The Vikes women’s frosh four crew is travelling to Seattle this weekend to take part in the 30th annual Windermere Cup races, held on Saturday, May 7, on Lake Washington.
The races are held as part of the celebration of Seattle’s Opening Day of Boating Season and are followed by the Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day Boat Parade. More than 800 rowers compete in this prestigious event, which culminates with the women’s and men’s Windermere Cup races.
“Taking the team down to opening day this year will be really exciting for this crew as it’s a frosh crew and it’s going to be one of their first experiences going down and racing internationally,” said novice coach Sam Heron, who is travelling with the crew.
“For the girls who are just getting a taste of rowing this year that’s going to be really big for them and for the other girls that are freshmen it’s a real taste of what the competition is like and it will be exciting for them to take that experience into CU’s and San Diego a year from now.”
The host Huskies will be one of the biggest tests for UVic, as will the University of Portland Pilots. The popular event is usually attended by between 300,000 to 500,000 spectators, meaning the Vikes will be competing in front of what promises to be the biggest crowd of their careers thus far.
“The opening day course is probably the most fun course to race,” said Heron. “Having yachts lined up and down each side of the course, going through the Montlake Cut and having all of the graffiti and banners on either side is a super exciting race experience and gets people really pumped up.”
The Vikes crew consists of coxswain Cassidy Fernandes, McKenna Simpson, Roza Kalashnitoff, Avalon Westenays and Rebecca Girard. Simpson has been no stranger to success this season, as she was named the Vikes Female Athlete of the Month for March after stroking the Varsity Eight to victory at the Brown Cup and was a nominee for the 2016 Female Rookie of the Year award.
Saturday’s races run in two minute intervals with no referees on the water. The Vikes are set to start at 10:57 PDT in the 15th of 23 races on the day. Once the final race has finished, all boats turn around to lead the opening day parade.