SEATTLE – Ever since September when these freshmen stepped on campus, they have been going. When you look at the experience of an 18-year-old living on a college campus by themselves for the first time, it is overwhelming: balancing social life and homework, going to class or sleeping in, doing laundry or doing reading. But for 58 new Huskies, this wasn’t all they were dealing with; they also were tackling the absolute grind that comes with training with Washington Rowing.
This group, much like the ones who have come before it, is extremely diverse while also having a homegrown feel to it. While a large portion of the 2017 class has come from around the state of Washington, there are also members who have come from as far away as Croatia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Australia, Germany, Canada and the U.K..
Their experience with rowing is equally as diverse. Joining the recruited world-class oarsmen and women in the class are true athletes coming in with backgrounds in many other sports like volleyball and rugby.
The true dedication of this group has been demonstrated clearly over the year so far. These 58 only represent a fraction of the newcomers who started with the program way back last fall. Only these athletes will get the opportunity to put all of their hard work out on the water for Husky Crew --- the real reason they are all in Conibear day-in and day-out.
Academics is also at the top of the list for these new Dawgs; six “grunties” made the Dean’s List with two perfect 4.0s and four “novices” earned 4.0s and had three girls make the Dean’s List.
The new men are facing an up-hill climb to prove themselves on this year’s team. The men’s program is coming off of five-straight Pac-12 championships, four straight IRA Varsity 8 national titles and eight straight Ten Eyck Trophies.
They are going to have to keep up the hard work and push it even further, according to freshman coach Rick Gherst.
“We have a lot of talented individuals and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can become as a class and a crew. It’s definitely not easy to make your mark on this program, but that’s a challenge they embrace,” he said.
On the women’s side, the newcomers are vying for spots to become the last legacy of the program. The team has their eyes set straight on an NCAA Championship. And these novices have a lot to live up to. Last year’s Novice 8 went undefeated, capping their season with gold medals at Pac-12s.
“The freshman class is motivated to work and earn their place in Washington Rowing,” freshmen women’s coach Conor Bullis said. “They have the ability to put their head down and work hard then look up afterwards and crack a smile. I am encouraged by their desire to win and I hope they push their limits this season to keep gaining speed through the season."
One thing is certain; watching this class is going to be a whole lot of fun.
Class Day Race Schedule
Race 1: Women's Varsity/Novice Challenge 10 a.m.
Race 2: Men's Varsity/Freshmen Challenge 10:10 a.m.
Race 3: The Seattle Times Women's Eight 10:20 a.m.
Race 4: George M. Varnell Men's Eight 10:30 a.m.