Olympics Day 4 Preview

Day four is packed full of important races in terms of qualification for finals. Repechages, quarterfinals and semifinals will determine which crews get the chance to race for medals later in the week and which will race the minor finals.

Only two boats can qualify from the Women’s Double repechage. China will be favourites after narrowly missing out in their heat. This race will be all about finishing fast as some crews fade in the last 500m.

The New Zealand Men’s Four would have qualified in either of the other heats, based on their time. They should proceed as one of the three of four boats which go to the semifinals through this repechage. Italy were the slowest crew in the slower heat so will be under pressure to stay in contact during the race.

The is a great spread across the field in the two repechages of the Lightweight Women’s Double. Rain with a cross/headwind is forecast for the morning. If those conditions¬†materialise¬†it will be the toughest crews with the best endurance which will prevail. New Zealand and the USA should win their races. With three boats going to A/B semifinals the finishes could be very close for the last qualifying places.

The Lightweight Men’s Double repechages follow the women’s races, but there are only two places up for grabs in each of these two. Cuba were unlucky to be drawn in the fastest heat. This is an event where the smaller rowing nations have a good chance. Racing, as always, will be close and in the expected conditions an early lead could easily be rowed through.

One boat will miss out in the race for places in the final of the Women’s Eight. Germany were off the pace in the heat, over 10 seconds slower than the nearest crew. They will be desperate not to cross the line last. With high ratings and big puddles from these boats the crews will have to be cautious of any making mistakes in potentially tricky water.

Men’s Single quarterfinals take place today with some good rivalries coming up at this stage. Mahe Drysdale meets Tim Maeyens in Q1. Drysdale is on a mission for Olympic Gold. Maeyens set a new Olympic Record in the heats. Hacker and Campbell race in Q2. Karonen of Sweden has arguably the easier race in Q3. Tufte and Synek face each other in Q4. These scullers have a long history of racing and some will be wanting to establish their dominance in these rounds while others play it cool and leave something in reserve. Drysdale is current World Champion. Tufte is the Olympic specialist, winning in both Athens and Beijing.

The Women’s Single quarterfinals starts off with an Australia – New Zealand match featuring Kim Crow and Emma Twigg. Crow will be riding high after winning the W2x heat on day 3, but will look to do the minimum necessary due to her demanding schedule in this regatta. Knapkova and Svensson will duel in Q2. Zhang of China races Q3 alongside Levina of Russia. Karsten and Mustafayeva race Q4. None of the big names should be troubled, but the singles events have big race in semifinals and finals to come. Limiting energy losses in tough conditions will be key.

The first semifinal of day 4 is the Men’s Double where the fastest three boats in each race will go to the A-Final. New Zealand and Great Britain were fastest in the heats. Norway also showed a strong performance. Rowing legends Spik and Cop race for Slovenia in S2. Expect close racing through the middle 1000m and some fast finishers.

Expect closer racing in the Men’s Lightweight Four semifinals. S1 features all four boats in this event which contain brothers: the Netherlands, Great Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic. GB were strong in the heats and going fastest overall. S2 contains the 2nd, 3rd and 4th crews from the Munich World cup; Australia, Denmark and France. Two returning Olympic champions make up half of the Danish crew. There will most likely be a blanket finish in these semifinals as all crews are likely to be overlapping for most (if not all) of the course. Missing out on the A-Final will be by the tightest of margins and none of these crews want to be the wrong side of a photo finish. It will be a fantastic end to the day. Don’t leave early!

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