May 29, 2012
INTERCOLLEGIATE ROWING ASSOCIATION (IRA) Championships
Thursday - Saturday, May 31 - June 2
Cooper River Cherry Hill, N.J.
Racing Schedule (Pacific Times Listed)
Thursday, May 31
5:00 am - Varsity 8 heats
5:15 am - Varsity 8 heats
5:30 am - Varsity 8 heats
6:00 am - Second Varsity 8 heats
6:15 am - Second Varsity 8 heats
6:30 am - Second Varsity 8 heats
6:45 am - Freshmen 8 heats
7:00 am - Freshmen 8 heats
7:15 am - Freshmen 8 heats
7:30 am - Open 4 heats
7:45 am - Open 4 heats
8:00 am - Open 4 heats
8:15 am - Varsity 4 heats
8:30 am - Varsity 4 heats
8:45 am - Varsity 4 heats
11:00 am - Varsity 8 repechage
11:15 am - Varsity 8 repechage
11:30 am - Second Varsity 8 repechage
11:45 am - Second Varsity 8 repechage
12:15 am - Open 4 repechage
12:30 pm - Varsity 4 repechage
12:45 pm - Varsity 4 repechage
Friday, June 1
6:30 am - Open 4 semifinal
6:45 am - Open 4 semifinal
7:00 am - Varsity 4 semifinal
7:15 am - Varsity 4 semifinal
8:15 am - Freshmen 8 semifinal
8:30 am - Freshmen 8 semifinal
8:45 am - Second Varsity 8 semifinal
9:00 am - Second Varsity 8 semifinal
9:15 am - Varsity 8 semifinal
9:30 am - Varsity 8 semifinal
Saturday, June 2
5:36 am - Open 4 Petite Final
5:48 am - Open 4 Grand Final
6:00 am - Varsity 4 Petite Final
6:12 am - Varsity 4 Grand Final
6:30 am - Freshmen 8 Third Final
6:45 am - Second Varsity 8 Third Final
7:00 am - Freshmen 8 Petite Final
7:15 am - Freshmen 8 Grand Final
7:30 am - Second Varsity Eight Petite Final
7:45 am - Second Varsity Eight Grand Final
8:30 am - Varsity Eight Third Final
9:00 am - Varsity Eight Petite Final
9:15 am - Varsity Eight Grand Final
The fastest crews in the nation are in New Jersey to compete for a national title at the 110th annual Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, a three-day event held on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J.
The Husky program is searching for its 15th National Championship, and is looking to repeat for the first time since back-to-back wins in 1940 and 1941. For the Huskies to accomplish the rare feat, they'll need to be at their best over the course of three days against 17 other crews. Conditions on the Cooper River are often hot and humid this time of year, meaning the test will be as much mental as it is physical.
Teams at the IRAs race five boats: Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight, Freshmen Eight, Varsity Four and Open Four (which must include one freshman rower). The National Champion is determined by the fastest boat in the Varsity Eight Grand Final.
Joining the Huskies at the IRA Championships will be California, Stanford, Brown, Harvard, Wisconsin, Princeton, Navy, Syracuse, Boston, Yale, Northeastern, George Washington, Gonzaga, Drexel, Cornell, Pennsylvania and Dartmouth. In order to compete at the IRAs, crews must either qualify (which the Huskies did by winning the Pac-12 Conference), or be selected as an at-large. Teams must also hold "varsity status" at their respective institutions.
The Huskies are also seeking their sixth straight Ten Eyck Trophy, which is given to the program that accumulates the most overall points at the IRAs. Last year, Washington became the first school to win five in a row.
Following The Races
Once again, the IRAs will be streamed in their entirety. Live video is available here: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/cs.portal. Up-to-the-minute results will be available on the team's official Twitter feed (@UWHuskyCrew), followed by a recap on GoHuskies.com.
Looking Back To Last Year's Title
Washington came to the Cooper River as the No. 1 crew in the nation in 2011, and imposed its will right away in the heats by winning four of the five categories. The Huskies then advanced all boats to the finals, but a second-place finish in the semifinals (the only time last season the V8 was not first in a 2,000-meter race) had many wondering if the Grand Finals would be anybody's race. The final day turned out to be a coronation for the Huskies, as the team won four races, including their 14th National title after a dominating effort by the varsity eight. The Husky flagship boat broke away from the pack thanks to a powerful surge 750 meters into the race. Once in the lead, the Huskies would not look back, winning the Grand Final by open water.
On The Line: The Varsity Challenge Cup
The varsity eight competes for the Varsity Challenge Cup, which ultimately determines the National Champions. The silver trophy was first presented in 1898. Washington has won the Cup 14 times, dating back to 1923. The second varsity competes for the Kennedy Challenge Cup, originally presented in 1899. The Huskies claimed that award in 2004, 2005 and 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The freshmen race for the Steward's Cup, first awarded in 1900. Washington won the 2006 freshmen eight championship, and then again in 2009 and 2010. UW completed a sweep of the three premier eights races in 1950, 1997, and then again in 2009.
Since 2006, the Varsity Challenge Cup has been dominated by West Coast schools, with either Cal or Washington winning the national title, save for Wisconsin in 2008. An East Coast school has not won the Varsity Challenge Cup since Harvard won three in a row from 2003-05.
Huskies Coaching Staff
Michael Callahan is in his fifth year as steward of the Husky men's crew program. The UW alum has won the Ten Eyck Trophy in each of his five seasons as head coach, in addition to two National Championships. In 2011, Washington won all but one IRA race to capture its 14th National Championship, and the third in five years for the program. Prior to taking over the men's coaching position, Callahan served for three seasons as the Huskies freshmen coach. A 1996 graduate of the University of Washington, Callahan has also been an active member on the international level, where he's competed and coached. Luke McGee handles the coaching duties for the freshmen. Now in his fifth season at UW, McGee has led the Grunties (as freshmen are known in Husky parlance) to two IRA Gold Medals and two Silver Medals.
The Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta is the oldest collegiate crew championship in the country, and remains the premier event for national rowing honors for college men.
The first IRA Regatta, on June 24, 1895, was a four-miler between Columbia, the winner, Cornell and Pennsylvania. In 1923, Washington, coached by Rusty Callow, became the first Western school to win the IRA's featured varsity eight competition, followed by another victory in 1924 and then again in 1926. When Callow left Seattle to coach at Penn, he was succeeded by his assistant Al Ulbrickson, who continued the Huskies' winning ways with six IRA varsity eight titles in 1936, 1937, 1940, 1941, 1948 and 1950. His freshman, second varsity and varsity crews "swept the river" in 1936, 1937, 1948 and 1950. Bob Ernst ended a 20-year coaching run in 2007 with a national championship. Ernst, who now coaches the UW women, led his team to a modern-day sweep in 1997, when UW crews won all three races on the Cooper River.
The Lake Mercer course is located outside of Princeton, N.J. in West Mercer Township. The races will be the standard sprint distance of 2,000 meters.
Proving Their Speed
All season long, the Huskies have established themselves as the nation's most imposing crew. Washington has yet to lose in a 2,000-meter sprint this season, and all victories have come by open water, meaning the Huskies boat was not in contact with their opposition. Along the way, the Huskies have swept races against No. 2 Brown, No. 4 Cal and No. 9 Stanford. The Huskies then picked up wins at the Windermere Cup before taking all four races at the Pac-12 Championships.
> Varsity Eight - Ranked No. 1 ... Undefeated entering IRA for fifth time in six seasons ... Pac-12 Champion ... UW's last loss came in the semifinals of the 2011 IRA Championships ... Huskies seek their 15th IRA title ... UW varsity lineup features two seniors, six juniors and one sophomore.
> Second Varsity Eight - Defending IRA champion ... Undefeated this season, culminating in a 2012 Pac-10 Championship ...The Husky 2V8 has won gold medals in the last five IRA Championships.
> Freshmen Eight - Seeking third IRA Gold Medal in the last four years under Coach McGee ... defending Pac-12 Champions ... picked up wins this season against Brown, California and Stanford.
> Varsity Four - Undefeated this season ... looking to capture third straight IRA title.
> Open Four - Coming off a gold medal finish at the 2010 IRA Championships ... has not raced this season.
IRA Racing Format
Competition at the IRA Regatta consists of heats, repechage (second chance races), semifinals and finals. In the varsity eight heat, the two fastest crews advance to the semis. This is the same format with the freshmen eight and the varsity four. In the second varsity eight and the open eight, the top three advance. The rest are relegated to the repechage race, where the top three boats will gain entry back into the semifinals. The crews outside the top three will race in the Third Final. In the semis, the top three crews advance to the six-boat Grand Final. The remaining crews will race in the Petite Final.