Oxford, London 2009

This is the page that will follow the men's V8 as they travel to London 2/27 - 3/1 to train with the Oxford rowing team prior to the Boat Race.  This page will also cover the Boat Race Sunday, March 29th, 2009.


3/29 - Oxford wins the Boat Race - Congratulations Ante and the Dark Blues!

Oxford's heavy crew hit back - The Independent

Kusurin thrilled with victory over rivals

The Press Association: Oxford win Boat Race

Oxford Power Home After Primeval Push By Cambridge Fails

Ante Kusurin Pictures - Oxford University Fixture - Zimbio

World Rowing - Olympic Medalists Join Oxford

Videos posted to youtube, 3/3:

 

3/3 Thank you Michael:

      Left to right back row: Coach Callahan, Anthony, Jesse, Hans, Max, Simon, BJ, Will, Rob; Front row: Ante, Katelin

3/2 Row2k - Oxford v. Washington Fixture

3/2 Huskies | UW men's eight makes history on the Thames | Seattle Times Newspaper

3/1 Men's Varsity Crew Makes History - Huskies become the first American university eight to race Oxford on the Boat Race course

Callahan:  "We're so thankful to Oxford for having us come over to do this. They were great hosts and we hope we were able to help them prepare for the Boat Race. We feel like we learned a lot about boat racing here and I believe strongly that they helped us prepare for our ultimate goal at the end of the season. And to be the first American university eight to race here is a great thing, both for our program at Washington and for the entire Pac-10."


Dwight;  3/2 2:00 p.m. pst  Final Post

Our  Oxford / London endeavor was one of those experiences that had a multitude of successes.
 
One could say that in any highly charged competition pitting skilled athletes against one another the conclusion is simple...the winner reaps the spoils.
So, we certainly "tip our hat" to an extraordinary group of young Oxford athletes. They are fit, they are medalists in the Olympics, they are hungry for their arch rival Cambridge and most importantly they represent what athletics is all about: the firm handshake in the boat house after the race, the sharing of food and stories and the polish of being gentlemen.
 
Yet, one could say the vanquished Huskies head home with their Dawg tails tucked between their legs. Not so...our Huskies fought two races and while the finish line came quicker for Oxford, our Dawgs were competitors.   This was a phenomenal experience in which race savvy was expanded and battle tested oarsmen and coxswain came out smarter.
 
We are using this international test as a stepping stone to our next collegiate challenges. We deeply thank Oxford for the incredible opportunity to broaded the scope of our grand UW Husky rowing tradition.

 


Dwight;  3/1 9:30 a.m. pst

At the boathouse the Huskies are all smiles and feeling good. The are NOT down at all. Michael has kept them in good focus and truly using this as a very good learning experience.
Honestly, these pieces and particularly the 2nd piece showed toughness on our crew.
 

Dwight;  3/1 8:30 a.m. pst

Needing some perspective on this very confident Oxford crew...poised and aggressive...they have 5 Olympians from Beijing and 3 were on the medal stand.
Ante is stroking and I must mention...he's a Dawg at heart.
 

Dwight;  3/1 8:15 a.m. pst

Very aggressive racing and some redemption for Dawgs. Although Oxford won the 2nd and final piece, the Dawgs stayed in the heat of the battle, also fought with a great deal of clashing oars and many referee warnings to both crews...final margin: Oxford with less than a deck-length of open water.
 


Dwight;  3/1 7:55 a.m. pst

After a false start charged to the Dawgs, there was a re-start of the first race.
We opened up a lead of several seats. Both coxes were being very aggressive...lots (LOTS) of clashing oars and referree warnings to both boats.
The outcome was determined mid-way through the piece and Oxford won with a comfortable 2-3 boat lengths of open water.
Next start in 10 minutes


Dwight;  3/1 6:30 a.m. pst

Everyone is at the race course. It is now 2:30PM and the two boats need to be at the starting line in 55 minutes for a 3:30 start.
The coin toss used to select the side of the river was won by Oxford. They chose the Surrey side which means we have the Essex side.
According to Luke...the side of the river is not a key determinant of the outcome.
The weather is gray and cool with only a whisper of wind...aka good racing conditions.
The Dawgs are in very good spirits and "ready to race".
More to follow as my time allows.



Dwight;  2/28 7:30 a.m. pst (Note: London time is 8 hours ahead i.e. 3:30 pm London)

In the life of a rowing team one needs the agility of a ballet dancer to make the rowing shell tip-toe across the water appearing effortless.  But also, one needs the ability to put eight "blokes" of above average size, a cox, three coaches, a history professor, a funky blog-writer and a pile of luggage into an 11 person van...if you do the quick math and check out one of the candid photos attached you will see we have bonded. This was the cozy trip from Oxford to London where we will now call home until after the race tomorrow.
 
On to race preparation...Our Dawgs significantly increased their race plan and river knowledge today.  The 90 minute water time today covered the entire course.
 
Recalling, our Huskies will race twice tomorrow in what is called a "fixture".  These fixtures are the means by which the Oxford crew get serious competition to race as they (Oxford) get their boat speed ready for "The Boat Race"...which is the Oxford - Cambridge grand show down. To put the historic meaning in perspective, this year will be the 179th running of The Boat Race.  When you row at Oxford or Cambridge...the outcome of The Boat Race becomes your rowing identity.  What this means to our Huskies is that Oxford is seriously training and they would like nothing better than to bring a powerful USA team to their home course and to give them an "English Spanking".
 
So, tomorrow will find our Dawgs in two races. The first race will be from the start to approximately the mid-point of the long (4.5 mile  Thames course) where the boats will stop.  Then after a short break, they will line-up again at this mid-point and race to the ultimate finish line of the long course.
 

Dwight;  2/27 11:30 a.m. pst

       
   

 

The day started with Coach McGee leading the way. Luke McGee is our Freshman Coach but on this trip he is using his tour guide skills. Luke is a former Oxford student and member of the Oxford Crew.  He knows his way around the quaint town and has great knowledge to pass on to the team regarding the race course.
 
On the tour one mystery remained unsolved...Luke easily lead the way to a notable college pub claiming he had heard about this place but had never been there...??  We will solve this puzzle later.  The team felt athletic history as we walked on the running track on which Sir Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four minute mile barrier in May of 1954. This had the feeling of British and world grandness.
We then made the hour-plus van ride to the race course in London.  The "Tideways" were calling.   The Thames runs right through the heart of London and this particular section is referred to as The Tideways.  Katelin and I were able to take a small motor launch over the entire course and it was very evident the tide runs high and deep...several feet of movement in the 2 hours we were on the river today.
 
As the crew then boated and rowed for 90 minutes, covering every strategic turn from start to finish, the confidence began to build. 
 
It bears noting that this course is unlike any other race course in the world and the Dawgs are fortunate to have the power of our rowers but of equal importance is having a veteran coxswain. Katelin is a World Champion and with this pedigree comes steering skills, smarts, and a race-day demeanor which matches well with the challenges the crew will face on Sunday. 

More photos, thank you Carlos:

       
       

Dwight;  2/26 4:00 p.m. pst

 
 
 

Arriving in Oxford in the afternoon after the 9 hour non-stop flight , the Dawgs now begin their quick preparation for the "History making" journey pitting the international crew of Oxford University known as "The Blues" along side our UW Huskies.

 
Not to miss an opportunity to "learn" history as well as "make" history", Coach Callahan brought the highly regarded UW History Professor, Ran Hennes with our team to guide the student athletes on some local short tours of Oxford and the London area. There will be high level competition on the Thames combined with history of the English country side.
 
Showing some yawns from sleep deprivation and multiple time zones, the crew was able to get to their borrowed shell, and go for a brief swing row near Oxford. Everyone is getting focused on Sunday's showdown.
 
The Husky line up consists of:
Cox: Katelyn Snyder
Stroke: Will Crothers
7 Simon Taylor
6 BJ Caron
5 Max Lang
4 Hans Struzyna
3 Rob Gibson
2 Jessie Johnson
Bow Anthony Jacob
 
Tomorrow will provide the much anticipated practice row on the historic Thames course near London...approximately 1 hour from Oxford.
 
As a sub-plot to the racing on Sunday is a former UW rower Ante Kusurin who will be stroking the Oxford crew. Unlike the college programs in the US, Oxford typically attracts high level student athletes who have rowed for various colleges around the world and then followed up their college rowing with high level academics (Grad School) at Oxford. Consequently Oxford's boat line up has Ante who competed in the Beijing Olmpics for his home country Croatia as well as other international rowing legends filling out their "all star" crew.  It is a rowing at a very high level.  

Dwight;  2/25 8:30 a.m. pst (4:30 pm London)

Today is 2/25 and the Mighty Dawgs will arrive tomorrow.
 
So, I was cruising on my bike and watching a local "Bump Race" on the Thames. The crews shown in my photos are all "Oxford College Crews".  As a side note, unlike our "college" name, Oxford actually consists of many (50+?) "colleges" all located in this quaint historic town.
 
 


 

So, one can feel the long standing history of rowing around this historic Oxford College. Many rowers shown in these photos are much less experienced than most of our athletes rowing at the UW. 
 
The particular "Bump Race" is fascinating...especially for the coxswains.  The format is to start, single file, separated by a mandatory length of rope which is held by each cox and is tethered to a stake on the shore.  This keeps the distance between boats a uniform  length so that when the canon fires to indicate "start" all crews thrash their way up the river. And while the "thrash" is quite evident from the less experienced boats, there are top rated crews that appear comparable to many of our inexperienced college athletes.  Note: the "Blues" which are the notable athletes competing against our Huskies and then Cambridge, are not involved in this "Bump Race".
 
Once your boat has literally bumped any part of the shell in front then the faster crew (yes, the one behind) stops rowing.  The idea is by bumping you do not have to complete the whole length of the course, saving energy and then the next day the faster boats are moved up in the higher echelon of boats.  This continues for four consecutive days until a winner is determined.  This may be better described by going on line...possibly Googling "Bump Racing--rowing" for a more accurate description.
 
The Dawgs are clearly coming to one location in the world that has history and the feeling of "Rowing Mecca" on its side. One can feel the combination of our Boston, Head of the Charles, and Philadelphia's Boat House Row and Washington's Conibear Shell House all around Oxford.  Our athletes are so fortunate to have earned the respect of the Oxford hosts to have been graciously invited to compete against the premier Oxford team on their home course.

2/22/09:  Longtime Rowing Steward Dwight Phillips '71 will travel this week to London, and will meet up with the team later as they arrive.

The University College of Dublin will be there as well - Killorglin plays safe - The Irish Times - Fri, Feb 06, 2009

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race sponsored by Xchanging

GoHuskies:  Washington Men's Varsity Eight To Take On Oxford Sunday

For live updates, Twitter page is here - Twitter / UWHuskyCrew

 

Home | Contact Us | 2001 - 2009 Washington Rowing Foundation