The rowing season is nearing its climax as the Washington men’s and women’s teams compete this weekend at California’s Lake Natoma. But the Huskies, ranked nationally in the top five, are also looking ahead toward the national championships.
The Washington men’s and women’s crew teams head to Northern California this weekend looking to take home titles from the Pacific Coast Rowing Championship and Pac-12 Championship regattas.
The UW men, ranked third nationally, are defending six straight conference championships. The Huskies swept all five races last year at Lake Natoma, one of the country’s premier rowing venues.
Washington, which has won five consecutive national men’s titles, will face stiff competition in the No. 2 Cal Bears, who defeated the Huskies by a half-second April 23 in a head-to-head dual. But the UW men have their sights set on next month’s national championships.
“The Pac-12 Championships are another important milepost in a rowing season,” UW men’s head coach Michael Callahan said in a news release. “As always, it will be a very tough, close competition and we’ll need to row very well to achieve the goal of winning a championship.”
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The men will race their first, second and third varsity eights, a freshman eight and a varsity four down the 2,000-meter course at the Pac-12 Championships on Sunday. UW is fielding an open eight and two open fours in Saturday’s Pacific Coast Rowing Championships, the lesser of the weekend’s two regattas.
Washington’s women are sending their first, second and third varsity eights to the Pac-12 Championships, along with a varsity four. On Saturday, the Washington women are racing just one open eight in the PCRCs.
“Our clear goal is to win the Pac-12 Championship,” said Conor Bullis, UW’s interim women’s head coach. “I think it’s going to come down to the varsity eight for us. It has been very close between California, Stanford and us. And you never know, we have not seen USC race in a while.
“It is going to be one 2K race and everybody can throw it down as hard as they can to see how fast they can go,” Bullis continued. “I think all boats will be close to peak at that point. It is going to be very exciting to see who wins that race.”
The UW women head to Lake Natoma ranked fourth nationally, having swept their races at last week’s Windermere Cup regatta on Seattle’s Montlake Cut.
UW finished second last year at Pac-12s, just 1.5 points behind Cal in the team standings, though the varsity eight — the top boat in both men’s and women’s rowing — finished third. While the Huskies have finished second in three of the past four years, the women haven’t won an overall conference title since 2003.