June 20, 2003
SEATTLE - The Washington men's rowing team concludes its 100th season of competition with an appearance at the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames River in England during the first week of July.
Coach Bob Ernst and two Husky crews depart Monday, June 23 for a week of training in England prior to the 164th renewal of the prestigious regatta that began in 1839. The Henley Royal Regatta runs from July 2-6 and features a unique match-race format with two boats racing side-by-side with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser eliminated from the competition. The one-mile, 550-yard (2,112 meters) Thames River course is slightly longer than the traditional 2,000-meter racing distance.
Washington competes with eight other eight-oared crews for the Ladies' Challenge Plate. The Huskies' varsity eight won the Pac-10 title and was the national runner-up at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships. Harvard, which won the Ladies' Challenge Plate at Henley in 2002, won the 2003 collegiate championship.
There is one change to the lineup that competed for UW at the Pac-10 and IRA Championships. Sophomore stroke Ante Kusurin is training with the Croatian National Team and is unable to travel to Henley. Filling his seat in the boat is junior Ian Sawyer, the stroke from the junior varsity eight.
Sawyer is joined in the Huskies' Henley eight by coxswain Ryan Marks, John Lorton, Marko Petrovic, Brett Newlin, Giuseppe Lanzone, Kyle Larson, Sam Burns and Andy Derrick. The majority of the team is departing from Seattle. Newlin and Burns will join the team in Henley, traveling from Princeton, N.J. where they have been training with the U.S. National Team. Petrovic will meet the Huskies in England after practicing with the Serbian National Team.
The Henley Royal Regatta website (www.hrr.co.uk/) states, "In the Ladies' Challenge Plate the overseas entry includes crews from America, Germany and Australia. The home entry is the strongest for a number of years and there should be excellent racing throughout this event."
The nine-boat field includes collegiate crews from Cambridge (England) University, Curtin (Australia) University, Dartmouth and Rutgers. Strong club entries include the London Rowing Club and Molesey Boat Club which reached the final in last year's event.
Washington also has a crew in the Britannia Challenge Cup that has 70 entries in the fours with coxswain competition. The Huskies' boat is comprised of athletes that rowed in the junior varsity eight boat during the season. Coxswain Chris O'Brien is joined by stroke Scott Gault, John Taylor, Charles Minett and Mathew Kopicky.
Traditionally, the Huskies don't enter the Henley competition unless they win the collegiate championship, but an exception was made this year to honor the 100th year of Husky Crew.
"Our main crusade this year has been the centennial. We're showing the flag at Henley and its realistic to think that we have a good chance," Ernst explained. "Henley is the definition of spectacle. It's not the Olympics, and it may not always be completely fair, but it something you have to experience. It's something that Washington does."
The last time the Washington men rowed at Henley was 1997 when the Huskies narrowly lost by one foot in the championship race to the Notts County & Oxford Brookes crew that served as the British National lightweight eight.
"You have to be clearly better than the local crew if you want to win because they have a home course advantage," said Ernst who also explained that the pairings don't guarantee a final with the two best boats. "The famous statement is 'there is no such thing as second place at Henley' because theoretically you could end up racing the second-best boat on the first day."
Washington's junior varsity eight won the Ladies Plate in 1978 and 1981. The Huskies' varsity eight captured the Grand Challenge Cup in 1977, becoming the first U.S. crew in 18 years to win that event.
The Huskies' eight will be rowing in their own boat, "The 101" which was donated by an anonymous UW benefactor prior to the 1997 Henley Regatta. The Empacher eight-oared shell is stored at Jesus College in Cambridge and used exclusively by Washington teams training and racing at Henley. It was named in honor of The 101 Club, a Seattle-based amateur sports support organization.
Washington is renting a four-oared shell in England for the Britannia Cup competition.
Washington Lineups for Henley Royal Regatta
July 2-6, 2003 / Henley-on-Thames, England
Ladies' Challenge Plate
cox: Ryan Marks (Sr./Dartmouth, Mass./Tabor Academy)
stroke - Ian Sawyer (Jr./Auckland, NZ/Takapana)
7 - John Lorton (Sr./Seattle, Wash./University Prep)
6 - Marko Petrovic (Jr./Belgrade, Serbia/14th Belgrade)
5 - Brett Newlin (Soph./Riverton, Wyo./Michigan State)
4 - Giuseppe Lanzone (Soph./McLean, Va./McLean)
3 - Kyle Larson (Soph./Mount Vernon, Wash./Mount Vernon)
2 - Sam Burns (Jr./Seattle, Wash./O'Dea)
bow - Andy Derrick (Jr./Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier)
Britannia Challenge Cup
cox: Chris O'Brien (Jr./Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier)
stroke - Scott Gault (Soph./Piedmont, Calif./Piedmont)
3 - John Taylor (Jr./Tacoma, Wash./Charles Wright)
2 - Charles Minett (Sr./Stratford, Ontario/Rockaway)
bow - Mathew Kopicky (Soph./ Seattle, Wash./Ballard)