Feb. 24, 2009
SEATTLE -- The Washington men's varsity eight will travel to England this week to race Oxford in a pre-Boat Race fixture on Sunday, March 1. The Huskies are believed to be one of the first American collegiate crews to race against Oxford in a formal scrimmage prior to the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (or The Boat Race) began in 1829 and has been contested 154 times, with Cambridge holding the all-time series edge, 79-74. Oxford won the 2008 edition of the race. The 2009 Boat Race is slated for March 29 on the Thames.
Washington rowing has several ties to Oxford University. Freshman coach Luke McGee rowed for Oxford in 2001-2002, helping his team to a win in the 149th edition of the Boat Race. Former Washington oarsman and 2008 Olympian Ante Kusurin currently strokes the Oxford blue boat and will likely race against his former squad.
The eight oarsmen plus coxswain traveling to London will also complete a one-credit course on the history of the Battle of Britain. While in the United Kingdom, the Huskies will visit Winston Churchill's War Room, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum and the Imperial War Museum.
"This is such a great opportunity for our team," said men's varsity head coach Michael Callahan. "It will be a wonderful educational experience for them and it gives us a chance to race against an Oxford team that includes several Olympians and U23 members. Oxford's crew has some serious international experience and we're interested to see how we stack up against them."
The race will consist of a 4.25-mile course through London on a section of the River Thames called the Tideway. The Tideway is subject to twice daily tides that can cause the water level to rise or fall by as much as 24 feet. The boats will race Sunday afternoon at 3:30pm GMT (7:30am PT), at which time the tide will be rising.
Expected to race for the Huskies will be Will Crothers, Simon Taylor, Bart-Jan Caron, Max Lang, Rob Gibson, Hans Struzyna, Jessiah Johnson and Anthony Jacob. The eight will be coxed by Katelin Snyder.
"As a current Washington coach and a former Oxford Blue, I am proud to have a personal connection with two of the world's finest collegiate rowing programs," said McGee. " As someone who has won the Boat Race I know the importance of this tune-up race for success against Cambridge. I am honored that Oxford would think so highly of the University of Washington as to invite us to take part in their pre-Boat Race fixture. I am looking forward to bringing the current Huskies over to England and joining the two great rowing traditions of Washington and Oxford."
Race recap and results will be available on GoHuskies.com following the conclusion of the race Sunday morning.