In one of the oldest rowing rivalries in collegiate history, the Washington men and women’s rowing teams will take on California, the reigning national champions and conference powerhouse, on Saturday at the Montlake Cut.

The men are coming off another clean sweep of competition last week after they handily beat Wisconsin, Stanford, and other schools, continuing their undefeated start to the season.

However, that streak will be put to the test on Saturday, as the Golden Bears present the biggest challenge the Huskies have raced against this season by far. Men’s head coach Michael Callahan was complimentary of California and expects some great times this weekend.

“I think it is an incredible showcase to have these two teams race on the Montlake Cut,” Callahan said. “There probably aren’t two faster boats that are training in the world right now. This could be the fastest boat race in the world this weekend.”

Additionally, the Huskies have their first chance this season to avenge their loss to the Golden Bears last season in the IRA Championships, when California won the overall championship and the Huskies finished fourth overall.

“California is only making us better; we had to rise to it,” Callahan said. “They have a new level and they are reigning national champions, and it is our challenge to match that.”

For the women and head coach Yasmin Farooq, Washington hopes to continue its great stretch of racing this weekend against another tough opponent. The No. 1 Huskies have beaten the likes of top-10 crews Ohio State, Michigan, and Virginia, and now head into their matchup with No. 2 California hoping to continue their early dominance.

“California is the reigning national champion, so we expect that this race is going to be a smoker and it is going to take everything we have,” Farooq said.

Farooq hasn’t been on campus long, but she already has a great grasp of the tradition of the California rivalry, and understands just how important this regatta is to Washington rowing.

“It is one of the oldest rivalries in the sport and the women picked right up with it,” Farooq said. “It is just as intense of a rivalry on our side as it is the men’s side.”

The races are set to begin at 9 a.m., with the women’s varsity fours racing first. Then, the women’s third varsity eight and the women’s freshmen eight will compete against California’s third varsity eight, followed by the men’s third varsity eight, and the men’s freshmen eight. Next, after a short break between 9:45 a.m. and 10:05 a.m., the women’s second varsity eight will race, followed by the men’s second varsity eight.

To conclude the regatta, the women’s varsity eight will challenge Cal’s at 10:34 a.m., and the men will immediately follow with their own varsity eight at 10:50 a.m.

Reach reporter Alec Dietz at Twitter: @AlecCDietz

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