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Bainbridge Island rowers help UW take national title
Two former Bainbridge Island rowers helped the Huskies win the 2014 Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship Sunday, June 1, in New Jersey as part of the University of Washington mens varsity four team.
Harrison King, a UW freshman as well as the team’s man at the bow, and James Erving, a sophomore, both competed with the BHS team at the high school level before graduating.
The Huskies’ varsity four boat reportedly began the race in an evenly matched and tightly packed start before pulling ahead late in the race’s first half.
The team finished with a final time of 6:21.322. In second place was Brown, with 6:24.619, and California placed third with 6:27.615.
The team coxswain is Joshua Klein. The program is led by Head Coach Michael Callahan.
All together, the UW men’s rowing program took home three gold medals as well as one silver and one bronze from the championship event. The mens varsity eight team won the fourth straight championship for the Huskies, their 17 overall.
According to the UW, only three programs have ever won four straight titles since the IRA was first held in 1895.
But the standout performances by UW rowers — and a couple of former Spartans — caught few island rowers by surprise.
“The Huskies are so dominant right now,” said Spartan Head Coach Tim Goss. “Callahan has it nailed and the guys work real hard.”
This season marked Goss’ eighth with the Bainbridge program. He said that he remembers both King and Erving as very competitive athletes.
“We’re very proud of them,” he said of the recent graduates. “Just to be on the [UW] team is huge.”
Goss remembered that both King and Erving started rowing very young. Erving got into the sport as a BHS freshman, Goss said, and King actually began rowing in eighth grade, then stepped away from the team to concentrate on other sports before finally returning to rowing in his junior year.
“I know they’re some of the most competitive kids out of the program,” he laughed. “It impresses me that they stuck with it. The Huskies program is grueling and will burn some of the kids out.”
To be a successful rower, Goss said, an athlete must be in top physical condition and able to coordinate well as part of a team under pressure.
“A lot of it comes from within themselves,” he explained. “We say when we introduce them to the sport that what we teach them is something you can do your whole life. There’s a lot of joy and fun to be had in working so hard.”