The University of Washington men’s varsity eight edged Yale in the first semifinal of the day and qualified for Sunday’s grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association national championships on Lake Natoma, CA, near Sacramento. The Huskies clocked 5:34.945 to Yale’s 5:35.494. The varsity eight was one of four UW boats to reach grand finals Saturday.
“Itgs the goal to advance all boats to the grand finals,” said head coach Michael Callahan. “We train all year long for this race. It is the final exam of the rowing season.”
In the first varsity eight semifinal, Princeton finished third in 5:43.345 and was followed by Dartmouth (5:45.82), Cornell (5:46.02) and Penn (5:48.22).
At the 1,000-meter mark in the first varsity eight, Yale led Washington by a deck length and had a five-seat lead with 750 meters to go before the Huskies rallied.
Only Washington, California and Princeton have boats in all four heavyweight grand finals Sunday. Those three teams, plus Harvard and Yale, are in all three heavyweight eights grand finals.
UW’s second varsity eight also qualified with a victory over Harvard. Washington clocked 5:42.317 to the Crimson’s 5:45.618 and Boston University’s 5:46.942.
Washington’s third varsity eight edged California while its varsity four clocked 6:18.168 in beating Boston University (624.484).
The Huskies are looking to win their sixth national championship in seven years after an unprecedented streak of five consecutive championships from 2011-15 was broken last season.
The varsity eight race will start at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.