London Olympic Games sensation Issaka enjoyed cloudy skies, flat water with a slight head wind for today’s racing. Issaka’s slower time at the finish indicated the intensity of racing that he has had so far as well as the pressure of huge media demands and the light head wind.

Despite threatening storm clouds, the rain stayed away, the water remained flat and the wind dropped to be barely noticeable.

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Repechage

Sarah Trowbridge (s) and Margot Shumway (b) of the United States compete in the women’s double sculls repechage at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.

A false start in this first Repechage of the day may have been due to a fault in the starting clogs that hold the bows of the boats. The starting umpires thus went back to a flag and light system. This was the very last chance for boats to advance to the final and only the top two crews would make it through.

Germany opened with a fast start but it didn’t last long as Lenka and Jitka Antosova of the Czech Republic got their nose in front. The Antosova sisters raced in Beijing but their regatta ended in disappointment when Jitka got ill before the final. This must have buoyed them to give it their all here in London.

But by the half-way point the Antosova’s had lost their lead to Min Wang and Weiwei Zhu of China. The Chinese were the favourites leading into Beijing but failed to medal. Since then they have not been doing much in the double but in the heats yesterday, Wang and Zhu had the next best qualifying time. Wang and Zhu continued in the lead with the Czech’s now under pressure from the United States’ Margot Shumway and Sarah Trowbridge.

Shumway and Trowbridge then let rip. Coming into the last 400m Shumway and Trowbridge upped their stroke rate hitting 39 and overtook the Antosovas. The Americans also closed the gap on China, but Wang and Zhu, rating 35, still looked comfortable in first.  China and the United States are through to the final.

Sarah Trowbridge (W2x) – USA – Repechage 
"It was about our race plan, me and Margot working together as one. Then we could feel that slight speed loss from China and it put us into instinct mode and we went in to the kill."

Margot Shumwaysolid start and got in our rhythm. We got to the 1,250 metre mark. I called a move. In the last 500m I just said 'move'. It wasn't pretty but at the end it paid off. The Czechs rowed an awesome race and they made us a better crew. Today's race is a great birthday present but I also expect to celebrate with a beer (on her birthday)."

Weiwei Zhu (W2x) – CHN – Repechage 
"This is our first Olympics. So far we are satisfied. Before the Olympic Games, we wanted to go as far as we can go (in the tournament). We are probably not as good as strong opponents such as Great Britain. In Beijing, two other rowers raced the double sculls. This time it is us. We have good prospects for the future."

Men’s Four (M4-) – Repechage

Start of the men’s four repechage: Italy, Czech Republic, New Zealand and Serbia compete at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.

Italy came into this Repechage as the most experienced crew, but their Olympic racing so far had not been positive, having finished last in their heat. What could the Italians do today? The top three crews would get to go to the semifinals. The Czech Republic came out flying with Serbia following closely behind.

Going through the middle of the race Serbia’s Vasic, Deric, Vukovic and Jagar had pushed into first and were humming along at a smooth 37 stroke rate. Meanwhile Italy were back in fourth. Simone Venier and Luca Agamennoni of Italy both raced in the quad at the Beijing Olympics where they took silver.

The boats had now reached the finishing grandstand and New Zealand’s Williams, Uru, O’Neill and Harris had pushed into second with Italy picking up the pace and attacking the Czechs. At a 45 stroke rate the Italians were charging. What could the Czech Republic do?
At the line a beautifully rowed race by Serbia had held them in first. New Zealand had qualified from second and Italy had snuck through to take the final qualifying spot.
Results: SRB, NZL, ITA, CZE

Sean O'Neill (M4-) – NZL – Repechage 
"We pushed pretty hard in the third 500m and we knew everyone was going to sprint like crazy like your life is on the line. We did it early and just hung on, and it worked. Looking back we were very close in those races. We were always in the harder and faster heats so it would be nice not to have the 'if onlys' after this regatta and get into the final. We can make the final. We're building, and we must just keep building again for Thursday (the semifinal) – that's all you can really do. We're all good rowers but we haven't quite nailed it in the four yet, but when we do we'll be up there. It's all about confidence."

Tyson Williams (M4-) – NZL – Repechage 
"We made it through, which is what we were after. We had a better start than yesterday, but it's the first time for a lot of us at the Olympics. Our main purpose today was to squeeze through the middle. We learned a lot from yesterday. We've got a bit more in the tank, a bit more to give."

Miljan Vukovic (M4-) – SRB – Repechage 
"We always want to be first. This is simple. This race is better than the first. Next race better. I hope to get to the final."

Louise Ayling (b) and Julia Edward (s) of New Zealand race in the lightweight women’s double sculls repechage at the 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta at Eton-Dorney near London, Great Britain.

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Repechage
The top three boats would get to advance to the semifinals and World Best Time holders New Zealand (Louise Ayling and Julia Edward) had recorded the fastest time of these boats when they raced in the heats. Despite these credentials it was Rianne Sigmond and Maaike Head of the Netherlands that had the lead in Repechage One.

Sigmond and Head missed out on Olympic qualification a year ago but managed to do it at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in May. Behind the Dutch, Ayling and Edward sat in second but well within striking distance of the leaders.

Meanwhile a major tussle was going on for the third qualifying spot between Vietnam, Brazil and Japan. Coming into the final sprint Japan’s Atsumi Fukumoto and Akiko Iwamoto had moved into third and were powering away from their competition. Fukumoto and Iwamoto qualified for London through the Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta and this makes Olympics number four for Iwamoto.
The order did not change into the finish line with the Netherlands, New Zealand and Japan qualifying to the semifinals.

Julie Nichols and Kristin Hedstrom of the United States are racing at their first Olympic Games and they come to London on the back of a very solid World Rowing Cup season. Today in Repechage Two Nichols and Hedstrom got off to a strong start with only Canada and Cuba able to hold the American’s pace. By the middle of the race Hedstrom and Nichols had pushed away to a boat length lead with Canada’s Patricia Obee and Lindsay Jennerich going stroke for stroke with Yaima Velazquez Falcon and Yoslaine Dominguez of Cuba.

Jennerich and Obee train together but initially Jennerich was selected to row with Tracey Cameron. After a poor performance at the second Samsung World Rowing Cup this season, Cameron pulled out and Obee came in to take her spot. For Cuba, Yaima Velazquez Falcon and Yoslaine Dominguez are a new duo with Velazquez competing at her second Olympic Games.

Coming into the line it was very clear who would be the top three boats. Korea and Argentina were too far back to be a threat. The United States, Canada and Cuba make it to the semifinals, the US with the fastest time.
Results: USA, CAN, CUB, KOR, ARG

Julia Edward (LW2x) – NZL – Repechage 
"It was relaxed, comfortable. We just kept our rating low, kept it comfortable. We worked on a few things we may not have done so well in the heat."

Julie Nichols (LW2x) – USA – Repechage 
"Very excited to be at the next step. We're still on track. We race as we always race. Try not to be overwhelmed."

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Repechage

The first two across the line would get to go to the semifinals. This must have felt like a final for these scullers who were going into their last change race. Hungary’s Zsolt Hurling and Tamas Varga had the fastest time from the heats coming into Repechage One but they came out in fourth place at the start.

Canada’s Douglas Vandor and Morgan Jarvis took off at a cracking pace and they held it through the middle of the race. Then a piece by Eleftherios Konsolas and Panagiotis Magdanis of Greece at the 1300m mark got them ahead of the Canadians. Konsolas and Magdanis showed their sprinting abilities when they took silver at the first Samsung World Rowing Cup of the season.

Coming into the last 500m of the race four boats were fighting it out for two spots. There was nothing between Canada, Australia, Hungary and Greece. Hungary took their stroke rate to 42 then 43. Australia hit 42 and Greece held on at 39. At the line Konsolas and Magdanis had done it. They qualify from first with Hungary getting the second and remaining qualifying spot.

Repechage Two had a real mixture of crews with the most experienced being Kazushige Ura and Diasako Takeda of Japan. This is the fifth Olympic Games for Takeda with Ura at his third – all three competing with Takeda. But the duo has not done much in the last couple of years and their form is relatively unknown.

At the start it was Manuel Suarez Barrios and Yunior Perez Aguilera of Cuba in the lead. This is Perez’s second Olympic Games with Suarez at this first. Could the Cubans maintain their early speed? As the race progressed Suarez and Perez remained relatively comfortably in first with Japan slotted into second. The order did not change to the line apart from a last 500m sprint by China. But the Chinese had too much water to make up and Cuba and Japan qualify.

Balazs Skelkey (Coach LM2x) – HUN – Repechage 
"This race was perfectly built up. The Canadians chose a suicide tactic: they had such a first 500 metres it was obvious it wasn't possible to continue. Their heat used a lot of energy, but they were able to recover from it. They are really professional athletes. We don't know what will happen. For these two guys this is really a gift. After three years of (HIRLING's) retirement from the sport, they began to row together again less than a year ago. They have expectations, they want to give their maximum here."

Rodolfo Collazo Tourn (LM2x) – URU – Repechage 
"We are quite tired. We hoped to be in the first two, but it wasn't to be. But that was always our plan. To be in the first two. We have realised our level – nothing we could do. We were outclassed. Normally we do really well in world cups, but we were outshone today."

Women’s Eight (W8+) – Repechage
The crowd awoke with this event as Great Britain sat in the starting blocks. With four boats making it though to the final, this Repechage was all about not coming last. Great Britain jumped out at the start with a massive 50 stroke rate pace much to the crowd’s delight. But it was regular Olympic medallists, the Netherlands that had the lead at the start ahead of Romania. Under the guidance of coxswain Anne Schellenkens, the Netherlands tried to hold on to the lead. But 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Champions, Romania had other ideas.

At the half way point Romania had just one seat to get past the Netherlands, but the Dutch fought back. These two boats moved away as they continued their leading tussle. But late Olympic qualifiers, Australia, were doing a fine effort to keep up with the leaders. The order, however, did not change. As Germany dropped off the pace, the Netherlands, Romania, Australia and Great Britain became the qualifying boats.
Results: NED, ROU, AUS, GBR, GER

Caroline O'CONNOR (W8+) – GBR – Repechage
"Once you're in the final, anyone can contend, there's no reason why it's not possible now that we're there."