are ready to put it on the line tomorrow. The race course is absolutely beautiful, world class. It's a treat to row here. 'We are facing the cream of the crop now. If you look at the heat sheet, every heat is difficult. We need to race our best right from the start. The top seeds here are Brown, Washington and Michigan and none of us has faced the other. I think you have to give the pre-race nod to Brown, because they are the defending champions. But, it's a new year. We're going after them.'

Regatta Notes: Racing takes place on Lake Lanier, site of the 1996 Olympic Games rowing events ... It is considered one of the top courses in the country and is one of only three to have international accreditation ... it is also the site of Washington's last NCAA Championship, in 1998 ... Regatta Director this year is Sara Nevin, Executive Director of the Lake Lanier RowingClub ... Nevin is a former Husky rower and three-time national champion for Washington ... she won three varsity eight titles, in 1983-85, along with teammate and current UW novice coach Eleanor McElvaine ... top ranked and two-time defending NCAA champion Brown is coached by John Murphy, who was the Washington women's novice coach from 1979-80 ... he and current Husky head coach Jan Harville have each won a pair of NCAA titles, since the sport became sanctioned by the NCAA four years ago ... Of the 23 Husky rowers competing in the three different events, 16 have NCAA Championship experience ... for the third year in a row, the varsity four is comprised of all novice rowers ... however, this year, the coxswain is a junior, Maili Barber, in her second year with the Huskies ... racing begins at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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