November 06, 2010

Justin Stangel Signing Off From New Zealand

Well its been about 7 years since I have raced in an international final (in 2003 I was in the USA junior 8+) and it was just as I remembered it. Everyone wants to win and everyone has the skill to do it so it depends on who shows up on the day. Yesterday that happened to be the Australians who jumped to an early lead with Italy in the first 500m of the race. We have had good starts in training and racing so this caught us a little off guard and might have kept us a little higher in rate but we were still in the race. As we got into the second 500 the conditions started to bounce us around a bit, there was a decent crosswind that swirled a bit from head to tail all the way down the course. I thought we responded well during this and made the right technical corrections that allowed us to keep pushing hard. Coming through the 1000m mark we were pretty far off the lead pace, but that had never stopped us before and we still had a bit of overlap with the Germans next to us.

Coming into the the third 500 we knew we needed to start making moves to get ourselves in contention for a medal. This part of the course had the most wind and Nareg and I handled it pretty well but we weren't able to make up as much as we would have liked and have to give credit to the other crews who rowed a good race through this point. If you have watched any of our races from trials you know that we have a furious sprint when we put our minds to it and that was no different today. After fighting the crews and conditions all the way down the course we started to bump it up at 600m and then again about every 200m until the finish. The field narrowed significantly at the finish and I remember Steve, our cox, say that if we were able to catch the Germans we might be able to get the Italians as well. We gave it everything we had, but came up just short this time. No one wants to finish 4th in any race especially in the one with 4 boats, but those were some quality crews and this was a good learning experience for everyone involved. After the race we tried to think of things we would have done differently and couldn't really come up with anything except maybe a better start and even then that was pretty good for us, we truly left it all on the water - no regrets.

Today is the last day of racing at the world championships and looks to be an exciting one with both the men and women race the 8+ this afternoon. We have experienced nothing but the best hospitality from the host country and if you ever have a chance to come visit this fine country I highly recommend it, especially the South Island. This will probably be it for my posts of worlds this year. I can not thank everyone enough for their support to help get me to this point. Especially to my parents Nan and Jim for their unwavering support and brother Griffin for pushing me to keep going (he is now hooked on triathlons, I'm jealous). Also to everyone at the OKC High Performance Center and the OKC community (Big shout out and thank you to the Skirvin Hilton!) for being so welcoming and helpful to us athletes as we train hard for our Olympic ambitions. I cannot forget everyone from the SARA community that has helped in many different ways, but especially helping to fund this amazing trip to worlds. I could go on and on... Thank you everyone who isn't mentioned above, we couldn't achieve this without support like yours.

Again this was a great racing experience and now its back to work for this short year, second NSR is in just over 6 months.

On to faster times


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