Michael Callahan hadn’t checked the regatta record book so he wasn’t aware that no US men’s college crew has won back-to-back titles in the championship eights since Navy in 1983.
Not that his Washington varsity needs any extra incentive this afternoon. In Seattle, the racing season begins in October.
“We’re super excited,’’ says Callahan, whose Huskies will be bidding for their third title in four years, which nobody has managed since the US national boat earned its ninth straight in 2003. “It’s a challenge for us. We know that. It matters for us. We want to win.’’
Washington, which claimed the IRA title last spring, will have the other contenders in its sights as the first boat off the line - last year’s runner-up Harvard, archrival California, a mixed US entry that includes half of the Pan American champion lineup and Germany’s under-23 crew.
“Every guy on the team feels the pressure,’’ Callahan says. “We’re all committed to doing as well as we can.’’
Going the distance
Jen Goldsack might have set the record for most major rowing gold medals in the shortest time across the greatest distance after the longest layoff.
On Wednesday, she won the lightweight single at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Then she arose at 4 a.m., took a two-hour drive to the airport, flew to Houston and on to Boston, arriving at dinnertime. Yesterday she and Jen Daley won the championship double in 18 minutes and 40.29 seconds. Scratching the 3-miler never was a thought, insisted Goldsack, who hadn’t competed since the Olympics three years ago because of a sabbatical and back problems.
“It was always very much in the plan,’’ she said. “It’s really important for me to race as much as possible.’’
The only course record in yesterday’s 30 official events was set by the Friends of Brown Women’s Crew in the women’s alumni eights. Though there was a modest headwind and crosswind along the upstream course, a heavier-than-usual current slowed things down.
But sunshine and 60-degree temperatures, which made for nearly ideal viewing (and imbibing) conditions, helped draw an estimated 164,000 spectators to the river banks, with a similar number expected today. A shorter-than-usual list of local sporting options helped.
“The Sox aren’t competing with us and the Patriots have a bye week,’’ observed regatta executive director Fred Schoch.
Up to the challenge
World champion Mahe Drysdale, who reclaimed his primacy in the men’s championship single yesterday, will take a Head version of a victory lap along with women’s victor Gevvie Stone in this afternoon’s directors’ challenge for mixed quads. They’ll be rowing as “Kiweagle’’ in a blended boat that includes US lightweight teamer Andrew Campbell and Drysdale’s countrywoman Emma Twigg, the global bronze medalist. “The old man will sit up in the front somewhere and have a ride,’’ cracked Drysdale, the group’s elder citizen.
Anything but run down
Yes, the Lynn Jennings who won the bronze medal in the women’s grand master singles (50+) is the same woman who won the Olympic bronze in the 10,000 meters at the 1992 Olympics. “Rowing relieves the burden of being successful,’’ Jennings told regatta website correspondent Maureen Quinlan. “I don’t have to be Lynn Jennings the runner when I’m rowing. It gives me the lightness of being a beginner again.’’
Team Attager extended the regatta’s longest winning streak to six yesterday, winning the men’s senior master eights title by more than six seconds over Palm Beach RA. “We managed to prevail, but it’s getting tougher,’’ conceded Schoch, who rowed in the three-seat. “We’re getting older.’’ Setting the tempo was Olympic sexagenarian and Harvard immortal Charlie Hamlin. “Hamlin’s a monster,’’ testified Schoch . . . Theresa Zarzeczny-Bell and Saiya Remmler won their fifth straight crown in women’s master doubles as did the 1980 RC in men’s senior masters fours, while US teamers Peter and Tom Graves took their third straight in the men’s championship doubles and Northeastern its third in the men’s alumni eights.
John Powers can be reached at email@example.com.