June 30, 2012
HENLEY-ON-THAMES, United Kingdom - The Huskies are one win away from the Temple Cup.
Washington's Class of 2015 rowers took down the second Harvard boat in as many days, downing the Crimson lightweights by almost two lengths on the River Thames course on Saturday morning.
The win over Harvard set up a showdown with yet another Ivy League program in Brown, only this time with markedly more at stake. Another win on Sunday would give Washington just its second Temple Cup, on the heels of the Class of 2013 two years ago. It would also clinch a historical run for this year's Grunties, who have been perfect all season, including a gold medal at the IRAs.
UW finished the 2,112-meter endurance test in 7:10, while Brown defeated St. Petersburg University (Russia) to set up the final showdown. The Huskies faced Brown twice this season, knocking off the Bears in the season-opening dual in Seattle and then again in the IRA Grand Final, where Washington was almost 21 seconds ahead of Bruno.
Men's coach Michael Callahan said the weather in England was the worst of the Huskies' trip so far, as rough water and wakes made for a rocky rowing experience. The added jeopardy was facing a technically proficient lightweight crew that could take advantage of any Husky mistakes.
"It was difficult to warm up technically," Callahan said. "It was hard to go through our fundamentals with so much river traffic and conditions."
Callahan described the race as a "bare-knuckle fight" between two elite crews.
What provided a boost for the Huskies was the atmosphere at Henley, which is often described as one of the top early summer events on the British social calendar.
"The atmosphere at Saturday's at Henley is amazing," Callahan said. "It's the biggest crowd of the week and the racing is even more exciting ... it's similar to Windermere Cup; imagine the Kentucky Derby on water."