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Washington Dominates the 2013 IRA Championships

by Allison Frederick, allison@usrowing.org | Jun 02, 2013
The University of Washington men’s team entered the 2013 IRA Championships as undefeated Pac-12 champions. And they left with a national championship title in each of the five events it entered, and the Ten Eyck Trophy for overall points. Washington’s overall performance was every bit as stunning as last year, when the west coast team swept the men’s events on the Cooper River. Seven members of its top varsity eight, in addition to 14 seniors, returned to put a perfect ending to the season at Lake Natoma this weekend.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It’s a good day to be a Husky.

The University of Washington men’s team entered the 2013 IRA Championships as undefeated Pac-12 champions. And they left with a national championship title in each of the five events it entered, and the Ten Eyck Trophy for overall points.

Washington’s overall performance was every bit as stunning as last year, when the west coast team swept the men’s events on the Cooper River. Seven members of its top varsity eight, in addition to 14 seniors, returned to put a perfect ending to the season at Lake Natoma this weekend.

“It looks almost too easy for Washington,” said the race announcer, as the Husky varsity men’s eight went into the last hundred meters of the grand final, with a full boat-length lead over Harvard University.

But as head coach Mike Callahan commented following the men’s eight victory, Washington’s successful season was a process. And one that took a tremendous team effort to embrace.

“In the end, I know these guys have worked really hard,” said Callahan. “It’s been led by a strong senior class. We embrace the hard work and the process. It’s kind of cliché, but it’s true. I think we have a lot of trust in what we’re doing.

“From the outside, it may look seamless, but there are a lot of hard days, a lot of hard workouts, a lot of days that we’ve to work it out to make it come together. Behind the scenes, it’s a tremendous effort.”

In the final, Harvard flew off the line at 49 strokes per minute and held a short, early lead with a half of a boat deck over Washington. The Husky crew of coxswain Seamus Labrum, Alexander Perkins, Henry Meek, Conlin McCabe, Mijo Rudelj, Marcus Bowyer, Samuel Dommer, Ryan Schroeder and Alexander Bunkers responded, and gained the lead by the 500-meter mark.

Seat by seat, meter by meter, Washington continued to pull away from the field. The crew crossed a full boat length ahead of Harvard to win in a 5:39.68, with the Crimson second in 5:42.24, followed by Brown University (5:42.53), Northeastern University (5:42.72), University of California (5:45.06) and Princeton University (5:49.54).

“We knew we had some good boat speed (leading up to the final), but you want to see the guys have their best performance on the last day,” said Callahan. “Of course, California has improved and Harvard, obviously, on the east coast, had an amazing season. So did Brown. The field was really deep and we knew we had to have a good piece.”

In the final of the men’s second varsity eight, Washington won by three seconds in 5:51.07, with Brown silver in a 5:54.15, Cal third in 5:54.78. Princeton was edged out of the medals by just 0.29 seconds.

“I feel like they are the classiest boat,” said Callahan of the second varsity eight. “I knew they had another gear, and I’m glad they found it today. It feels good, as a coach, to have them come off the water and feel like they nailed it.”

Washington won by open-water in the freshman eight, and pull out victories in the open and varsity fours earlier in the day.

Harvard University proved its depth in men’s lightweight rowing, earning titles in both the eight and four. The lightweight eight won in a 5:54.05 over Yale’s 5:55.31, while Columbia took the bronze medal with a time of 5:55.70.

In the lightweight women’s eight final, Stanford University pulled out a win, crossing in 6:47.68 over Harvard-Radcliffe’s 6:51.41. Wisconsin eight took third in 6:55.09, while its lightweight four won gold.

Stanford lightweight women’s head coach Al Acosta said the win was a matter of “seeing everything come together when it matters most.”

“They made a ton of progress this past year, and what you saw today was them just continuing that progress they started after they got demolished by Harvard when they raced them in Boston,” said Acosta. “It was a difficult race, and they were upset with the loss, but they regrouped.

“We have two seniors that are amazing. It’s their sixth and seventh championship in a row. Alex Coors, she won three in high school and four here. Liz (Fenji) won two in Canada and four here. So the seniors did a great job of leading and I think they were instrumental. We didn’t talk a whole lot about winning. We talked doing what we’ve been doing, staying focused on our boat and making sure we were getting faster.”

Full results are posted here: http://www.jamcotimes.com/2013/ira/index.htm.

View a photo gallery of Sunday’s heats and awards at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usrowing/sets/72157633889131556/.

About USRowing
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing’s official suppliers include Vespoli, WinTech, Filippi, Croker Oars, Rudy Project, Concept2, Nielsen Kellerman, and Ludus Tours. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners ANXeBusiness Corp, EMCVenues, Connect-A-Dock, JanSport, Rudy Project and Boathouse Sports. For more information, visit www.usrowing.org. The USRowing National Team program relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. New opportunities exist to support the teams through the next quadrennial, culminating with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing and the USRowing adaptive programs also benefit from corporate support. Free basic membership and championship level membership to USRowing is available and encouraged. For more information, please contact Beth Kohl at beth@usrowing.org.
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