GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Under cloudy skies and cool temperatures, the 2011 NCAA Rowing Championships began Friday morning at Lake Natoma and each of the nation’s top-five ranked Division I teams advanced all three boats to Saturday’s semifinals.

No. 1 Princeton, California (2), Virginia (3), Stanford (4) and Southern California (5) each advanced to Saturday’s semifinals with only California needing an afternoon heat to accomplish the goal.

In the Division I varsity eights, Princeton, Brown and Stanford each won their respective heats Friday morning, with Brown posting the fastest time of day at 6 minutes, 22.48 seconds over the 2,000-meter course. The Bears came in ahead of California and Yale in the second heat. Stanford led a 1-2-3 finish for the Pacific 10 Conference in heat 3, finishing ahead of Southern California and Washington State. In the first heat, Princeton, Michigan State and Virginia all advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. The final three teams advancing to the semifinals were Wisconsin, Washington and Michigan, which advanced with a top three finishes, respectively, in the repechage.

In the second varsity eight heats, Stanford posted the best time of the day at 6:32.09, comfortably ahead of Southern California and Washington in the second heat.  In the first heat Brown led the way, with Ohio State and Princeton also advancing to the semifinals out of the heat. In the third heat California posted the fastest time of 6:37.04, however it was determined after the race that Cal’s boat was too light, thus relegating the Golden Bears to the repechage. With that, Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan State all advanced to the semifinals. In the repechage, Michigan, California and Washington State finished 1-2-3 in advancing to the semifinals.

Following the final race of the afternoon, the fourth boat of the day came in under weight, prompting an examination of the scales. After concluding it was not comfortable with the integrity of the scales, the NCAA Division I Rowing Committee adjusted the progression of the second varsity eight semifinals, along with petite and third finals.

In the first heat of the varsity fours California, Ohio State and Princeton advanced to the semifinals as did Wisconsin, Washington and Washington State in the second heat. Wisconsin posted the fastest time of the day at 7:20.60. In the third heat Virginia, Southern California and Stanford had little trouble advancing directly to semifinals. The final three spots in the semifinals went to Brown, Michigan and Yale, which advanced through the repechage.