The University of Oklahoma women's varsity eight pulled a huge upset Saturday night by nipping the powerhouse Stanford varsity crew in the women's collegiate eight 500-meter night sprints.
The Sooners crossed the finish line in 1:30.440. Stanford crossed in 1:30.622.
Boomer Sooner on the water
The family members of OU crew member Rebecca Winchester each wore an OU football jersey with the number 86 at Saturday's Head of the Oklahoma Regatta.
That's because Rebecca's brother is James Winchester, who plays for the Sooners' football team.
“I do my thing and he does his thing and at the end of the day we are proud of each other,” Rebecca said.
“He thinks rowing is pretty cool. I am anxious to get him out in a boat. I want to teach him how to row and see if he can handle it.”
Rowing uniforms do not have numbers and that is a sore point for Rebecca's father, Mike Winchester.
“My dad is pretty upset that we don't have a number,” she said. “He thinks they should put numbers on the back (of rowing uniforms) so he can wear my number around. He doesn't get the whole seat thing.”
Crew members are identified by their seat positions, not numbers, in rowing.
Water pump can't stop Canadian coach
The head coach of the Winnipeg Rowing Club wasn't sure he was going to make it to the Head of the Oklahoma with the Canadian boats when his water pump went out near Yankton, S.D.
But Brent Figg found a mechanic who was able to locate a used water pump from a salvage yard. And it only cost him $50.
“Talk about luck,” he said
It is the second straight year Figg has made the 20-hour drive Winnipeg to Oklahoma City for the regatta.
“It's a high-caliber event with a high level of competition,” Figg said. “For our younger kids who have not experienced a big regatta, we bring them here, and they are sold.
“A lot of these kids come down here and have an incredible experience. It really seals the deal. It makes us want to keep coming back. It's great for them to see a place where rowing does have a pretty high priority.”
Italians want to see cowboy stuff
Giuseppe De Capua , head coach of the Italian National Team competing in the USA Rowing World Challenge, said his crew had a “fantastic” experience at the regatta.
De Capua said he's been in the United States several times but this was his first visit to Oklahoma.
“There is a special atmosphere here,” he said. “It's very professional but very friendly.”
The Italians haven't had time to sightsee but plan on being tourists Sunday afternoon and Monday. They want to visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
“We are attracted to cowboy history,” he said. “I think it is a very important history for U.S.A.”
Germany wins international event
As expected, Germany won the USA World Rowing Challenge held in conjunction with the Head of the Oklahoma regatta.
Germany won the women's single, the men's double and the women's double.
Canada finished second, capturing gold in the men's single, silver in the men's pair, silver in the men's double and bronze in the women's double.
The United States finished third. Italy was fourth.