IRA Men's Rowing Championships
Day 2 -- Friday, June 2, 2006
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
Washington Head Coach
On Friday's varsity eight and second varsity performances:
"It was a really good day. The varsity had a good race. I think they're on. Both crews are on now and it's going to be an exciting day Saturday. "
On the second varsity's repechage victory:
"The second varsity had to reach down and row to the occasion. I couldn't be prouder of those guys. I knew they had it in them, but they had to go and do it. That was a courageous race. They went out to win it on the first stroke and they just kept going. You find out what kind of athletes you've got in a rep where only the winner goes to the grand final. It was full blitz all the way to the end."
On the varsity eights reaching the grand final despite a No. 7 seed:
"The seedings are off now. We had a fair seeding. They did a good job. They got the semis exactly right. My hat's off to them."
On the lineup changes since the Pac-10 regatta that improved the varsity and second varsity:
"So much of it is just chemistry. These guys are race dogs. We train all year long and this is the ultimate goal every year, to see how we are going to do at the national championships. Everybody is here. All that other stuff, everything until Saturday, is a prelim. This is what we live for, all year long we train for this."
Varsity Eight Bow Seat
On the semifinal race:
"It wasn't the best we have rowed, but overall we were solid. We got down the course and just ended up doing our thing. To get in the final we had to race it all the way down the course. That's what we did."
On the prospect of winning a national championship:
"I think we have a chance to win it. If we throw down our best race, we can do it. I'm not going to say without a doubt because you never know what can happen in a race, but I know that our boat has the speed to do it."
On the improvement of the crew since the Pac-10 championships:
"Since we got Toby (Dankbaar) in the stroke, that really helped our boat. He accelerates well and rows long. Toby has it and we all match up with it. It's been going well."
On the No. 7 seed:
"It was kind of like last year when we were a freshman team, myself, Tad (McCrea), Toby (Dankbaar) and Rob (Gibson). We knew that we were seeded seventh and we knew that we had something to prove. This year, it's the same thing. We have nothing to lose. Everyone is going after Princeton and we're doing the same thing."
Second Varsity Eight Coxswain
On Friday's repechage win:
"It's the first time that we've been up on Cal. That was kind of our goal, to be up on them right off the start. And we were and from then on things were clicking. It was a good race, a solid piece, real solid. We made a push just before the 500. It was just to set the length. The jitters were gone so they were real antsy to get there. We just lengthened out and hit our pace. We were just cruising real hard."
On the repechage matchup with California:
"When we saw that Cal was in our rep, it went from being a bit nervous to being excited to figuring out what we have to do this time. It was agreed upon by the seniors in the boat that this wasn't anything else but a dual between us and Cal. This was the final dual of my life against Cal ever. It's the first time I've ever beat Cal in a varsity boat."
On the the legacy of the two-time defending champion second varsity:
"We're always aware of the tradition of this crew. We have a plague in the boathouse that lists all of the national champions with their name and the year they won. It's in our weight room and we look at that thing every day. We put ourselves in position to be on there and we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Second Varsity Eight Bow Seat
On the repechage win over California:
"It was the winner to the grand final and everyone else to the petite. So for at least five of us, the seniors, that was the last time we'd ever race Cal either way. For three of the other guys, that was the first time they had ever beaten Cal. It feels pretty good to know that you beat them the last time you raced them. But, there is still a huge race tomorrow. We were in a great position to beat them, having gotten closer the last time we raced them earlier. We felt that we had the advantage. You're always excited to race Cal. You want to see the West Coast represented in the final, but if you can put your main opposition out of the way early then it's a huge benefit.
On advancing to the grand final after a third-place heat result:
"They've done it four times before, the jayvees winning the final after placing third in the heat."
Freshman Eight No. 3 Seat
On the semifinal victory:
"That was sweet. We hit our rates and we hit our moves that were really powerful. We definitely have like at least two more gears, that's the best part. Yesterday was kind of like getting use to course. It was hot and we kind of got the cobwebs out of the system in the first race after not racing for a while."
On the grand final matchup with California:
"It's going to be fun. It's about having fun. The Pac-10s was a good race. We changed the boat lineup a lot right before that race and we really didn't click until two, maybe three days before the race. So to come that close to them with a boat that hadn't really meshed together was a great feeling. Now we've been rowing for the last three weeks. We're definitely rowing our best now."