May 29, 2014
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - The Navy heavyweight rowing team will begin competition on Mercer Lake for the 112th IRA National Championships on Friday morning. The three-day event will begin with heat races and run through Sunday when the Championship finals are held. The University of Washington is the three-time defending National Champion as victors of the varsity eight race and the seven-time defending Ten Eyck Trophy winners as the highest scorer program at the IRAs.
The action on Friday begins with the first of four V8 heats starting at 8:00 a.m. At 9:00 a.m., the 2V8 crews will take to Mercer Lake for four heats of qualifying action before the freshman eight compete at 10 a.m. The final two groups to qualify on Friday at the 3V8 crews that will race in three heats beginning at 10:30 a.m. and the V4s, who will try and lay down their best times starting at 11:15 a.m.
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The varsity eight, which enters this weekend with a record of 8-2, is seeded 12th. Navy's second varsity eight is seeded fifth and the third varsity is seeded seventh. The first freshman squad is ranked eighth. No seedings are posted for the varsity four competition.
"We've had a solid run up to the IRA's this year,” said Navy head coach Rob Friedrich. “All of our boats have shown quality speed and the men are excited to get racing again. The field is as deep as ever and we'll need some heroic rows to accomplish our goals."
Last season at the IRAs, Navy finished ninth overall in the team competition, as well as in the varsity eight final. The freshman eight (8th), open four (5th) and varsity four (9th) joined the varsity crew with top-ten finishes, while the second varsity boat complete the championship with a 13th place result. By finishing ninth in the team standings, the Mids recorded their best outcome since taking fifth in 2005.
Joining Navy at the IRA Championships will be Boston University, Brown, California, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Drexel, Florida Tech, George Washington, Gonzaga, Harvard, Hobart, Holy Cross, Northeastern, Oregon State, Penn, Princeton, San Diego, Stanford, Syracuse, Washington, Wisconsin and Yale. In order to compete at the IRAs, crews must either qualify through regional or conference competitions or be selected as an at-large.
The IRA Championships consists of heats, repechages, semifinals and finals. In the varsity eight, second varsity eight, third varsity eight and varsity four trial heats, the two fastest crews from each heat advance to the semifinal races. The winners of the two freshman eight heats will advance to the semifinals.
The boats that do not advance to the semifinals from their trial heats drop to a repechage race, where they will look to gain entry back into the semifinals.
The Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta is the oldest collegiate crew championship in the country, and remains the premier event for national rowing honors.