With showers giving way to sunshine and a slight tailwind, and the lunchtime calm giving way to the cheers of "Deutschland, Deutschland!" from the spotty crowd in attendance, repechage racing resumed at 2:00 PM at Duisburg.
The first race of the afternoon was a six-boat rep of the JM2+, with four crews to advance to the A Final. The US crew of Ted Thompson, Mike Tupek and cox Chad Taylor raced in close contact to the last qualifying place, swapping positions with an aggresively rowing crew from Peru for the middle 1000 meters before letting the South Americans get away. Germany won the rep, followed by Italy, Russia and Peru, with the USA leading Yugoslavia home. For the US, they will race the Yugoslavs again in the B-Final.
Two races later, the US JW2x of Abbey Loughrey and Heather Schofield suffered a huge reversal as they lost a scull to a crab, aband went from contention to a dead stop instantly. Loughrey and Schofield regrouped, fought their way back into the pack, and gave Hungary a terrific run for the final qualifying spot, spurred on by the crowd. At the line, the US were a heartbreaking .9 seconds out of a semifinal berth despite a sprint that left them visibly gassed on the line. There's no rest for the weary as the crew is back in action tomorrow, racing in the C/D semifinals.
The effort of the US crew to get back into the race was not overlooked by the surprisingly non-partisan crowd who offered generous and heartfelt applause for Loughrey and Schofield as they paddled past the grandstand on their warm-down.
On the Men's side, the USA JM2x crew of Nate O'Connor and Brent Peterson were simply overmatched in their rep, never getting any closer than third place, with two to go on to the A/B semi. They will also race the C/D semis tomorrow.
In the second to last race of the day, the USA Junior women put together a solid race to qualify for the final. Rowing even with Russia for the middle 1000, and down to the Germans who were rowing at a different level, the US girls pushed ahead of Russia in the last 500 meters to take second. With only one crew being eliminated, Germany, USA, Russia and New Zealand advanced to the final, while the Ukraine was the unlucky fifth crew.
As if on cue, the rain resumed with the last race of the day entering the final 500 meters on the course. At the conclusion of the heats and reps, the US balance sheet weighs in just under .500--the junior women's pair, four and eight are all qualified for the finals, while the Junior men's eight is solidly in the semis. The qualified women's crews are off until Saturday, while everybody else races in the semis tomorrow. With the action getting tight in the repechages, it will only get tighter in the Semifinals.