It's all about the 2012 Games in the first races of the morning each day, and today was no different. Here is our report from the B finals, after which once again as many people went into the water as did after the A finals.
China blew this race open, and led the whole way, followed by Ukraine for the eighth and final Paralympic Games qualifying spot. It feels like the Ukraine has done a really good job nabbing qualifying spots here.
Yu LI (CHN)
"The race was great. We hope to row that well at the Paralympics in London. It was a tough race today. "
"Very very very good. This was the last race for the Ukraine and our last chance to shine, that is why we had to concentrate. We are all very happy."
Light Men's quad B Final
This B final was cancelled due to the substitution of Milosz Jankowski of Poland into the LM2x and the subsequent scratch of the Polish LM4x, which reduced the field to seven.
Men's Four B Final
Man, you really did not want to be in this B final if you could help it; this was one of the most crazy races of the entire week to this point. Much like yesterday's light men's four B final (which also qualified the top five positions, with only one left out), guys went in the water in celebration on this one. Only the Czech crew failed to make the grade with the other crews within 1.63 seconds of each other; it was not the first time this week the Czechs just missed out on a Games spot, oof.
Derek O'Farrell (CAN)
"This feels absolutely amazing. I'm so happy. Just look at the guys , they gave everything. Great to win this & to qualify. It was a fantastic race, perfectly executed. "
"We've only been together for a week and lost our bowmen right before the tournament. Today we have been trying different tactics, getting off hard. It worked, job done for qualification"
Fossi Francesco (ITA)
"It is amazing that we qualified for the Olympics. The race was awesome. I am very proud of my team-mates."
Radoje Djeric (SRB)
"In my 20th year I have qualified for the Olympics. 5 years of training finally paid off. I believed we could do it before the race and we did it, so we all feel great."
Light Women's Double B Final
China controlled this race from the front (if control is even a word you can use to describe this race, which had only two spots available for 2012), while the Dutch and German crews tried to scare off any contenders just behind – but the Danish crew, which includes veteran Juliane Rasmussen in the stroke seat, took it all away in the last 500 meters by sprinting for fourth all the way up to nab second and deny the Dutch crew the 2012 spot by 0.23 seconds.
Juliane Rasmussen (DEN)
"We feel pretty well, but tired as well. We had great conditions for a fast race and now we are very happy that we qualified for the Olympics."
Light Men's Double B Final
Of the five spots available in this B final, the Polish crew missed out. Bowman Robert Sycz had to withdraw earlier in the week for medical reasons; however, remember that the Poles qualified for the Games previously through the sudden death qualifier, and went on to win the Games – I guess you never know.
Jeremie Azou (FRA)
"We are very happy that we won this race. For the last 500 meters we have maintained our tempo and kept the first position. In my opinion all boats should race at the Olympics."
Panagiotis Magdanis (GRE)
"Our result is very satisfying. We are happy to go to the Olympics. Right after the first race we knew we were strong enough to succeed – to qualify."
Svein Urban Ringstad (NOR)
"It feels awesome to qualify for the Olympics. It was a very tough race today, we were all pretty close all the time. At some point, during the race, we thought, we would win, but we are satisfied with this result, as well."
Pedro Fraga (POR)
"We did all we can today, but we still need to improve our result in order to take best positions at the qualifications. But we are very happy anyway."
Cameron Sylvester (CAN)
"Today was not our best performance, but we are already looking forward to racing at the Olympics, where our goal is to win. So we have a lot ahead of us."
Women's Single B Final
As she noted the other day in our report, Gevvie Stone isn't (yet?) a fast starter in the single, and despite picking up speed down the course, could not make enough of an impression to get into the critical top three 2012 qualifying positions. With the AZE, RUS, and LTU singles scullers taking the top three spots in the B final, which are the last three spots available at this regatta for 2012, it will be a trip to Europe next year before the US knows if it has a single sculler in the Games, which can be a very tough road to go down for anyone but a sculler who is extremely committed to the single. It is still to be seen whether the current singles candidates opt to try for team boats over the coming months.
Frances Houghton of the GB came out of the quad due to injury, and went into the single, but failed to qualify the boat for the Games for next year. It is yet to be seen whether Houghton heads back for the quad once healthy and back in the team training mix.
Especially in these singles, when you see a country with a deep team qualify for the Games, there is just no telling whether you will see that person actually row the single the following year. Certainly folks at home who didn't make the team this year, but may be rising stars, are eyeing up these spots with relish.
Nataliya Mustafayeva (AZE)
"I cannot really speak right now, because I am extremely exhausted. I am glad my dreams came true today. We have worked really hard all the season and we were focusing only on this race, so we are very happy."
Julia Levina (RUS)
"I am very happy to qualify for the Olympics. It was a good race and I am glad I was able to control the situation throughout the entire race."
Donata Vistartaite (LTU)
"It was a tough race, a really hard one. The weather conditions did not suit me very well, because I prefer windy weather, but I am satisfied with the result."