The US light men's pair of Simon Carcagno and Mike Altman achieved a milestone today when they became the first US crew ever to qualify for the A final since the event debuted. HBJ, why make it look easy: they came through the 1500 gone mark in fourth place, open water out of qualifying position, and it seemed all but concluded that the US would go another year without a spot in that A final. A combination of a stupid good sprint and a truly spent Australian crew put them into qualifying position with about 3 feet to go in the race. I saw Simon look across the river with about 5 strokes to go, and instead of that look that many crews have where they're just praying for the finish line to arrive, Simon's look was pure bloodthirst. Altman didn't even look, just drove, and they blasted ahead to make the A final.
After the race, US coach Bill Carlucci and the Australian coach shook hands and embraced at the finish line; well rowed, well rowed.
In the second men's quad semi, as his crew crossed the line in the third qualifying position, and still almost at full speed, the Belorussian stroke took his hands off the oar to punch the air; the oar caught water and whipped back into his chest, blasted past him, and dug in for a full crab.
The Aussie team had a bad overnight; first some team members found a dead body, and then three members of the men's eight were held up at knifepoint. Here's hoping everyone's okay.
US crews racing for pride: Kristen Goodrich won her C final, which was to be a three-boat final but ended up as a 2-boater when Latvia did not start. Also, the US men's 2x gave it a good run, placing second behind Norway.
The choice of practice kit was a topic in a couple skits this week (i thought it was blue today, not red, oops...), but the German eight has no such trouble. Every practice, apparently all year, they're in a pink boat, with pink unis, wearing the same hat. The photographers, at least, love it.
Speaking of unis, we were watching practice last night, and when the blades are buried, there's sometimes no telling at whom you're looking. Veterans of Foreign World Championships tend to have picked up all kinds of gear in the trading pit, and some crews look like a United Nations of rowing gear during practice.
We saw a woman coxing a Canadian men's eight in practice last night. I don't believe women are allowed to cox men's crews in the championships; not sure why they were doing so in practice, but there you go.
This is one I've known for a long time, but never thought to put online: one of the Brit press crew is the direct male descendant of the Sheriff of Nottingham, which I was told at some point is handed down by paternal succession, so there you go: the Sheriff of Nottingham is in the house.
Apropos of yesterday's note about the two Brown-Cal pairs, one wonders how the rowing world ended up with a coincidence of this kind, or, to put it another way, how now Brown-Cal?
Friday by the Numbers:This morning's C-D semis provided some of the close finishes that were conspicuously absent yesterday: the second semi in the LW men's pair had only 1.01 second separating all three boats.
Immediately following that race, the four crews in the LM2x semi 1 finished with only 1.26 second separation.
Massive margin of the day: the Japanese LM2x finished 1:44.52 seconds behind the semi winner in the first A/B semi of the event. Both crew members were rowing, and the boat was afloat; apparently one of the oarsmen "wasn't feeling well" and the crew paddled the rest of the way.
Doubling up: crews that made lower finals this morning (C final if there are only three finals; D if there are four) will have to contest their finals this afternoon before the close of racing. It's a helluva turnaround; in the LM2-, for example, the crews raced their semis at 10:12 am, and will race their final at 2:52pm; the LM2x raced at 10:30 or so, and races again at 3pm. Of course, if you raced in the Sprints, this is a normal day at championships.