After choking down hard rain and headwinds yesterday, the junior rowers taking to the course today saw the absolute best that Dorney Lake has to offer – partly sunny with just enough clouds to keep temps down, almost non-existent winds, a smoothly and tightly run schedule, and nearly perfect water for almost every race.
One quick note up top – in anticipation of possible storms on Sunday, there has been a dramatic schedule change that will now move all the C, D, and E finals originally scheduled for Sunday to Saturday; additionally, the race times for the Sunday finals will not be decided until midday Saturday. At that time, officials will pick the most promising time of day to run Sunday's races – it could be morning, midday, afternoon – and set the schedule then.
US crews had a mixed day overall, but won the over-under with five crews advancing (men's pair, women's pair, women's quad, men's quad, and men's eights)and four failing to advance (men's double, women's single, men's single, and men's four).
In particular, the men's pair had a really nice, very mature race, going out of the gates a shade behind the field, and digging in for the middle thousand to take the lead with 500 meters to go, from which point they controlled the race nicely without having to go any deeper into reserves, cruising over the line without a sprint. The boys had this to say:
Michael Evans, USA
It was good. We improved on what we thought we had to improve from the heat – the front end of the legs, the front end of the stroke, really connecting and driving well. I think we executed that really well, and moved through the field in the second and third 500. We cruised in for the sprint because we had a good margin.
Austen Bolves, USA
We've already done better than this boat did last year, so it's pretty exciting knowing that we're already setting new standards. This is my first time (at a World Championship). It's been quite unreal seeing so many people here. All the different countries. Quite different to racing just within your own nation. You see guys that you race year-round, and here it's people I've never even seen in my life. It's quite cool.
The men's eight had a pretty easy go of it as well, at least in the second 1000, as they took second a length behind Germany with a very controlled race. Similarly, the women's pair seemed to do exactly enough to get themselves into the A final over the length of the course, especially in the last 500 where they just protected their qualifying position.
The spectator side of the course is set up in sort of picnic style, reminiscent perhaps of a US head race, with one restaurant bar in an open tent, and folks sitting on the long lawn in folding chairs, on blankets, and in the grass. It's a nice atmosphere in this weather, although things will be different in 11 months when the present lawn is stacked high with grandstands. This year, however, ticket holders can walk up and down the length of the course getting exercise and taking pictures; it's a bit like Henley without the crush of people, very nice.
There are two more fourteen-year-olds in the regatta besides Mia Croonquist in the US W4-; they are Karyna Shypila, bow of the Belarus women's four who was fourteen in March, and Dario Favilli, cox of the Italian men's four, who turned 14 three weeks ago.
Speaking of ages, some of the competitors look old enough that some were dubious that crews seen out in practice were actually juniors; officials were instructed to check the identities of three crews out on the water during practice yesterday after it was suggested that they might contain ringer adult rowers getting in a sneak pre-Olympic practice paddle on the course.
The Czech men's eight has been rocking gruntie-style shaved heads
After getting his crew locked in before the heats yesterday, the cox of the Spanish men's eight hopped up and turned around on his knees, wiped the rain off the stern deck, and kissed it.
Note that for today's galleries, row2k was able to follow women's pair and men's eight from the launch, so they have their own galleries and will not appear in the regular Friday gallery.
Best sponsor on uni: HIDROELECTRICA, Romanian women
As yesterday, here is a run of quotes from winners of today's races. JW4-:
Sandra Dinter, Germany
Our plan was to ge to the A final and we made it. The conditions were better than yesterday although I wasnot sure at the beginning because of the wind. Then the sun came out and I thought this was going to be our race.
Svenja Leemhuis, Germany
We speeded up in the final 250 meters, and our strake rate was higher than yesterday. It's an advantage when you are ahead, you can see what the others are doing.
Karen Kiesewetter, Germany
We will work harder right from the beginning (in the final); it's vital that we start well. JM8:
Jan Bernhard, Germany
We wanted to run it. It was quite hard. It feels like a distance of 6000 meters not 2000 meters, it was an unbelievably long course. At home we row 6000 meters in a race twice a year.
Leopold Bertz, Germany
It was a hard race, very hard. The ISA kept fighting with us, but we had them with a complete length. We dominated. We were fighting the first 1000 meters very hard, going full, and then the second thousand meters the same.
Oliver Mittelstaedt, Germany
It was a good race, but we can row better, faster. Tomorrow we must make a little bit better race so we can row to first or second place. JW 2-:
Madalina Beres, Romania
It was not very hard. We have reserves left for tomorrow. It is a good venue for the Olympics. JW2x:
Annaliese Ionson, Canada
We really pushed hard and are happy about it. The conditions were great today, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.
Erin Snelgrove, Canada
We had a good start. It was a tailwind so we were really, really happy about that. We had a lot of confidence. We pulled through, stayed strong, focused. Annaliese made some good calls, and we just kept moving. It was good. I'm very happy, relieved (to get to the semis). I've been here just once last year, I was in a quad. I'm really excited about the double. It's my favorite boat to be in. To row with Anna, I'm honored because she's so good and so positive.
Benedikte Tollefsen, Norway
I saw we were taking on Poland, and we just kept on and I said ‘be a tiger, be a tiger.' It was so hard, but this was what we wanted. We did everything just like the plan, and after yesterday when we did not have a very good start, today the start was very much better and we kept the rate up well in the third 500. So this was very good, very fun. JM2x:
Karl Koppel, Estonia
It was our best ever time. We got ahead at the start and held onto it.
Geir Suursild, Estonia
I couild see when the others were putting on a spurt. They came closer and closer and it was really hard to hold onto first place, but we did it. We will do exactly the same (tomorrow) as we did today – our best.
Robin Vanparys, Belgium
At the second thousand we just went and blew all the other crews away, which was what our coach told us to do. JW4x:
Franziska Kreutzer, Germany
The race was very good, better thant the firs race on Thursday. On the last 250m, there were a lot of plants in the water that got caught in our oars and slowed us down a little bit, but we were strong and managed to row through it. We were very good at the start, and had a few seconds advantage all the way through, so we are very happy.
Rona Schulz, Germany
We had a plan and we succeeded, it's such a wonderful feeling. The start was just amazing. We came forward, saw the others get further behind. We will have the same plane for the final. The conditions were just perfect today. There was no wind, calm water, a little bit of sun. It was amazing today.
Guenter Beutter, USA coach
The race worked out exactly as we planned. We wanted to be second at the end, and the girls executed all moves perfectly. We were slow off the start but everything else was on target. They are growing into the position to challenge for a medal now. JM4x:
Finn Schroeder, Germany
Yesterday's pace was not as good as we can do, and I think we are getting stronger. Sunday is the final, not today or yesterday, so we saved ourselves a little for the final. Italy is very strong for the final.
Sam Heron, Australia
Our strategy was to come out strong in the first 500 meters and be in contact. We wanted to come out a little bitt harder than we did yesterday, and that paid off really well. We were riding it, and we like to think we've got a strong middle 1000, so we carried that through and pushed for first place in the last 500 meters. The heats have been tough, but the New Zealanders and the European countries are the main ones for the semi.
Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar, Hungary
The race was good. We started with a good stroke rate and we just went. We had a second lead at the midway point so we could ease up. The conditions are better today and we are in good shape for the semis.
Cosmin-Ilie Cucuirean, Romania
The race was quite easy. We had a second lead at the midway point, but we couldn't afford to take it easy. I controlled the race all the way.
Elana Coletti, Italy
This was a good heat, especially with the wind pushing down the course. I've shown what I can do and hope it will all go well again tomorrow.
Lucie Zabova, Czechoslovakia
It was a difficult race. My strategy was to row, row, and row. When I could see the others increasing their pace, I rowed even faster. But the girls in the semifinals are even better, with the main competitors being Italy, Lithuania, and Germany. JM1x
Stephan Riemekasten, Germany
I planned to go out very fast for the first 50 meters, and after that I just wanted to control everybody, look for them and don't do too much for the final. I wanted to lead from start to finish and it was good. Conditions were perfect. Some wind would be better, from start to finish, but it doesn't matter because for me conditions are always quite nice. This is my second Championships. Last year I was world champion in the double sculls, so now I try to repeat that in the single sculls, but I think it is really hard. Ukraine is fast but I can't say too much now; we will see in the final.