Yesterday's near-ideal conditions - a west-southwest tailwind, mostly calm water, and mild temperatures - produced 10 course records, most by big margins.
The records: Judy Geer in the women's grand master singles (21:30.93), Gregory Benning in the men's senior master singles (18:19.76), Team Attager in the men's senior master eights (15:43.49), 1980 RC in the women's senior master eights (18:00.43), Watercat RC in the senior master women's fours (19:48.39), Raimund Haberl and Rob Slocum in the senior master men's doubles (18:06.91), Joan Linse and Susan Kinne in the senior master women's doubles (19:53.75), Michigan in the men's collegiate fours (17:10.68), Marquette in the women's collegiate fours (19:19.17), and Teresa Zarzeczny-Bell and Saiya Remmler in the master women's doubles (19:00.32).
It was the fifth straight victory for Linse and Kinne, who've won the race since its inception.
US Rowing out in force
US Rowing brought its entire flotilla up from its New Jersey training base for the weekend, including two men's entries in today's championship eights and fours, plus a half-dozen scullers in yesterday's men's championship doubles (including victors Sloan DuRoss and Sam Stitt), and five in yesterday's women's championship singles (including runner-up Liane Malcos). "We tried to get everyone a race," said men's coach Mike Teti, who finished second with the 87 Gold boat (the 1987 world champions) in the master eights . . . The "A" men's entry in today's championship eights includes six rowers from the boat that finished fourth at this summer's world regatta in Munich. And today's championship fours are loaded - Chris Liwski, Sam Burns, Dan Beery, Matt Deakin, and cox Ned DelGuercio won the global gold in fours and Bryan Volpenhein, Beau Hoopman, and Jason Read earned Olympic gold in the eights in Athens.
With the Germans scratching, the US is favored to win today's championship eights for the 11th time since 1994, with the Dutch crew D.S.R.V. Laga the prime challengers. With the fall training season just under way, though, it's not as if the Yanks are pointing for this race. "It's the Head, it's fun," said Teti. "It's not like they're all amped up. But they're going to race hard and try to win."
The US women, bidding for their fifth eights title in seven years, will be dueling the Canadians, who'll be rowing as the London Training Center. The Americans have six rowers from the group that won the world title - stroke Caryn Davies finished 10th in the championship doubles yesterday with Whitney Post, and Brett Sickler placed fifth in the championship single.
Bea out of retirement
Yes, that was Olympic silver medalist Sebastian Bea providing the fast-twitch muscles for Team Attager, most of whose members were old enough to be his father. "Seb told us, 'Just let the big dogs growl,' " said stroke Charlie Hamlin, a former Olympian. The inclusion of Bea, who came out of retirement at 30 to try for the US team for Beijing, had regatta traditionalists harrumphing in mock outrage. "They should be ashamed of themselves," tsk-tsked Harvard coach Harry Parker, whose 1972 Olympic medalists (the Alte Achter) finished 28th in their 35th anniversary row. "Talk about a bunch of Hessians. Mercenaries. Unbelievable!" The runner-up 1980 Rowing Club, another Olympic reunion boat, was appalled. "They cheat," charged coxswain Bob Jaugstetter. "They practice." The Achter had seven oarsmen plus cox Paul Hoffman returning from the boat that won silver in Munich. "We have a different mission than the others," explained stroke Monk Terry. "See if we can make it to the other end." Bea, by the way, put away his oar after the 2000 Games, where he made the pairs podium with Newton native Ted Murphy, before dusting it off again this year.
New Zealand, which once prided itself on putting great eights on the water, has become a small-boat power. At this year's global regatta, the Kiwis won the men's single and straight four and finished second in the men's straight pair and women's double. New Zealand has won the men's single five times since 1998 plus the 2000 Olympic gold. "I was 13 years old when I was watching Rob Waddell," said Nathan Cohen, who made the world final in the double with Matthew Trott and placed third behind world champ Mahe Drysdale in yesterday's championship single. "That's what got me into the sport."
Harvard here, there
Now that the regatta allows institutions to have multiple entries under one name, it can be tricky to tell the players without a scorecard. Harvard had four in yesterday's men's club eights - the A boat included members of the varsity heavies (who won by more than 14 seconds over Northeastern), the B had the freshman heavies, the C had the freshman lightweights, and the D had the varsity lightweights. In this afternoon's championship race, the A boat will be senior heavies, the B sophomore heavies, and E freshman heavies . . . Parker, who usually competes in the Head, opted out of today's senior veteran singles after having shoulder surgery in February. "I'm on sabbatical," Parker said. "A forced leave of absence."
John Powers can be reached at email@example.com.