The 30th Annual Windermere Cup was originally supposed to pit the UW crew against Cuba. This never materialized, as the Cuban national teams pulled out last March in order to "focus on the upcoming Olympic Games" which, let's be honest, we're all assuming translates to "to prevent our rowers from defecting." Cuba's replacements ended up being, for the women's Varsity 8, Cambridge University, while the men's Varsity 8 faced the Russian U23 boat. The latter was particularly fitting since the first ever Windermere Cup was won by the Soviet Union in 1987. (Is anybody else confused as to how this is the 30th anniversary of the first race? I'm no math expert, but that doesn't seem right. Whatever.) As two of the most recognizable crews in the world, the competition was supposed to put up a tough fight.
Not only did the women beat Cambridge and the men beat Russia both by many boat lengths' worth of open water, but their secondary competition - ya know, the ones who didn't fly halfway around the world to race here - were much more competitive. At least, relatively.
The men's Windermere Cup also included Stanford's Varsity 8, who hung in there close enough to prevent the Huskies from achieving a complete blowout. The Cardinal lost by around seven seconds with a few yards of open water between them and Washington. The women's race included University of San Diego as the third competitor, along with UW and Cambridge. Just like Stanford, USD never let Washington get too comfortable. They were nine seconds behind UW at the finish and put up a closer fight than the Brits, despite the fact that they were billed almost as an afterthought. Between the Cardinal and Toreros I have to say: well played Californians. Well played.
Washington's success Saturday wasn't limited to the V8 boats. The 4s won all their races, as did the 3V8s and the men's Freshmen boat. In the Erickson Cup, UW's 2V8s never showed a moment of weakness - the women's A boat beat their second-place B boat by 11 seconds and beat the third place San Diego 2V8 by 20 seconds. That's a lot of seconds.
In fact, with one exception where the women's B boat finished third behind Pacific Lutheran in the Open 8 (don't worry, UW's A boat finished first), the only opponents a Washington boat lost to was another Washington boat.
Basically, someday I wish to be half as good at something as UW is at crew.
And with that in mind: do good things, don't do bad things, and bow down to Washington.