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No Lightweight Day For This Four
July 29, 2012
LONDON – When they walked out of the Olympic rowing venue at Eton Dorney Saturday, the guys from the U.S. lightweight men’s four were anything but happy.
A sluggish start in their first heat of the Olympic Games doomed them to a last place finish and sent them back to the athlete village wondering what went wrong. Not being a crew to sit on a bad performance and let it eat away at their chances overall, they met and changed their thinking, and their race plan.
Jumping off the line with a blazing start, the crew of Robin Prendes (Miami, Fla.), Nick LaCava (Weston, Conn.), William Newell (Weston, Mass.) and Anthony Fahden (Lafayette, Calif.) took the lead in the first race for the United States this morning and held on right through a sprint to the finish to win its repechage and advance to the semifinal Tuesday.
It didn’t take an expert eye to judge how they felt about the win. Seconds after crossing the line, Fahden was pounding on Newell’s back and yelling into his ear.
“Will was making some good calls,” Fahden said. “We talked about some changes we could make after our race yesterday, which was sub par, and I just sort of felt like we implemented everything we talked about, so that was sort of a congratulations for our little post race pow wow yesterday.”
“I think we were just lucky our bad day was early in the regatta and hopefully we don’t have any more. We basically just chalked it up to a sub par piece; it happens occasionally. It’s just unfortunate that it happened at the Olympics.
“Today, we just tried to be a little lighter on the catch,” he said. “I think yesterday we did some things that were a little clumsy. And you know, everybody is so skilled here, and the race is so tight, that you can’t afford to be clumsy and I think we were a little bit yesterday.”
It hasn’t been an easy road for this boat. It was not qualified at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, and like the men’s eight, the crew was selected after a long and difficult camp followed by a trip to the last chance Olympic qualifier in Lucerne this May.
After a win there, and after holding off a late charge by Denmark, the crew came to London with confidence. It was lost, if only momentarily, Saturday. It was regained this morning.
“Today was better than yesterday,” said Newell. “It’s tough. In practice, you have a bad practice. In a racing situation, you have a bad race. We got lucky that it happened in the heat, not in the semifinal or something.
“Today we were more dialed in. We had a better concept of who we were as a crew, what we needed to accomplish and how we were going to go about it, which maybe was lacking yesterday. That’s what we want, and that’s what we’re going to try to do again on Tuesday.”
For 2012 Olympic Games news, features and daily quotes from Team USA athletes, coaches, staff and family members, visit http://www.usrowing.org/Pressbox/2012Olympics.aspx.
Ed Moran, photo by Ed Hewitt, Row2k Media