Navy, Poland & Melbourne University Row in Windermere Cup

April 28, 2008

SEATTLE - Windermere Real Estate and the University of Washington have assembled another sensational field for the 2008 edition of the Windermere Cup regatta, including an appearance by the men's and women's crews from the United States Naval Academy and two foreign entries. The 22nd-annual Windermere Cup takes place Saturday, May 3 at 10:20 a.m. on the Montlake Cut to start the Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day festivities.

The crew races will be broadcast live in the Puget Sound area on KJR Radio (AM 950).

Rowing against top-ranked Washington in the men's eight-oared race are the under-23 national team from Poland and the United States Naval Academy. The Polish men will make their second Windermere Cup appearance as they placed third in the 2003 race.

Three of the eight rowers expected to compete in Seattle were members of the Polish crew that finished fifth in the men's eight at the 2007 under-23 World Rowing Championships in Great Britain. Placing fourth in that race was the United States' eight that included UW junior Jessiah Johnson (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island).

Navy, currently ranked No. 12, makes its fourth Windermere Cup appearance. The Midshipmen visited Seattle in 1990, 2000 and 2004. They are coached for the 34th year by Rick Clothier who has Washington connections. Clothier lettered in 1964 and 1965 as a UW coxswain and spent five years from 1969-73 as the Huskies' freshman and lightweight coach.

Joining the 15th-ranked Washington women's varsity eight are Melbourne University and Navy. The Melbourne women make their inaugural Windermere Cup appearance, their first opportunity to row the unique 2,000-meter Lake Washington course through the Montlake Cut that is annually lined with thousands of spectators in boats and on shore.

The Melbourne crew won the 2006 title and was the runner-up in the women's eight at the 2007 Australian University Championships. The Melbourne University Boat Club (MUBC) was founded in 1859 and is the oldest rowing club in Australia.

The Navy women's crew is rowing in the Windermere Cup for the second time. Navy placed fourth at the 1990 Opening Day regatta.

The Windermere Cup races are the headline events of the 39th-annual Opening Day Regatta and are held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club's annual celebration of the opening of yachting season. This year there are 19 events on the racing schedule, including races for masters and junior crews.

The Opening Day Regatta has been a traditional part of the ceremonies surrounding the beginning of yachting season since 1970, and the women's intercollegiate races were added to the schedule in 1976. The regatta is the preliminary event to the Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day Boat Parade. The theme for this year's boat parade is 'A Three-Ring Circus,' featuring more than 20 classes of boats adorned with that theme.

The Windermere Cup regatta, along with the Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day Boat Parade, combine to mark the beginning of the region's much-anticipated boating season with one of Seattle's largest free public events. Huge crowds annually line the shores of 'The Cut' and position their boats along the racing and parade course to witness the stirring displays of competition and pageantry.

Spectators are encouraged to view the Windermere Cup races from the shores of the Montlake Cut on Saturday, May 3. This is a free community event with parking available at surrounding University of Washington lots.

Parking will be available for $11 in the University lots around the football stadium (lots E-10,11,12). Parking in the large Montlake Lot (E-1) is $5.

Please note that the Montlake Bridge will be closed to traffic from 9:40 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The races begin at 10:20 a.m. and are followed by the boat parade. The Montlake Bridge will be raised and remain open during the boat parade.

The Huskies have had extraordinary success in past Windermere Cup races, taking advantage of the home course and vocal support from the large crowds. Washington was victorious in 15 of the last 17 Windermere Cup men's competitions while the UW women won 12 of the last 15 titles.

'For two decades, the Windermere Cup has brought this community together to celebrate our love of the water, the athletes of the University of Washington and the oldest inter-collegiate sport in the nation,' said Jill Jacobi-Wood, Owner of Windermere Real Estate. 'The people of Windermere are honored to make this happen year after year and we will continue to share this event with friends across the region and around the world.'

For many visiting athletes, the Windermere Cup marks their first visit to the United States and Windermere Real Estate takes pride in providing a unique experience for these participants. As part of its generous sponsorship, Windermere offers transportation and accommodation for visiting teams along with sightseeing trips, mementos, and opportunities to give back to the local community through several programs, including a special visit to Children's Hospital.

'It's just a great testament to that company. It's a common culture for a company to have a brand and a sense of identity that they bring to their particular business and their particular community,' McElvaine explained. 'The Windermere Cup event is a great visual for how that can work for a corporation, how they can really get committed to doing something with excellence. It shows in the quality of the event. We probably see more of it behind the scenes because it has to do with how they treat the athletes. The athletes that compete in the Windermere Cup feel that they are the most important athletes in Seattle on that day.'

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