June 6, 2009
IRA Championships Regatta
Day 3 - Saturday, June 6, 2009
Lake Natoma * Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Head Coach Michael Callahan
On the race plan for the varsity eight race:
"We knew we had to weather a really strong first 500 meters by California and Stanford to have a chance. We were really just trying to stay close enough to make a run for it in the second 1000."
On the varsity eight's come-from behind win:
"We didn't want to give up as much as we did, so that makes a coach a little nervous on the beach. We gave up a lot. I think they called us nine seats down at one point and that's really hard to recover in a race that's of this pace. We were fortunate maybe to have a headwind, which extended the length of the race in time. So things went our way."
"At just about 250, I saw that we were coming about even and it looked like we had a push there. You could see Cal respond. They had a really good response and we just scooped our bow ahead."
On California and the rivalry between the two schools:
"We knew we had to have an outstanding race today to be able to compete with these guys. The California guys are tremendous - they're well-coached, they're well-supported. They have an amazing coach and they've worked really hard over the last few years. We've competed against them a lot. That's what great rivalries do, they bring the best out in you. They got the better of us at the Pac-10 Championship and we wanted one more shot. And it went our way."
On the team format of the championships and the team's philosophy:
"It's very important to the University of Washington to have a deep team and not just emphasize one eight. We emphasize the whole team, from the guys in the last boat to the guys in the first boat. It's kind of our philosophy that the guy in the 3V is pushing the guy in the 1V. It's a tribute to everyone back at the boathouse who didn't make this trip, everyone who was here, the alumni. Everyone identifies with that in our culture at Washington."
On holding the IRA Regatta on the west coast:
"It's extra meaningful for us to have our fans here, from the Bay Area, from all over California and Washington and the western states. I think it's really meaningful to us to have victory here. We're really excited that our fans came. Sacramento and Rancho Cordova have been amazing hosts. The whole event was well-organized, the weather was great, everything's just been awesome."
Varsity seven seat Simon Taylor:
On pushing through Cal in the last few hundred meters of the race
"I think we always kept confidence in ourselves. We never underestimated California. We know they're good. And with 500 meters to go, we were about three or four seats down and we knew we had a challenge on our hands, but at the same time, we knew that we could take it if we wanted it. At that point, we just kind of went internally, and just kind of thought about our boat and what we can do to go as fast as we can that last quarter of the race. We just gave it everything and it ended up turning in our favor."
On how it feels to win his first national championship:
"This has been three years coming. It feels really sweet to get the national championship. I've always wanted it, always dreamed of it. It was one of my goals coming to University that I'd get a national title, so I'm really happy."
Second varsity bow man Stephen Connolly
It's good. We've been training for this all year. We went out there and instead of trying to race with everyone else, we stuck in our own boat today and we raced what we know how to do, what we've practiced every day. The race plan came through and worked well. We pushed on all three moves and we moved away with each and maintained speed and that's what separated us from second place, third place, fourth place. It wasn't some miraculous race, it was something that we know how to do. And we executed perfectly. The results gave us a win. We're really excited about it."
"As freshmen, we came in as the class of 2009, and we had a lot of confidence. We won our freshman year, so we had a lot to prove. Last year, we came up short with the varsity coming in second and the freshmen coming second. This year was our chance to leave on a high note. The freshmen performed perfectly, and we performed well, and it was down to the varsity and they executed perfectly. This is something we've been waiting for, three years in the running now. It's a great feeling to be leaving on this note."
"We're so happy to be here. We've worked really hard for it. We haven't won all the races leading up to it, but the last day, last race is the only one that matters. That's the one we're going to remember forever."