The masters at the 2010 US Rowing Masters Nationals Regatta didn't need Richard Simmons in a velor sweatsuit to lead them in power 10's, (though Simmons would make an excellent coxswain), what they needed was rest time. As temperatures increases over the past two days in Camden, and some reduction in heats to finals progression created tight margins for the tight muscles.. water and Gatorade was pouring, and left some questioning their decision to enter 5 races.
The weather improved on Friday, with less wind (tho not absent) and a slight increase in temperature. Saturday deliver sunshine, still some movement in the flags at the 2k start and Camden County Boathouse, and quite a few more rowers and spectators on the shore.
Friday the Potomac Boat Club D 8+ had won their heat by 17 seconds, and had been lucky to have raced at all. Team organizer and stroke of the boat Nick Holland was searching for rowers to replace athletes that didn't have time to get from a fours race to a eight until the night before the race. "This is a club race so it made it harder to find rowers," says Nick Holland. They found athletes and without a real practice, lined up to have a go at it. The heat went very well, but Greenwich, racing in another heat, had a faster heat time.
"This line-up changed quite a bit at the last minute," said Mike McGuirk, 68-year old 5-seat of the boat and rowing out of his "G" category. McGuirk rowed at Cornell years ago, and must still have some serious rowing chops if he is picked for the engine room in a boat with folks 15 years younger.
The final contained a boat from Greenwich who had a faster start then Potomac, they had a couple seats into the first 300 meters. The Potomac team was enhanced this year by a group of older rowers who decided to become more competitive, so they trained with the larger team. (McGuirk being one of them)
"We made a decision to put our clams in to and would not have been able to maintain our rating if we didn't do that," said Holland of the headwind that still battered the athletes intermittently during the day. They started at a 42, shifted to a 37 and settled at a 34, but we had good run and good length. Greenwich did a surge of power to get a couple seats on Potomac after the first 250, but, says Holland, "Our plan was to do 20 stroke push then stay strong the rest of the course...after that push we irradiated the deficit we had...as soon as we got our noses out front, you could feel the boat really move, we finished 2 seconds ahead." concludes Holland. Greenwich finished second, then a 7-second gap to Riverfront Recapture. Potomac also won the Men's Club C 8+ as well. The men in the Club D 8 will row again on Sunday in the Open category.
Saratoga Rowing Association won the Women's version of the Open D 8's, as well as the Club C 8+ on Saturday we originally reported they had won the Club 8, not the Open 8; the Club 8 was won by Prince William Rowing Club). Kudos to this enormous and talented group from Fish Creek/Saratoga Lake, NY, coached by Bob Tarrant.
Unaffliliated rower John Tunicliffe continues his single game, winning the C 1x category where he matches the age group at 49 years old. He will race again Sunday in the B 1x, Friday's race he won by 6 seconds after taking a steady second-place heat finish. His racing here at the Masters certainly qualifies him for the efficiency award so far.
Saturday the temps rose to 91 degrees and their really isn't a lot of shade out there on the water. The breeze was pleasant until you had to line up in it, or when it surged across the water at about the 500 meter mark. Tomorrow the racing starts with Mixed Eights--a club favorite--and a predicted mid-eights and sunny. Cheers from the Masters Nationals, more tomorrow!