Fawley challengers had an early go of things today, an opportunity to row early this AM to have fresh legs for an evening final on the Thames at the Henley. Two US crews who had impressive performances leading up to the semis, Malvern Prep (Pennsylvania, USA) composite with Miami Rowing Club, and Maritime Rowing Club (Connecticut, USA), have come into this day strong and consistent. Maritime had bested Malvern in the Youth Nationals in Cincinnati by 3 and a half seconds (offered a Maritime rower I met!). It was an all-Malvern crew that day, but one of their seniors is too old for the category at Henley.
Maritime was matched with Sydney Rowing Club from Australia, and from a simple assessment of size, they had significant disadvantage. Sydney's powerful crew was also skilled, and controlled the race throughout. Good show for Maritime, and good luck to those boys who are going on to rowing programs at Williams (a consistent Division III performer), Columbia and Trinity; the fourth member will continue one more year of high school.
Malvern Prep and Miami rowed a straight, consistent race against Windsor later for the Fawley Cup, but fell by 2 ? lengths with a nonetheless mature effort for scholastic rowers. They should be proud of this race, but still completed their journey today, save for the chance to explore Henley landside for a couple days.
The Brown University women fell to a powerful Dortmund Rowing Club, the German national squad by any other name. Dortmund got into a groove early, and won the race easily. I will be looking to speak to these women over the next couple days, more from them soon.
The Ladies Challenge Cup race between Harvard and Brown was the first of the day?s US v US match-ups, and the first to show how the improved conditions and the intensity of the competition has had an impact on performance and times. Harvard?s time today of 6:42 is almost 30 seconds faster than the 7:10 they rowed yesterday. Both crews had steering warnings early in the race, but it did not affect Harvard, who stayed on pressure, snappy and sure while Brown appeared to struggle at times mid-race.
In the Diamond Sculls match-up for the morning, Jamie Schroeder may have some understanding of Brown's mid-race scramble. Schroeder raced Alan Campbell from Tideway Sculling School in the UK, and said he lost his rhythm in his race, never to really regain it. An observer would say that he found it in the last 300 meters or so by the Stewards when he narrowed the margin with Campbell, but ultimately the race went to the Diamond Sculls winner of 2003.
Jamie said that he was "at about ? slide for the entire race," he explained that his rigging/pitch was not quite set correctly, but he really hadn't the time to get his usual Kaschper out to the UK. He says Jacob Kaschper built a boat just as he wanted it, and he feels comfortable in it. He is bringing it to Pan Am's in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. He says, "There are a lot of good boat makers out there, for me I just need to feel comfortable." He started sculling exclusively just last year. At Pan Am's he will be rowing his single and the quad, coached by Kris Korzeniowski, who consistently has crews in charge at Pan Am's. Of the weather down in South America in the summer? "I like it hot, but there are some guys in the quad that don't agree." They will be training at Potomac Boat Club for two days before leaving for Rio.
After his race this morning at Henley he went out for another row, clearly frustrated in his performance, and looking to get his groove back. Recovered, the dapper Schroeder went to the Stewards to watch the Drysdale/Hacker match-up properly. More on that later!
One closing note, as more racing is going on! I had the chance to meet the Brentwood College School's Coach Brian Carr. His crew was the Canadian Schoolboys Champions just weeks ago. Their match-up with Thomas Jefferson from Virginia/USA yesterday was essentially a North American Championship. He cited how well the TJ crew raced, but said "we just had a great row yesterday." Like TJ, he is graduating most of his rowers. In his case, seven are leaving. "I'll have a coxed single next year." For that race, he said, "We just put a good race plan together; we are a 2000 meter crew, and we know that TJ rows 1500 meters." He adds, "We didn't panic when TJ went out strong and rowed our own race." Brentwood meets Eton College School later today.