Invited to help start Seattle’s boating season Saturday, Great Britain’s national team provided the proper jolt — beating the University of Washington in the men’s eight, while the Huskies women’s eight prevailed over the visitors on a breezy day of showers at the 28th annual Windermere Cup on the Montlake Cut.
The Brits, winner of nine London Olympic medals in 2012 to lead the Summer Games, handled the No. 1-rated Huskies men by pulling away in the final 500 meters by about six seats, finishing the 2,000-meter course in 5 minutes, 54 seconds, two seconds ahead of UW. The English’s crew’s ages ranged from 23 to 29.
It was Washington’s first defeat in the Cup since 2006, when the Russian national team edged both shells occupied by the local collegians.
“I thought the guys had a really solid race. We had a goal of having a really strong beginning,” head men’s coach Michael Callahan said. “I thought the first 1,500 meters were outstanding. We were on the red line and we really stayed on the British guys. We had a couple of seats on them, but then going into the cut the Brits showed they had a couple more gears, which is what you normally see in international rowing.”
The Huskies’ sixth-ranked women held a lead from early on to win in 6:27.9, one length ahead of Britain (6:32.3).
“We really just wanted to keep up with them,” head women’s coach Bob Ernst said. “The kids did a really nice job at that. They were really disappointed in their race at California (a three-second loss) last weekend because they didn’t perform the way they knew they could. But that’s what you have the whole season for, to get ready for the end. Today certainly helped that.”
The Huskies sought and received a top competition before the Pac-12 Conference championships on Gold River, CA., May 18.