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Seattle, WA – For the first time in program history, on March 25th, select crews of Dallas United Crew (DUC) raced in the 2023 Husky Open, trying their speed on the course made famous in author Daniel Brown’s best-seller, Boys in the Boat. The course is home to University of Washington’s (UW) storied men’s and women’s open-weight squads, holding twenty-three national championships, the most for any team in both categories. 

DUC’s varsity men’s and women’s oarsmen competed for a spot on the travel squad, qualifying with one of the top twenty-four times on a 2,000-meter ergometer test, a measure of their winter training outcomes. Friday’s warm-up row rewarded them with an introduction to the course. DUC launched from UW Conibear Shellhouse, looped Lake Washington’s Union Bay past a state-of-the-art starting platform parallel to the 520 Bridge, bisected the Montlake drawbridge, and finished in Lake Union’s Portage Bay, surrounded by Seattle’s iconic houseboats. Most of the race traverses Montlake Cut, a man-made canal linking the two lakes, whose bulkheads bear painted claims and challenges of UW’s legendary crews. Observers noted the oarsmen’s difficulty keeping their eyes in the boat.

Saturday’s races saw fans line both sides of the Cut and the overhanging Montlake Bridge, creating an atmosphere akin to rowing through a stadium. DUC faced-off against the best of the Northwest, with DUC’s Varsity Men taking gold in the First Varsity (1V) Four and edged out of a medal in the 1V Eight by hundredths of a second. The DUC men showed the depth of their program with bronze in the 2V Eight and Silver in the 3V Eight. 

Austin Brooks DUC Interim Head Men’s Coach reflects, “As an alumni to the University of Washington rowing program myself I know what a true testament it is to stay focused while you have hundreds of fans cheering your name. Our athletes did a great job of being in the moment and racing to their fullest. We learned a lot and have a strong focus heading into Championship season.” 

Off the water, younger DUC rowers toured UW’s campus while upperclassmen toured the athletic facilities. DUC rowers learned about life as a collegiate rower – an important insight when rowing for a club with seventy-five Division 1 recruits. Kate Russ is the first DUC Rower recruited to UW. Russ tried rowing last year at one of DUC’s Learn-to-Row Summer Camps. A year of training with DUC’s Ben Andrews will have her training in the shadow of The Husky Clipper, the 1936 Olympic Gold Medal boat.

“I never heard of rowing before seeing a DUC flyer and signing up for a summer rowing camp. Now fast-forward six months and I’m a recruited rower to one of the most historic Division 1 rowing programs in the nation. Who would have thought? I can’t thank DUC and the amazing coaches enough for all their help,” says Russ. 

DUC’s popular Learn-to-Row Summer Camps are open for registration. No prior experience or equipment is necessary; DUC will teach you. Camps are four consecutive mornings from 9-11 am, starting each Monday. Choose from five sessions. Visit DallasUnitedCrew.org to learn more. Early sign-up is recommended as space is limited and camps fill-up early.

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