By Michael Callahan, Men’s Head Coach
This year as a program, we are embracing one of Blake Nordstrom’s favorite philosophies: “Extend Yourself.” All of us — our men’s and women’s teams, coaches and staff — will be wearing this quote on our uniforms as a reminder to push beyond our comfort zones, lift each other up every day, and reach for our very best. These qualities defined Blake, and it is an honor to dedicate our 2019 season to him.
The work ethic and team culture on our team has been re-invigorated in the last few years. The competition on the team is strong: we have the 4V pushing the 3V…pushing the 2V…pushing the 1V. That is about as traditional as it gets, and every single one of our alums knows what it means. Opportunities open up every day. Our men raise their game to meet it. It is Washington Rowing.
And we have a clear goal for the men this season: Be better on race day in the Varsity 8. But to be better on race day we need to innovate, and challenge our student-athletes with variability and the unknown; to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Our schedule reflects that and includes an exciting first-time event: 500-meter sprint-style races within the walls of the Montlake Cut: fast, furious and bare-knuckle. Stay tuned for the date of this exciting event you won’t want to miss!
And two new experiences are already in the books: an ice-cold (but highly valuable) February trip to Shawnigan Lake in British Columbia to face the Canadian National Team, and the trip to Las Vegas to race OSU, Marist and Cornell in early March. In April we will travel to the Bay Area to face OSU, Stanford and the Huskies from the east (Northeastern), and every one of these trips teaches; every one of them makes us stronger.
And it only gets better from there. Ready to PACK THE CUT for the 107th Dual with the California Golden Bears this year? We have not beaten the Bears on Montlake since 2013, and we want you there! The Bears have a new coach in Scott Frandsen: a Bear himself with a very deep and talented team. See you on the Cut on April 20!
We invited Germany—the 2018 World Champions—for this year’s Windermere Cup . . . and they agreed. We want to race the best, and we got it: The World’s Best! We round out the field with the Terriers from Boston University, a strong contender each year at the IRA.
All of this sets us up for the Championship Season, finishing the year in Sacramento where both the Pac-12 Championships and the IRA National Championships, will be held this year. We have 11 graduating seniors that are hungry; for four years they have challenged themselves to be champions. From the basics of work ethic and time management, to the more complex ethos of teamwork, mind and spirit. The final step is winning . . . and our goal from the very first day of practice: be better on race day. See you in Sacramento; it promises to be exciting.