Before going to bed last night, crews entered in the final Olympic Trials of 202One still did not necessarily know how many crews or how many races to expect this weekend.
With entries closing at 11:59PM Pacific Time last night - that's a minute short of 3am trials local time - there were five entries in the event, although only four of them with names on them. Participants likely knew that meant only four entries, but who ever knows anything in an Olympic year.
The difference between four and five entries was substantive - with four entries, there is a time trial on Friday and a final on Saturday, and the winner is the Olympic pair. With five entries in the four-lane progression, it would mean a Friday time trial which would then seed two Saturday heats to determine two finals spots, then a Sunday rep to determine the other two spots in a Monday final. The difference between two races in two days, one of them a time trial without much significance, with the final tomorrow morning - and four races in four days, with the final waiting until Monday morning, is not trivial.
When we woke up with the birds this morning to check entries, there were only four entries, so a two-day trials it is.
After a morning of racing - well, rowing at least - there's not much more we know. Two of the crews rowed more or less at 'race pace' (and placed first and second), another crew rowed at a brisk steady state at around 23 spm (placing third), and the fourth rowed around 18 spm, at least in the second half of the racecourse, placing fourth. It's fair to say that no one knows much about anyone else going into tomorrow's winner-take-all final.
Well, at least outside the ranks of the crews; the competing athletes have trained and raced together extensively for weeks, months, even decades, so likely have a pretty strong idea of who they are lining up against. But add to that the Olympic component, the 'one and done' element, and the fact these are the last two USA team spots available - the team boats were named last night and will be made public today once vetted by the USOPC - and anything could happen.
See row2k's gallery from the racing here.
The trials are not being live-streamed, so the best you can do to follow along is probably to track the live results, linked here. Tremendous luck and good racing to all the crews tomorrow morning.
Tracy Eisser and Megan Kalmoe
Jenifer Forbes and Erin Boxberger
Caryn Davies and Allyson Baker
Molly Bruggeman and Vicki Opitz