These are not the Olympics. But little else can be said to detract from the atmosphere of the Henley Royal Resata, the world's oldest rowins event whose 141st version will provide a final competition for the 1980 United States Olympic means rowins squad.
The Americans plan to leave their mark here the mark of a program in renaissance, but deprived of the forum to which years of work have been devoted -- the Olympics.
The Olympians were extremely upset (over the boycott) and still are," said Harry Parker Harvard University rowins coach, who has served as an Olympic coach since 1960. "The disappointment is suppressed now because they have something occupying their interest. But the fact that the team is strong. . . it adds to the disappointment. There should be some significant anger, too (after the squad returns to the states)."
Parker is considerably proud of the American eight, which finished second twice to the world-best East Sermans in Lucerne, Switzerland, the first stop of this European tour, and then won both Holland Cup and Open Dutch Champinoships last week in Amsterdam.
Parker said the eight, which last won an Olympic gold in 1964, would likely have earned a silver in 1980.
"The past year we've worked very hard to have a high level of organization. I called around the country to make sure the members of the team put in the necessary training," Parker said.
"The eight? Judging by its performance in Lucerne and Amsterdam, I would have to say it's the second best in the world. It's a bit of a long shot, but it would not be impossible to make up a little more than a length the East Germans under the proper (the margin of defeat in Lucerne) on circumstances. We've been improving."
Six Washington, D.C., area oarsmen are on the Olympic squad, which will enter 13 crews in a half-dozen events in the regatta that begins Thursday. Nineteen other American crews are entered, including a lightweight eight from Washington's Potomac Boat Club, making for what is believed to be the largest U.S. contingent ever.
With 298 crews entered, 54 more than in 1979, this is the largest Henley ever, with more than 1,200 competitors.
Brothers Mark and Fred Borchelt of Arlington, Va., the Olympic coxed pair, will complete for the silver goblets and Nickalls Challenge Cup that Mark won with Washingtonian Terry Adams in 1973.
This was the first and only time Americans won the goblets. Two years later, the Borchelts returned in a straight-four, which also included Chip Lubsen of Arlington, and a still-standing course record to becoming the only Americans to capture the Stewards' Challenge Cup.
And American pair of Lubsen and Bob Espeseth of Arlington has been disqualified because written notice to replace Espeseth's originally scheduled partner, Bill Purdy, was not made by the June 17 entry deadline, but Espeseth said the regatta was notified by phone in time. Although not allowed by the rules, the pair is petitioning the stewards for reinstatement because the proper procedure was never explained to them. A decision will be made early thursday.
"If they get in, they'll probably be our toughest competition," Mark Borchelt said. "None of the good crews going to the Olympics will be there."
"Right now everybody tells us we could win the pairs, but that will be hard not even taking a boat out on the water," Espeseth said.
Dan Sayner of the U.S. Naval Academy, will man the bow of the Olympic straight four that is favored to win the Stewards' cup after placing first twice last week in Amsterdam. Based on the performance, the four is seeded first in the three-boat field and will race Sunday against the winner of Saturday's match between the Wallingford Boat Club of England and the combined Avon and Petone clubs of New Zealand, which finished third twice in New Zealand.
Whether he rows in a pair or not, Lubsen will row from the first seat of the second (spare) coxed four for the Prince Phillip Challenge Cup.
The Potomac Boat Club's lightweight eight will compete for the Thames Challenge Cup against a field that includes the London Rowing Club, the University of Pennsylvania's heavyweight eight and Harvard's lightweights, who were defeated by the Washingtonians at the Nottingham Regatta last week.