Thirteen US crews were racing today; a lightweight 8 rematch of Sprints winner the Princeton lights and IRA winner the Harvard lights was the last semifinal of the Temple. In addition to the two championships, the crews met at the HYPs, which was won by Harvard, so the Crimson came into today’s race up 2-1 against Princeton.
But it will be Princeton vs. Princeton (sounds like a divorce proceeding) in the Temple final tomorrow; the Princeton frosh, racing as Princeton A, beat ASR Nereus of Holland earlier today, and the Princeton lights, racing as Princeton B, beat the Harvard lights this evening. The two Princeton crews have faced each other every week in practice scrimmages, so know a little about each other’s speed and style; could make for interesting racing.
Princeton last won a Henley final 30 years ago this year; one of these crews will update that stat tomorrow.
The Ladies Plate will be an all-US final after Rutgers beat Leander and Washington beat a very good Molesey/Imperial composite crew. Rutgers and Washington go at it tomorrow.
This is the Rutgers heavies first ever trip to Henley, and to find themselves in the final of the Ladies Plate, not bad.
After days of near-rowovers, the Goblets pair race was down to the four international crews by this morning. All three of the 2002 World Championship medallists join the US pair of Chief Read and Volp in the semis today – the Brits won last year, the South Africans won the silver, and the Croatian pair won the bronze. At the Milan World Cup this year, the Croatians (the Skelin brothers) won the event, with Cracknell and Pinsent in third.
The Brits beat the South Africans this morning, while the US pair beat the Croatians. The US crew led for the entire race, but with a few hundred meters to go the Croatians surged to within a deck. Volp and JR drove up the rating, punched out a seat or so, and the Croats folded, paddling the rest of the way down the course.
Pinsent and Cracknell are rolling the dice this week by also entering the Prince Phillip Challenge coxed four for Leander, which rows this afternoon. Apparently it sounded like a good idea at the time Leander put in their entry, which apparently was before anyone knew the number and caliber of the international entrants in the race. The rules did not permit a scratch or substitution, so the duo, joined by crew mates TD Lloyd and TA Smith, won by 3.5 lengths.
In the quarter and semifinal days of the regatta, a common phrase among the folks actually watching the races (and not everyone here does) is “This is the final.” The seeds and brackets are not always perfectly balanced, and sometimes the two crews that are showing the most speed and looking the best meet on Saturday and sometimes even on Friday. To my mind, this is in part why it makes good sense that there are no medals beyond the winner’s medals, as so much depends on the brackets and the draw that it’s not quite correct or fair to do otherwise.
One such race was the Diamonds between Goodbrand and Campbell today. Campbell led for just over a mile, sometimes by open water, then Goodbrand charged back, the scullers came very close to one another, Goodbrand went through to lead by over a length, the Campbell came through to win by 1/3 length. Open water up, then open water down, then up by a few feet – “Roight. That was the final.”
A few of the more interesting Race Descriptions: Diamonds Campbell vs. Goodbrand: “A most remarkable race. Both scullers were very quick off the start and Goodbrand took a slight lead. Campbell took this back at the Barrier and led strongly. Goodbrand attacked at the 1 1/8 mile and looked to have cracked his opponent, but Campbell kept his cool and responded with a storming finish to win in fine style.
Remenham, Australia vs. Brown: “a very impressive and strong looking Australian crew led from start to finish. The American crew rowed gamely throughout but were unable to make an impression.”
Temple: Nereus Holland vs. Princeton A: “Princeton took an early lead and steadily drew ahead of Nereus who kept up the pressure but could not get on terms with the faster crew. Princeton won convincingly but were warned for their steering.”
Visitors, Cambridge vs. Harvard: “Harvard had a poor and shaky start, allowing Cambridge to take the lead. Gradually Harvard started to claw back that lead. Both crews were warned for steering. There was a slight clash just before 1 1/8 mark. Harvard could not regain the rhythm.”
Remenham, Canada vs. Radcliffe: Both crews went of strongly, but the superior bladework of Canada and the poor steering of Radcliffe helped to ensure that Canada, clearly the better crew in all respects, rowed away for a very convincing win.”
Ladies Plate, Rutgers vs. Leander: “Rutgers had a fast start and werwe in the lead by the end of the island. They drew away from Leander at the lower rating and, although Leander put in a strong spurt up the Enclosures, Rutgers won convincingly.”
Goblets, Read and Volp vs. Skelin and Skelin: “A great race to the mile where the American crew started to go right away, with the Croatian crew beaten. The American pressure right from the start was outstanding.”
Washington vs. Imperial: A very exciting race indeed. At the ¾ mile the heavyweight Washington crew looked as if they were certain winners but M&I steadily increased the pressure and fought back extremely well, forcing Washington up to 40 along the Enclosures.
Danish lights vs. Canadian heavies, 4-: “The race was marred by Victoria City’s failure to keep to their station, for which they were repeatedly warned to beyond Fawley. Danmark maintained their high rating over the course but could not hold the more powerful crew.”
Princeton vs. Harvard lights: A great race. Harvard established an early lead which they sustained. Harvard made a strong challenge at the mile, but Princeton gradually increased up the Enclosures to win a well-? Race.”
Fawley, Malvern vs. Sydney RC: “An excellent race in which Malvern kept up a high rate throughout – most of the course they led by less than a length, but drew away at the finish.”