Seattle University posted the best collegiate race time at the American Lake Fall Classic in Lakewood, Washington. The varsity 8+, stroked by Derek Heath, finished at 18:17.6 for the 5k course – 2:53.8 ahead of the second place crew, Pacific Lutheran University. Seven of nine spots in the boat were filled by new varsity members, including coxswain and president Chloe Farison.
Racing in the “Doug Short,” named after the former SeattleU men’s and women’s rowing team coach, the lineup from stern to bow was: Chloe Farison (cox), Derek Heath (stroke), Liam Connor (7), Max Whelan (6), Bobby Murray (5), Carson Huesby (4), Stephen Brantzeg (3), Chris Gibbons (2), and Darian Thomas (bow).
Racing earlier in the day was the Lightweight 4+, which secured a bronze medal with a 23:24.7 course time. Chris Gibbons, who raced in both Redhawk boats at the Fall Classic, led an aggressive charge from stroke seat, finishing 16 seconds out of silver medal position. The remainder of the boat included coxswain Lucy Brezynski, three-seat Tommy Dang, two-seat Michael Bremmer, and bow-seat Ryan Thelin.
Conditions for both races were calm, although stray boat traffic caused occasional rough water at different points throughout the course. The biggest obstacle for all crews at the Fall Classic, however, was the sharp turn before Silcox Island near the end of the race. Coxswains had to be careful while navigating the bend to stay out of the nearby shallow areas. The triangle-shaped course also presented a challenge for starboard oarsmen, who had to provide extra strength to help the boat turn sharply and save precious time.
Second-year varsity coach Nichole Martin was thrilled by Seattle U’s performance at American Lake. Making their first-ever appearance at the Fall Classic just three weeks into the 2018-2019 season, the results set the right tone for the varsity squad, which will be looking to podium at all major regattas this season according to Martin. Winning medals in two separate events also sets the stage for the team’s return to American Lake in March, 2019 for the PLU Invitational, when the growing class of novice Redhawk oarsmen make their official debut.
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