Thursday, March 21, 2013

Racing Underway at the Sydney World Cup!

So today kicked off World Cup racing for Team USA here in Sydney, and we are so excited to finally get out there and go after a week of acclimating and training!

Sunrise at the regatta earlier this week.

This morning, we were the very first race of the World Cup in our 4x heat. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing boat to be a part of, with Elle Logan in stroke, Susan Francia sitting in front of me, and Megan Kalmoe rounding things out in the bow. As far as atmosphere, there's quite a bit of it at the moment, as there is a controlled burn brushfire somewhat nearby and we've had some spectacular sunrises and sunsets (as well as a little haze) at the course.

View of the brushfire from our hotel.

As with any regatta, we had a few wait-around moments--officials figuring out where the bow numbers were, a last-minute photo ID check--but got in a solid warm-up and headed up to the start excited to see what we could put together for our first piece together as a crew. Lots of good things and lots to work on, but we met our goal of crossing the line first and heading straight to the final on Sunday. Like many of our competitors here, all of us in the 4x are racing other events, so the idea of having one fewer race added to that pile made the one direct-qualifying spot (if possible) an even more definite goal!

Off the start in the 4x.  Photo: Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com.

We headed straight for the dock, weighed our boat, set it in slings, and went into intense recovery mode. The World Cup schedule has been greatly compressed because of the Australian National Championship Regatta and the smaller number of competitors, so whereas racing would normally run from maybe 8am-1pm and then 4-6pm for repechages, all morning races were condensed into 8-10am. That meant that Megan and I had a luxuriously long break compared to Elle and Susan--our second race wasn't til 9:30, whereas the two singles were racing at 9:12 and 9:18! We had enough time to grab a snack, go to the bathroom, and stretch, and then it was time to head back out again.

Megan and I launched and did a quick tune-up warm-up, since we were still quite "warm" from our race. This was my first international race in a small boat, and I have really been looking forward to the experience and opportunity to learn that will come from this regatta. Having a double partner who has as much international experience in that boat as anyone on our team--and who is helping me learn a ton every practice--has made this an amazing experience so far. Our race results were not what we had hoped, but it also was a great first race because it gave us so many things to improve in the repechage tomorrow.

Susan off the start in the single.   Photo: Igor Meijer/FISA. 

This afternoon, we're all resting up. Elle and Susan had great races in the 1x, with Susan taking a strong third in her heat, and Elle putting together an incredible piece and winning her heat to go straight to Sunday's final! I am so impressed with both of these women--both of their first international races in the 1x, and Elle's FISA sculling debut, and they are doing incredible things. So pumped for USA sculling!

Caroline and Meghan in the pair.  Photo: Detlev Seyb/MyRowingPhoto.com.

In sweep racing, Caroline and Meghan won their heat in the pair to advance directly to the final Sunday, and the men's eight finished second in their race for lanes. We're all dialed in here at the hotel, watching the women's eight's heat, as well as the men's Australia National Championships final in the straight fours.

The live race tracker for all races can be found here: http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results?type=live, and Sunday's live streaming for finals can be watched here (check to see specifics for your country, which may include pre-registering): http://www.worldrowing.com/video.

Finally, I want to give a big shout-out to our only other fellow Americans here in Sydney, the junior women's eight from Saratoga, coached by the awesome Eric Catalano. These girls are blazing fast on the water and crushed their final today by more than a length of open water (and they have some pretty sweet gear!) Way to drop the hammer, ladies!!!

Teams USA earlier this week!

Thanks so much for supporting us back home, and Go USA!

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