Truth be told, on the first day of racing yesterday, there was a bit of a "is this really happening" feeling as the regatta apparatus came to life-nothing out of the ordinary for the first races of any regatta, but here at Henley, where the operation is truly massive, even little things amiss for a moment are noticeable.
There was none of that today, as the Royal Regatta roared into day 2 and perhaps the most notable change was that here we were on a Wednesday being treated to a few great, close races-the ones you sometimes need to wait until later in the draw, and the week, to see.
Nearly right out of the gate today, the Prince Albert fours from Sydney and Edinburgh University turned the second fixture on the "programme" into a back and forth battle: some of the first "leading by (just) a canvas" pronouncements of the regatta. Other nailbiters:
St Catherines School (AUS) provided excitement of another sort, when stroke oar Bronte Cullen came off her seat just pass the halfway mark of the race. Already leading by a healthy margin, she had ample time to recover and kept her crew on pace to win. What went through her mind as things went sideways?
"A lot of stress," Cullen said afterwards, "but it all got very worked out very quick. I just kind of took a deep breath, sort of put it into perspective and tried to get back on it. The crew 100 percent had my back, so I knew it was fine. I just had to get back into my groove and try forget about it."
Who Moved On By Tea Time (US crews):
Washington (Temple M8+); Washington (Island W8+); Wilson HS (PE JM8+); California "B" and Washington (Prince Albert M4+)
Who Went Out By Tea Time (US crews)
Georgetown, UC Irvine, and Yale "A" (Temple M8+); Green Lake (Prince Philip JW8+); Drexel and UCLA (Prince Albert M4+)
Going out is never easy, but it doesn't mean the trip goes to waste: Brunswick School coach John Martin said as much when he mentioned that his guys had a great experience here even without progressing.
Irvine's AJ Brooks echoed the sentiment, praising his guys for going hard the whole way and "giving it some heart" in the race:
"As an ACRA school, we're a club program. This whole boat's walk-ons, going against guys who are presumably racing at the World Championships"
"Just go out there and have fun," he told them. "Lean into the nerves and take off the pressure off and have some fun, and that's all you can do."
Wilson Coach Joe McMullin was pleased to see another get-ahead-and-control row from his eight in the PE:
"For the rowers, it certainly is: nothing is above board for them, and nothing's below--everything is just pretty flat and even. They're coming in doing their job. Yesterday, Aquil (Abdullah, Henley Steward) who's like a celebrity at the school [his alma mater] was cheering the guys on, he was in the launch, and they're just "Yeah, okay, whatever. We're gonna go do our job.'"
This is Wilson's first-ever trip to Henley, McMullin noted: "For everybody else back home and all the coaches, it was very it was very emotional day yesterday, and having that first win, it was just incredible."
The new six-day regatta means that every event-none of which go more than five rounds-have at least one day off. The PE's is tomorrow, the Thursday.
Asked if it changes anything, having this day off mid-way, McMullin said, "I think it's honestly better, because then the kids can really take in the moment and appreciate everything and they get a recovery day."
Apparently, the Wilson boys and their opponents from Norwich School had messaged each other last night to pre-arrange some kit-trading afterwards, so gear swaps are--like everything else--something kids are doing on their phones
Blazer of the Day
The Dutch do their blazer fashion with a sense of history. Not unlike the jacket we saw the Nereus coxswain wearing at San Diego Crew Classic, the Nereus students here are wearing some epically old and well worn blazers with a link to the past.
These are the committee blazers and the one we snapped here even has the name of past wearers embroidered on it.
We made a date to circle back and catch the whole committee in their traditional blazers later this week.
Notes From the Course
US Team has landed: The US Squad has appeared, fresh off a training camp in Italy where they reformed the Poznan World Cup small boat armada into two new eights a new quad, and Kara Kohler in the single. Ben Davison will race the Men's Single again, and the two Light Doubles will race intact. Ali Rusher was set to race the singles as well, but her opponent is now scheduled to row over, likely because Rusher will race the quad instead.
As have the Aussies: fully masked as a team, just like the Chinese, on the venue. With World Cups and their elite training on the line, those squads are taking no chances with COVID, even out of doors.
100 Years, and a 50th: Kent School is listed on the Celebratory Rowpast list, marking their 100th anniversary, but they will also mark 50 year since their 3 foot decision over Brentwood College, Canada in the 1972 PE Cup Final. The coach of that Brentwood Crew, Tony Carr, is here in Henley for the occasion and members of the Kent Crew here in Henley will be "Zoom reunion-ing" with the Brentwood boys they shared that epic PE Cup Final with on Thursday night.
|Log in to comment|
There are no Comments yet