Sept. 1, 2011
SEATTLE -A quintet of Huskies medaled at the Rowing World Championships on Thursday, and, more importantly, qualified their nation's boats for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Current Husky Conlin McCabe was one of three Huskies on the men's side to win a bronze medal for Canada's 8+, along with Rob Gibson and Will Crothers. The Canadians finished three seconds (5:31.18) behind the winning German boat on the 2,000-meter course in Bled, Slovenia, crossing the finish line with a time of 5:28.81. Great Britain, which will host the Olympics next year, finished second at 5:30.83.
For McCabe, this is another noteworthy accomplishment in a year that's featured its fair share. The rising senior - who will miss the 2011-12 season to compete internationally - also won a National Championship with the Huskies in June.
Men's crew coach Michael Callahan could hardly contain his excitement at Canada's success. He woke up at 3:00 a.m. Pacific Time to watch the race online and noted the result was important for a Rowing Canada program who went to Worlds with a lot of expectations. Canada won Olympic gold in the men's 8+ in 2008, but fell out of form in recent years, most notably their fifth-place finish in the World finals in 2010.
"I'm really excited, holy smokes," Callahan said. "I think (Canada) is in a great spot to defend their Olympic title. Will, Conlin and Rob all wanted to accept that challenge. They have a lot of hard work to do going forward, but they've taken a big step forward from where they were last year."
Rowing Canada has historically had a strong partnership with the Washington crew program. The Canadians train in nearby Victoria, British Columbia, and at one point last season had five current and former Huskies competing in the men's eight.
The Huskies owe part of their current success on the water to both Gibson and Crothers, members of the 2009 class largely credited with Washington's resurgence on the water. Both are natives of Kingston, Ontario, and rowed in high school and the Canadian junior team together. Gibson and Crothers won National Championships for UW in 2007 and 2009 and have competed for Canada's senior team since graduation. "They were a huge stepping stone for the program to get where it is today," said women's coach and rowing director Bob Ernst.
Just as impressive was the silver medal won by Megan Kalmoe and Adrienne Martelliwith the USRowing quad. Surprisingly, the American boat came through the repechage to finish second behind the winning Germans, coming across with a time of 6:19.90. In qualifying for the finals through the reps, the Huskies also eliminated the defending champion Great Britain quad.
Martelli is a 2010 graduate of Washington and like Kalmoe joined the Huskies as a walk-on rower. Now she's a medalist at the World Championships, a feat Ernst termed as "incredible," considering the University Place, Wash., native has only been rowing for five years.
"The fact that she's medaled in one of the most technically demanding events in rowing is pretty amazing," Ernst said.
Now the five Huskies turn their focus into securing seats for the 2012 Olympics, which take place on the world class venue at Eton Dorney next summer.
Full results and entries can be found on www.worldrowing.com.
Other Huskies are still in contention in the next couple of days. Stay tuned for more information and results of the Dawgs at Worlds in Bled, Slovenia.