Colonials Men's Rowing Ends Season as 15th Ranked Team in Nation; 3rd Most Improved
June 8, 2009
SACRAMENTO, CA - The George Washington University Men's Rowing Team concluded the 107th IRA National Championships with a 15th place finish in the Varsity Eight and a corresponding 15th place in the team points standings - a ranking that earned the Colonials the number three spot on the most improved charts.
The Varsity Eight came into the regatta ranked 12th, and by fighting hard for third in the preliminary heats, set themselves up well for the afternoon repechage race against Dartmouth and Pennsylvania - a must-win in order to get into Friday's top two semi finals. Though GW came off the line hard and in the lead, Dartmouth stormed ahead (to an eventual fastest time of the afternoon) and GW could not muster a response. On Friday, GW took second to Princeton in the 4th semi final, which was enough to advance to Saturday's 3rd level final. In the 3rd level final, GW again came off the line very aggressively, essentially level with Princeton, but once again could not match the pace of the Tigers. The Colonials held onto 2nd until about 200m to go in the race when a surging Navy came through, leaving GW to take third (15th overall).
The 2nd Varsity Eight rowed a couple of excellent preliminary races to make it into the Petite Final on Saturday. While the Colonials were not far off the pace in the first 500m on Saturday, they were found themselves nevertheless in 6th place and remained there through the 1000m mark. Taking a big move as they crossed the 1000m, however, GW pushed ahead of Columbia in the 3rd 500m and then extended that lead into the finish line, taking 5th place (11th overall). This was the first ever top 12 finish for GW in the IRA 2nd Varsity competition.
The GW Freshman Eight was the last crew to receive an invitation into this event, and jumped at the chance to race in this elite competition. The jitters may have gotten the best of the Colonials frosh in the heat, and while they were in the hunt for the first 500m, they did not hit their stride and finished substantially back of the field. GW rebounded nicely, however, in their racing on Thursday and Friday, and found a gear or two that they had previously not been able to utilize. Though they ended up 6th in the 3rd final on Saturday (18th overall), the GW Frosh finished their season on an up note and gained valuable championship experience that should serve the team well in the years to come.
In the Open Four, a "spares boat" comprised of three freshmen and one sophomore, GW again struggled early in the heats but regrouped to put on a terrific show in the Petite Final on Saturday. The Colonials charged off the line and managed to hold 2nd place through the 1000m mark. By the end, GW had slipped to 4th place (10th overall) but came off the water with a much clearer understanding of their capabilities and potential for future years.
The IRA National Championships was the culmination of a highly successful year for GW - a year that saw the Colonials rising to new heights for the 53 year old program and one that has helped to establish the George Washington University as a contender on the national scene.
Varsity Eight - 3rd Level Final
2nd Varsity Eight - Petite Final
Freshman Eight - 3rd Level Final
Men's Open Four - Petite Final
Chapman Award, Team Point Trophy Improvement
1 Boston U. 80
Ten Eyck Award (Team Championship)
1 Washington 198
Full Results Available at: www.row2k.com/results/index.cfm