Per usual, apologies for the lack of communication. Boys will be boys though, and with the addition of some racing, long distance communication grows a little scarcer.
We’re here though, settled, and adjusted. Practices went well, but still had the same typical arch of improving with time in a new environment. The entire US team stays at one hotel. It’s a huge place about 10-15 minutes to the course by bus and 20 by foot. The Australian, Czech, and Canadian teams are also sharing the hotel with us in addition to many innocent bystanders, who like to ask me why my forearms are the way they are. We received a decent boat from Filippi with carbon, stern wings that are more comparable to our aluminum stern wings that we row at home. That being said, our boat needed to have some nose work done as it seemed to have undergone a repair at some point. Dan managed to get the boat set up with relative ease over the first couple days.
The Bosbaan is an interesting body of water. The prevailing wind is a tailwind that hits the course at a slight angle. Being the first ever manmade rowing course, they didn’t have all the kinks worked out (not that they do now), and speed varies from lane to lane based on the direction of the wind. In other senses though, I love the course. It is just 8 lanes wide and barely over 2000m long. It has flags marking every 250m that go across the width of the course. It feels like a giant swimming pool to me in a good way. The weather has been cold, windy, and rainy. There have been spots and moments of nice weather, but with the way the wind is moving everything moves in and out quite quickly. They have a saying in Amsterdam, “if you don’t like the weather, wait one minute (and it will change) but certainly don’t wait two (cause it will change again).” Just kidding, no one says that. Our first few days on the course were loud in terms of weather, but quiet in terms of boats with only a few nations present like Argentina, Japan, and eventually China. That quickly changes though as people pour in the days leading up to racing. You do your best to fit your workouts in and stay focused even though it feels like an arena for bumper boats. As I said though, our rows got more and more comfortable and confident as the jetlag wore off and the new routine ensued.
With 20 boats entered, as you can see below, this is a heavily subscribed field this World Championships. While Lucerne was also relatively competitive and full, you have the addition of crews like China, Russia, and the Ukraine, which all put forth fast quads.
Our heat did not go the way we wanted it. We knew Russia and China would be fast, but we also assumed a little too much about ourselves going into the race. We wanted to approach the fast and bouncy conditions of the Bosbaan with relaxation, precision, and composure. We did that. It’s not that that was a bad call or decision. However, it needed to be coupled with the same kind of tenacious racing we used in Lucerne to assert ourselves and find our place amongst fast crews. As a result of our third place finish, we now head to the Repechage, an opportunity to get into the A/B semifinal. 8 crews were selected for the A/B semis out of the heats, while the last four spots will be comprised of the top two boats from two repechages.
Although the new World Rowing website is a little sleeker, it’s not always that easy to follow. All races will have live audio coverage, and video may start by the semis. To review results, the best, easiest, and most thorough way is to go here. You then select the boat class you want to review (we’re in the Quadruple Sculls), and then you have access to everything results and start list oriented.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I posted a video with footage from Craftsbury, Princeton, and the Bosbaan on YouTube. Take a look: