Huskies off to strong start after first day.
May 28, 1999
LAKE NATOMA, Calif. -- The Washington women's crew team literally got off to a fast start in defense of its national championships in the first day of competition at the NCAA Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma, Calif. The Huskies won all three of their heats and automatically qualified their Varsity Four and Varsity II Eight (junior varsity) teams into Sunday's finals.
Rowing into a headwind on the 2,000-meter Lake Natoma course, the Huskies used their experience to get out to quick starts in all three races and cross the finish line unchallenged. All three boats led from start to finish.
"Our goals were to number one qualify and number two win if we could. We feel we did what we needed to do today," said Husky coach Jan Harville. "It is going to be a barnburner. Even Saturday in the semifinals, it is going to be very competitive."
Harville was pleased that the Huskies performed their gameplan, especially getting off to clean starts in the somewhat choppy conditions at the starting line.
"A lot of that is skill," she said. "Getting off to a quick start is a lot mental and skill. They were aggressive and kept good blade work. If you don't have a good start, if you wash your blades out, if you tip a little bit, it can dictate how the race can go.
"We have room for improvement. We had good races. Whether or not we had great races is a function of what is happening during the race. When you know that you are not pushed up against the wall you don't always have your absolute best performance."
The Varsity I Eight turned in the fastest time of the day by winning its heat in 6:52.74. Northeastern finished second to the Huskies in 6:56.37. Washington's heat included three non-Division I teams. Wisconsin, expected to challenge for a spot in Sunday's finals, had a rower catch a crab and finished fourth in 7:13.17. Washington's victory was the 33rd straight collegiate win for the Huskies dating back to the start of the 1997 season.
"We were prepared for the headwinds," said Husky senior Tiffani Sumner. "Mentally and physically you have to be ready for those and we are. We did a good job of getting the blades in and swinging hard."
"We had an excellent start," said senior coxswain Missy Collins. "We were out really fast, about a 46 (stroke rate) and then we settled down a little. We just kept walking out on people. After about 30 strokes I looked around and saw we were about two seats up on Northeastern and about three seats up on Wisconsin."
"We might have been a little cautious because we knew we drew the easier heat and sometimes that will give you a false sense of security because you think it is going to be easy," said senior Rachel Dunnet. "The competition here this year is a lot stronger. There is a lot more depth in the field. Tomorrow it is going to get tougher."
Princeton (6:54.4) and Michigan (6:55.2) qualified for the semifinals from the second heat while Brown (6:54.7) and California (6:57.01) took the top spots in the third, and most competitive heat. The Golden Bears narrowly edged a sprinting Virginia team (6:57.31) at the finish while Massachusetts finished fourth in 6:59.03. The teams that did not automatically qualify for Saturday's semifinals were scheduled to race again Friday afternoon in two heats of repechage (second chance) races, with six teams joining the six teams that automatically advanced to the semis.
The Husky Varsity Four boat picked up Washington's first win by winning their heat with a time of 7:30.59. Harvard finished in second place with a time of 7:35.91. Those two teams, along with Brown (7:32.2) and Michigan (7:36.78) from the other heat, automatically advanced to Sunday's finals.
The race was a new experience for the Varsity Four team that is comprised completely of freshmen.
"We had an excellent start," said freshman Anna Mickelson, the No. 3 rower in the Varsity Four boat. "It was probably one of our best starts ever. Everything was good except for probably the final 500 meters. We were a little tired and so we didn't have a good sprint."
"We did get off to a good start today and that allowed everyone to relax and have a good race," said Fours coxswain Mary Whipple, a Sacramento native. "Our first 1000 meters was real strong. We were not quite as good down the stretch because the headwinds were very consistent. We're in the finals and that was our goal."
In the Varsity II Eight race, Washington won its heat with a time of 6:56.41, while Princeton placed second at 7:00.47. Virginia (6:51.54) and Brown (6:58.40) also advanced to Sunday's finals from the other Varsity II Eight heat.
"It was pretty tough up at the starting line, but we handled the water really well" said Varsity II coxswain Lara Tilmanis. "It was pretty tight with Princeton for the first 1000 meters. We did a good job of keeping our composure and we made a good move when we wanted to. If we have an advantage it is because we practice a lot in the winds."
Only the 10 teams competing for the team championship rowed in the Varsity Four and Varsity II Eight competitions. The Varsity I Eight includes those 10 teams along with nine at-large entrants.
Saturday's semifinals will begin at 10 a.m. PT on Lake Natoma. Sunday's finals are also scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PT.
NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Lake Natoma, Sacramento, CA
Heat 1: 1. Washington (cox - Missy Collins, stroke - Sabina Telenska, 7 - Katy Dunnet, 6 - Rika Geyser, 5 - Tiffani Sumner, 4 - Rachel Dunnet, 3 - Vanessa Tavalero, 2 - Nicole Borges, bow - Nicole Rogers) 6:52.74, 2. Northeastern 6:56.37, 3. Dartmouth 7:02.84, 4. Wisconsin 7:13.17, 5. UC Davis 7:15.25, 6. Williams 7:21.04, 7. Marrietta 7:30.65
Heat 2: 1. Princeton 6:54.40, 2. Michigan 6:55.20, 3. Harvard 7:01.2, 4. Boston Univ. 7:10.86, 5. Michigan State 7:11.87, 6. Oregon State 7:12.2
Heat 3: 1. Brown 6:54.7, 2. California 6:57.01, 3. Virginia 6:57.31, 4. Massachusetts 6:59.03, 5. USC 7:21.99, 6. William Smith 7:31.88
Heat 1: 1. Virginia 6:51.54, 2. Brown 6:58.4, 3. Wisconsin 7:08.05, 4. Michigan State 7:08.76, 5. Boston Univ. 7:12.58.
Heat 2: 1. Washington (cox - Lara Tilmanis, stroke - Romany McNamara, 7 - Noelle Anderson, 6 - Theresa Nygren-Birkholz, 5 - Kate Tylee, 4 - Lora Steele, 3 - Jenni Vesnaver, 2 - Lindsey Horton, bow - Jan Williamson) 6:56.41, 2. Princeton 7:00.47, 3. Michigan 7:03.24, 4. Harvard 7:09.04, 5. California 7:14.35
Heat 1: 1. Brown 7:32.2, 2. Michigan 7:36.78, 3. Boston Univ. 7:39.48, 4. Princeton 7:50.7, 5. Michigan State 8:08.28
Heat 2: 1. Washington (cox - Mary Whipple, stroke - Erin Becht, 3 - Anna Mickelson, 2 - Kara Nykreim, 1 - Kellie Schenk) 7:30.59, 2. Harvard 7:35.91, 3. Virginia 7:38.2, 4. Wisconsin 8:05.0, 5. California 8:10.75