SEATTLE - The teams are set for this year's running of the 27th anniversary of the Windermere Cup, the annual spring rowing event on the Montlake Cut that signifies Opening Day for boaters in Seattle, and this year the Big Green and fellow Ivy League foe, Cornell will compete against the Washington Huskies. Races will begin at 10 am on May 4th.
The event is held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club and is sponsored by Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate, the largest regional real-estate company on the West Coast. Last year tens of thousands of fans lined the Cut and packed the Montlake. The free event has become one of the largest sporting events in the area, connecting the Seattle community to the sport.
"The Windermere Cup on Opening Day is a rite of passage for spring in Seattle," said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. "We look forward to it every year and are so proud to have this 27-year-long partnership with the University of Washington and Seattle Yacht Club."
"We're thrilled and grateful to be taking part," said Dartmouth men's heavy weight coach Topher Bordeau. "The Windermere Cup is a special part of our sport, something that every rower hopes to be part of at least once in their career. We're really looking forward to the chance to compete against Washington and Cornell in such a spectacular setting, and we're grateful to Windermere and the Washington staff for giving us the opportunity."
The Windermere races began with the World Champion Soviet Union crews in 1987 as part of the community's effort to highlight the unique racing venue the Montlake Cut offers rowing.
"The Windermere Cup is a special event and we're thrilled to have been invited to Seattle to race in it," said women's coach Wendy Levash. "This will be my first time experiencing the event, but from what I hear, there's really nothing like it. We're looking forward to the unique race environment as much as the competition. Washington and Cornell are both strong, deep, teams who consistently boat fast crews. We're excited to race against the nations best."
Traditionally the event has featured one domestic crew and one international crew; however, this year Windermere has attracted two of the very best domestic crew programs in Dartmouth and Cornell. The two schools were scheduled for a dual race on Windermere weekend, but now both will be making their way to Seattle to compete against the Huskies.
"We want to encourage the very best teams to come race in the Pacific Northwest and Windermere's sponsorship has allowed us to do that," said Washington men's head coach Michael Callahan. "We're really excited to have two storied programs coming to race us."
The 2013 Windermere edition continues the tradition of attracting premier rowing teams to Seattle for this special event. The Ivy League has a long and storied crew history, with the first races dating back to 1852. Cornell was one of the three Ivy League Schools that founded the Intercollegiate Rowing Association, the oldest collegiate athletic organizing body in the U.S.
"Over the years it's always been the goal of the Windermere Company and the University of Washington to get the best level of competition here for the Windermere Cup," said rowing director and women's coach Bob Ernst. "It's been our quest the last few years to get good Ivy League competition to come out, so to have two of their best come on the same year is really going to make this event special."
Another twist in format has the men and women competing against the same universities. Generally, the men and women face crews from different schools.
The Dartmouth men's heavyweight crew, coached by Topher Bordeau, is coming off a 2012 season in which they reached the IRA National Championship for the 14th consecutive season after earning an at-large bid at the Eastern Sprints.
The Big Green women, who advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2011, are coach by Wendy Levash. The women are coming off a season in which they claimed the Class of 1985 with wins over Yale and Boston University and had an excellent showing at the Ivy League Championship.
"Both the men's and women's programs at Dartmouth and Cornell have been competitive on the national level," said Ernst. "It's first rate competition, so it's a big honor to have them come."
The spring rowing event is not just for collegiate programs. Dozens of local, national and international junior and masters crews will compete in races prior to the main event.
Windermere Real Estate and Windermere Cup
Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico.