STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford women's rowing received a team bid to the 2009 NCAA Championships, the NCAA announced Tuesday afternoon. The bid represents Stanford's fourth team appearance at the event, and first since 2006, since the NCAA first sponsored a women's rowing national championship in 1997.
The 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships will be held from May 29-31 at Cooper River Park in Cherry Hill, N.J.
The team championships are comprised of 16 teams with each team required to field two boats of eight rowers (I Eight and II Eight) and one boat of four rowers.
"We're really looking forward to going [to the NCAA Championships] as a team," said Stanford women's rowing head coach Yasmin Farooq. "That has been the singular focus the entire season--being deep enough to get to the NCAA's together. The 1V and 2V have shown that they can race with anyone, and the four is continuing to progress. The competition at the Pac-10's was outstanding preparation for all three boats and I'm glad to see so many teams from our conference advancing. Our goal is always to be fastest by the end of the season and we'll be working to gain even more speed over the next 12 days."
The Cardinal is one of four Pac-10 schools to receive a bid to the event, being joined by California, USC and Washington.
Stanford enters the NCAA Championships with a sizable amount of momentum following its second-place team finish at the Pac-10 Championships this past weekend on the waters of Lake Natoma. There, the first varsity eight, ranked first in the nation and the silver medal winner at last year's NCAA Championships, raced to its first Pac-10 gold medal since 2003 by setting a new course record with a time of 6:18.6.
That performance continued the first varsity eight's run of strong performances in 2008-09, which began back in October with a pair of victories at the Head of the Oklahoma. The boat defeated Clemson, Ohio State and Virginia in races at the Pac-10 Challenge presented by Windermere to start the spring slate in March, and took second in the Grand Final of the Lake Natoma Invitational a month ago, defeating such schools as Wisconsin and UCLA in the process.
The eight then gave what would amount to a preview of its eventual Pac-10 Championship win at The Big Row against California on May 2, defeating the Golden Bears in a dual at Redwood Shores.
The NCAA Championships will also mark the fifth straight year in which the first varsity eight boat will vie for a national title. The boat qualified as an individual entry in 2005, 2007 and 2008 during that stretch.
Stanford's first varsity eight will open up action Friday, May 29 in the first heat of its class. There, the Cardinal will face off against Washington, Yale, Harvard, and Ohio State.
The second varsity eight earned a silver medal in its Grand Final at the Pac-10 Championships, the highest conference finish for the boat in school history.
Prior to the conference championships, the second varsity eight had claimed victory in its Grand Final at the Lake Natoma Invitational, defeating California and Wisconsin. Two weeks later, the boat opened the final month of the season with a victory of nearly four seconds over the Golden Bears in its race.
The second varsity eight boat will see its first action at the NCAA Championships in the second heat of its class, which also includes boats from USC, California, Yale and Princeton.
The varsity four enters the championships with a resume that includes a third-place finish in the Grand Final of the Lake Natoma Invitational as well as victories over a pair of boats, Ohio State and Virginia, which will also compete at the NCAA Championships.
In the team competition, Stanford will look to establish the program's top finish, as the program's previous best is a ninth-place effort in the 2003 event.
The boat will be part of the third heat of the fours competition on Friday, facing off against Yale, Brown, Michigan, Washington and Dartmouth.
For all of the latest news, results and a webcast of all races at the NCAA Championships, visit www.gostanford.com and the NCAA website at www.ncaa.com.