Good morning from UK! Racing starts at a more leisurely time today to allow for the throngs of well-dress guests to get settled and mix their Pimm's in the car park. When you talk a walk past the lot opposite the Steward's enclosure entry gate, there is also a moment of imagining the vast lots pre-game at say, a Pittsburgh Steeler's game, with beer hats, beer bellies, t-shirts, and burgers. It's just a flash of course, as there is nothing like that here.
As we head into the penultimate day of racing, there are a few news items worth noting, as well as tidbits from interviews along the path and in the launch, in no particular order:
Gevvie Stone will do a scull-over for her semi in the Princess Royal Challenge. It seems Kiwi Emma Twigg is not feeling well, and is headed home to get blood tests. This is a undetermined illness, but one that may just keep her out of the World Cup III in Lucerne next week. It seems that all the New Zealand crews are aiming for top form as they host the World Championships this year. On that note:
Mahe Drysdale is here after nursing a sore back for quite some time. He sent Nathaniel Reilly-O'Donnell back to the boat tents with a loss yesterday, easily. They clashed at Temple (series of pics starts here) early in the race--this was not a Drysdale error. A few strokes of crossed oars and Drysdale was gone. He will race Malcolm Howard later this afternoon. Howard has beaten Drysdale before, this should be interesting.
row2k spoke to Hart Perry yesterday while he was watching the race of the the school where he coached for 34 years, Kent School in Connnecticut. Perry is pleased to see his former assistant coach Eric Houston doing so well with the team, and tries to grab a highly-sought-after seat in the launch when possible to witness their success. Hart Perry is a a rare US Steward at the Henley, and as Executive Director of the National Rowing Foundation at home, Perry is a foot soldier for US Rowing in the fund-raising trenches. Hart and Gillian Perry won the US Rowing Medal for 2009.
Princess Anne made an appearance in the enclosures and launch yesterday, and it was wonderful diversion for the folks here in the media tent, of which both row2k staffers were the only residents - focusing on rowing it seems. Sitting in the near-empty tent, one asked to the other: "should we just stamp the "L" on our foreheads now?"
more Gevvie Stone news, and there is a similar story at Scholastic Nationals about the same boat maker. Stone rows an old Van Dusen, circa 1993. Joe Shay (current Harvard boatman) built it when he worked for the Van Dusen and it is currently owned by Henry Hamilton, a CBC master sculler who keeps it over here for Veterans Henley... at some point he told Gregg Stone about it, and here Gevvie is in a virtual antique.
Is that Conan O'Brien, since he is out of work and all... rowing in 5 seat of the Potomac Boat Club Thames Challenge Eight (pic here)? Nah, it is actually Mike McCarthy, a Colgate alum living and working near DC.
Michael Arms, a young single sculler from New Zealand, took a swim in the Henley after a morning practice row (pics here) Not sure what happened!
In the future here at Henley, and perhaps going forward so as to not leave any detail out...row2k reporter will ask the following questions:
- (to large Canadian or American National team guys): did you row at Washington?
- To Harvard folks: which of your siblings, parents, grandparents, and more rowed for the Crimson, donated a boat, were part of a pivotal era in their history, carried oars, walked in the boathouse....so that I don't miss any of this crucial intelligence.
- to all National team guys: please just list all your junior and U23 exploits into the recorder so I don't have to access bios on the tedious World Rowing athlete bio database.
- which boat bay are you in? (so row2k does not have to look like the Notorious Boat-Bay-Coach-Stalker.)
- do you know anywhere in town to find good vegetarian food?
- (to Henley veterans who know the ropes here): Is there a decreasing age-limit as you head toward the start from that Tiki Bar, to the shores in front of Remenham to the Barn Bar? About there...you have to be what....17?
- and just a note to Sean Colgan: thanks for the Leander invite!
OK, that's it for now, racing in full swing now. More from the Thames in a few hours.