TACOMA, Wash. -- Six-time defending NCAA Division II national women’s rowing champion Western Washington opened the 2011 season with a solid performance, easily winning all four events it competed in Saturday at the Daffodil Cup Regatta on American Lake.

The Vikings won the varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight and second varsity four races.

“Since we got a late start because of the weather, we’re treating our first two competitions like our preseason,” Western coach John Fuchs said. “We just picked our lineups a couple of weeks ago and we knew because of that we would get off to a slower start in terms of a race plan. But other than that it was a great day all-around.”

“This is a really good group, that has excellent chemistry. We’ve got maturity with our veterans and the freshmen are jelling really well together. It’s a really good mix.”

Western took the featured varsity eight race by over six seconds, touring the 2,000-meter course in 6:54.71. Host Puget Sound (7:01.11) was second in the seven-boat field and Seattle Pacific third (7:02.57).

In the Vikings’ shell were coxswain Samantha Oberholzer, stroke Casey Mapes, No.7 Carson MacPherson-Krutsky, No.6 Jean Piette, No.5 Siri Carlson, No.4 Megan Northey, No.3 Stephanie Bluhm, No.2 Katie Woolsey, and bow Kate Berni.

Western placed first and second in the second varsity eight race, and the Vikings (7:50.70) took the novice eight run by nearly five seconds ahead of runner-up Puget Sound (7:55.59).

In the second varsity four race, Western (8:16.60) edged Puget Sound (8:18.22) by less than two seconds.