IRA Men's Rowing Championships
Day 1 -- Thursday, May 31, 2007
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
Washington Head Coach
"I thought it was great racing today. Everybody is through to the semifinals tomorrow. The four has to go to the repechage, but the eights did well and we had some outstanding racing.
"The challenge here is that the ante goes up every round. Friday is the semifinal and it's only three to go through to the final. There were some people playing their cards pretty close to their chest today when you see varsity races that are that close. The lower seeds want to show their stuff and the upper seeds don't want to pay anymore than they have to. So, the next round there is more at stake and you'll see a little bit more intensity."
On Brown starting out so fast in the varsity eight race:
"I wasn't surprised. They were very frustrated because they came in one of the favorites to the Eastern Sprints and they didn't have a very good row in the final there. You could see their frustration. They were seeded No. 8, but they are clearly a better team than that."
On the strategy of racing for a top-two finish to qualify rather than trying to win the heat:
"We just never do that. If we have a chance to win it we want to win it. You never can tell what the weather is going to do and the better you finish in the heat, or the better you finish in the semifinal, than the better the lane you are going to get for the next opportunity to race. We just don't do that."
On the Huskies' second varsity crew:
"I've been telling them all week long that Brown's pretty good and that they are going to be a little frustrated after what they did at the Sprints. I just don't think the jayvees had a very good race today. They qualified, which is the game. But, to get a medal here they are going to have to go better than that.
Varsity Eight No. 6 Seat
"Brown definitely pushed harder than we expected, but we were in control the whole time. I guess it's kind of hard to mentally push yourself that hard when you know it's just the heat. But, we stayed in control and never let them peel off more than two seats. Since we kept it on pace in the first 1,500, we knew that we had a lot left in the last 500 and that we would take care of it. No matter what they did in the last 500, we knew that we could take care of business.
"In the worst case you come second and progress into the next round, but we weren't thinking about that at all. It was just a matter of when we were going to push in front."
Varsity Eight Coxswain
"We rowed well. We started off well and found our rhythm within the first minute. It wasn't our top speed, but we were in control. I was a little bit surprised that Brown went out so fast. We had beaten everyone off the start thus far throughout the year. I was surprised at what they had, but I wasn't nervous. We stayed really internal, made sure that we found our rhythm quickly and then took our moves.
"We had our big move at 1,000 meters and we drew even. They came up on us before the last 500 and then, like Jesse Johnson said `We just kind of ran out of real estate and decided to start going.' I felt in control the whole time. Looking over at the Brown guys, they were going nuts. Their coxswain was going nuts and they were looking over at us every stroke. And we were really in control."
Second Varsity Eight Coxswain
"Like our coaches say, Washington gets faster throughout the regatta. We came out focused. We didn't have the best race. But, we're on to the next round without our best race so that's a positive thing. We finished the race at a 34. We were a little bit out of our element with kind of a tail wind, something we're not completely used to. It makes for a little bit faster water. The guys were real composed and we had a really good attitude coming off the water. Nobody is real down and everybody knows what we need to work on to get to the next step. We're looking forward to getting faster in the semifinals and going the fastest in the finals.
"There's a little balance between getting to the next round and winning your heat. Obviously there is an advantage to winning because you get an advantageous lane. But, at the same time, this IRAs isn't the Olympics every race. It's heats, semis and finals. We have that mindset knowing that we have to get to the next round. We would have liked to win the heat, but give a lot of credit to Brown. They came out and gave us a really good race. So, we're on to the next round and I think the guys are ready.
"It's absolutely important to get that first race out of the way. This whole week, training in Princeton and on the plane, there is a lot of tension and build-up for the races. Getting that first one out helps to flush it out of your system. It really shakes all the nerves out, like a big breath out. Then the next couple races we know what it takes."
Freshman Eight Coxswain
"We came out and had a good start. We felt very confident and just went through and did what we had to do for the heat. We expected Princeton to be competitive and we just performed as we needed to.
"The main goal is the grand finals. That's what we've been training for all year. The heat is just one step for us to get there."
Open Four No. 3 Seat
"Given it was our first 2,000, we did a pretty good job. Princeton had a pretty fast start and took the lead at around the first 500. We took it how the race went and we handled it really well. We're a pretty novice crew, so given the circumstances we did a good job."
On racing with a lineup that has been together less than a week:
"This was our fifth practice. The key is to relax and trust in your training. We've been training all year long. We trust in the boys we have. We're the deepest program in the United States. This has given us a great opportunity to put everything together and see what we can do with a novice crew."
On the improvements that can be made for Friday's race:
"We can be a little more aggressive with the pieces that we're going to do in the 2,000. We have to stay up with our competition and don't let them get a mental lead on us. We just have to push hard. Given this year, it's a pretty deep program and we've got some really good guys to work with. So, I'm going to trust in my training and these guys are going to trust in their training and we'll try to bring it home."