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SEATTLE – This Saturday, May 3, the University of Washington will celebrate the 28th anniversary of the Windermere Cup, the annual spring regatta on the Montlake Cut that signifies Opening Day for boaters in Seattle. The world championship caliber senior crews of the Great Britain National Team will join the No. 1 men and No. 6 women from Washington out on the Cut, with races beginning at 10:20 a.m. PT.
"We want to encourage the very best teams to come race in the Pacific Northwest and Windermere's sponsorship has allowed us to do that," said men's head coach Michael Callahan. "We're really excited to have such a high caliber team coming to race us."
The 2014 Windermere edition continues the tradition of attracting premier rowing teams to Seattle for this special event. The crews coming from across the pond won more medals at the 2012 London Olympics than any other team and have since had brilliant showings at World Cups and World Championships.
In the GB Men’s 8+ features Dan Ritchie, who was in the gold-medal M8+ boat at the 2013 World Championships along with a slew of other oarsmen with world championship and world cup finals appearances.
The women’s squad features Zoe de Toledo, a 2013 World finalist, as coxswain.
"Over the years it's always been the goal of the Windermere Company and the University of Washington to get the best level of competition here for the Windermere Cup," said head women's coach Bob Ernst. "This year we have definitely achieved that. Great Britain has the best National and Olympic rowing Team in the world, winning more Olympic medals in London than any other country, and we are honored to have a team of this caliber coming to Seattle to race our Huskies. We have not faced a team this good since the Soviets visited here in Windermere Cup #1 in 1987!”
Every year the Windermere Cup features top-notch crews from around the globe and country who come to battle the historically dominant husky crews. Over the history of the Cup Washington has hosted twenty-four national teams, including this year’s visitors from Great Britain. UW holds a 17-6 record against visiting national teams and an overall record of 21-6 in the cup’s history including a current seven-year winning streak for both the men and women.
The last national team to take on the Huskies on the Cut was the squad from Argentina who traveled to Seattle for the 2012 event.
In the men’s team trip to the Royal Henley Regatta last summer, the Huskies took on the Brits in the Grand Challenge Cup final. In that race UW tied the previous course record set by the Germans, but it would not be enough to hold of the hometown crew who set a new record. The rematch between the two teams will be a race to remember. To see the history between them check out these videos: part one here and part two here.
Last week, Washington headed down to Redwood Shores to battle rival California for a day of extremely close races that would end with UW victories in the MV8+, M2V8+, WV4+, WN8+ and MF8+.
Windermere Cup is held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club and is sponsored by Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate, the largest regional real-estate company on the West Coast. Last year tens of thousands of fans lined the Cut and packed the Montlake Bridge to see the Huskies sweep all four races for the second consecutive year. The free event has become one of the largest sporting events in the area, connecting the Seattle community to the sport.
The Windermere races began with the World Champion Soviet Union crews in 1987 as part of the community's effort to highlight the unique racing venue the Montlake Cut offers rowing.
The spring rowing event is not just for collegiate programs. Dozens of local, national and international junior and masters crews will compete in races prior to the main event.
Windermere's heritage of supporting collegiate crew racing began in 1987, when the company sponsored the first annual Windermere Cup regatta in Seattle. More than 800 athletes a year from around the world come to Seattle to participate in the Windermere Cup title races. Held in partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle Yacht Club, the Windermere Cup has become one of the largest community events in Seattle, welcoming national and international crew teams for exciting competition while commencing the official opening day of boating season for the waters of the Puget Sound.