May 13, 2012
GOLD RIVER, Calif. -The Huskies turned the Pac-12 Rowing Championships into a coronation.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation, the Washington crew program held to the form they've exhibited all season by sweeping all four races at the inaugural conference championships on Sunday morning at Lake Natoma. It was the 35th conference title for the storied UW program, which has now won the event five times in the last six years.
Yet this was arguably their most impressive performance at the conference championships, ever. For just the fifth time since the Pac-12 moved to its current points system, Washington took all available 72 points from the four races, the third time in team history the Huskies have accomplished the feat. California finished second in all four trips down the 2,000-meter course at Lake Natoma to take second place overall with 63 points.
All season long, the Huskies have staked their claim as the best men's crew program in the country, and the rationale was only strengthened after another powerful performance on the water on the picturesque course at Lake Natoma.
And the Huskies aren't just winning. Each time on the water, the Huskies set a punishing pace their rivals are unable to match.
Washington put a cap on its Pac-12 performance with the varsity eight outlasting archrival California in the regatta's penultimate race. With both crews even at the 500-meter mark, the Huskies slowly began to pull away on the Golden Bears at the halfway point. The Huskies increased the lead in the third 500 before a strong finishing kick broke the race open at the finish. In the end, the Huskies had an eight-second win over Cal, finishing with a time of 5:44.66.
The morning began with a comfortable win for the freshmen eight, which faced only a mild challenge from California in the first 500 meters. The Class of 2015 rowers, coached by Luke McGee, continued their undefeated campaign by finishing the course in a time of 5:44.30, more than three seconds faster than the Golden Bears. It was the second-fastest time out of all four Washington boats that competed Sunday.
Washington built on the momentum with a solid win in the varsity four, using a sling-shot move in the third 500 to take control of a tight race with Cal. The Huskies then walked away in the final 500 to secure an open-water win over the Golden Bears, who were almost eight seconds back of UW (7:13.59 to 7:21.21).
The trend of Husky domination continued in the second varsity eight, who tore off the starting line for a wire-to-wire victory. Finishing in a time of 5:48.39, the Husky 2V8 was more than five seconds faster than California, which came across at 5:53.77.
Up next for the Huskies is the season-ending Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship, the regatta that annually determines the National Champion. The three-day event begins May 31 on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Lake Natoma, Calif. All races 2,000 meters
Varsity Eight:Washington 5:43.50, Cal 5:51.50, Stanford 5:57.70, Oregon State 6:04.70, UCLA 6:21.60, Washington State 6:21.80, Colorado 6:42.40
Second Varsity Eight:Washington 5:48.60, Cal 5:54.10, Stanford 6:04.10, Oregon State 6:24.00
Varsity Four:Washington 6:31.40, Cal 6:40.60, Oregon State 6:57.30, Washington State 7:07.10, USC 7:10.30, Stanford 7:20.20
Freshmen Eight: Washington 5:44.30, Cal 5:47.80, Oregon State 6:11.70, Stanford 6:16.60, Washington State 6:32.70, USC 7:06.10, Colorado 7:12.10