Six Pac-12 women's rowing teams advance boats to NCAA semifinals

Teams from the Pac-12 have won six of the 16 titles in the history of NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Championships. With six Pac-12 boats in this weekend’s 22-team field at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind. — and 15 of 18 of those crews advancing to the semifinals, including all three boats from USC, Cal, Washington and Stanford — the conference has a good chance to pick up number seven.



There’s a reason they are ranked No. 1. The Trojans claimed first place in all three of their races Friday to remain the frontrunners entering Saturday’s semifinals. The varsity eight’s time of 6:48.943 was the fastest of the day. The second varsity eight bested Princeton by two seconds, while USC’s varsity four crew finished three seconds ahead of Ohio State.

Overall, it was a rebound performance for the Trojans, who finished in second place at the Pac-12 Championships on May 19.



It is on to the semifinals for the No. 3 Bears, who got off to a quick start with two first-place finishes and one second-place finish Friday morning. Cal’s second varsity eight won its heat by more than six seconds, while its varsity four crew beat out Washington by just over five seconds. In the varsity eight heat, the Bears were two seconds behind Ohio State, which had the fastest time of all the heats. Cal finished with a respectable time of 6:57.63, nearly 10 seconds faster than third-place Notre Dame. According to head coach Dave O’Neill, the Bears were too fast with their start, wasting energy in the first 500 meters that they could have used later in the race. O’Neill considered his other two boats’ races, however, to be “perfect.”



Despite not being ranked in the top five like some of their Pac-12 foes, the Huskies advanced all three of their boats to semifinals.

The Washington varsity eight started off Friday with a second-place finish in 6:56.88, seven seconds off the lead but with a cushion of five and a half seconds over third-place Michigan. The second varsity eight race was closer, as the Huskies finished just two seconds behind Brown. In the varsity four race, however, Washington’s boat claimed first place with a time of 8:01.71, more than five seconds ahead of Notre Dame.



For the Cardinal, it does not matter how they got there as much as the fact that they did indeed advance to Saturday's races. Even though each of Stanford’s boats needed repechage races Friday afternoon, all three advanced to the semifinals. The Cardinal’s varsity eight boat followed up a fourth-place finish in the preliminary heat by winning the repechage race in 7:05.096. The second varsity boat, the third-place finisher in the morning heat, finished one place higher in the later race. The varsity four crew, seven seconds out of second-place in the preliminary heat, won its repechage race in 8:07.691, three seconds ahead of Michigan.



The No. 6 Bruins’ two varsity eight crews took different routes to the semifinals. The varsity eight boat took second in its heat with a time of 7:02:589. The second varsity eight needed a repechage after a fourth-place finish in the opening heat. UCLA seized the second chance (7:20.741), edging Stanford (7:25.449).

Unfortunately for the Bruins, they could not complete the trifecta, as their varsity four crew finished in third in both the heat and repechage despite an improvement of more than three seconds.



The Cougars went one-for-three on Friday at the NCAA Rowing Championships. While the varsity eight and second varsity eight both missed out on a spot in the semifinals, the Washington State varsity four crew will be racing Saturday morning following its second-place finish in the Friday heat. The ninth-seeded varsity four boat had a time of 8:16.882, four seconds ahead of third-place Oklahoma. The Cougars’ varsity eight crew followed up its fourth-place performance in the preliminary heat with a third-place finish in the second repechage. The second eight boat also improved by a spot, from fifth place in the heat to fourth in the repechage race.

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