WASHINGTON, D.C. -
The UC San Diego men's rowing team traveled to Washington D.C. for their first-ever appearance at the George Washington Invitational. The Tritons, having their highest ranking ever from the US Rowing National Collegiate Polls at No. 20, engaged in a series of dual meets with some of the East Coast's top Division I crews.
The Tritons faced not only top-notch competition, but also harsh conditions on the Potomac River course. Friday's opening day ncluded dusting up to 25 miles per hour that resulted in choppy waters and rough racing. Despite the circumstances, the varsity eight topped Holy Cross by nearly eight seconds, navigating the course in a final time of 5:40.4.
"Varsity handled the conditions exceptionally well against a really good Holy Cross team," said head coach Zach Johnson.
The second varsity boat was also successful in topping Holy Cross, this time by ten seconds with a finishing time of 5:51, while the freshman eight finished second during the first day of competition.
With the rough waters continuing on Saturday, the Tritons again stood up well. UCSD's varsity eight boat had difficulties with the weather, but still managed to stick close to a tough Georgetown team, finishing just two seconds behind the host school. The second varsity eight continued their impressive weekend with a great win against Georgetown in a time of 5:41.1. Despite not picking up the win, the Tritons were also impressive in hanging with a strong Navy squad.
"I think the first year is a learning experience, going all the way across the country and racing crews we've never seen before," said Johnson of the Tritons debut showing at the GW Invitational. "It's going to be really valuable when we compete in this race in the future."
With next week's Newport Regatta cancelled, UCSD will have three weeks off to prepare for the WIRA Championships in Sacramento, May 1-2.
"I think we've got the best squad we've ever had going in," said Johnson. "However, Gonzaga and UC Davis are still the teams to beat."