On Saturday, May 7th. The Varsity Boys 8+ will join two other master’s crews racing in the Opening Day/Windermere Cup. The boys qualified for this event by finishing second at the Brentwood Regatta. They will be racing against Everett, who won last weekend, Sammamish, Victoria City, and Lincoln Park from Chicago.
Opening Day is one of the most unique rowing events in the world. The number of spectators exceeds any other regatta these athletes will ever compete in, and will be lined up all along the course. The first 1300 meters are lined by the log boom with spectators on private boats, the last 600 meters are in the Montlake Cut with spectators just a few feet away from the competitors. The noise in the last 500, when crews are trying to make rating changes in the sprint, has to be accounted for and will test the focus of the athletes.
As if the noise weren’t enough, many of the races, including the junior events, are run on two or three minute centers. This means they are starting races just a few minutes apart. Every other regatta runs races on at least eight minute centers. This is a challenge for coxswains, rowers, and officials to make the start as safe and fair as possible without straying off schedule. It is an impressive feat which only adds to the distraction for the athletes. The crews that compete best at Opening Day are the ones who can relax and execute in the midst of the organized chaos.