July 1, 2010
HENLEY-ON-THAMES, England - The University of Washington freshmen crew is in the final eight after cruising to a win over Nihon University at the Henley Royal Regatta on Thursday afternoon.
Facing a strong wind, the strength of the Grunties prevailed over the lighter crew from the Japanese university based just outside Tokyo. Washington ended 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Nihon at the finish on the 2,112-meter course on the River Thames, coming across with a time of 6:58. Once the Huskies had taken a significant lead in the Temple Cup race, they slowed down the pace, conserving energy with races still to come at Henley.
"The guys rowed a powerful race from the start and took advantage of their bigger size to push away into the headwind," said freshmen coach Luke McGee. "They moved away pretty steadily away until the halfway point when they started to back off a bit."
Up next for the Grunties (as freshmen rowers are known at UW) is a showdown featuring two Pacific Northwest crews. The Huskies will face the University of Victoria, who defeated Eton College (UK) by a dominant 4 ½ lengths, albeit in a time in 7:12. UVic has had a banner year on the water, having captured a Western Canadian championship, a Canadian University title and the Brown Cup, the annual dual with rival University of British Columbia. But they'll be facing a Husky crew that was national champions at the IRA Championships in June and undefeated throughout the regular season.
McGee noted his crew has become further accustomed to the "knockout" style of the Henley Regatta, which pits two crews against each other in tight racing quarters.
"They did a great job with dual racing this year and really enjoy racing one on one. It makes it more personal when it is just two boats between the booms. The atmosphere in the booms is different but they like the intensity."
The Henley spectacle is only going to increase heading into the weekend, as the crowds and the pomp/pageantry will take over the race course in suburban London.
Also advancing into the final eight crews was Harvard University, which defeated Exeter (UK) by three lengths. The winner of the UW-UVic race will face either the Crimson or the University of Durham, located in Northern England near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
Reminder, the GoHuskies.com site will be down from July 2 - 5. Updates from the Henley Royal Regatta will be available on the team's Facebook & Twitter pages, which can be accessed below.
Round Of 16 Race
Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-On-Thames, England
University of Washington d. Nihon University by 2 ¼ lengths