Xeno Muller writing on Row2k Olympic blogs
Men's single scull semifinal analysis
As I look at the time sheet of the first men's single scull semifinal, I remember different strategies my competitors and I had. In this 2008 semi, Olympic patience is what stands out when I read the times of the top three qualifiers. Karonen, Tufte, and Maeyens, kept their cool, while Hacker, a notorious fast starter accompanied by Hardcastle, whose best achievement was "only" 11. at the world championship in 2007, took the initiative to stir up the field and break away, without looking at their physical and mental gas tanks.
From my own experience the top three qualifiers had spoken with their coaches about such a scenario and psycho analyzed Hacker as being a wild man, capable of a lot, yet fragile in the head, therefore breakable. The Australian was perceived as a competitor with a good first 1000M but not to get intimidated by it, because of a lack of past results in the single scull. Finally, Andre Vonarburg a consistent sculler in the small final, who has made it to the A-final at world cups, who usually gets beaten by Hacker, and he had not shown any dangerous speed so far in China.
I can't wait to watch the race and analyze the Belgian single scullers technique. Maeyens compared to Tufte and Karonen, is a lot shorter and a lot ligther, and therefore I assume a lot less impressive on the ergometer, B U T he moves the boat!!!!!!!! I am foaming at the mouth waiting for the video footage to come to my laptop. Closing my eyes, I visualize Maeyens, hanging off his legs with straight arms, relaxed shoulders, supported lower back, a fluid hands away on the recovery, early body preparation, perfect catch…. You might tell me, quite visualizing about a guy who is not going to win a medal, and my response to you is, if there were a tail wind in the finals a guy like Maeyens could be very quick. So far we did not have ultra fast conditions for the men's single scull, and that is advantage for the big men.
Had I been either one of the non qualifying single scullers of this second semi, I would have prayed relentlessly to the rowing gods to give me unearthly strength in order to access the 2008 Olympic final, even if that meant being carried away on stretchers in the end. The three scullers who qualified, Synek, Campbell, and Drysdale, are without a doubt consistent finalist in any major regatta of the last three years. The top three qualifying spots were decided at the 1000 meter mark. However, Synek and Drysdale kept fighting for who gets to have the center lane in the final. The last five hundred meters raised questions: Why did Drysdale come in third and settled for an outside lane for the final, which in my opinion is a tactical disadvantage. He could have had lane 2 or 5 if not 3 and 4 had he stayed ahead of Synek.
We will know at the Olympic finish line in a couple of days. Over and out for now.