The Cal men’s varsity eight won its opening round heat at the IRA National Championship regatta on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J., on Thursday. The win advanced the Bears to the semifinal in the Varsity Challenge Cup.
The top three finishers in the each of Friday’s two semifinals will advance to the grand final and race for the National Championship on Saturday, June 2.
“It was a good day for all our crews,” said Cal head coach Steve Gladstone. “They started the regatta with some solid performances.”
In the varsity heat, the Bears got off to a quick start and immediately took a four-seat advantage over Wisconsin. Cal had a length by the 750-meter mark and had broken open water by the 1000. Cal controlled the race from the front, taking the win and advancing to the semifinal. Cal’s winning time was the slowest of any varsity heat, but it was evident that there was plenty of untapped speed as the crew rowed the final 500 meters at approximately 30 strokes per minute. Princeton, Brown and Penn won the other heats and advanced with Cal to the semifinal round, while the other semifinalists will be determined in the repechage round.