On the morning of finals, the US crews racing in the D/C/B Finals rowed respectably, while 3 US crews will be racing for the medals in the afternoon.
Sunshine and a light tailwind graced the course on the Wedau for the start of finals, and by lunchtime it appeared that, for the first time this week, the weather might approximate summer all day.
Owen Pope of the US, racing in the D-Final of the JM1x, once again showed his pace and patience over the course of the final, rowing in second to the sculler from Georgia before winding it up and taking the eastern European athlete apart over the last 500. A visibly excited Pope celebrated his win (and 19th place overall) on the finish line, once again demonstrating that it's not always just medals that matter.
Almost as if to one-up Pope, USA JW1x sculler Susan BeVille rowed a stunning race to win the C-Final and claim 13th place at the championships. Only in 5th place at the 500 meter mark, BeVille rowed a remarkably even-split race to move up to third place at the halfway point, and then began to put pressure on the Estonian sculler leading the race in the 3rd quarter, narrowing the margin to under one second. With 250 meters to go, BeVille pounced, and moved through the Estonian to claim the win by open water.
It was "steady as she goes" for the US JM2x of Nate O'Connor and Brent Peterson. In a tight race with the Slovenians all the way down the course, the US crew kept their calm, and their bowball ahead, from start to finish to prevail in the D-Final by three-tenths of a second. The US and Slovenia rowed well clear of the field, with Zimbabwe coming third, ahead of Cyprus and India. The US finish put them at 19th overall.
The USA JW2x of Abbey Loughry and Heather Schofield rowed in a similarly tight race in the C-Final, and like BeVille, attacked in the second 500 to go from fifth to third place behind the leading Bulgarians and the Swiss crew. Pushing hard to the line, Loughrey and Schofield moved past the Swiss but were overhauled by the Danes just short of the line, while Bulgaria held on by just under a length. The US, in third place, finished 15th overall in a race that saw five crews cross the finish line in the span of two boat lengths.
Any cynical claims of a lack of speed and competitiveness would have been out of place during the lower finals, as the racing before lunch was tight and a dozen races had margins of a deck or less.