It was a bit of "job done" for US crews in the A-B semis this morning, with all three crews advancing by placing third in their semi; in all of the races, the overall margins were close enough that any of the crews could be able to be a factor in the finals. By the end of the day, only the junior men's double and the women's single had failed to advance, the women's single just by a devastating hair's breadth.
The steady and formidable headwind of the past three days came around this morning to a firm crosstail from the port side, which is the side of the course most exposed to the wide expanse of lake in the middle of the course. The wind tapered off considerably late morning, but in the early racing conditions around the 1000 meter mark were quite challenging, a big crosstail and the bouncy and fast water that results being among the toughest conditions for young rowers to face.
And again today rowers were being flopped into the rescue launches, especially early on; in the first 6-8 races of the day, fully three rowers were carted off on the bow of a launch. None were in serious condition, so should be okay in the bigger picture; such is the intensity of the do-or-die nature of semifinals.
For Saturday, a different set of challenges may present themselves, in that strong thunderstorms are predicted for the morning racing hours, which could create some uncertainty around race times, even to the extent that the racecourse could be cleared and crews sent home after complete warmups. For the young rowers at a junior worlds, how well they deal with these possibilities can be as important as their rowing ability; here is hoping for all our sakes that things go off smoothly. (Edit: been changed a bit – find it here )
After what seemed a slow start to the regatta, US single sculler Walter Banfield had a really nice race today, placing second with a really solid, almost workaday effort. With really spread out fields in today's quarterfinals, tomorrow's semis be a very different experience, but today's race for Banfield looked really promising.
After spotting the qualifying group a patch of open water in the early going, US women's single sculler Christine Johnson staged a really nice second 1000, and appeared briefly to have punched into third with about three strokes to go, but the line came at the wrong time in the stroke.
Quick notes from the course
The Serbian single sculler started his career as a coxswain, then started rowing, and won a bronze in the pair at Jr Worlds last year and won his quarterfinal in the single today.
The South African crews are leaving no stone unturned; in addition to the straws on the gunwales I mentioned yesterday, today the men's eight took a cooldown lap wearing ice jackets in the boat - or would you call that an icedown lap?
There were some unusual advancing crews today; perhaps most notable was the men's pair from Turkey, who dominated their quarterfinal today, and the pair from India who has tremendous composure one of the tightest races of the day to advance in third position. It is good and important for international rowing for the top crews not always to be from Western Europe and English-speaking countries; great stuff.
The Twitter Worlds: I would estimate that Twitter was mentioned by the announcers at least every other race; some of the mentions were very specific, including a mention of Christine Cavallo's "growing Twitter family;" if you want your well-wishes to make it onto the speaker system and the worldwide feed, Twitter is the way to go – hashtag is #WRJChamps.
Finally, due to predicted thunderstorms tomorrow, the race schedule has been altered – see the new schedule here.
Catch you at the course, try to stay dry tomorrow!