IRA Men's Rowing Championships
Day 3 -- Saturday, June 2, 2007
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
Washington Head Coach
"It's really gratifying. When you have a really special bunch of athletes, you expect special performances. Anything less than what we did today wouldn't have been good enough. We've got really solid guys who are tremendous athletes. If it was even with 300 meters to go, nobody would beat these guys. They are really fit guys with lots of confidence. We're blessed to have super athletes right now and they know how to race.
"Honestly, I thought the varsity guys had it pretty much under control. They were rowing our race and our pace. I knew if it came down to the last 300 meters we could win it. It's fun coaching these guys every day. They are race dogs. They came to practice ready to win this race every day.
"We get to be the national champions for one year. A year from today we'll see who's the next national champions here. It helps with recruiting and fund-raising and lots of things like that. But the most important thing is that these kids and their parents put a lot into this program. And the alumni does and the athletic department puts a lot into this program. It's good to see it pay off for them too.
"We've been talking about the point championship all year long. We had a meeting yesterday afternoon out here. Instead of rowing we had a little meeting here. I told the guys that everybody ought to want to win for their boat, but every boat and every position is going to make a difference on that point championship. When you win three and get third in the other one, you get the point championship.
"Both races (varsity and second varsity) went exactly like we had planned them. The jayvees were solid. They had a good race in the semis. When they got off the water, they knew they could beat Wisconsin.
"I fell off my bike during the jayvee race. I was turning off to go down a hill to watch the finish. The other coaches asked if I was okay and I asked them who won. I found out we did and headed back to the start for the varsity race. I got back up in time to see the varsity race. My front tire started going flat, so I rode the varsity race with a flat tire.
Varsity Eight Coxswain
"I'm so ecstatic. We got out about half a length off the start. By the 1,000-meter mark I was even with Harvard and Brown and Stanford. The middle 500 was crucial for us because we kept about a seat lead on all of them. That's where we won the race. The last 500, we just took off. I said `Go' and they went.
"I was pretty confident. I knew that we had another two gears to go. We didn't row our best in the semi or the heat and we definitely weren't at full speed.
"It's so cool. I wish I had some other eloquent way of putting it, but it's the best highlight to end the season.
"It means that we've finally proven that our team has, not only potential, but we can get the results."
"It definitely makes a statement for Washington rowing. Everyone knows we have the erg scores and finally being able to put it together proves a lot. There was definitely a lot of pressure coming into this race, but it was a different kind of pressure. When you are an underdog, you go in with the pressure of having to do something that you've never done before. But, we had the pressure of trying to defend our ranking. A positive part of it was that we didn't have to anything that we'd never done before. All we had to do is execute the same thing we had done in practice and the same thing we've done in previous races. We had a mental edge there."
Varsity Eight Stroke
"It feels amazing. All the build-up towards this moment and it's finally paying off. I can't explain the feeling, it unbelievable. I felt like we were in pretty good control the whole way down.Right at the end, we took about a half a length in the last 500. We definitely shifted gears. We knew what we had to do. The general consensus was that we just had to row our race and finish it off at the end.
"It's pretty incredible to be a part of this. Now we are a huge part of the Washington history. It's really amazing to be a part of that because Washington has such a huge history."
Second Varsity Eight Coxswain
"It's amazing. I don't think it will sink in until tomorrow with all the hub-bub and everybody giving you jerseys and shaking hands. It's about everybody. I'm really proud of the varsity and the four and the freshmen. It's just pure bliss.
"There are so many nerves because everybody knew that we had what it took to win, it was just a matter of execution. The only thing we were really scared about wasn't the other teams, it was whether we could execute to our fullest ability. We did that. It's an amazing feeling.
"I don't want to say that we didn't take the semifinal to our full potential. We knew at the end of that race that we pushed Wisconsin, but we didn't hit our fifth gear. We were still in third and fourth gear. We had a lot of confidence, it was just a matter of executing. They all, bow to stern, did a great job executing today.
"Traditionally with this boat, in this lineup, has had a really good start. Usually the first 25 or 30 strokes we get out ahead. But then we have these periods where other crews are pushing. Wisconsin and Cornell made huge pushes in the third 500. We ended up being down. Before the 1,000 we were down about half a length to Wisconsin and at the end of 1,500 Cornell put a few seats on us. But I told the guys that Bob (Ernst) has us ready. We are the fittest program here. Anyone who is ahead of us by the time we hit our sprint has paid for it, without question. We had to hit that fifth gear. Those other teams paid for it. We went and they dropped back. Credit the other crews, they pushed us in the heats and semifinals. But we were the best in the finals."
Open Four Coxswain
"I was a walk-on last year and I never had any experience before in my life. I've come a long way and these guys have come a long way for only rowing for less than a week together. The boat has made so much progress together. We were keeping it positive the entire way through. After we got second in our heat to Princeton, it was hard. But, having that extra race in the repechage to row was good for us.
"We have to just really rely on our fitness and have confidence in our training throughout the year. It clicked and really came together. It feels great.
On the re-start:
"I really had no idea what was going on, so all of a sudden I heard the sirens and we had to pull it back to the start. On the first start, we pulled up in our high strokes to about even with Princeton and usually that's when they walk away from us. So it was nice to be able to do that again. We held them through and we were eventually able to pass them, so it was really good in the long run."
"I knew that Princeton was going to put on a move right around the 1,000, so I had the guys stabilize through. We executed the race plan perfectly. We were really patient through the 1,000 and then we just broke them apart stroke-by-stroke. It was great when we walked on them. The best part of that entire race was when I knew we were walking on them and I knew that they weren't going to take the seats back.
"I really wanted to maintain contact throughout the race
On winning a gold medal:
"You dream about it. You practice and think about what you'd do on the awards dock. It's a total dream come true. Starting from stage zero last year when I was a freshman and having never ever done crew before. Coming here and winning a gold medal my second year is just amazing. I'm in such a euphoric state right now. It's awesome."
Open Four Coach
"This was only the third time I saw them race. We gave them a race plan. At Pac-10s we had a fluid race plan that was good, but it wasn't executed the way we would like. So we made a race plan and we stuck to the race plan. I told the guys that if they wanted to do what they needed to get it done, that that was on their shoulders. And they got it done. Princeton was a length and one-quarter up. We really went after it in the third 500, they put it in gear and started doing it."