The Row to Rio

rio-2016-logoThe University of Washington’s association with Olympic rowing is a long and well-documented one, all the more so in the last couple of years thanks to the overwhelming popularly of Daniel James Brown’s bestseller, “The Boys in the Boat,” the tale of the Husky crew that won Olympic gold in Berlin in 1936.

And, while long gone are the days when a group of undergraduates from one university crew would represent its country, the UW’s representation at the Olympic Games remains impressive and a worthy source of great pride for the program.

This summer in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil, a total of 12 Washington alumni (tied with 2012 for most in UW history) will row for the United States and Canada at the 2016 Olympics – eight for the U.S. and four for our neighbors to the north. Huskies will feature in six different events: the men’s and women’s 8, the men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, the women’s lightweight double sculls and the men’s 4.

Washington has sent rowers to every Summer Olympic Games since 1972 (if you count the six UW men and women named to the roster for the 1980 Games, which were boycotted), making this the 12th straight Games that the UW has had alumni compete. Prior to 1972, UW men rowed in 1936, 1948, 1952 and 1960.

This year, starting with the American team, the Huskies will have four men and four women compete. All four of those men are in the U.S. eight, which after not earning a spot via the 2015 World Championships, underwent a number of lineup changes (including the addition of several Huskies) before winning the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne in May. Sam Ojserkis, ’12, Sam Dommer, ’13, Rob Munn, ’12, and Hans Struzyna, ’11, all rowed in that winning shell and secured a ticket to Rio.

Two Huskies will feature in the women’s eight: coxswain Katelin Snyder, ’09, and Kerry Simmonds, ’11. The U.S. women’s eight heads to the Olympics having won the last 10 consecutive World Championship and Olympic regattas. Snyder has coxed the boat to the last three World titles while Simmonds was in two of those boats.

Also on the U.S. team are two U.S. Olympic team veterans: Adrienne Martelli, ’10, and Megan Kalmoe, ’06, who were both named to the quad sculls lineup. Both won a bronze medal in the same event in 2012, while Kalmoe rowed in the U.S. double sculls in 2008 as well.

Four Huskies will row for Canada: three men and one woman. Patricia Obee, ’14, has earned a spot in the lightweight double sculls, having twice won silver medals in that event at World Championships.

Will Crothers, ’09, and Conlin McCabe, ’11, will comprise half of the Canada men’s four boat. They both won a silver medal in the eight at the 2012 Olympics. Another member of that eight, Rob Gibson, ’09, (who also went to the 2008 Games as a spare) earned a place in the quadruple sculls.

HOW TO WATCH:

While the full NBC television schedule for the 2016 Olympic Games has not yet been revealed, you can be sure to watch all of the rowing events either on television or via live internet stream. NBC will carry Olympic events on a number of channels in addition to its flagship (USA, Bravo, MSNBC, the Golf Channel, etc.), meaning that there will be multiple channels showing different events at any given time.

The best way to find the schedule(s) is to go to www.NBCOlympics.com. At the top of the page is a link for “Schedule,” and you can also browse by sport right below that (or simply go to www.NBCOlympics.com/rowing), or by athlete name.

Heats begin on Saturday, August 6, (men’s and women’s single, double and quad sculls, men’s pair and lightweight four) and continues through August 13. The following day featured heats in other events, as well as repechages. Monday, August 8, is the first day for heat racing the men’s and women’s eight.

The first day to feature finals will be Wednesday, August 10, when medals will be awarded in the men’s and women’s double and quad and the lightweight women’s pair. The finals for the men’s four and the women’s lightweight double sculls are on August 12 and the eights wrap up on Saturday, August 13.