What an incredible day of racing with come from behind victories and advancements more the norm than the exception. With racing in the Light Men’s Four, less than three seconds of margin between 1st and 4th in both races and with only three to go forward, and the Men’s Double with 3.07 seconds separating the six boats that made the A Final, it was an exciting day of racing to watch.
However, it does not get more exciting than when your crew is in a tight race to go to the A Final and gets it done! Margot and Sarah raced tremendously today. After missing advancing to the A Final in yesterday’s heats by one spot, they both expressed confidence and determination in what they were going to do during the team meeting we had last night. There was not even a question whether or not they would get it done; they both said it, planned for it and believed it. Today they lived it … but they sure made it interesting.
The starting system this morning had some issues. After the horn signaled GO, there was a long dull beep that is the false start system. USA had a good start was even with 4 boats, when the Czech Republic stopped. All boats can stop in first 100 meters if something like this happens and everyone had to go back while the officials sorted it out. They even did a test run that did not work, so after 10 minutes and an increasing crosswind, they started the race without the “boot” that holds the boat in place. Margot and Trow handled all of this beautifully, even helping to make sure the non-English speaking crews on the line knew what was happening, before coming out with an even better start. By 500 all boats had settled into their rhythm. With us in 3rd place behind China and Czech, the only surprise was that the Germans, who were in the World Champion Quad last year, were back.
The margins more or less stayed the same with China a few feet of open water ahead and us down to the Czechs by just under a second. For the middle 1000 meters no one seemed to move. As they approached 750 to go, and only 2 of the three boats to advance, Margot sensed that something needed to be done and did it. Yesterday in the heat, our double waited to long to go and the Polish crew got the jump. Today, Margot harnessed that experience, anticipated the Czech move, and proactively asserted pressure on the two leaders throughout the second 1000. The US boat and Czech boat went after each other without the margins changing much, as the rates and intensity came up. Then it happened. Trow and Margot decided it was time and threw down an incredible boat-speed-increasing move that walked right through Czech and halfway down China’s boat by the finish line. The grandstands really appreciated the effort as the noise level increased all the way through the finish line
Since the end of April, we have been doing back-to-back pieces, specifically to prepare for the races to qualify in Lucerne and in anticipation that we would have back-to-back heat/rep days here. It is awesome to watch the confidence of these athletes after a tight race yesterday, knowing they had to come back today and do it again, with confidence in their capabilities. Now that we have arrived at the A Final, there is additional work to be done in order to be ready. Since April they have raced with nothing to lose, and they should continue that on Friday at 12:10 p.m.
With the new format of racing, the A Finals for the medals are spread out across four days. Tomorrow there are three finals with the US in the hunt in the Women’s Pair, Women’s Quad and the Men’s 8+, with finals racing starting at 11:50 a.m. here in Britain. Should be a great day of racing!
Final note, the support and notes on Facebook, other social media and via email are tremendous and we all appreciate it. In particular having both Margot’s and Trow’s family here has been awesome. Each day after racing it has been a priority to go check-in with them after racing before the cool down in the family area near the boathouse. There are not words to describe the strength and support that Margot’s Mom Julia gives the team. She has been fighting cancer for 2 years is in the middle of chemo now and after each long day to get here is beaming with pride, providing valuable balance as well as an outlet during the emotions of the Games. Great reminder that we are fighting for positions in a boat race, and her battle with a different foe is bigger. Thank you, Julia … Kick Cancer’s Ass.