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ND WOMEN’S CREW: Irish hoping to make a splash in Mission Bay

Kyle Cassily | Friday, April 1, 2005

The waters of Mission Bay in San Diego are traditionally reserved for vacationers and tourists. This weekend, those same waters will play host to a different kind of guest as the Irish travel west to compete in the 33rd San Diego Crew Classic.This weekend, an Irish team seeks to secure a rare win in the inhospitable domain of southern California.The Crew Classic is set to host a number of elite teams this weekend, from Harvard all the way to California. “In last year’s heats of the Jessop-Whittier Cup [the top women’s trophy in the Classic] there were four of the sixteen teams that later were present in the NCAA Championships,” coach Martin Stone said.While not the most meaningful of the season’s regattas, the Classic is clearly one of the most popular and publicized. Past Classics have seen the dramatic entrance of Navy SEALs to kickoff the races, and it draws rowing enthusiasts from across the country.The women seek to charge ahead of the national competition while remaining classy throughout their weekend-long San Diego odyssey. “We’re going to see the best crews from the West, East [and] South,” Stone said. “There will be crews from Tennessee, Texas and Purdue.”Also competing will be Yale and many other teams from the East coast.The results of the races are still critical to each team’s season though. “When the NCAA selection committee makes their choices, they are going to look back at this race and use it to determine who should be in the Championships,” Stone said. This weekend’s heats will differ from what most collegiate eight’s are used to – the races will be held in salt water.Salt water is known for its increased buoyancy in comparison to fresh water. The crew shells will ride noticeably higher in the water, providing a variable that the teams must deal with.Stone has his priorities straight in preparation for this weekend.”We are going to use this weekend to see where we are at as a team,” Stone said. “We’ve made some improvements over the past few weeks, along with some lineup changes.”The racecourse for the Crew Classic will begin at the quintessential Southern California family water park, Sea World, and winds its way to the entrance of Mission Bay.