The Washington men’s crew beat the Netherlands U-23 in an “E-Race” last week, the two teams competing continents apart on indoor rowing machines.
On May 2, the Huskies will learn if they can beat the Dutch team on the water, as it was announced Wednesday that the Netherland U-23 men’s team is taking part in the 34th annual Windermere Cup on the Montlake Cut.
The defending national champion UW women’s crew will also face a tough challenge at the Windermere Cup, with Great Britain’s U-23 women’s team taking part in the event, part of Opening Day of boating season.
“I think it’s going to be really challenging,” said UW men’s coach Michael Callahan, whose team finished second in last year’s national championships. “They are really well coached, and they are really good.”
The Huskies beat the Dutch by about 3 1/2 seconds in the 2,000-meter E-race.
“That’s kind of an intrigue in, did the machine give us an accurate depiction of what the race could go like, or is on the water different?” he said.
Washington junior Gert-Jan van Doorn will be racing against his home country. He won a bronze medal at the U-23 world championships as part of the Dutch eight last summer.
Another Husky rower, Simon van Doorp, is taking a year off from UW to race with the Netherlands Olympic team. He is expected to return to UW next year.
Washington sophomore Holly Dunford helped Great Britain win the U-23 silver medal last summer at the world championships.
“But they won’t have Dunford (at the Windermere Cup), because we got her,” said UW women’s coach Yaz Farooq, who has led the Huskies to national titles two of the past three years.
Callahan’s crew has finished second in the national championships the past three years. At UW, which won the title five straight times (2011-15), that is considered a disappointment. Callahan said the team lost 12 of its top 16 rowers from last year, but he doesn’t want to call it a rebuilding year.
Callahan said the team has been training differently in recent years, “going a lot slower, on purpose,” to be able to peak at the end of the season. And the end goal of winning a national title has not changed.
Farooq likes what she is seeing from her UW women.
“Based on the tests that we are doing on the rowing machines, our team is doing really, really well,” she said.
The Husky women open their spring season Feb. 29 against USC in Las Vegas. The men open with the Class Day Regatta on March 21.