Sunday was one of those days in rowing where planning ahead and working through any possible scenario can pay off big. When the wind conditions on the Olympic Rowing Course on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas forced the postponement of Sunday's race schedule, the athletes and coaches of the U.S. crews shifted their schedules around and began looking ahead.
"We plan for these kinds of scenarios," said lightweight women's double sculls coach John Parker, whose crew of Kate Bertko (Oakland, Calif.) and Devery Karz (Park City, Utah) train on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia where sudden changes in wind conditions can, and do, occur.
"I put them through drills just for situations like this," Parker said. "So when I told them we weren't racing, they were fine."
Bertko and Karz were one of six crews who were scheduled to race Sunday. They were planning to row in their opening heat but will now have to wait until Monday. Both went to the off-site training center and worked out on rowing machines.
"Rough water," said Karz. "Nothing you can do. They're trying to run the event to the best of their ability with safety and fairness, and we just have to respect that. The weigh-in adds an edge. We weighed in today, and we have to weigh in tomorrow. But it's all part of racing. Everyone's got to do it."
After racing in tough conditions yesterday, the men's pair and women's double were scheduled to row again Sunday. Also scheduled were opening heats for the men's four, women's pair and lightweight men's and women's doubles sculls.
However, high winds blowing down from the mountains that surround the course pushed the buoy lines around and white capped the water. The buoy cables caused the initial delay, but while they were being fixed, the wind picked up and began gusting, forcing officials to close the course for the day.
When all was sorted out, Monday's schedule was rearranged to accommodate all of Sunday's original schedule, as well as the heats for the men's and women's eights and the repechages for the men's and women's quad.
For the U.S., this means the men's and women's pair, women's double, lightweight men's and women's double, men's four, women's quad, and men's and women's eights will all be in action on Monday.
All racing is still expected to be completed by Saturday, August 13, as planned.
According to race officials, the weather is expected to change dramatically for Monday and present fair and safe conditions through the rest of the regatta.
"The classic line is that it's an outdoor sport, and that's not proving any more true than it is here at this Olympics, and everybody is having to adapt to it from FISA to TV to the athletes to the coaches," said Curtis Jordan, USRowing Director of High Performance. "I think performance will be an indication of how well everybody adapts to it. Adapting to it is everything from the actual rowing of the race, to handling of the water to the psychological ups and downs of having race times cancelled and put in different schedules."
Another athlete who was prepared to race today but had to adapt was Nareg Guregian (North Hills, Calif.), who was to compete in the repechage of the men's pair.
"We were ready to race today," he said. "We're ready to race tomorrow. Nothing changes. Everyone has to go through the same thing. It's just really what it is. You're always ready to race. That's why we're here."