Does it seem fair that the Diamond Challenge defending champion and reigning World Champion almost got taken out by his own National team Eight on the way to his match with Malcolm Howard Saturday?
The Kiwi Eight, having just raced the course went full-steam ahead into Mahe as he waited for his opportunity to row down the course for his race, with five-seat crabbing in the abrupt checking to prevent catastrophe. Rowing as Waiariki Rowing Club and Tideway Sculling School (the Tideway member of the eight is the coxswain!), the New Zealand Eight won their Grand match against Leander and Molesey R.C. by one and a quarter length.
This is the second time Drysdale has successfully dodged a clash at the 2010 Henley. Drysdale sees Lasse Karonen from Sweden in the Daimonds final today. New Zealand will meet Germany later today in the Grand, under lengthy aliases...but next week in Lucerne it will be much simpler, eh?
More from a quick launch conversation with Tim McClaren, Men's US National Team Coach:
On plans for the summer for the athletes: "A pair and the eight are coming over to meet us in Lucerne. We'll take a bit of a break after Lucerne...then some will go to Princeton, some to San Diego... they will train, and then trials in September."
A Measure for the team: "Lucerne next week will be a better marker (than Henley)."
Results for the boats at Henley: "We had some good results at Munich last month; this is the best combination as long as they perform OK," says McClaren. "We have a few guys back (including Josh Inman, who has returned after back operation), a couple of the scullers are now a little bit more experienced...they got fourth in the two doubles (at World Cup). Best place place last year was sixteenth, and I think if we can finish in the top-10 it's impressive. There will be more crews at Lucerne than at Munich, and we haven't been sculling forever in the States (as have many other countries). We have very little race experience internationally."
On Ochal and Anderson's race: "They are solid guys. I think it is just good to get a race in, actually. Trying to make the A final at Lucerne would be a good goal." On how much the athletes 'go on gut' versus use coaches for race plan: "They rely on us for council, but they are getting more confidence as they go along. As they get some good results they'll be able to know their race."
In general: Early on when McClaren first started coaching the US team "I was observing the system....people wanted results but it doesn't happen that way, (in six months). I just have to persevere."
Last evening everyone in the area had clustered to the center of town to watch the fireworks, then trickled away to the numerous pubs and clubs for a long night. Town was pretty quiet this morning.
Racing has started here on the Thames with high headwinds, a touch of a cross... not likely any records will fall today.
Sunday finals...all that silver on display will be dispensed today, let's see how this goes!