March 19, 2002
Seattle - The 2002 Windermere Cup field is set and rowers and spectators alike will be thrilled with the competition, the University of Washington and Windermere Real Estate announced. The16th annual Windermere Cup and Seattle Yacht Club Opening Day festivities are set for May 4 and will include the Beijing University men's team, the British Women's National Team and Stanford University's men's and women's varsity and junior varsity teams. Highlighting the day, along with the eight-oared races, will be the appearance of Olympic scullers Duncan Free of Australia and Xeno Muller of Switzerland.
Free, a rising star in the rowing world, earned a silver medal in the men's quad at the 2000 Olympic Games while Muller, who attended Brown University, won a silver medal in the single scull in 2000, and a gold medal in 1996.
This year will also feature the "Dick Erickson Memorial Cascade Cup" in honor of the legendary Husky rowing coach who passed away in July. The Cascade Cup features Washington's junior varsity crews racing against the best collegiate varsity eights in the Northwest, along with Stanford's second varsity this year, for the Cup.
The British National Team is making its second appearance at Opening Day, after winning the women's Windermere Cup in 1998. The victory snapped a six-year Washington win streak in the prestigious women's event and is one of only five different teams to have captured the Cup since 1987.
Stanford's men's varsity eight placed 12th overall at the 2001 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships, its best finish since 1999. The women's varsity eight finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships last season and earned a year-end top 20 ranking (19th) for the first time in school history.
"We were going after something a little bit different this year," said men's coach Bob Ernst. "We wanted to add a little extra pizzazz and Windermere will go to all ends of the world to find it. Last year we brought in the Croatian bronze medal Olympic team. This year we bring in Beijing University and the Olympians in Duncan (Free) and Xeno (Muller). It's a different twist.
"This regatta is about entertainment as much as anything else," Ernst continued. "The scullers are the best in the world and great characters. Beijing is building a strong rowing program and Stanford gives fans some West coast familiarity. This is a fantastic opportunity for our student-athletes and for rowing fans to see outstanding racing right here in our own backyard."
"The whole concept of the Windermere Cup has been to invite the best competition in the world," added Husky women's coach Jan Harville. "We are excited to have the British National Team back here for a second time. They have a good system and consistently strong performances by their crews. Washington has a good relationship with their program. They loaned us a boat when we went to Henley (July, 2000). It fits into the model of the Windermere Cup, to bring in quality competition that will give us a tough race and provide excitement for the spectators.
"Stanford is a program on the rise," Harville added. "They gave us a tough test up here at Head of the Lake in November. They've had a couple great recruiting classes and are definitely a team to watch. We expect a tough race from them."
The Windermere Cup races are the feature event of the 33rd annual Opening Day Regatta on Lake Washington's Montlake Cut and are held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club's annual celebration of the opening of yachting season. The Opening Day Regatta has been a traditional part of the ceremonies surrounding the opening 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 yacht club parade, sponsored annually by the Seattle Yacht Club. Thousands of spectators annually line the cut, both on land and water, to enjoy the water activities.
The Washington men's varsity eight has captured 10 Windermere Cup titles overall while the women's varsity eight has won three in a row and nine of the last 10.
Washington opens its 2002 season with annual Class Day festivities March 30 on the Montlake Cut. The day is a celebration of the start of the racing season and features each class of rowers - freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors - racing against one another. Washington then officially opens the season with its annual trek to the San Diego Crew Classic, April 6-7.
ABOUT WINDERMERE REAL ESTATE
Now in their 15th year as title sponsor of the Windermere Cup Regatta, Windermere Real Estate is the West's leading real estate company with more than 210 offices and nearly 6,000 agents serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, Montana, and now Northern California. Windermere Real Estate values the University of Washington's contribution to the academic and athletic successes of its students and views rowing as a the perfect expression of these pursuits.