Updated Friday racing schedule.
Here at the IRA, as has also been the case a few times this season, a few lower seeded crews rowed with points to prove in the morning racing at the 108th IRA today. Inarguably the row of the day came from the Yale V8, seeded 14th to open the regatta, who overhauled Sprints Bronze-medallists Brown, Cornell and Northeastern to finish just 6 seats down on a fast Cal crew. Besides the obvious boost of being able to miss the reps, Yale goes into tomorrow's semis with the third-fastest time in the event from the heats, only behind Washington and Cal.
The Dartmouth V8, who pulled a similar manuever in the heat at Sprints, also proved themselves legit today, finishing 2nd behind Washington to take the most direct route to the Semis, in turn rowing down Wisconsin who had beaten them by one place in the Sprints Grand three weeks ago. The Dartmouth crew looks to be rowing really soundly here this week, and they are definitely in the mix.
Finally, the Columbia heavies replicated their morning row at the Sprints, where they won their heat, to stun 4th-seeded Princeton in the V8 heats this morning, finishing on the good side of a 4/10s margin between heading to the Semis and a trip to the reps.
Rather than inconsistency, we may simply be seeing a few crews enjoying the benefit of spring's long tail here at the end of the season. "These 'fluke' theories are going down like a heavyweight's lunch," quipped one wag on reviewing the results. Especially Yale's result would seem to show that the crew's close race with Harvard over 4 miles last weekend was not accidental by any stretch.
So, to run it down completely, Washington, Dartmouth, Cal, Yale, Harvard and Columbia are the first six semifinalists, with another six coming from the reps this afternoon.
Past the V8s, the racing went mostly true to form, with a "gentler" 3-to-advance progression in the JV eights showing few surprises, and the Freshman eight also seeing all of the top-seeded crews in Lanes 3-4 advancing from the morning.
Temps here were in the 70s at dawn with a following tailwind that had to make for some steamy conditions inside the crews once underway.
The UW staff was in full force with all hands on deck and equipped with walkie-talkies, which thy were using to take splits at each 500 on the course. The person at the start keyed their radio to play the start to eveyone, and everyone started watches from there.
On the water too, UW is clearing letting folks know they are in town. The UW guys were pretty vocal in rhe Frosh 8; fully three banshee yells were heard in the first 5 strokes, and these weren't just grunts but rather full-throated and extended "yaaah haieeee Haaaaaaahhhh!" The UW V4 gave a yell as well, not while underway, but this time instead only in response to their crew being polled at the start.
This one is always hard for coxswains to remember, but in the first heat of day, the Cornell V8 took one stroke and stopped. They simply were not ready, and I am told it had been emphasized in the coxes meeting that if they were not ready they should not go. The Cornell cox clearly followed this advice, and when asked about breakage or other mishap politely and professionally said he was not ready and would accept a false start if necessary. A false start was awarded and the crew went off cleanly thereafter.
A group of local incarcerates watched several of the fours heats while doing community service cleaning up the park.
With reps inbound 30 minutes after we first posted this feature this morning, it was back to reality for rowers and coxswains in a hurry at the IRA.
And a harsh reality it was; the first rep of the V8 in particular unfolded in a slashingly brutal fashion, with four crews within 1.2 seconds of each other at the finish line vying for only three semi qualifying spots. Once the video was reviewed it went BU, Cornell, and Northeastern, with Stanford only .772 seconds behind - a razor thin margin that might as well have been a yawing gap given that Stanford now rows in the C Finals, whew. How rough was it? Medal contender Wisconsin placed fifth, six more seconds back.
The other V8 rep was neither as fast or as tight, which the crews in that rep hope to fall back on in tomorrow's semis, which tend to produce some of the best racing at every IRA.
Friday racing features both semis for all of today's events and lightweight women's heats; see you there, and good luck again to all the crews.