Aug. 17, 2011
By Mathis Jessen
SEATTLE - Twelve current and former Washington oarsmen and women will compete for a spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics at the upcoming World Championship in Bled, Slovenia.
The World Championships begin on Aug. 28 on the scenic 2,000-meter course on Lake Bled and last through Sept. 4.
Throughout its history, the Washington rowing program has been synonymous with developing athletes for the international stage. Next week, a dozen Huskies will have the opportunity to represent their nations on one of the world's biggest rowing stages.
"One of our main goals here at the Conibear Shellhouse at the University of Washington is to foster our student-athletes so that they have careers both in the professional world and on the rowing course," explains men's coach Michael Callahan. "Our program shows, that our development is a strong ethic here at UW and we are proud of these students who are inspired at rowing and continue their career past the UW."
The Huskies traditionally send athletes to race for their national teams, but this year's haul is one of the biggest in recent memory.
"It is pretty exciting how many Huskies are on the World Championship this year," says women's coach and rowing director Bob Ernst. "This year is in particular exciting because it's the pre-Olympic year and all the countries have to qualify so it's really, really serious this year and of course we all hope that all of them go to the Olympics and have a shot for a medal."
Anthony Jacob, who graduated in the spring and who helped win the IRA gold medal in the Varsity Eight in June, is starting for Canada in the straight four. Jacob is going to compete against former Huskies Giuseppe Lanzone, Scott Gault and Brett Newlin (all class of 2005), who build the core of the U.S straight four and are members of the US rowing team for a number of years. Dave Calder (class of 2001), who won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for Canada, is reunited with his partner in the men's pair.
Blaise Didier, who expanded his rowing at UW and who graduated in 2010, qualified for the coxed pair for the U.S. at trials. Didier has spent the last year practicing full time in the training center in Oklahoma City.
Will Crothers, Rob Gibson and Conlin McCabe represent Canada in the men's eight. Crothers and Gibson, both natives of Kingston, Ontario, won the IRA title in 2009 and McCabe helped the varsity eight capture the National Championship title this spring. McCabe is taking a year off with school in order to make the 2012 Olympics with Rowing Canada.
On the women's side, Mary Whipple is coxing the U.S women's eight again. Whipple is a two-time Olympic medalist, and took home Gold Medals in 2010, 2007 and 2006 at World Championships.
Megan Kalmoe and former walk-on Adrienne Martelli are both in the U.S quad that got fifth in a strong field at the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand. Martelli graduated in 2010 and spent last year in Princeton, training full time with USRowing.
In addition to the rowers competing at Worlds, the recently graduated and 2011 National Champion Hans Struzyna is looking to qualify for the Pan Am Games in the straight four. Struzyna, a native of Kirkland, Wash., will compete for the USA.
"We take a lot of pride in developing our student-athletes from the first day that they enter the ConibearShellhouse to the day when they graduate," says Callahan. "We are also very pleased that these students were inspired to achieve rowing beyond the UW and we know we facilitated their development while they were here. We do a good job of mixing collegiate rowing with development of international rowing so that they have the skills and passion to continue their rowing career beyond the University of Washington."