Saturday, December 4, 2021

UW Rowing Teams Looking to Continue Strong Fall Season When Hosting Head of the Lake

After a win at the prestigious Major of the Charles Regatta in Boston, the UW men’s rowing team will look to continue their winning ways on their home waters on Sunday.

The Husky men and women will host the Head of the Lake on Sunday, continuing the fall season that serves as good training and preparation for the biggest race of the season next spring.

Defending national champion Washington certainly got a big boost when he beat some of the nation’s best rowing events, including Yale, in Charles’s prime on October 24, having beaten UW by 23 seconds two weeks earlier. Housetronic in Connecticut.

But UW had just started training when it took on Head of the Housetronic. Two additional weeks of training and the addition of coxswain Zack Kessler, and Simon Van Dorp, two years away with the Netherlands Olympic team returning to a fifth-seat row, helped differentiate Boston.

“It’s one of those bucket list regattas around the world,” UW Men’s Rowing Coach Michael Callahan said of the Head of Charles Regatta. “It’s one of the top three regattas apart from the Olympics and the World Championships. It’s a big one, for sure. It’s the crown jewel of fall racing.”

Washington rallied in a single-file contest, beating Dartmouth by nearly two seconds and Yale by nearly three seconds.

“It’s a very windy river so coaxing becomes very important,” Callahan said. “Zach Kessler did an amazing job both holding the boat together and creating really good lines in the steering – and that was another way we gained momentum. It was really a great weekend for everyone.”

Yale and Washington finished 1-2 in the 2018 and 2019 national championships. The IRA Championship was not held in 2020, and Yale – and other Ivy League powers – did not compete this past spring, when UW won the title.

“We don’t get as many races on the East Coast as we’d like, and it was a way of looking at our competitors (before the national championships in the spring),” Callahan said. “Whenever you race with top competitors, and come out on top, that’s important. But it’s just a fall and we have to keep in mind that not everyone is at full force right now. … But it Has a great prelude and it’s great for confidence.”

UW sent two eight points to the Head of the Charles, but almost everyone on the roster would compete in the Head of the Lake.

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“It’s really important to show the depth of the team,” Callahan said. “We’re trying to see how fast we get from the top boat to the bottom fifth boat and where everyone stacks up.”

Head of the Lake will be the first time this fall that the UW Women’s Eight competes.

The Husky women, who lost in a three-way tiebreaker while trying to defend their NCAA championship last spring, opened their season October 2 by winning the top pair race at the Burnaby Lake (BC) Small Boat Invitational, with more pairs competing only in singles. .

“It was wonderful to be back together and to be able to race in pairs immediately,” said UW coach Yaz Farooq. “It was great, and I’d do it again.”

Farouk’s team was very close to winning its third national title in four seasons, winning the first two races – four and the second eight – but finishing eighth behind Texas and Stanford.

Because the university has more points in the eight, it allowed Texas and Stanford to tie Washington first. The tiebreaker is the University of Eight race, leaving Texas champions and Stanford in second place.

But this is old news, and the search for another title has begun in the spring.

“It’s really about making the most of the fall to put us in a stronger position when we come back after Christmas,” Farooq said. “I think on the water, from a fitness standpoint, and the commitment to improve from everyone on the team is, honestly, very exciting.”

UW was delighted to welcome Valentina Iseppi and Carmelo Pappalardo this fall, when they worked with the Italian Olympic team last season.

Husky has also added 35 walk-ons after the tryouts, and two from the state will be awarded scholarships in the spring.

Last season, due to the pandemic, UW had to choose only 10 walk-on sightseeings.

“So you have all these different levels of people, and the collapse is the period when we all unite,” Farooq said. “I think the magic of this team is that you have some really skilled rowers coming in, the elite guys that we recruited, and then you have some great walk-ons – like Brooke Mooney, Jess Thoens and Anna Mickelson (who went on to become an Olympian) – and they all work with experienced rowers to develop their rowing skills.”

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