Five Stars for Dockside Service posted by: Gevvie Stone (August 30, 2011)
Stone racing her heat in Bled
On Sunday (the day of my heat), I went down to the course, did my pre-race jog, stretched, etc. Ready to go, pick up my boat, my Dad has the oars, get about three feet from the officials. Then, I realize that we never got around to tying down my heels. I yell to my Dad, and flip the boat down to waist level so that he can tie them down. My Dad approaches then finally realizes why I stopped and flipped the boat down. He attempts to get hold of the laces, but dexterity is not his strength. He's fumbling around when the official approaches. The official (fortunately!) is a Brit in a good mood. After realizing what we're doing, he doesn't criticize us for waiting til the last minute or for our lack of safety concern. Instead, he offers to help hold the boat or to help with the laces. The area in my hull around the heels is a little small for the heels, so we politely decline his offer. He continues to stand by for support. My Dad is still struggling, and I'm getting frustrated with the fact that he's taking so long and I'm going to be on the water later than I ideally wanted. I nip at my Dad, and right after, the official asks "Did I hear you call him Dad?" I confirm, and he gets a big kick out of the whole situation. Even makes a joke about staying out of it now that he knows it's a family argument :) Anyway, we finally get the laces tied, and the official cheerfully looks on at my Dad's successful handiwork.
The great service at the docks doesn't end there. When launching, a little boy grabbed my crocs as soon as I slipped them off to get into the boat. I was slightly concerned because my Dad usually places them on the landing dock where I can get them after practicing/racing, but not too worried as I figured they were probably going into a big pile and my blue crocs are easy shoes to spot. Well, I had other things to worry about...the race! And forgot about my shoes until landing. Right upon coming alongside the landing dock after my race, another little boy appeared and placed my shoes right beside me before I had the chance to step out of the boat. I felt very pampered!
Getting to London, First Look posted by: John FX Flynn (August 30, 2011)
USA W4x: through GB, straight 'On to London'
Getting to London is the massive subtext of the Bled Worlds, as we discussed earlier in the week. Now that the first set of reps have come and gone, the Olympic Qualification picture is a bit clearer for some US crews and, sad to say, starkly bleak for others.
Here's row2k's first daily quick look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification:
On to London: Women's Quad
A stunning win by the W4x in their rep gave the US their first confirmed bid for London this morning. With the top eight getting the Olympic nod in this event, the USA's spot in the A Final assures them of place in London. The race was every bit worthy of the stakes: with the US coming from behind to hold a narrow lead through the second 1000. Withstanding desperate charges by both the defending Olympic champ Chinese and Defending World champ Brits, the Americans held on to win . . . and less than a second separated all three, with the British--shockingly--headed to the B final.
The Brits were devastated, naturally, but FISA has seven spots for London on offer here in Bled, so the GBR quad can still get a London bid here this week with a win in the B Final.
Still Alive: Women's Double, Men's Pair
Good reps by both the W2x and M2- keep Olympic spots on the table for the US in those events. The W2x won their rep handily, considering the dire race for second place behind them, and will need to either make the A Final or come top 2 in the B Final to make the top-8 cut. Bertko and Trowbridge took eighth in Lucerne, and will need to maintain, or better that place as the week unfolds. Today's race was an excellent step in that direction.
The M2- looked to be on shaky ground to start the week: needing to place in the top 11, the US managed just 16th place in Lucerne. Things stayed shaky in the early going of the rep today, that is until Pescek and Stangel rowed the Czechs down, and then out, moving on to the semis in second place. That semi berth puts the US in a much better spot: now Peszek and Stangel essentially have just one crew to beat for qualification...and a great race in the semi could, of course, even win them a spot in the A Final.
Facing Final Qualification: Men's Double, Light Men's Four
Both the M2x and LM4- raced some brutal reps today, and the results put both out of the A/B semi and any hope of the top 11 finish they needed to give the US an Olympic spot in these events.
Now any chance the US has of racing either in London will have to rest in a top 2 finish at the Final Qualification regatta in next summer's run up to the Games. Those top two places won't be easy to come by either., because today's reps put some other very talented squads out of the mix. There is also still one semi-finalist who will, eventually, take 12th place in Bled and could head to the Final Qualifier as well.
In the double, Ukraine, Poland, and Italy also missed the semis, and we can presume they will boat good doubles to race next summer for the final spots. If anything, the always tight light four field could be even tougher at the Final Qualifier, because joining the US in the C/D Semi will be Canada, Austria, Russia, and the Dutch crew who had a late substitution today. All are countries equally capable of producing an Olympic qualifier, and will be driven to do so now that things went sour in Bled.
Olympic Qualification Summary - US (as of Tuesday)