Getting to London, Fifth Look posted by: John FX Flynn (September 3, 2011)
USA M4 now 'On to London'
row2k's daily look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification.
The USA finally had a big day in Bled, grabbing five of the remaining seven Olympic bids they are chasing. Two came from making the A Final outright, in the M4 and LW2x, leaving those crews to concentrate on medals in the Final without the worry of qualification. The other three came on the last try, in the sort of all-to-chance B Finals these Championships have been rife with.
On to London: M4x, M2-, M1x, M4-, LW2x All week, we've seen crews exultant to qualify before their final race, and the US finally had two crews today who could celebrate just that. The M4- rowed an exceptional semi, coming in second just behind the GB four, and can now focus on a medal with the London berth secured. The LW2x, on a tear all year, took perhaps the most important step of all today: coming in a comfortable third to move to the final and lock up London--and likely doing so without showing all of their cards.
In "last chance" B Finals, the M4x, M2- and M1x all made the top 11 overall and emerged with bids intact. The quad raced ahead of the cut line the whole way, moving from fourth to third to second in the end, catching everyone but the much chagrined GBR quad who'd figured to medal in Bled, at the very least. The pair flirted with the back of the back as late as the third 500, but another stunning drop of the hammer nearly pushed them as high as second and they took third by open water.
Men's single sculler Ken Jurkowski cut it the closest, down a bit in last at the thousand and finishing in fifth for the 11th and final spot. He's a canny racer, though, and he really did all he needed to do: there were no prizes better than the Olympic spot on offer, and any spot but last was good for London.
Still Alive: W1x The last bid still undecided for the US rests in the hands of Gevvie Stone in the W1x. Stone had a chance to qualify today by making the A Final, but that would have required a more than mild upset. That said, she raced well in the semi, running fourth much of the way before heading to the B Final in fifth. Racing in that petite will be tough, since only the top three finishers can qualify, but her times today show her very much in the mix. That's a good spot to be in for a relatively young sculler who missed the semis in Lucerne altogether (if barely)--and, as we've seen with qualifying all week, anything can happen out on the race course.
Facing Final Qualification: W2x The US did wind up on the wrong side of one tight finish today, when the W2x lost their dual with China for second place in the B Final of that event. Just 2.5 seconds separated first through third, but Germany and China got the last two spots, and the W2x will be the one crew on the women's side that will have to race the Qualifier next June.
Olympic Qualification Summary - USA (as of Saturday) 14 Olympic Events total In = 8 - W4x, W2-, W8, M4x, M2-, M1x, M4-, LW2x Out = 5 - M2x, LM4-, LM2x, M8+, W2x TBD = 1 (W1x)