For the first time since 2008, the Wahoos competed in the George Washington Invitational Regatta, in Washington, DC. The weather for the two-day regatta was nearly perfect, and the competition was excellent. Competing crews included the Naval Academy, Florida Institute of Technology, the George Washington University, Georgetown University, and UVa. Races were in dual format—just one crew on each side of a buoy line.
On Friday afternoon, conditions were very un-DC-like—that is, perfectly calm with only a moderate current. The George Washington Colonials were first on the race docket for UVa. In the novice 8 race, GW slowly pulled ahead of UVa and took the race. Times were 5:59.9 for GW, and 6:02.7 for UVa. In the JV8 race, UVa handled the GW 8 fairly easily. Times were 6:02.2 for UVa, and 6:08.2 for GW. UVa’s varsity 8 was edged out by a strong GW 8. Times were 5:47.1 for GW, and 5:48.5 for UVa.
Saturday morning’s racing was aided by a moderate tailwind under blue skies. The Georgetown Hoyas were UVa’s next opponent. The novices kicked off the racing with a nine-second victory over Georgetown. They used a much-improved first 1000 meters to seize the momentum. No sprint was needed. UVa’s JV8 started strong—and in fact were ahead by about half a length in the first 1000 meters—but Georgetown was able to sprint through and nip the Hoos by half a second at the line. That story line basically repeated itself in the varsity 8 race, with Georgetown edging out Virginia in the sprint and taking the race by just 6/10 of a second.
UVa’s final race of the weekend was against the fastest crew at the regatta: Navy. And instead of a tailwind, the races were slowed by a 7mph headwind. The novices had their best race of the weekend, trading the lead with Navy for the first 1000m. Despite being outweighed by an average of 20 pounds and out-erged by an average of 20 seconds, the Hoos finished just five seconds behind the Navy plebes, a great result. The JV8 also finished 5 seconds behind Navy, another promising result. UVa’s JV cox Sarah Zillioux called the race one of the most fun she’d ever been in. Unfortunately the varsity 8 race was all Navy. The Midshipmen have shown considerable improvements this year under their new head coach, and they were simply too much for the Hoos. Hey, you can’t win ‘em all!
UVa alumni were plentiful! In fact, we can’t remember a regatta where so many alumni and parents stopped by to support the Hoos. The parents, as always, provided an amazing food spread, just yards away from the water. On a good day, you won’t find a better race venue. An estimated 5,000+ people were on the waterfront to watch the races, enjoy the restaurants, and take in the beautiful weather.
The Hoos’ next race is this coming weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.