Nov. 2, 2012
SEATTLE - The fall season for Husky crew comes to a close this weekend at the Head of the Lake Regatta hosted by the Lake Washington Rowing Club. Both crews will send several boats out on the 3.1 mile course that starts in Lake Union, winds through Portage Bay and the Montlake Cut and then spills out to Lake Washington--giving the athletes a chance to get out on the water to compete one last time before the winter training period begins and their attention shifts to academics.
Rowing director and women's crew coach Bob Ernst is excited about the event and believes it's a great opportunity for his athletes to actually compete in a race after working hard day in and day out during the fall.
"It's huge, our athletes train so hard during the short fall season, so it's really important to have a milestone [of finishing the fall competitive season]," said Ernst. "They are on an intercollegiate athletic team to compete, and this weekend is an opportunity for them to do that in the fall. For some, it's their first chance to race [at UW], so it's great for them."
Ernst also thinks the Head of the Lake regatta signifies how rowing is an integral part of the Seattle community, and that's something he wants his newcomers to see.
"It shows them that rowing is important here in Seattle," said Ernst. "There will be thousands of athletes and spectators that come to our boat house, and they get to be a part of that. And the community gets to see world-class rowers."
The women's Varsity 8 will be facing their cross-state rivals in the Washington State Cougars in the second race of the day beginning at 8:08 a.m. Any time you pit Washington against Washington State, pride and bragging rights are surely on the line.
"The Cougar's women's rowing is good, and just about every time they face us they want to win, and so do we, so there are no Huskies here overlooking them."
The men's program--coming off two consecutive national championships--has used Fall competition to determine the agenda for improvement in the winter training season, and the Head of the Lake Regatta will be another opportunity to add to that. After facing--and beating--some of the best rowers in the world at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in early October, head coach Michael Callahan mostly wants his men to enjoy the last race of the fall before they turn their focus on upcoming finals and winter workouts.
The races begin at 8:00am on Sunday morning with the Men's Collegiate 8. Athletes of all ages from local and regional rowing clubs will compete against each other in several races throughout the morning as well.
For a full race schedule, check out Lake Washington Rowing Club's official Head of the Lake Regatta page.