May 1, 2007
The Washington men's and women's rowing teams host the 21st-annual Windermere Cup regatta, Saturday, May 5. Racing begins at 10:20 a.m. on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies are joined in the featured races by crews from Purdue and the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
The Windermere Cup is a spectacle unrivaled in collegiate crew. It is among the premier regattas in the sport of rowing with thousands of spectators lining both sides of the course for its entire 2,000-meter length.
Junior Steve Full (Cumberland, Maine) rows in Washington's varsity eight crew. He spent a few minutes with GoHuskies.com, talking about the season and the upcoming Windermere Cup.
GoHuskies: What are your thoughts on the season so far?
Steve Full: "It started off really well. The Head of Charles win was really nice. Ever since then, we've just really been pushing forward and it's been really coming together. Every day we are getting a little bit better. Every day."
GoHuskies: You defeated second-ranked California by a boat length on Saturday. Would you comment on that victory?
SF: "It was very exciting. It's the only team I've ever had to give my jersey to. Beating them was a big day for me and the rest of the crew. That's really why I came to Washington, was to beat Cal and to win a national championship."
GoHuskies: Your team has been ranked No. 1 throughout the year. What significance does the ranking mean to you?
SF: "I really don't pay attention to rankings. I just want to win."
GoHuskies: Your crew is in a stretch of several big races on consecutive weekends. Do you enjoy that or would you prefer to have a little bit of a break?
SF: "It's funny, because sometimes I wish that I could race everyday. But I know it's really hard on your body to have a big race like Cal, then the Windermere Cup and then right after that to have Pac-10s. It puts a lot of pressure on us to perform. But when do that, then we get that week off before IRAs (Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships) and we will be well prepared for that."
GoHuskies: What are your thoughts on the upcoming Windermere Cup?
SF: "It's always exciting. Last year was amazing to go up against the Russians. They were very fast. We gave it all we had. We lost to them. So this year should be very exciting, being that it will be kind of a revenge race. We would very much like to beat Waikao this year, but either way it will be a lot of fun."
GoHuskies: What makes Windermere Cup such a unique rowing event?
SF: "The people. Bob (Ernst) says that there is not another event like it anywhere in the world. You don't get that many people lining the course anywhere else, not even at the Olympics. There will probably be 40,000 people watching this race. It gets loud and really intense. It gets the heart pumping."
GoHuskies: Do you recall your first Windermere Cup race?
SF: "I do. It was my freshman year. We were racing Cornell's junior varsity and our jayvees. We didn't race the freshman race because we wanted a challenge. We rowed really well and demonstrated that we had speed. We only lost to Cornell's jayvee by about a second."
GoHuskies: What was your first reaction to the large crowd of spectators lining the course?
SF: "I was definitely aware of the crowd. Mike Callahan, the freshman coach said that, `If you can't get excited for this race, then you might as well not row here.' That's all the pep talk he gave us and that's all we needed. It was great. It was loud and exciting."
GoHuskies: In this year's Windermere Cup, you will be racing a somewhat familiar opponent. What are you thoughts on racing against Waikato University from New Zealand?
SF: "I know that they are great group of guys and I know that they have a lot of good rowers over there. When we were racing Waikato in New Zealand they had Nathan Twaddle, who is a world champion. They are really good. I think that it's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a really good race."
GoHuskies: Your crew was in New Zealand for a few weeks leading up to The Great Race against Waikato. What was your greatest memory from that trip?
SF: "Probably the training we did there on Lake Karapiro, which is where they are hosting the world championships in 2010. The training there was great. Amazing water, lots of space to row and we had the place to ourselves. The country there is just beautiful."
GoHuskies: You lost the race to Wakaito. Are you looking forward to racing them again?
SF: "We beat them on the ergs at the indoor competition in New Zealand, which was a lot of fun. We didn't have the greatest race in the water. But, I think this is going to be a good chance for us to show that we actually are as fast as we say we are."
GoHuskies: That Great Race takes place on an unusual venue. Would you describe it?
SF: "It is race where each crew starts even and everyone starts into the current on the river, not with the current. It makes for very difficult racing. So pretty much, the race can be decided in the very first minute. If you get ahead then you can move over to the inside lane and that's pretty much what happened there. They got ahead of us and controlled the race."
GoHuskies: On a personal note, what is your academic major?
SF: "I'm a history major."
GoHuskies: What are your future career plans?
SF: "I would like to do the Sports Management program here at the University of Washington and possibly go into coaching. Either that or I really would just like to do anything in the business side of sports."
GoHuskies: What has it meant for you to be a part of the Univiersity of Washington crew program?
SF: "I think the most important thing is the traditions that we have here. There are a lot of great rowers that have come through the University of Washington. And I think it is just important to be a part of keeping alive that tradition of excellence."
GoHuskies: Thank you very much for you time and good luck this weekend in the Windermere Cup.
SF: "Thank you."