Although it wasn’t the main event of the weekend, plenty of rowers on the Washington women’s crew team gained experience Saturday.

While the main boats prepare for Sunday’s Pac-12 championships, the Huskies raced two boats, the open eight and collegiate four, at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif.

The Huskies’ open eight boat (6:37.5) lost by a mere three tenths of a second to Stanford Cardinal (6:37.2). In the collegiate four boat race, the Huskies finished in third place with a time of 7:54.5, with California finishing in second (7:50.4), and the Stanford A boat winning the race with a time of 7:41.5.

“I thought our open eight boat did really well today,” UW women’s team head coach Bob Ernst said. “For our fifth varsity eight boat to perform like it did against Stanford is exactly what we wanted. It gave several walk-ons and first year rowers a great opportunity to come down here and get some valuable experience.”

Ernst believes the experience earned Saturday will help the program as it strives to compete for a conference and national title.

“Today was a really good day of racing,” Ernst said. “There are kids in those boats today that wouldn’t normally be here. They will help us out a lot down the line to reach our goal of winning the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships. It’s a good investment in the future of this program.”

The UW men’s and women’s crew teams will compete Sunday in the Pac-12 Championships with each team racing three eight boats and a four boat.

Reach reporter Jack Russillo at Twitter: @jackrussillo

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