After the excitement of its intra-squad regatta, the Washington women’s rowing team will begin its competitive season in two different states Saturday. Three varsity boats will travel to Lowell, Ore., to compete on Dexter Lake in the Oregon State Invitational, and the remaining boats will remain in Seattle to compete in the Husky Open.

“I am super excited to start the season, we’ve had really good winter training,” head coach Conor Bullis said. “The numbers on the water are better than we’ve had in the past.”

Last year, the Huskies’ first and second varsity teams and the varsity four found success on Dexter Lake, placing first in all three races in the morning session.

“We’ve been hitting some pretty fast times and we’re in a really good place to keep going,” senior captain Danielle Olson said.

The UW will be competing in a Pac-12 matchup against Stanford in the 9:45 a.m. session. In the afternoon, the Huskies will face the Cardinal again, as well as Oregon State, Central Florida, and Oklahoma.

Stanford finished in the top 10 at the NCAA championships last year, while Central Florida and Oregon finished within the top 20.

“We’re in a very competitive sport, so my guess is the teams that were at the top last year with us are going to be faster this year,” Bullis said. “We need to be a lot better by the end of the season.”

Last year, the Huskies swept all of their races in the Husky Open on Montlake Cut, despite having their best rowers in Oregon for the invitational.

The UW, University of Puget Sound, Washington State University, Lewis and Clark College, and Pacific University will compete at the Husky Open at 8 a.m. Saturday.

“It’s going to be a good season, everyone has a lot of passion and everyone has a lot of heart this season,” Olson said. “For once, we finally have that urgency.”

Even though the Huskies were ranked No. 5 in preseason seeding, Olson and her fellow teammates are confident they will reach a top spot this season.

“As a team, we’re definitely trying to win the Pac-12’s,” Olson said. “We’re going to win the Pac-12’s and we want to improve our seating for the NCAAs, we want to beat Ohio and get first this year. We’re just going to shock them off the line and crush it.”

Reach reporter Liz Cusanelli at Twitter: @liz_cusanelli17

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