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Posts Tagged ‘women’s eight’

As a reward for our first-place finish, we received an awesome Swiss Army knife! Susan and I are super excited. (photo by Alison Frederick)

What an incredible three days of rowing!  Excitement and drama was the order of the day at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switz… there were close finishes and surprise upsets in almost every single boat class! Definitely a good foreshadowing of the intense competition we’ll see in London.

The women’s eight race was no exception: all seven entries were serious contenders for a podium finish. During the heats on Friday, the brisk tailwind made for some very fast racing… so fast, in fact, that six world records were broken!  The men’s eight, the women’s quad, the men’s quad, the men’s four, the lightweight women’s double, and the women’s eight (USA!) all set new World’s Best Times.  (Of course, Mother Nature is primarily responsible… you gotta love a blazing tailwind).  Check out some awesome writeups here and here.

Some faaaaaaast conditions on the Rotsee! (photo by Alison Frederick)

Our win in the heats granted us an automatic berth in the Grand Final, so we lined up this afternoon against Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, and Germany. A beautiful sunny Sunday, light tailwind, tons of spectators cheering on shore, the Swiss dairy cowbells clanging at the starting line… a perfect day for racing!

From the first stroke, it was obvious that this race was going to be a barnburner.  The entire field was only separated by a few seconds at the 500m mark, and we only led Canada by a seat at the halfway mark. In years past, the USA would start to seperate from the field in the third 500m, but not this year! There was absolutely no letup from our competition; it was obvious that we’d have to fight for every inch. Coming into the final stretch, it was USA ahead of Canada by about ¾ of a second, followed closely by Netherlands, with a tight race for 4th between the Australians and the British. And all of a sudden, Canada started to sprint. At 300m to go, they were 2 seats down… then they were 1 seat down… 100m left… ½ a seat down…. they’re level!… 5 strokes left, we’re giving everything we’ve got… they’re still level!… and we cross the line dead even.    We wait for the official time, and it’s USA, by only THREE-HUNDRETHS of a second.  Whew! (Here’s the USRowing press release)

Only point-zero-three seconds! (We’re in the yellow boat) The official photo-finish from worldrowing.com.

A thrilling race, a tight race, but it’s obvious that we still have some work to do before London. We only have two weeks until Olympic Trials (for the pair), and less than a month until Naming Date (for the quad and the eight), so we’re headed straight back to NJ to continue training and selection. Send me some good vibes over the next few weeks… as intense as the World Cup Regatta is, I think it’ll pale in comparison to the seat-racing we’ll see in the next few weeks!

Any blog post would be incomplete without a HUGE CONGRATS to my American teammates for their success this weekend!  Silver medal in the pair, bronze medal in the quad, and a close 4th in the lightweight women’s double, woohoo! Another shout-out to my Yale teammate and good friend Tess Gerrand ’10, who just punched her ticket to London with the Australian W8+!

Check out race results or racing coverage at www.worldrowing.com or www.usrowing.org

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No more excuses: I’ve had three days to get over jet-lag, it’s time for an update!

The USA W8+ wins the gold in Lucerne! (photo by Allison Frederick)

This past weekend, Team USA raced at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. Over three days, the best women’s eights in the world duked it out on Lake Rotsee in the last international competition before the World Championships.

We rowed in a different lineup than at the Henley Royal Regatta, so we focused hard during our midweek practices to define our new boat impulse. I moved up to the stern pair for this race, right behind our stroke seat, Kady. (Plus side= a better view, woohoo!  Minus side= I have to be *super-de-duper* reliable and consistent when following Kady’s rhythm.)

My pre-race butterflies were fluttering away when we pulled up to the starting line for Sunday’s Final, but I just took a deep breath, listened to Mary, and readied myself for a good, hard race. And what a race it was! With the swirly wind, we didn’t have the cleanest bladework, but we *definitely* had the relentless, aggressive rhythm we needed! My legs were burning by the last 500m!

The start (photo by Allison Frederick)

Netherlands and Great Britain blasted off the start, and Canada had a blistering mid-race charge, but we kept our cool, countered all our competitors’ moves, and sprinted like mad to the finish line! It was a close fight the whole way to the finish, but the USA took home the gold!

Congrats to my American teammates for their success this weekend: 3rd and 4th in the women’s pairs, 3rd in the men’s four, 4th in the women’s quad, 4th in the men’s eight! And, a HUGE SHOUTOUT to our lightweight double: they were crowned CHAMPIONS of the World Cup Circuit!!!  Gold in Hamburg, Bronze in Munich, and Bronze in Lucerne! Good work, ladies!

Julie and Kristin rockin' their yellow jerseys! Good work, ladies! (photo by row2k.com)

Eurosport and Universal Sports had all their camera barges at the regatta, you can check out their video of our race !  I’m in seven-seat, right behind the stroke seat. There is also extensive racing coverage and photo galleries on www.row2k.com/worlds.

What’s on tap next for Team USA?  The official naming date for the World Championships squad is approaching quickly, so I foresee some intense seat-racing and team-wide racing during the next two weeks. In the meantime, New Jersey is in the middle of a heat wave, so my current goal is to NOT MELT (easier said than done!).

Update:I posted some pics in a public facebook album! Check it out here.

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At the starting line (photo by Alison Fredrick)

Our first race! Our preliminary heat pitted us against Great Britain, China, Netherlands, and Russia. The top two places in the heat advance directly to the A Final, while the remaining crews will race for the remaining spots in the repechage on Thursday.

I always get nervous before a race (call it a healthy respect for our competition). But I was especially nervous this morning… Not only because this is the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (eek!), but because I had absolutely NO IDEA what to expect!  The last time (the only time!) I faced these crews was three months ago in Switzerland. And everyone knows that a lot can happen in three months: different lineups, new racing shells, athletes are tapered and ready, etc etc.  I mean, I think we’re fast, but at this level, everybody’s fast!!

But Coach sent us out on the water with some good guidance: don’t think about the other boats, just race hard, and the results will work themselves out.  Excellent advice!

Once we launched, and started going through our warm-up, the jitters worked themselves out into general excitement—after all, racing is exciting! Mother Nature thankfully decided to be reasonable this morning (light tailwind, mostly flat water), which meant that times were going to be quick!  [Rowing background: a tailwind speeds up a crew UNTIL it makes the water choppy. Once the water gets wavy, boats start to swamp, which isn’t fun for anybody]

As for the race, it was AWESOME!  We hit a great rhythm right off the starting line, and maintained our power and connection all the way to the finish line. The British and the Dutch put up a good fight, but our base pace was fast enough to give us a healthy margin by the finish (see below). We all felt great: after months of training, it’s such a relief to just go out and pull hard!

Almost five seconds ahead of Great Britian! (photo by row2k.com)

Now we’re back at the hotel, and I’m pretty much just propping my eyelids open until a reasonable time to go to bed (I tend to get sleepy after a good race!). I can’t wait until the Finals!  It should be a tight race: Canada and Romania both posted fast times in the second heat, and the racing is always intense when there’s a gold medal at stake!

Check out the World Championship coverage on www.row2k.com for race results, photos, and team updates. You can also watch racing on www.worldrowing.com, and I’ve heard rumors that racing is still streaming on www.universalsports.com. Go USA!

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