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Washington rowing does it again, winning men’s and women’s Pac-12 Championship

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Washington rowing does it again to win men’s and women’s Pac-12 Championship

The Women's Varsity 8 boat rows to a victory over Cal under the Montlake Bridge during the Windermere Cup on May 1, 2021.

The Washington rowing fifth-year seniors will be leaving the team as four-time Pac-12 champions.

After missing out on the opportunity last year, a handful of seniors from both the Washington men’s team and women’s team decided to come back for one more year to try and end their career on a high note. As far as conference play goes, they’ve done just that.

The No. 1 Washington men won the 2021 Pac-12 Championship with a point total of 72, while the No. 1 Washington women won the 2021 Pac-12 Championship with a point total of 44.5.

Washington’s men’s second varsity jumped right off the bat, getting off to a great push in the first few strokes and never giving up that lead. Washington won the race with open water between it and second place finisher Cal. The Huskies rowed a time of 5:52.51, beating the Bears by 6.42 seconds.

The Washington boat was extremely experienced with six seniors, one graduate student and two juniors in the boat. That experience clearly helped the team out, as it has throughout the year. 

In the women’s second varsity eight race, Washington got off to a great start, while Stanford did as well. The boats stayed neck and neck for the first minute of the race until the UW managed to gain about a two or three seat lead.

After 500 meters, Washington had about half of a second lead. After 1,000 meters, Washington had managed to increase that lead to about 2.5 seconds and the lead only got larger from that point on.

Washington ended up winning by 5.31 seconds with a time of 6:33.34 seconds, compared to Stanford’s time of 6:38.64.

Heading into the varsity eight race, the Washington men’s team was leading in points with 40, compared to second place Cal with 35 points. 

Washington got off to yet another great start holding a slight lead over both Cal and Stanford, both of which were putting up a fight. However, Washington’s three graduate students and overall experience helped them continue to slowly increase their lead as the race continued.

In the end Washington won with open water, taking the men’s Pac-12 Championship for a fourth straight year and their 40th conference title.

Washington’s varsity eight boat’s championship time was 5:46.00, beating Cal who rowed a time of 5:50.64 in second place by 4.54 seconds to end the men’s conference season. 

The final race of the day was the women’s varsity eight, which Washington headed into with a slight lead in the standings with 23.5 points. Stanford followed directly behind them with 22 points.

As they did in the previous three races Washington got off to a great start, showing their hunger for that fourth straight Pac-12 Championship.

However, Stanford was clearly looking to win after finishing second in the past five varsity eight Pac-12 Championship races and did everything it could to keep pace with Washington.

In the end, Washington did just enough to keep the lead throughout the race and hold off any push that Stanford tried to make. After 500 meters, Washington had a lead of about one second; after 1,000 meters, that lead was holding steady. 

The next 500 meters is when Washington began stretching that lead, pushing it to about a second in a half at 1,500 meters and then winning with a time of 6:34.90, ahead of Stanford by 2.89 seconds.

The Washington women’s team has now won four straight Pac-12 Championships, making 2021 its 18th overall conference championship.

The Washington men’s team will now be turning their attention towards the IRA championship that starts Friday, May 28, while the Washington women’s team will begin preparing for the NCAA Rowing Championship that also starts Friday, May 28.

Other notes

  • Washington won the women’s novice eight race against Cal by over a boat length with a time of 6:52.19.

  • The Washington men’s freshman eight boat rowed unopposed and had a time of 6:13.89.

  • The Washington women’s third varsity eight won the race against four other Pac-12 teams with a time of 6:47.68.

  • The Washington men avenged their only loss at the Windermere Cup against Cal in the third varsity eight. The Washington boat rowed a time of 5:57.62, while Cal in second place rowed a time of 5:59.86.

  • Washington lost the women’s varsity four race coming in second place. Washington’s boat rowed a time of 7:36.86, while Stanford won the race with a time of 7:24.81. 

Reach reporter Nathan Mathisen at Twitter: @NathanMathisen

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