A record-breaking day at the Charles; in at least one race, not one, not two, but three crews rowed faster than the previous course record.
The crews had quite a bit of help from a brisk tailwind, which caused whitecaps in the basin where the crews warm up, but was nothing but help once the crews passed under the first bridge and got on the course proper.
US sweep coach Mike Teti was a member of the crews that formerly held the course record in both the Champ 8 and Champ 4; both records were swiped this weekend by the athletes he now coaches.
As the US men's 8 went by, I commented to one of the coaches standing with me that I hadn't seen a boat going that fast ever at the Charles, and mentioned the same thing to one of the athletes in the boat afterwards. My sense of their speed was accurate; they broke the course record by almost 10 seconds.
Home team Harvard made things very interesting by wrestling second place away from Princeton by less than 1 second.
The 1987 Gold reunion crew was the subject of much talk from the peanut gallery; so-and-so rows this way, the US coach is in the bow, etc. etc. Their frequent flyer miles just about, but not quite, expired, the crew placed 16th, including a collision that apparently slowed them down a bit.
In the women's 8, Penn AC threw down the gantlet once again, besting the US Women's 8 from the San Diego Training Center while placing second to Rowing Canada. The Princeton women placed fourth in the prelim results I saw posted, but appear now to have been assessed a ten second penalty in the revised results, which moved them back some seven places in the final rankings. It moved Brown and BRC up a notch; the two crews had raced side-by-side for most of the race after Brown closed water on BRC, which started one position in front of Brown. They apparently locked oars for a stretch, but that was probably balanced out by the adrenaline and extra seconds you get from racing a three-miler in extremely close proximity to another crew.
It's all even in the Riley-Koven fall joust in the single; Koven revenged Riley's Connecticut victory this weekend. Riley wasn't far off, however, and will prove to be formidable competition this year. Koven picked up some speed since last week, and that even after walking around for much of Saturday doing the sponsorship thing in the big tent.
Off the water, a morning mist kept the dust down at Dirt Bike Magazine beach. The expanded entry list is both a blessing and a curse: as a blessing, an impressive, even staggering number of the worlds's athletes were on-hand; as a curse, an impressive, even staggering number of the worlds's athletes were on-hand. Still, the regatta seemed to go off without too many mishaps or disastrous bottlenecks. Any regatta of this size needs help from the heavens, literally, spiritually, however you want to call it. It came off, once again, and that's enough.
Weislaw Kudja was seen sitting in the Vespoli tent with a Resolute bag in his hand; when someone mentioned it, he just brushed it off. Rowers from all over were trying Vespoli's new Millenium single; I'll be doing an interview about the new shells with Mike Vespoli later this week.
Also later this week, I hope to put up transcripts of two coxswains' calling of the Charles race; we put tape recorders in the coxswain's seats of two prominent steersmen. I haven't heard the results of the tapes yet, but I'm sure we'll get something publishable from them.
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