Important note: Please see dramatically updated Saturday racing schedule; many races will take place at very different times due to the threat of bad weather.
The IRA has the ability to produce both dramatic triumph and by cataclysmic disappointment – sometimes for the same crew.
Navy’s stupendous heats victory over Cal – sending the defending champions to the reps – seems to have come at a high price, as the Midshipmen were unable to repeat their performance 24 hours later, finishing a blink out of qualifying position behind Cornell to place fourth in their semi and into the petite final. The grand final of the big 8 will include semi winners and bicoastal champs Harvard and Washington, who rowed to almost identical semi times, along with Cal, Wisco, Northeastern, and Cornell.
The ranks of the second varsity eight are almost identical to the V8, with only one difference: Oregon State is in, while Northeastern is in the petites. Clearly speaks volumes about the depth of the other five programs.
The fours are almost impossible for me to get my noggin around from my station here in Indy, but there are a couple interesting contenders: North Carolina won their semi in the Varsity 4 (yep, you read right, North Carolina), Georgia Tech won their semi in the Open 4, and Georgia Tech won their heat in the coxless four, while Army won their rep.
Lightweight racing is underway, as the women’s eight features another rematch between Princeton and Radcliffe. The heat times say Princeton may have continued to extend their lead over Radcliffe, which increased by a couple seats every 2-3 weeks during the season; the racing will out.
In the run for the points trophy, it looks like Wisco has the upper hand going into the finals despite a good run by Harvard; this one usually gets decided in the last race or two of the day.