Oct. 2, 2011
SEATTLE - Bob Ernst was eager to see his Huskies return to competitive action on the Montlake Cut this weekend - despite not having much at stake.
The Washington women's crew coach, entering his 38th year at the University, wanted to see how his squad would complete in pair trials at the Tail of the Lake on Sunday.
Considering it was primarily an intrasquad challenge, Ernst was taking an early assessment of who was ready to compete heading into the 2011-12 season. The race was an elective competition, meaning it was open to Huskies who were interested in entering a pair. Starting in Lake Union, the Tail of the Lake course takes rowers through 4,000-meter race into Lake Washington.
"The development part of the program is in the fall," Ernst said. "It's low-key, but it gives the Huskies who want to race a chance."
The Huskies are coming off an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, and are looking to build speed heading into the always-difficult Pac-12 schedule. Washington's fall-training philosophy emphasizes work in small boats, a staple of many national programs around the world. Instead of working in eight-oared boats, the Huskies feel early season work in the pair (two oars) help to develop rowing strength and technique. This is balanced by work on the ergometer (stationary rower) and weight training.
Ernst already scheduled a long pair race when the Huskies took to the water earlier in the week, as well as a 10K erg test. The program gives the student-athletes freedom heading into pair races, allowing them to select their own pair partners and switch if a different chemistry is needed.
The first race of significance for the Huskies comes on Oct. 29, when the team travels down to familiar territory in Northern California for the Head of the American Regatta on Lake Natoma.