Looking for an early season speed check and a confidence bounce just weeks before the FOQR, the USA Men's Quad of Charles Anderson, Justin Keen, Eliot Putnam and Sorin Koszyk took to the water at World Cup I in Zagreb, Croatia.
They are the only US crew in attendance at the regatta.
"The guys worked on certain segments and got some good feedback, which is why we're here," said coach Sean Hall after the rep. "I think they are most interested in just racing all these teams."
The crew opened racing strongly, finishing just behind Estonia in the heat, one position out of advancement to the A-Final, before bouncing back in the rep to finish second behind Germany and book their spot in the final.
The crew finished just ahead of the Norwegian quartet, containing 6-time Olympic rower Olaf Tufte.
"I think our main goal is to run a true last 500 off a solid piece," said Hall. "We have yet to do that, and tomorrow presents a great opportunity to see where we are with that. The compressed schedule makes for a more difficult situation than we're likely to face in Lucerne, so it's really good training."
Weather Flips the Schedule
With a poor Sunday weather forecast looming over the regatta, WorldRowing made the decision to compress racing, shifting all Saturday semis to Friday, and moving the finals to Saturday.
"The Executive Committee [...] noted the fact that it is two weeks to go to the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta and many critical decisions about crews are going to be based on performances here," said WorldRowing in a communique. "The committee have also considered the lack of racing opportunities over the past 18 months for these crews."
With 2021 shaping up to be an almost "anything goes" kind of year for crews, it's par for the course.
"'Be ready for anything' has been my mantra for several years now, and so far this year we've had to race trials with a changing schedule and a coach who couldn't be there for it, a wildly changing race schedule here, and traffic jams that severely delayed launching for the rep," said Hall. "I'll have to say the adjustments just came as obstacles were hurled at us. The rest was just heart."
USA M4x starting the repechage