May 1, 2012
Setting the Scene: 26th Annual Windermere Cup
This Saturday, May 5, Windermere Real Estate, the Seattle Yacht Club and the University of Washington will co-host one of the most unique rowing events in the entire world: the 26th annual Windermere Cup. Both the Husky men and women have won five straight Windermere Cup titles, including a thorough defeat of last year's invited guest, Cambridge. Races are slated to begin at 10:20 am with the featured races beginning at 11:05 am.
The key participants in this year's Windermere Cup races for the Husky men's crew team will be the Argentina National team, Oregon State and the University of Virginia. On the women's side, the Huskies will face off against Argentina and Gonzaga. Otago, a university crew from New Zealand, will face the Husky women in the Cascade Cup.
Argentina is the 21st national team to attend the Windermere Cup, and the first since Brazil in 2009.
In addition, the event will feature dozens of junior and masters crews from all over the nation and the world.
Windermere Cup On Radio/Streaming
Highlights of the Windermere Cup will be selectively aired on KJR 950 AM during the 9am - 12 p.m. hour. KJR's Dick Fain will be providing updates from the finish line of the Montlake Cut. A stream of the finish line will also be available on GoHuskies.com.
The official Twitter page of the Husky Crew will also have live in-race updates: http://www.twitter.com/UWHuskyCrew. Post-race recap and video interviews will be also available on GoHuskies.com.
About The Windermere Cup
The Windermere Cup/Opening Day races are annually attended by thousands of spectators, both on land and in boats along Montlake Cut and Lake Washington. The featured races' sponsorship by Windermere Real Estate, Inc. began in 1987 and draws major national and international crews each year to the Windermere Cup races. The Opening Day Regatta has been a traditional part of the opening of yachting season since 1970 and women's intercollegiate races were added to the schedule in 1976. The regatta is the preliminary event to the annual yacht club parade, signaling the beginning of boating season in the Northwest. The Cup itself is European cut-crystal and is roughly 14" tall, weighing a little over seven pounds. The base of the Cup, engraved with the name of each winning crew since 1987, is granite and weighs around 25 pounds.
Huskies Coaching Staff
Michael Callahan is beginning his fifth year as steward of the Husky men's crew program. The UW alum coached his team to a fifth consecutive Ten Eyck Championship, a first in collegiate rowing. 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 women's team is coached by the legendary Bob Ernst, who made the switch in 2007 after a 20-year stint coaching the men's program. Ernst is no stranger to women's rowing, having shepherded the program to six National Championships from 1981-87. Ernst also has significant Olympics and International experience and has been involved with some facet of the UW program since 1974. In 1984, he coached the Gold Medal winning eight in the Los Angeles Olympic Games. In his first season at Washington, Conor Bullis manages all coaching duties for the women's novice rowers.
Last Time Out
The Washington Huskies had a week off to rest after a grueling test against archrival California on the Montlake Cut. The men's crew program swept all four races against the Golden Bears at Redwood Shores, including a win in the varsity eight battle for the Schoch Cup, the 101st edition of the historic rivalry. The second varsity eight, freshmen eight and the varsity four also posted wins. For the women's crew, the race served as an indicator for how fast the Huskies need to be going forward, as Cal swept all four races against UW, including the varsity eight dual for the Simpson Cup.
The Huskies' home course is Montlake Cut, a 2,000-meter sprint that begins from a floating start parallel to the 520 Bridge in Lake Washington and runs east to west through the Montlake Cut and to the finish line near the mouth of Portage Bay in Lake Union.
Scouting The Huskies
Washington is ranked No. 1 in the USRowing poll, having overtaken previous No. 1 Harvard after sweeping Brown this year. The Husky men's program has gone undefeated this spring, having won each race by an open-water margin, including a sweep of archrival Cal at Redwood Shores two weeks ago. The Washington women dropped from second to sixth in the CRCA/USRowing poll after getting swept at Cal. Overall, the Husky women have had a strong year on the water, defeating several Pac-12 opponents at the season-opening San Diego Crew Classic, in addition to a win over Washington State in the Apple Cup Dual.
Windermere Cup Field
Argentina's visit to the Windermere Cup marks just the second-ever appearance by a South American crew in the event, and the first from a Spanish-speaking nation. The Argentines are coming off a successful season that saw the program rack up eight medals at the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, which tied the USA for the most overall. In the men's eight race, the Argentines finished with a bronze medal behind the USA and Canada.
Argentina's women did not race an eight at Guadalajara, but the nation won two gold medals at the games (quad sculls and coxless pair).
Additional guests include Virginia's vaunted men's club program. Virginia is just the third club program to be invited to the Windermere Cup. The invitation comes on the back of UVA's highly successful 2011 season, which saw the Cavaliers win the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) championship, along with a strong showing at the Henley Royal Regatta last June. The other invitee is Pac-12 rival Oregon State, ranked No. 19 by the USRowing Collegiate poll.
On the women's side, Gonzaga brings some local flair to the event. The Jesuit school, made famous by its success on the hardcourt, is having a great season on the water. The Bulldogs are coming off a sweep at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) championships, winning the team points trophy for the first time in school history. Highlighting the race was a tight win by the Zags' varsity eight boat over fellow WIRA competitors Sacramento State and St. Mary's.
2011 Windermere Cup Recap
Both Washington crews were at their best at the 25th annual Windermere Cup in 2011, dominating international guests Cambridge, along with Stanford and Oklahoma, to cap an exciting morning of racing on the Montlake Cut. The Washington men won its fifth straight Windermere Cup title, while the Husky women also won their fifth in a row.
Where To Watch
Spectators are encouraged to view the Windermere Cup races from the shores of the Montlake Cut on Saturday, May 5. This is a free community event with parking available at surrounding University of Washington lots. Parking in the large Montlake Lot (E-1) is $15. Please note that the Montlake Bridge will be closed to traffic from 9:40 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The races begin at 10:20 a.m. and are followed by the boat parade. The Montlake Bridge will be raised and remain open during the boat parade.