Men’s crew did it again, winning another Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship in the varsity eight and rolling to another team title. Here are eight reasons (sorry, David Lettermen, but I had to make this a number that works for rowing). Seattle should celebrate the accomplishments:
8) Washington won it’s fourth consecutive national title in the varsity eight. That has only happened three previous times in the 112-year history of the IRA: By California (1999-2002) and Cornell (1955-58 and 1909-12). Add Washington to this exclusive list. It’s also UW’s 16th national title overall in that event.
7) The Huskies were an underdog to win the varsity eight title despite winning the past three, having been ranked sixth in the coaches’ preseason poll after finishing fifth at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston last fall.
6) Washington won its eighth consecutive team title, given to the team with the most total points in the IRA national races. No other school has ever done that. Knowing the name of the team trophy will win you a bar bet – or get you kicked out of the wrong bar: Ten Eyck Trophy. James A. Ten Eyck, who died in 1938, won 10 national titles with Syracuse. OK, knowing that would definitely get you kicked out of many bars.
5) Rowers are among the most aerobically fit athletes in sports, right up with there distance runners, cyclists and cross-country skiers.
4) Crew has some of the greatest terminology in sports. Catching a crab is bad in rowing – although probably not as bad as it sounds. The coxswain is the smallest person in a shell and the most important. Rowers may float on water, but they sit in shells, not boats. And don’t ever get caught saying the Husky crew team won a national title. Saying crew and team is redundant unless you mean the points title.
3) Crew is a truly amateur sport, a throwback to the way sports use to be when football players wore leather helmets and basketball players shot at peach baskets. Rowers don’t have fat pro contracts awaiting them no matter how talented they are.
2) Opening Day is perhaps the coolest and most uniquely Seattle sports events we have. Thousands line Montlake Cut for the parade of boats, followed by the crew races. If you haven’t gone, you can’t truly call yourself a Seattle sports fan.
1) Rowing is truly woven into the fabric of Seattle sports. George and Stan Pocock, a father and son who revolutionalized crew by perfecting shells lived in Seattle. Anyone who has been out in the predawn hours and seen – and heard – a crew out on the water knows there’s nothing quite like it in Seattle sports.
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