Friday is typically a mix of semis and “lower” finals, but due to the TV-friendly changes to the schedule I mentioned a few days ago, today was all B, C, D, and E finals. It’s not like there wasn’t a lot at stake; almost every B final decided any number of Olympic qualification spots, and the racing showed it.
As I mentioned a couple days ago, instead of seeing crews find another gear late in the race and blast up a couple places in the rankings, we had more often seen leading crews wilt and collapse. I attributed this to the extreme heat, as temps have been in the 90s since the crews arrived.
Today, with temps about 10 degrees cooler, and very straightforward Olympic spots at stake, we saw some of these extra gears. I think there’s no question that the high temps were a factor previously, and that the racing will only get better for these finals as temps stabilize at more reasonable numbers.
Overheard at the Boathouse Due to popular request, this feature returns. Today’s entry dates back a few days.
A: He was a pretty good rower, really went for it. His nickname was Bam-Bam.
B: Did he have a bone in his hair?
A: That was Pebbles.
B: Oh yeah.
Drill of the day: the Belarus women’s eight was doing the slap-catch drill (slap the water at the catch with an unsquared blade, then slip the blade in for the drive) by seven – the two-seat was sitting out, oar at the gunwale. Eh?
After the close of racing, the PA system piped classic rock into the media grandstands, where the cadre of British journos of the right age to have been in their prime during the British Invasion was singing to themselves, hopping in their chairs, and hand-drumming when Stones and even Eagles tunes came on while writing their stories for the day.
Per yesterday’s comments about semis in the men’s eight, Pete Cipollone informs me that the last time the men’s eight had semis was in Tampere, Finland, in 1995.
Overheard in the Boatyard To make up for a few lost days, here’s another from this morning when the coaches arrived at the course to find much cooler temps, and a much stronger, swirling wind.
“This is somebody’s lucky day. And it’s somebody else’s unlucky day. One person lucky, someone else unlucky.”
Give me more: the day after winning the C final, US LW single sculler Julie Nichols took a row on the course this morning.
The adaptive rowers raced a time trial today as the crosswind turned tail and came up strong; by the time they were underway, the course was full of rolling waves and came near whitecapping. The crews handled the conditions fairly well, and having been the only media to cover last year’s racing, I can say that the level of rowing is definitely improving. The finals are tomorrow afternoon.
Double photo finish of the day: in the LW4x, the time separating first from second was 0.06 seconds as the GB pipped Austria, and 0.14 seconds between third and fourth as Italy held off Mexico.
Brett and Steve pulled one out today in the 2x – going into the final 250 in last place while needing to beat at least one crew, they wound it up and pulled through two crews to nab 10th in a photo finish.
1st to 6th in the M4- B final: 2.06 seconds. The US won it, and the sixth-place Danes missed an Olympic qualifying spot by 0.11 seconds.
US Olympic qualifying tally: Qualified: W4x W2- M2x M2- M4- M8+ LW2x LM4-
Not qualified: W1x W2x M1x M4x Lm2x
Still to be decided: W8
W1x – the 12th place finish fails to qualify the event; it will have to be qualified in Lucerne next summer W2x – the 10th place finish fails to qualify the event; it will have to be qualified in Lucerne next summer W4x – since this is a top-7 qualification, the crew qualified the crew for the Olympics by making the final
W2- - since this is a top-8 qualification, the crew qualified the crew for the Olympics by making the final W8 – needs to place in the top 5 in the final
M1x – rowing in D final, will not qualify M2x - since this is a top-11 qualification, the crew qualified the event for the Olympics in placing 10th M4x – rowing in C final, will not qualify
M2- since this is a top-11 qualification, the crew qualified the event for the Olympics in placing 11th M4- since this is a top-11 qualification, the crew qualified the event for the Olympics in winning the petite M8 - since this is a top-7 qualification, the crew qualified the crew for the Olympics by making the final
LW2x - since this is a top-9 qualification, the crew qualified the crew for the Olympics by making the final LM2x – rowing in C final, will not qualify LM4- since this is a top-11 qualification, the crew qualified the event for the Olympics in placing 8th
Post-Race comments from New Zealand W1x Sonia Waddell:
“I think the field at the moment is very deep, their strength is huge, I know I’ve got a big year ahead of me, and a lot of work to do to get up to pace. The field has gotten deeper, but at the end of the day they’re all human, and that makes them beatable.”
“I have spent only three and a half months training, which is not very long. My primary goal was to qualify, but once I got here I raised my expectations, so I was disappointed not to make the A final. My goal became to win the B final, and I was able to do that, so it worked out.”