March 23, 2011
SEATTLE - The University of Washington begins its season on the Montlake Cut on Saturday with the 110th annual Class Day Regatta. The tradition-rich intrasquad race is the unofficial start to the spring racing season, which once again features several elite opponents on the docket.
Prior to the Class Day races will be the first women's alumni 8+ race at 8 a.m., which features rowers who competed at Washington from the 1970s to last season. Each eight will be drawn out of a hat and the boats will race 1,000 meters through the Cut. The 10 a.m. race is the women's varsity-novice challenge, followed by the men's varsity-freshman challenge at 10:10 a.m. The two hallmark races are up next, beginning with the Seattle Times Women's Eight at 10:20 a.m. and then the George M. Varnell men's eight at 10:30 a.m.
Results for the race can be found immediately on the official Twitter page of Husky Crew (http://twitter.com/UWHuskyCrew) and later on GoHuskies.com.
Class Day racing started in 1901, two years before Washington hosted the University of California on June 3, 1903. The Regatta features four 2,000-meter races, starting with the varsity/freshmen challenge and ending with the Seattle Times women's 8+ race and the George M. Varnell men's 8+ race. Following the races, both teams will elect their captains for the 2011 season.
For new rowers at Washington, the week leading up to Class Day is their introduction to a program soaked with culture and history. The night before the race, the program reconvenes at Conibear Shellhouse for the Varsity Boat Club banquet. Past and present student-athletes watch highlights from the previous season on a big screen, and a VBC pin is handed out to the new rowers.
Creativity and design help differentiate the crews on Class Day. Each class designs shirts for the regatta, making for a fun, albeit ultra-competitive, atmosphere on race day.
Last year, the junior men won the George M. Varnell trophy in dramatic fashion, walking past the sophomores in the final 650 meters of the race. It was the first win since 2007 for the juniors, snapping a two-year winning streak by the Grunties (freshmen in UW crew parlance). That group returns to defend their title, and is looking to be the first class to win back-to-back titles since 1996-97.
The seniors boat raced their competition in the Seattle Times women's eight classification, making for a wire-to-wire win on the Montlake Cut.
Next week, the Husky women's program is off to the illustrious San Diego Crew Classic for their first taste of inter-collegiate competition. The two-day Crew Classic regatta begins on April 2. The men's crew program has the weekend off.
THE MONTLAKE COURSE
The starting line for the Huskies' home regattas is on Lake Washington, parallel to the Evergreen Point floating bridge. The course runs from east to west through the Montlake Cut to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay at the west end of Montlake Cut. A good view of the race course is available along either side of Montlake Cut, or from the Montlake Bridge.
CLASS DAY SCHEDULE
08:00 a.m. - Women's Alumni Eight Race
10:00 a.m. -- Women's Varsity-Novice Challenge
10:10 a.m. -- Men's Varsity-Freshman Challenge
10:20 a.m. -- The Seattle Times Women's Eight
10:30 a.m. -- George M. Varnell Men's Eight