Washington Rowing Begins Season Saturday With Annual Class Day Regatta

March 26, 2009

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SEATTLE - Washington rowing begins its season this Saturday, March 28 with the 108th annual Class Day Regatta. Races are slated to start at 10am on Montlake Cut.

The Class Day format features four races, beginning with the women's varsity/novice challenge at 10am. The men's varsity/freshman challenge follows at 10:10am. The Seattle Times women's eight race begins at 10:20am and pits the fastest boatings from each class against one another. The George M. Varnell men's eight race at 10:30am caps off the day, and follows the same race format as the women's eight race.

The awards ceremony is set for 11am, and includes the trophy ceremony, announcement of the 2009 team captains and scholarship presentations.

Saturday's Class Day also includes the formal dedication of The Hunter, the UW-owned shell that raced to gold in the women's eight in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The Hunter will be splashed with water from the Montlake Cut finish line and christened as the newest member of the Washington fleet. On hand for the celebration will be members of the 1984 and 2008 Olympic teams, as well as the family of W. Hunter Simpson, who gifted both Jane's Friendship (the shell that won gold in 1984) and The Hunter to the University of Washington.

Last year's Class Day saw the freshmen men win the George M. Varnell men's eight in a time of 6:04.74. Seven of the eight oarsmen from that boat return as sophomores this season with a new coxswain and a new three-seat.

On the women's side, the juniors coasted to a six-second victory in The Seattle Times women's eight, crossing the line in 7:00.35. Six of the eight rowers from that boat return as seniors, hoping to capture another trophy.

Huskies In The Rankings
The women's varsity eight garnered a ranking of No. 4 in the country, according to the USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) NCAA Division I Varsity Eight Coaches Poll, released on March 25. The Huskies had been ranked No. 3 in the March 12 preseason edition of the poll, but dropped a spot in the latest poll. Washington tallied 423 points in the most recent poll, coming in just two points behind Pac-10 rival Stanford. Yale is ranked No. 1 in the country, followed by Brown, Stanford and Washington. Pac-10 foe California rounds out the top five.

Montlake Cut
The starting line for the Huskies' home regattas is on Lake Washington, parallel to the Evergreen Point floating bridge. The course runs from east to west through the Montlake Cut to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay at the west end of Montlake Cut. A good view of the race course is available along either side of Montlake Cut, or from the Montlake Bridge.

Class Day Schedule (all races 2,000 meters)
10:00am: Women's Varsity / Novice Challenge
10:10am: Men's Varsity / Freshman Challenge
10:20am: The Seattle Times Women's Eight
10:30am: George M. Varnell Men's Eight

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