Sporting an undefeated record and fresh off a perfect weekend of rowing at the Stanford Invitational, the Washington men’s crew team will send three boats to Spokane for a scrimmage against Gonzaga on Silver Lake beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday.
The Huskies will send the fourth varsity, second freshman, and combination eights boats across the state to gain racing experience while many of the regular varsity rowers stay at home to prepare for their matchup against rival California on April 25 in Seattle.
“Gaining experience is always very crucial,” men’s team head coach Michael Callahan said. “It’s good for everybody to get a lot of racing experience and see how they develop. It will be a good opportunity for both teams to test themselves.”
Saturday will give the younger Huskies a chance to face a quality opponent, as the Bulldogs have competed in the IRA Championships in each of the last four years.
“It should be a fun trip,” graduate assistant coach Niles Garratt said. “I think it helps both teams because they’re both preparing for different things. It should be an energetic environment and an exciting day for both teams.”
The group of UW rowers making the trip to Spokane will be racing multiple times Saturday, with some participating in up to five races.
“Some of these guys will be racing when they normally wouldn’t be,” Callahan said. “It’ll be difficult but it is what it is. They [have] to get used to it.”
The coaches will also be deploying various lineup combinations to evaluate which ones work best and to expose their rowers to new challenges on the water. The staff plans to mix sophomores and upperclassmen with the freshman, with hopes of keeping the level of competition high.
“We’re going to be banging heads,” Garratt said. “We’re excited for a competitive environment this weekend.”
Last weekend, the UW men took down three conference opponents, defeating Washington State on Friday before taking down a five-team field, which included Stanford and Oregon State, at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday. The Huskies also took home wins against UC Davis and Santa Clara at the Stanford Invitational.
The women’s team will take the weekend off before returning to the water the same day as the men, also against the Golden Bears in Seattle.
Reach reporter Jack Russillo at email@example.com. Twitter: @jackrussillo