Feb. 21, 2013
Seattle - The teams are set for this year's running of the 27th anniversary of the Windermere Cup, the annual spring rowing event on the Montlake Cut that signifies Opening Day for boaters in Seattle. Ivy League members Dartmouth and Cornell will join the Huskies out on the Cut, with races beginning at 10:00 am on May 4th.
The event is held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club and is sponsored by Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate, the largest regional real-estate company on the West Coast. Last year tens of thousands of fans lined the Cut and packed the Montlake Bridge to see the Huskies sweep all four races for the second consecutive year. The free event has become one of the largest sporting events in the area, connecting the Seattle community to the sport.
"The Windermere Cup on Opening Day is a rite of passage for spring in Seattle," said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. "We look forward to it every year and are so proud to have this 27-year-long partnership with the University of Washington and Seattle Yacht Club."
The Windermere races 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.
Traditionally the event has featured one domestic crew and one international crew; however, this year Windermere has attracted two of the very best domestic crew programs in Dartmouth and Cornell. The two schools were scheduled for a dual race on Windermere weekend, but now both will be making their way to Seattle to compete against the Huskies.
"We want to encourage the very best teams to come race in the Pacific Northwest and Windermere's sponsorship has allowed us to do that," said men's head coach Michael Callahan. "We're really excited to have two storied programs coming to race us."
The 2013 Windermere edition continues the tradition of attracting premier rowing teams to Seattle for this special event. The Ivy League has a long and storied crew history, with the first races dating back to 1852. Cornell was one of the three Ivy League Schools that founded the Intercollegiate Rowing Association, the oldest collegiate athletic organizing body in the U.S.
"Over the years it's always been the goal of the Windermere Company and the University of Washington to get the best level of competition here for the Windermere Cup," said rowing director and women's coach Bob Ernst. "It's been our quest the last few years to get good Ivy League competition to come out, so to have two of their best come on the same year is really going to make this event special."
Another twist in format has the men and women competing against the same universities. Generally, the men and women face crews from different schools.
"It's unique this year having both programs come here to race," said Callahan. "Hopefully we will be able to continue to do this."
The Dartmouth men's heavyweight crew is coached by Topher Bordeau, an Ivy League graduate who won three IRA titles as an oarsman at Princeton. Bordeau has experience coaching on the national team level, assisting with the selection and training of the 2007 Under-23 squad. Wendy Lavash, another former Princeton rower, is at the helm of the Dartmouth women's crew program. Lavash has mentored several standout rowers that have gone on to compete for the U-23 National Team.
Cornell men's crew is coming off a strong 2012. They defeated Princeton and Yale in the same year for only the third time since 1974, while also finishing fifth overall in the Team Eyck Award race at the 2012 IRA National Championships. The Big Red is coached by Todd Kennett, a Cornell graduate who took over as Rowing Director for the program in 2008. The Cornell women's crew program is headed by Hilary Gehman, a six-time member of the U.S. national rowing team and two-time Olympian. Last year, Gehman was named CRCA Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year for leading Cornell to its best season in 20 years.
"Both the men's and women's programs at Dartmouth and Cornell have been competitive on the national level," said Ernst. "It's first rate competition, so it's a big honor to have them come."
The spring rowing event is not just for collegiate programs. Dozens of local, national and international junior and masters crews will compete in races prior to the main event.
Windermere Real Estate About Windermere Real Estate and Windermere Cup
Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico.
Windermere's heritage of supporting collegiate crew racing began in 1987, when the company sponsored the first annual Windermere Cup regatta in Seattle. More than 800 athletes a year from around the world come to Seattle to participate in the Windermere Cup title races. Held in partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle Yacht Club, the Windermere Cup has become one of the largest community events in Seattle, welcoming national and international crew teams for exciting competition while commencing the official opening day of boating season for the waters of the Puget Sound.