Comment of the day (besides "no comment"): "There are some bad semis tomorrow." In my experience, there are only two kinds of semis: bad and worse.
And then there's Steve Tucker's semi today, in which he placed a very solid second: it contained the first, second, third, and fourth place finishers from the 2001 Worlds.
And then again, many of the semis, especially the women's single sculls and the men's pair heat won by Australia, featured the leaders crossing the line hardly pulling and rowing 29-30 beats per minute. More often, semis are scalding hot and close; I don't believe today's photo finishes are going to be anything like those of the past couple days.
Comment of the day, yesterday: A US rower to a Russian: "I read Ivan Denisovich." uh oh, i'm thinking, but then the Russian said "He went to America," and the US rower launched into a full description of where he moved in the States (Vermont), when he was exiled (1972), and more. What I first thought was a social pratfall turned into a pretty good showing for a shore guy.
After three days of blistering tailwinds, a headwind greeted Aquil Abdullah for his semifinal today. For a guy of Aquil's size, a headwind might have brought disaster, but although Aquil didn't make the A final, he finished in a convincing fourth place with a solid row, which could bode well for his ultimate finishing position; good luck to Shaq in the B final.
Yugoslavia, USA, Brown, Cal, whatever: the US women's pair includes a Brown rower (Portia Johnson) and Megan Dirkmaat (Cal), and the Yugo men's pair includes a Brown rower (Nikola Stojic) and Djordje Visacki (Cal). (See By the Numbers below for more on these crews.)
As reported here on Tuesday, the US men's pair that flipped in their heat will be racing in the C final tomorrow afternoon. Normally in this case, any crew that does not complete a qualifying race is disqualified from the regatta, but there are appeals processes in place for this kind of occurence; at the behest of the crew, the regatta committee polls the other participants in the C final for permission to compete; permission was granted in this case, and the crew will have the opportunity to row.
Lisa Schlenker took the long road to the final, rowing through the reps, but she threw down nicely in today's semi, winning the race on the strength of a really solid middle thousand, rowing confidently from third at the 500 into first by 1500. With that, Schlenker scoopeds up the prime real estate in the middle lanes for Saturday's final.
Thursday by the numbers:Steve Tucker stuck to his even-splitting ways, save perhaps for the final 500 meters where he was in very comfortable qualifying position:
- 1:45.41 (4th fastest first 500)
- 1:45.94 (2nd fastest second 500)
- 1:46.20 (fastest third 500)
- 1:48.48 (2nd fastest fourth 500)
As mentioned above, there were very few photo finishes for qualifying spots. Only two races, the men's and women's pairs, had margins of less than one second separating an A final qualifier from a non-qualifier; the men's pair semi: 3) Yugoslavia 6:59.09; 4) Lithuania 6:59.81; and the women's pair 3) Australia 7:39.62; 4) USA 7:40.28. One Brown/Cal pair just gets through, the other just misses - very tough way to go out for the women's pair.
Another cruel and unusual elimination round: the LW1x C and D semis included seven boats in two semis, one of three and one of four crews. In the four-boat semi, 3 crews advanced to the C final, 1 to the D final; in the three-boat semi, 2 go to the C final, 1 to the D final. I believe this is to avoid a 7-boat C final, and creates a five-boat C final, and a two-boat D final. Got that?
Three people asked who was writing these; guess i need a byline these days. Temps are up by about 10 degrees or so since yesterday, the first hint since row2k arrived of how toasty it can be here in southern Espana.