Nov. 4, 2011
SEATTLE - The fall distance season comes to a close for the Washington crew program this weekend at the Head of the Lake Regatta, the final competition before Huskies move towards winter training.
Racing begins Sunday morning at 8 a.m. The 3-mile course begins in Lake Union and continues through Portage Bay and the Montlake Cut before spilling into Lake Washington. Unlike the Head of the Charles, where just one boat travels to Boston, the Huskies plan to race a wide variety of boats to allow all components of the program to get valuable racing experience. The crews racing at HOTL will go off in 15-second intervals, and will also feature many Northwest-based club and high school programs.
During the fall months, the Husky crew program makes it a priority to train in small boats. Both men's and women's crews have rowed almost exclusively in two-oared pairs, which hastens improvement of both technique and strength.
The work is paying off. Men's coach Michael Callahan recently held a 10,000-meter ergometer test and had 82 percent of his team record personal bests.
"This race is great because it gives our rowers a lot of opportunity," Callahan said. "There's going to be a lot of internal competition, based on the successes we've had in the pairs. It seems like we've awoken a bit from our summer nap."
In terms of race goals, Callahan is looking to see improvement in two areas: base speed and starting speed. The Huskies showed resolve when challenged at the Head of the Charles, but the fifth-year UW coach says he has driven rowers ready to compete for seats in the varsity.
While the men's program will primarily compete against itself at the HOTL, the Husky women are bringing a Pac-12 foe in Washington State to Seattle for the race. This means a bit more added motivation for Bob Ernst and his team.
"This is what it boils down to: the Cougars are coming to race us," Ernst said. "So we will have a meaningful race. They've done well in their previous races this fall, so it will be interesting to see what happens."
For a complete race schedule, visit the official Head of the Lake Regatta Page. Race recaps and results will also be available on GoHuskies.com following the conclusion of the Regatta.
Please note the 520 bridge will be closed both ways this weekend (Nov. 5-6) beginning this Saturday night and re-opening Monday morning.