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Sunday, May 7, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Windermere Cup: Russian rowers glide to victory

Seattle Times staff reporter

On Kentucky Derby Day, the featured Windermere Cup crew races finished in the expected 1-2-3 order.

The heavily favored national-team crews from Russia rowed to victory over second-place University of Washington men's and women's crews.

The Michigan men and the Central Florida women finished third.

The races weren't exactly handicapping challenges.

The Russian men had finished sixth in the world championships last year and the women's crew had five of eight rowers from the boat that finished second in the "B" finals at worlds.

The Huskies had invited the Russian under-23 crews, but Russia, mindful of 1996 defeats in Seattle, sent its best rowers, including three men older than 30. Two of the women were ages 27 and 28.

"We probably could have had a closer race if it was an under-23 team, but this is what they brought and I'll take it as a sign of respect," said UW women's coach Eleanor McElvaine.

The Huskies men lost by only two seconds to the Russians, who covered the 2,000-meter course from Lake Washington into the Montlake Cut in 6 minutes, 4.72 seconds in a light headwind.

"They are a world-caliber crew and we gave them a race," said Huskies senior bowman Kiel Petersen after the five-seat defeat. "I don't think we could have done any better. I'm really proud of the boat and how we came together for this race."

The Russian men grabbed the early lead and didn't relinquish it.

"I was here in 1996 and we lost that race," said Russian rower Edgar Ivans through an interpreter. "We came to take our revenge and we did our best and did that today."

UW coxswain Micah Perrin said, "They were a tough boat for sure. Every time we came on them, they found a way to answer."

Perrin said the closest the Huskies got was two seats down just after the midway point of the race.

Perrin said the crowd noise was so loud in the Montlake Cut that his rowers couldn't hear him even with a microphone.

"I started banging on the boat — going vintage coxswain style," he said.

UW men's coach Bob Ernst gave the performance his stamp of approval by saying, "Good solid race ... probably the best race of the year."

The Russian women won in 6:50.06 and the Huskies were 2 lengths behind in 6:27.17.

McElvaine said the world-class Russians were "kind of a side issue" to her crew because the Huskies are keying on next week's Pac-10 regatta. They hope to do well enough to get invited to the 12-team NCAA Championships.

"I would say we had a good performance today," McElvaine said.

The loss was the second straight in Windermere Cup competition for the UW women, who lost to the Czech Republic national crew last year. The Huskies men had won four straight Windermere Cup races since losing in 2001 to the Croatian Olympic team.

Huskies crews won eight other races in the 19-race regatta, that also included club and school races.

The UW men's freshman crew won its race in 6:12.53. That was five seconds faster than the winning UW junior-varsity boat. The team had made crewhouse history in March when they became the first freshman boat since 1947 to win the Class Day Regatta.

"Michael Callahan, the freshman coach, has done a wonderful job of rounding these guys up," Ernst said. "He's a good recruiter."

Windermere Cup Regatta results

On Montlake Cut in Seattle (all races 2,000 meters):

Men's Windermere Cup (Varsity Eight) — 1, Russia 6:04.72. 2, Washington 6:06.72. 3, Michigan 6:15.34.

Women's Windermere Cup (Varsity Eight) — 1, Russia 6:50.06. 2, Washington 6:57.17. 3, Central Florida 7:06.09.

Men's Second Varsity Eight — 1, Washington 6:17.53. 2, Oregon State 6:26.86. 3, Orange Coast College 6:32.22.

Women's Second Varsity Eight — 1, Washington 7:07.03. 2, Western Washington 7:23.27.

Men's Freshman Eight — 1, Washington 6:12.53. 2, Gonzaga 6:32.95. 3, Oregon St. 6:33.55. 4, Orange Coast Coll. 6:37.80.

Women's Novice Eight — 1, Washington "A" 7:09.97. 2, Washington St. 7:16.56. 3, Washington "B" 7:25.81. 4, W. Washington 7:44.53.

Men's Open Eight — 1, Washington "B" 6:24.72. 2, Washington "A" 6:32.86. 3, Everett Rowing Association 6:35.94. 4, Willamette 6:52.08.

Women's Open Eight — 1, Washington "A" 7:17.41. 2, Willamette 7:43.47. 3, Washington "C" 7:51.81. 4, Washington "B" 7:57.88. 5, W. Washington 7:59.72.

Women's Varsity Four — 1, Washington 7:50.38. 2, Lake Washington RC 8:07.63. 3, W. Washington 8:13.38. 4, Seattle Pacific 8:44.00

Men's Varsity Four — 1, Washington "A" 6:48.59. 2, Washington "B" 6:55.02. 3, Gonzaga 6:56.38. 4, Washington "C" 7:07.02. 5, Seattle Pacific 7:16.61. 6, Lake Union Crew 7:23.66.

Women's Eight (over 50) — 1, Lake Union Crew 8:00.86. 2, Martha's Moms 8:05.52. 3, Seattle Yacht Club 8:28.73. 4, Interlochen RC 8:54.08.

Women's Eight (over 40) — 1, Watercat Rowing 7:36.94. 2, Green Lake Crew 7:57.47. 3, Sammamish Rowing Association 8:00.63. 4, Conibear RC 8:00.89.

Mixed Eight (over 50) — 1, Ancient Mariners RC/Cascade Rowing 7:36.66. 2, Lake Washington RC 7:37.17. 3, Lake Union Crew 8:17.17. 4, Vashon Island RC 8:22.25.

Mixed Eight (over 40) — 1, Cascade Rowing/Pocock RC 7:15.08. 2, Willamette RC 7:15.59. 3, Mount Baker Crew 7:51.67. 4, Station L RC 7:57.02.

Men's Eight (over 40) — 1, Pocock RC 6:47.88. 2, Sammamish Rowing Association 6:53.48. 3, Vashon Island RC 7:33.41. 4, Lake Washington RC 7:37.72

Boy's Junior Club Eight — 1, Cincinnati Junior RC 6:26.56. 2, Mount Baker Crew 6:28.48. 3, Green Lake Crew 6:31.91. 4, Victoria City 6:34.55.

Boy's High School Eight — 1, Brentwood 6:31.69. 2, Everett Rowing Association 6:42.13. 3, Rose City Rowing 6:50.11. 4, Sammamish Rowing Association 6:56.58.

Girl's Junior Club Eight — 1, Everett Rowing Association 7:12.14. 2, Pocock RC 7:14.59. 3, Victoria City 7:18.55. 4, Cincinnati Junior RC 7:20.75.

Girl's High School Eight — 1, Green Lake Crew 7:20.61. 2, Lakeside 7:21.53. 3, Rose City Rowing 7:33.20. 4, Brentwood 7:46.88. 5, Holy Names 7:50.34.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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