April 4, 2010
BELMONT, Calif. - Outside of a lengthy delay at San Francisco International Airport, there's not much that marred this weekend for the Washington women's crew program.
After sweeping Iowa on Sunday, the women's team heads home with eight wins in nine races. This weekend not only served as a confidence booster, but also let the student-athletes gauge where they are relative to their rivals in the Pac-10 Conference.
Given the layout of the Redwood Shores course in California, the goal in each race was to jump the start and take an early lead by the 1,000-meter mark. Women's coach and rowing director Bob Ernst said at that point in the race, the water becomes choppy so it's imperative for crews to establish a length against the other boat. Against Iowa, the Huskies raced out in front all morning, with the closest margin of victory coming at over eight seconds in the varsity eight.
Ernst said he was impressed with the quality of rowing by the second eight, which topped Iowa by almost 15 seconds. The level of depth in the program clearly shows there's not much drop off between boats, and Ernst expected the competition for the varsity to get heated this week on Montlake.
"I don't think the lineups will be very similar this week, honestly," Ernst said. "There are so many young kids in the varsity, second varsity that I expect to see people moving from boat to boat all year long."
The only race lost this weekend was the opening varsity eight dual with Stanford, the defending National Champions. Nevertheless, the crew program's inner fortitude was on display as they swept their next eight races. A much-needed win came in the varsity eight's dual with Wisconsin, a top-15 crew. Despite several rowers feeling under-the-weather, the boat notched a two-second win over the Badgers.
"You do what you have to do," Ernst said of the comeback.
The women's crews will be on the water all week long in preparation for an important regatta against Oregon State and Washington State, two key Pac-10 rivals, on April 10.
WASHINGTON vs. IOWA
Washington 6:48.5, Iowa 6:56.9
Second Varsity Eight
Washington 6:57.8, Iowa 7:12.6
Washington 7:15.1, Iowa 7:32.7