Aug. 23, 2007
By GREGG BELL
AP SPORTS WRITER
SEATTLE -- The University of Washington national champion men's crew team conquered the NCAA last season. Now it gets to show the Kremlin its might.
New coach Michael Callahan and Washington's varsity eight crew will compete Sept. 1 in a "Race of Champions" on the Moskva River in Moscow, on a course that will pass Red Square and the Kremlin.
It will be a UW crew's first trip to Moscow since 1958, when a squad from the Seattle school beat a Soviet crew. The winning crew from that victory - which included Dick Erickson, who went on to coach Washington from 1968 to 1987 - is in the UW Hall of Fame.
Next month's field also includes Moscow State University, Cambridge University and Oxford University. Those three crews will be competing for prize money of about $2,000 to each rower and head coach of the first-place boat.
Washington's crew? It will not be able to accept any prize money because of NCAA eligibility rules. But at least the Huskies would get to keep the Challenger's Cup trophy that is also at stake.
UW spokesman Dan Lepse said the "Race of Champions" is part of Moscow celebrating its 860th anniversary of the city's founding and the 140th anniversary of the creation of Russia's First Imperial Rowing Club.
This will be the second time in 15 months that Washington has competed against a crew from Russia. In May 2006, the Russian National Team used Washington's "Spirit of '58" shell to race in the Windermere Cup on the Huskies' home course at Montlake.