Thursday, June 30, 2011

On the Water with Matt Miller, Part VII: Round Two

UVa men's eight launches - alongside a notable pair (Photo: Allen Miller)
Update from Henley-on-Thames: Round two is now done, and the UVa men have delivered another strong performance, though the four has been knocked out by a strong Durham crew. The eight had a solid race against a tough Oxford Brookes entry – conditions are always variable at Henley, and Brookes handled the changing winds and wakes very well, hanging on throughout the race. Here's Matt's view on the racing from within the UVa eight:

UVa engine room (Photo: Allen Miller)
The competition certainly improves after the first round. Frank warned the eight today that the 2006 champions, Oxford Brookes University, would go out hard. We had a good start, but they were right with us through the end of the island. By the barrier, our flow and rhythm at base-rate had gained us half a boat. A big move put us a length ahead, and we would hold that margin to the line. It was not a particularly good row for us because we did not handle the chop well. I was impressed by Oxford Brookes, pushing us over and over through wakes and changing winds. We’ll look to establish a more sustainable swing tomorrow against University of London.

Theresa Tratensek coxes the UVa men's four (Photo: Allen Miller)
The four had an eventful, yet disappointing day. Last night, the four’s stroke seat, Jon Byington, was sick with a fever, so the team called on spare, Matt Parker, to fill in. Parker is a port taking Byington’s starboard spot, so the boat shuffled Lane Cobb from port to starboard and Ted Wyeth to stroke seat. They were rowing well for this morning’s paddle, but Durham’s very impressive, stacked four was too much for them to handle this afternoon. There are mixed emotions over the end of collegiate rowing for three recent graduates in that boat. They have advanced as far as any past Virginia eight had. -MM

Congratulations to the four for a quality showing this year. The standard at the event is very high, and the five-day schedule (one of the longest regattas in the world), can take its toll, in addition to the other logistical questions for foreign crews. Durham won the event, then called the 'Men's Student Coxed Fours,' in 2005. The UVa men's four can hold their heads high for a strong performance, battling well through adversity.

More to come tomorrow from Henley, as UVa takes on UL in Round Three of the Temple Challenge Cup. Special thanks again to Allen Miller for the photography!

-RR

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