WIRAs 2011: Recap and Review

This year's WIRA Championship Regatta featured some great racing, close finishes, and a few surprising performances. Last week on RR, we made our predictions for the event, with UCSD entering as a heavy favorite coming off strong performances at Crew Classic and SIRAs. Let's see how we, and they, did over the weekend.

In the Varsity 8, UCSD took top honors, as we predicted, in a time of 5:52.6. However, they did so with an emergent and rejuvenated Gonzaga crew pressing them from start to finish, rather than by open water. The Zags have evidently found 10 seconds over the past two weeks, as their most recent performance prior to WIRAs saw them lose to Washington State's Varsity 8 by over five seconds at the Fawley Cup on April 16th. This time, it was the Zags finishing some five seconds ahead of WSU, and crossing the line just 1.2 seconds behind the Tritons, to take second place overall. UCLA took third in their first ever appearance at WIRAs, and was the top club team in the V8 this year -- quite an achievement, especially given where the program was only a year ago. The Bruins claimed the bronze in 5:58.3 -- just 0.4 seconds ahead of WSU, with UCD and USD rounding out the final in that order.

In the 2V, we had predicted a finish order of UCSD A, Gonzaga/UCSD B, followed by the field. However, a newly reshuffled Orange Coast lineup (which included five new members from their Second Novice 8) put UCSD under a great deal of pressure, leading for much of the race. The Tritons made a big move as they crossed the 1250m mark, and Coast was unable to get back on terms as the crews approached the finish. UCSD took first in a time of 6:04.3, with the Coast entry taking the silver in 6:05.8. Gonzaga's 2V beat out the UCSD 3V to take the bronze.

In the Frosh category, it was OCC's turn. The Pirates jumped out to an early lead over Gonzaga (another solid performance from the Bulldogs) and UCSD (whom we picked to win), holding 6 seats over the field at the 1000m mark. It was enough, as Coast held the advantage through the finish, crossing in 6:06.8, with the Zags taking second in 6:08.9, and UCSD third in 6:11.7.

On the women's side, USD won the V8, following up on their second straight WCC Championship title on Friday, while the Vikings from Western Washington swept all of their events.

Congrats to everyone who participated, and we'll be keeping an eye on UCSD and Gonzaga as they prepare for IRAs this June. Also, thanks to Coast Crew for posting results via Twitter (@giantkillers) and Facebook.


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