As expected, Gearóid Towey, Richard Archibald, Paul Griffin and Cathal Moynihan led the field home in an impressive 6.21.79 at Shunyi Park yesterday. The Netherlands (6:25.25) and the USA (6:27.43) also progress to tomorrow’s semi-final after an impressive repechage.
It means that Richard Archibald will face his Coleraine compatriot Richard Chambers, who is bowman for the Britain team which will join Ireland, world record holders and defending Olympic champions Denmark, France, Italy and the US on the start line.
Archibald was delighted with the performance after the disappointment of Sunday’s fourth place finish in the opening heat.
“We were able to right the wrongs of the heats, not that it was a bad heat by any means. We got a better start today, and we’re learning. That’s only the fourth time we’ve rowed that combination so we’ve already doubled our experience since we arrived in Beijing.”
The Irish again started slowly but upped the tempo considerable over the final 1,000m
With their stroke rate hitting 37, John Holland’s quartet had the fastest two splits between 1000m and 2000m — 1:37.43 and 1:37.85.
Archibald acknowledged that second half surge: “That’s always part of our strategy. Because we had a slightly faster first half, it was probably more destructive today than on other occasions.
“We’ll be looking to build on that in the semis. That semi is going to be ridiculously tight, but that’s lightweight rowing. There’s no way around it.”
He added: “It’s all about Sunday, but if you don’t perform well on Thursday you’re never going to get there. We’re lucky we’re in a sport where you have a second chance, and we capitalised on it. That’s playing the system.”
And he admitted that there are benefits to that system which meant an extra outing rather than a four day lay-off.
“Ideally, you don’t really want it, but it’s good for helping us control our weight. Some of those other guys have three or four days off now, and will have been looking at McDonalds or having a brownie or a muffin.”
Ireland have been drawn in lane one for the second semi-final tomorrow (9.20am Irish time). The top three from each semi progress to the final.