Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Windermere Crew Classic Preview

Racing this weekend will be overshadowed by the Knecht Cup and, to a lesser extent, by the Windermere Crew Classic. We'll start with Windermere in Redwood Shores, California. This is a regatta at which the participants are treated like queens and kings, particularly the out-of-towners. In some cases (all?) local Windermere real estate offices pick visiting teams to cheer for and root for those crews all weekend. Those of us who have rowed on the West Coast know that it's a great place to be and I hope the region develops more lightweight teams in the coming years.

For our purposes the racing kicks off on Saturday at 1108 as Stanford takes on LMU, followed by a reprise of Princeton vs UCF. I'll start off by saying that I think Stanford will be a lot faster than most people expect. They clearly toyed with the other crews at the Crew Classic and after a pretty crummy spring last year, the Cardinal will be ready to strut their stuff. LMU has a good boat this year (I think significantly faster than other years, if they get all their best lightweights in it), but they'll have their hands full. I'm not saying this will be a blowout, but I think Stanford will take this one. Princeton and UCF just raced last week and although the Golden Knights probably got faster over the week, I don't think it's enough time to make up 20 seconds. For UCF to have a chance here the Tigers have to have a bad row and UCF needs a great row.

At 1226 Princeton's 2V is scheduled to take on the Cal heavyweight 3V. Cal's heavyweights are currently ranked 5th in the nation so although the schedule says 3V, I assume this boat can hammer. I bet Cal is talking about not embarrassing the little lightweights. This matchup was also scheduled last year, but never took place; hopefully this year is different. Prediction? I have no idea, but this could be the most intense lightweight race of the regatta. I'd love to get a picture of these two crews lined up next to each other!

Saturday evening the crews switch as Stanford takes on UCF and Princeton battles LMU. Last year UCF went west for the Pacific Coast Championships looking for revenge against a Stanford crew that just beat them at the IRA. The tables are turned this year as it's Stanford's turn to prove they're contenders. This should be one of the more exciting races at the regatta. A good win by Stanford might make some Tigers lose sleep Saturday night. First, of course, Princeton needs to get by LMU. Just as with UCF, LMU will need a great race while Princeton has a bad one to see an upset here.

Sunday begins with the Princeton 2V taking on Arizona State. This will be some good racing experience for ASU, but I expect Princeton to take this one. At 1130 Stanford takes on Princeton followed by LMU vs UCF. If you can only make it to the race course one day, make it Sunday (ooooh, except maybe for that Princeton2V - Cal heavy 3V matchup). This is a big race for Stanford as they'll take on the current top ranked lightweight boat in the country. If Princeton lives up to its billing, it will be a difficult task for the Cardinal, but it's because of that "if" that we race. A better race than some might expect, but Princeton should win. The LMU - UCF race will be a dog fight. Easties (and Stanford) are used to LMU being a gimme, but that won't be true this year. If their top lightweight boat makes it to the starting line (and I assume it will) UCF will have a race on its hands. It's awfully early in the season to make predictions, so to me this is too close to call.

At 1230 a Stanford four takes on a Cal four. I expected Cal to be racing an eight, but injuries kept them from the Crew Classic so I'm guessing that they're not quite healed yet. That's a tough break.

I like Windermere and I like how Stanford gets East Coast crews to travel West. It's great to spread the lightweight karma around the country and get good crews racing each other no matter where they're located. That's what elite college sports are all about. It calls the bluff of those crews, located in the heart of the eastern lightweight concentration, who complain about having to race as a lower level heavyweight boat to find good races. These Windermere programs are committed to lightweight rowing and put their money and effort where their mouths are (and yes, Stanford has traveled to Knecht in the past). Speaking of which, part of Princeton's commitment to the league is bringing two boats West. I, however, would've been tempted to only take the 1V and race the 2V at Knecht. That 2V is a pretty fast boat and it would've been interesting to see what it could have done.


Mahalo said...

Here are my thoughts on this weekend.
Women’s Lightweight
Stanford over Loyola by 10 sec
Princeton over Central Florida by 12 sec
Stanford over Central Florida by 3 sec
Princeton over Loyola by 14 sec
Princeton over Stanford by 6 sec
Central Florida over Loyola by 6 sec

Anonymous said...

mahalo, interesting predictions...on what information are you making them? also, i suggest that you make the comment section on your own blog open to comments from non-blogger members. you will get few to no comments if only members can post them.

Anonymous said...

coaches poll is out

Mahalo said...

No information just past results. I have removed the block.