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Funday Sunday
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Set for Sunday now

Jimmy Sopko

September 2, 2011
Getting your first race out of the way at any regatta is a relief.  The first race at the World Championships in the lightweight 8 is another level all together.  Most of the US crews at this year’s world championships have raced this summer and they know who is fast.  They also know where they stack up in the mix and have had time to work on things to get faster and make improvements.  We went in to yesterday blind.

The lightweight men’s 8 is not an Olympic event.  We did not race at this year’s world cup series and yesterday was our first 2k where we lined up against someone.  It was a little nerve-racking.  We knew that there was speed in this line-up, but what we didn’t know was what everyone else had.  The only prior result was that Italy beat Denmark at the Lucerne World Cup 7 weeks ago.  

Italy is a perennial powerhouse in the lightweight men’s 8.  We knew they were going to be fast and we knew Denmark lost to them, but not by much.  Then there is France, whose stern pair won the lightweight men’s pair at the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand.  So they’re fast.  Then there is Australia, who is returning at least 6 guys from last year’s 8 that placed 2nd, beating the Italians who got 3rd and us, who placed 5th.  Basically, everyone is fast.  

So our plan was to row our race.  We had a malleable race plan based on what we and our coach (Dan Roock) had seen over the past 6 weeks.  The tricky part is that whenever we did pieces, they were solo; us against the clock and none of the pressure of another crew screaming next to you, distracting you.  So yesterday was our test run. 

The test went well.  However, Sunday is funday.  Everyone will show up with strong intentions of beating us.  That is when the race is real and now we have a result against other crews in our event to build off of.  The race yesterday was tight and the finals always seem to be a little tighter.  We’ll bring our A game and put it all on the line.  That’s all you can do.

- Jimmy


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