BY ED MORAN
PHOTO BY LISA WORTHY
The men’s and women’s singles have been thinned out and the heats in all five events being raced in Olympic Trials I at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. Fla. have been set, meaning the second day of racing is going to get intense.
Of the 58 crews racing, only 20 crews win a placement into the Thursday semifinals and earn a day off from racing while the rest fight it out on Wednesday in the reps. In the case of the lightweight men’s double, two crews will advance directly to the Friday finals. Among the 16 of 35 women, and 16 of 24 men left standing after Monday’s time trials, four from each group will advance directly to the semis.
In the men’s double, six of 10 crews will avoid the reps. Among the lightweight women’s doubles, nine crews will race for six direct placings, while the lightweight men’s double will see two of seven crews earn the extra day off.
There are 16 heats on the schedule and with crews racing side-by-side instead of against the clock in the time trial, and a chance to race in the Olympic or the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta on the line, crews will be battling start to finish.
Look no further for an example of how tight the crews could be than the very first heat of the day, the women’s single race featuring Craftsbury’s Erin Boxburger, Cambridge Boat Club’s Cicely Madden, ARION’s Kristina Wagner, and Emily Huelskamp from the women’s national team Princeton Training Center.
The difference in Monday times between Madden in lane 2 and Wagner in lane 3 was razor thin, 7:19.90 for Madden and 7:19.67 for Wagner.
In the men’s heats, while the difference in times is not as close, John Graves who posted the best time Monday of 6:37.20 is lining up in the men’s first heat next to Kevin Meador, 6:49.24 in the time trial. Graves and Meador have battled back and forth in previous years and during training this summer and fall in Boston.
In the doubles events, the top seeds in the three men’s heavyweight heats should advance. After that it will be tight. The same should be true in the three lightweight women’s double heats with two to advance to the semifinal.
In the men’s lightweight division, only one boat will advance from the two heats.
Racing begins at 8:00 AM.
Full heat sheets and results can be found here.