May 3, 2013
By Seamus Labrum
UW Men's Crew
The Washington-California Dual reached its 102nd running last Saturday. In short, it's a West Coast battle for bragging rights - two heavyweight contenders throwing haymakers as they race toward the finish line.
The Washington-Cal rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sport. In basketball, it's Duke and North Carolina, Ohio State and Michigan in football. But in rowing, in today's age, all eyes turn to the West Coast for the knock-down, drag-out dual that pits the best against one another, head-to-head.
A precursor to the Pac-12 and IRA championships, this year's dual had its fair share of build up. The USRowing Coaches' Poll was released on Wednesday and had Washington at the one spot with California sitting at No. 2 in the nation. For the second time this season, UW would be facing off against a two-seed; but with the rivalry's storied history comes added pressure to perform.
The boathouse echoed with he sounds of anticipation early on in "Cal week." Warm-ups in the erg room were louder, the athletes displayed supreme focus, and coaches were on their "A" game. This week was not to be taken lightly and every rower, from the first varsity boat to the second freshman boat, knew it. Both the men's side and women's side were in lockdown mode.
The show started with the lane draw on Friday and was followed by the ever so early coxswain meeting on Saturday morning. By 9 AM, the races were a go and the Cal Dual was underway. The wind was at its peak for the varsity races and the tension was high to match it. At 11:20, the men's 1V boat took to the course and the starting commands were yelled, "Attention, Go!" Oars dug and slapped at the waves, rough conditions permeated the first 500 meters. The UW eight finally settled into its rhythm after the large oarsmen from Cal threw their best punch early on. The fight dragged on through the middle thousand meters with UW slugging its way back into level position with the Bears. A big push broke Cal in the Montlake Cut and the Huskies raced to victory to sweep the men's races.
The composure of the Washington men showed in both JV and varsity races at the 102nd running of "The Dual." A determined UW group fought through rough conditions and a fine showing from their California rivals. The Bears and Huskies will face off twice more this year in championship races. There is much to be done and many facets of racing that must be tweaked for continued Husky success. Our resolve will be put to the test in the remaining weeks of the season. The show has only just begun.
Windermere Cup 2013
The Windermere Cup is like nothing else when you're an athlete racing between the yachts during the Opening Day of boating season. I would bet nothing comes even close when looking at spectator rowing in the U.S.
For rowers and coxswains alike, racing at Opening Day is analogous to rowing inside a stadium. The crowds are loud and for virtually 2000 meters all eyes are on you. From those spectators on yachts to fans on the bridge, the roar of cheers is deafening. One would be hard-pressed to find such attention paid to rowing within the United States. For American rowing, Windermere is quite frankly 'the show.'
This year the competition is different. No international crews will take the course against the Washington oarsmen and women. Rather, two Ivy League foes will attempt to lay down their best pieces on the Huskies' home water. This unique year of racing on Opening Day is special for a whole class of graduating seniors this year. For the Class of 2013, Windermere marks the final time those athletes will be able to race down the Montlake Cut with 'W's on their chests. As bittersweet and humbling as the final race will be for the seniors, adrenaline will outweigh all else as the seniors race towards the finish line and Portage Bay.
On Saturday, emotions will be high, the sun will be shining, and yachts will tie their bows to the log booms in anticipation of the 2013 Windermere Cup. And, for one final time, the "Mean '13" will hear the roars of their home crowd and the blast of the Husky Trumpets as they make one final push to the finish line of their beloved Montlake Cut.