University of Washington crews swept three races Friday at the Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames. The varsity eight defeated Princeton in the first round of the Ladies’ Plate, the coxed four won its first-round match against Newcastle in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, and the coxless four romped past Yale in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup.
“It’s all about advancing to the next day at Henley,” coach Michael Callahan said. “Our guys are focused and have worked hard to get here. I’m really happy for our varsity eight, especially the seniors who have put so much into the program. They got a nice win today over a really good Princeton crew. Our fours performed nicely, advancing in the Prince Albert and already having won two races in the Visitors’ Cup.”
In the eight, the Huskies were tested early as Princeton, third to Washington at the IRA National Championships, took a lead in the first quarter mile. UW pulled even at the half-mile mark and surged ahead over the next half mile, finally extending the lead to a length at the finish.
“That was the first racing piece we’ve done in a while,” said senior stroke Alex Perkins. “It’s good to get one under our belt and move on. We knew (Princeton) was going to be a strong crew. They always are and have been all year. All we can do is focus on ourselves and do our own thing.”
The Ladies’ Plate features the top international men’s collegiate and club crews. The Huskies have won the Ladies’ Plate once before, in 1981.
Washington races Saturday against Melbourne University, which received a bye into the semifinal round.
In the Prince Albert Challenge, the Huskies held a length lead at the quarter-mile mark and extended it to open water, clocking 7:14.
UW will face Edinburgh in the quarterfinals and will row in the semifinals, also on Saturday, if it defeats the Scots.
In the Visitors’ Challenge Cup, Yale took an early lead, but UW took over at the quarter-mile mark and won in a time of 6:48. The Huskies will face Sydney Rowing Club in the semifinals.