WWU Rowing Opens 2018 Season Saturday at PLU Invite

March 9, 2018

WWU Rowing | Roster | Schedule | WWU Rowing History | 2017 Season in Review

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – No matter the event, when the Western Washington University Women's rowing team competes, the expectation is always to perform at a high level.

The 2018 season will be no exception as the Vikings open the season as the defending NCAA Division II National Champions.

The Vikings open the 2018 season this Saturday facing Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound in the PLU Invitational on American Lake in Lakewood. WWU will enter a pair of Eight’s in the regatta, racing against PLU and UPS in four separate heats.

Western enters the season as the defending champions after claiming the program’s eighth national title in 2017 winning the Division II regatta on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, New Jersey. One of the most storied programs across all sports in the NCAA, WWU has competed in the NCAA Rowing Championships in 16 of the last 17 seasons, including a string of seven consecutive national championships from 2005-11.

WWU returns a strong contingent from the 2017 national championship team, including First Team CRCA All-American Chloe Burns, but will also be relying on a smaller roster when it embarks on the 2018 schedule that features eight regattas.

Here is a look at the 2018 season schedule:

2018 WWU ROWING SCHEDULE

March 10 (Sat.)

PLU Invitational (PLU, WWU, UPS)

Lakewood, WA (American Lake)

March 31 (Sat.)

Husky Open

Seattle, WA (Montlake Cut)

April 7 (Sat.)

Covered Bridge Regatta

Lowell, OR (Dexter Lake)

April 14 (Sat.)

Seattle Pacific Tri (SPU, WWU, Central Oklahoma)

Seattle, WA (Lake Washington Ship Canal)

April 21 (Sat.)

Stanford Lightweights Dual

Redwood City, CA (Redwood Shores)

April 28-29 (Sat-Sun)

Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championship (WIRA)

Gold River, CA (Lake Natoma)

May 5 (Sat.)

Windermere Cup

Seattle, WA (Montlake Cut)

May 25-27 (Fri-Sun)

NCAA National Championships

Sarasota, FL (Nathan Benderson Park)

Head coach John Fuchs enters his 20th season leading the program and joined by third-year assistant coach Courtney Moeller. The WWU Rowing program was the recipient of the CRCA NCAA Division II Staff of the Year, which included the entire support team of athletic trainer Masa Migita, strength and conditioning coach Damien Fisher and the administration.

Coach Fuchs sat down with WWUVikings.com to answer some questions about the upcoming season:

What are your goals for the program this season, your 20th leading the Vikings as head coach? 
We are trying to coach better. We’ve made significant changes in the approach including squad size and importance as a team. We have a season of change this year for certain. New campus facilities and off-water training are also different. It’s a directional change I’ve always wanted to do. We are excited to see how the season plays out.

You have a lot of new rowers on the roster this season that will fill key roles…how does that play into your off-season and preseason coaching of the team? 
We put the entire team on the fast track. The fall was focused on getting used to the new strategy and better technique. As a result our new kids learned quicker than ever before. 

Your schedule will have a lot of competition before you get to May…how important is that to face tough competition during the season?
It’s very important. Scheduling races according to our goals is critical. We have a nice blend, some DIII early, DI later, etc.  Every competition is an opportunity to get better no matter the opponent. 

The West Region got a lot stronger with Central Oklahoma moving into the region…what does that to do bolster the West?
It definitely gives the region more flavor. UCO is committed to their program and their success. The West will continue set the pace. It’s the only region that has the full commitment from their athletic departments in terms of importance. UCO’s addition only makes us better as a region.

Your program always has high expectations entering the season, how do you both manage those expectations but at the same time push your team to continuous national championships? 
I only expect we give this journey our best passionate shot. I expect the team to train at the highest level they are capable. We don’t expect results, spreads, wins or losses but focus, perseverance, and the commitment to excellence. The post season is a reward for the year’s work leading into it.

Here is a look at WWU’s tentative boat lineups for this weekend’s season-opening regatta at the PLU Invitational:

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