May 30, 2009

CHERRY HILL, N.J.--Four different schools advanced all three of their boats to the Grand Finals on Saturday at the 2009 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at Cooper River Park. Semifinal races were contested this morning and California, Stanford, Virginia and Yale all reached the Grand Finals in the Division I first Eights, second Eights and Fours.

There were a number of close races with exciting finishes on Saturday, beginning with the first semifinal in the I Eights race. Virginia finished in first place ahead of Stanford by just six-hundredths of a second. Brown, Michigan, Washington and Clemson followed in that heat, which actually went off after the second semifinal due to a technical issue at the start of racing.

In the second semifinal, California won its race by just over four seconds ahead of Princeton, while Yale, Southern California, Michigan State and Ohio State filled places three through six in the race.

Two-time defending national champion Brown won the first semifinal in the II Eights competition by nine-tenths of a second over Virginia in one of the closest races of the day. The two were separated by less than a second throughout the entire race, while Yale finished in third just 3.07 seconds behind. Ohio State, Michigan and Southern California each followed.

Stanford won the second semifinal, in which the top five boats were separated by just six seconds. The Cardinal won by 1.53 seconds over Washington, while California was 2.58 seconds back and Princeton was 3.49 seconds behind. Michigan State finished in fifth place and was 6.22 seconds off the pace, while Clemson was in sixth place.

The last Division I races of the day were the semifinals in the Fours, where Clemson and Wisconsin won the respective races. Clemson won the first semifinal, with Yale 1.33 seconds back and Virginia 2.11 seconds behind. Washington was in fourth just three seconds off the pace, while Harvard and Brown finished in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

In the second semifinal, the Badgers led a race in which the top five were separated by less than seven seconds. California was second and Stanford third, while Ohio State, Michigan State and Southern California filled spots four through six.

On Sunday morning, the Third Level Final, Petite Final and Grand Final races will decide the national championship. The Third Level Final begins at 11:15 a.m., with the Petite Final at 11:30 a.m. and the Grand Final at 11:45 a.m. An awards ceremony will follow the conclusion of racing for the day.

Click on the link at the top of this release to access complete results from Saturday's action.