For the 10th time in 11 years, the University of Washington won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association men’s team title with first-pace finishes in the first three races, but Yale narrowly edged Washington by about half a second in the featured varsity eight grand final Sunday on Lake Natoma, near Sacramento.
The team victory follows by a week the UW’s team championship in NCAA women’s rowing, in which they swept all three races. The Huskies missed a four-race sweep by about a foot — 5:29.900 to 5:29.969.
The three other Huskies boats — second and third varsity eights and varsity four — won national titles, but the major prize of the regatta eluded UW for the second consecutive year.
Yale led from start to finish, checking in with a seat lead at both the 1,000 and 500-meter marks. The Eli and Huskies finished well clear of third-place Harvard, which clocked 5:33.455, and fourth-place Princeton (5:33.768). California came in fifth at 5:36.260 and Brown trailed the field at 5:36.950.
“I think we had an outstanding race,” UW head coach Michael Callahan said of his varsity eight. “It looked like we were in position to maybe do it, but in the end Yale was able to have a better day. I think Yale has developed a lot of experience. They have been winning a lot of close races. They have a lot of veterans in that boat now and it’s a tribute to them.
“We have a lot of young guys. Our job this year was to build a foundation and I think we did that from last year. I think we are a much stronger, deeper team. We are still really young. To be in a race like that, you just put that in your experience bank and come back the next year knowing how to win hard races.”
Washington sought its 19th IRA title and sixth in seven years after finishing fourth in last year’s race. Washington won five consecutive national championships between 2011-15.
Washington took home the Ten Eyck Team points championship for highest overall score.
In the second varsity eight race, Washington opened a half-a-length lead at the halfway point and cruised to a two-second victory over Cal, clocking 5:38.654 to the Bears’ 5:40.672. Princeton (5:40.777), Yale (540.824), Harvard (5:41.188) and Boston University (5:42.008) followed.
The Huskies won the third varsity eight final for the second time in the four years the IRA has held it. Washington won easily, 5:47.289 to Harvard’s 5:49.357. Cal (5:50.915), Yale (5:51.626), Princeton (5:52.739 and Navy (5:54.981) trailed.
Washington’s varsity four boat won its finale for the eighth consecutive year, and did so easily. The Huskies finished in 6:23.81 with Cal nearly five seconds behind at 6:28.35. Princeton (6:34.31), Boston (6:30.06)d, Marietta (6:39.81) and Brown (6:40.77) followed.