NCAA Rowing Championship: Washington earns its fourth national title
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The Washington women's rowing team became the first program in the 21-year history of the NCAA Rowing Championship to sweep all three grand finals, earning the Huskies their fourth NCAA rowing title Sunday at Mercer Lake.
No. 1-ranked Washington, under first-year head coach Yasmin Farooq, won all nine of its races during the three-day regatta, including heats and semifinal races. Sunday, the Huskies earned victories in the varsity eight (I Eights), second varsity eight (II Eights) and varsity four (Fours) grand finals.
The Huskies entered the weekend as the top seed in all three boats and lived up to that rating. The UW scored the maximum 132 points to earn the team title, well in front of second-place California (123) and third-place Michigan (112).
The closest race of the day, by far, was the last one, the varsity eight grand final. Despite having won the second varsity eight and the varsity four, the Huskies needed to beat Cal to clinch the team title. From the start, the three Pac-12 boats (Stanford, along with UW and Cal) took to the front, with Washington in the lead from the beginning.
Washington maintained its lead throughout, holding off a strong finish from the Cardinal in the final few hundred meters. Washington won in a time of 6:36.939. Stanford was second in 6:38.520 and Cal finished third in 6:40.069. Texas, Michigan and Yale filled out the final three spots in the grand final.
The Huskies had an easier time in the second varsity eight and varsity four, winning each in wire-to-wire fashion. The second varsity eight in particular rowed a dominant race, holding several lengths of open water over the field much of the second 1,000 meters. The 2V8+ won in 6:47.268, well ahead of second-place Cal, in 6:53.313. The varsity four finished four-plus seconds better than the Golden Bears, winning in a time of 7:07.103 to Cal's 7:11.706.
The Huskies' NCAA rowing title was their first since 2001 and their fourth since the NCAA began the Regatta in 1997. Washington's four NCAA crowns are second-most by any school. The UW won an additional seven national titles the pre-NCAA era. Washington's rowing victory also marked the 500th NCAA team championship won by a Pac-12 program, most by any conference.
Washington's varsity eight won its fifth championship at the NCAA Regatta, having previously won the grand final in 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2002. The second varsity eight took first for just the second time in Washington history, having also won in 2002. The Husky varsity four earned its fifth NCAA victory, alongside first-place finishes in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2008.
Farooq, the two-time U.S. Olympic women's eight coxswain who won an NCAA Championship as head coach at Stanford in 2009, is the first coach ever to win the title with two different schools. Additionally, no other coach had ever before won an NCAA rowing title in his or her first season at the winning school.
Washington, along with Brown and Princeton, is one of just three programs to have earned a berth in all 21 NCAA Rowing Championship regattas. The Huskies have never finished outside of the top 10 at NCAAs and along with their four team championships, they've finished in second place three times and third on two other occasions, giving the UW a total of nine top-three team finishes at NCAAs.