March 27, 2012
SEATTLE -The 26th anniversary of the Windermere Cup brings some added flair to the Montlake Cut this year. Argentina is one of several noteworthy programs to race the Washington men's and women's crew programs in Seattle on May 5 beginning at 10 a.m. In addition to Argentina will be Virginia (men), Oregon State (men) and Gonzaga University (women).
The event is held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club and sponsored by Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate, the largest regional real estate company on the West Coast. The free event binds the Seattle community to the sport and is one of the preeminent sporting events the city offers. Last year, tens of thousands of fans lined the Montlake Cut to watch Washington sweep all four marquee races.
"All of us at Windermere are extremely proud to have partnered with the University of Washington for the past 26 years on this premier rowing and community event," said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, adding "Awarding the Windermere Cup to these outstanding athletes has become a tradition that we look forward to every year."
With its reputation as one of the premier rowing events in the world, the Windermere Cup has a long-established tradition of attracting the best programs to Seattle. The tradition began with the World Champion Soviet Union crews in 1987 as part of the community's effort to highlight the unique racing venue the Montlake Cut offers rowing.
"The teamwork between Windermere Real Estate, Seattle Yacht Club, and the UW brings the best teams in the world to Seattle year in and year out," women's coach and rowing director Bob Ernstsaid. "Now we've gone a step further and reached out to South America to bring in some exciting new competition. This is going to be a fantastic experience for our student-athletes and a great event for the Seattle community."
Argentina certainly fits the bill of a powerhouse national program. The Argentines won eight medals combined in rowing at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, tied with the USA for the most of any nation at the event. The Argentina men's eight finished third at the Pan-Am games, just two seconds behind the first-place Americans. The women's eight did not compete in Guadalajara.
As a fellow Pac-12 competitor, Oregon State is a name familiar to the Huskies. Both OSU programs have already started their season, beginning with a win over the University of Victoria (Canada) on March 10. There are a few UW-OSU connections as well, as Beaver men's crew coach Steve Todd is a 1999 graduate of Washington, and began his coaching career as a freshman assistant with the Huskies.
"The Windermere Cup at Opening Day is the rite of spring in Seattle," said Husky men's crew coach Michael Callahan. "We are looking forward to exciting competition sponsored by Windermere Real Estate and a spectacular venue that only the Seattle Yacht Club could create."
Virginia carries the reputation as one of the top men's club crews in the country, with a history of sending athletes to both the national and international level. The Cavaliers are coached by Frank Biller, and will bring their varsity eight to Seattle from Charlottesville, Va. Rounding out the invitees is Gonzaga, who will be bringing a women's eight over from Spokane. The Bulldogs race in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association, but routinely face Pac-12 competition throughout the season.
The Windermere Cup is not just for powerhouse collegiate programs. This year's fixture features dozens of local, national and international junior and masters crews which highlight the races prior to the main events.