Para PR1 men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x) - Heats

Testing the new 2000m distance was three heats with the top three boats getting to go directly to the semifinals. This boat class had attracted an impressive 14 entries and five boats raced in Heat One with Brazil’s Rene Pereira the quickest at the start. Pereira was in last year’s Paralympic final and he finished fifth. Ryshkevich of Belarus, using a lower stroke rate, followed in second. Periera had a clear water lead with half the race gone. Then Lithuania’s Navickas did a big push in the second half of the race and got into second to qualify for the semifinals.  

Heat Two saw Kailing of Poland’s number one crew leading for the majority of the race with Johannes Schmidt of Germany keeping a big pressure on Kailing. Then in the second half of the race Kailing was able to push away from the field. Kailing was 12th at the 2015 World Rowing Championships and he must have been liking this new 2000m distance. Schmidt held on to second with Dolleschal of Austria coming through in third. The Paralympic Champion, Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine shot off at a 40 stroke rate pace in Heat Three. Polianskyi kept his stroke rate high and hit the 1000m mark at 4:40 which was the fastest of all of the heats. Polianskyi raced and won at the Gavirate International last month in his first attempt at a 2000m race. Polianskyi let the rest of the boats race for second with Russia’s para-rowing regular, Alexey Chuvashev looking good in this spot. No one could catch Polianskyi who crossed the line with the fastest qualifying time of 9:51.32.

Qualifiers: BRA, LTU, BLR, POL1, GER, AUT, UKR, RUS, FRA

Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Heats

A solid field of 18 boats saw them divided into three heats with the top two boats only from each heat getting to go directly to tomorrow’s semifinals. Jumping out at the start in Heat One was Mary Jones of the United States before Sweden 2 of Annie Svensson took the lead. Then New Zealand’s Jackie Kiddle did a huge piece going through the third 500 and overtook three boats. What a piece! Kiddle came second last year in the under-23 lightweight women’s double and once in the lead it did not look like anyone could catch her. Kiddle finished first, Russia’s Lebedeva was second.

Emma Fredh of Sweden One was the dominating boat in Heat Two. Fredh won the European Rowing Championships last month and she was working her way to a clear water lead. Germany’s Leonie Pieper followed in second with enough of a margin over third that it looked like the qualifiers had been sorted. Pieper was sixth at the European Championships. It was all class at the head of Heat Three. Switzerland’s Patricia Merz had a small lead over Denise Walsh of Ireland. Walsh won at the European Rowing Championships while Merz was first at World Rowing Cup I. Only Dorociak of Poland had a chance of getting into a qualifying spot. Merz and Walsh held off Dorociak. Merz finished in a blitzing time of 7:29, one second faster than Kiddle from heat one.

Qualifiers: NZL, RUS, SWE1, GER, SUI, IRL

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Heats

This boat class had attracted 24 entries. They were divided into four heats with only the first boat getting to go directly to the semifinals. All other boats would need to return for a repechage. In Heat One it was Slovenia’s Rajko Hrvat who absolutely dominated. Hrvat also did a final sprint to cross the line in a quick time of 6:52 – the only boat to go under 7 minutes. Hrvat finished fourth at last year’s World Rowing Championships, but was back in seventh at last month’s European Rowing Championships.

Heat Two opened with Argentina in the lead before Lukas Babac of Slovakia got out in front. Trucking along at a 32 stroke rate, Babac looked strong. Babac is currently Slovakia’s top rower and he was third at last year’s World Rowing Championships. In the last 150m Babac did not sprint the finish even though New Zealand’s Matthew Dunham was closing. Babac crossed the line in first in 6:50.

The Olympic bronze medallist from the lightweight double. Kristoffer Brun of Norway One led the way through the first half of Heat Three with Jiri Simanek of Czech Republic One keeping the pressure on. Brun’s second half stamina came into handy and Brun crossed the line in first and with the fastest qualifying time of 6:48 – just five seconds outside of the World Best Time.

Heat Four was all about Hungary and Poland going neck-and-neck at the head of the field. Hungary’s Peter Galambos had the better race pedigree, but Poland’s  Artur Mikolajczewski was not letting that worry him and coming through the third 500m, Mikolajczewski found the lead. Galambos couldn’t hold the pace and dropped back. At 36 stroke per minute, Mikolajczewski crossed the line in first in a blitzing time of 6:49. The semis and final in this boat class are going to be amazing.  

Qualifiers: SLO, SVK, NOR1, POL 

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Heats

Two heats made up this boat class with the top two boats getting to go directly to the final on Sunday. In Heat One France’s Onfroy brothers led the way. The Onfroy’s finished second at last month’s European Rowing Championships. Using a high stroke rate the French stayed in front with Dirk Uittenbogaard and Bo Wullings of the Netherlands following in second. Argentina was in striking distance but France managed to stay in front with a 40 stroke rate finish. Argentina went to 40 as well and made it a photo finish with the Dutch. Argentina had missed out on qualifying by less than half a second.

The Czechs were the fastest away in Heat Two before Serbia’s Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik got into the lead Vasic and Bedik were second at the European Rowing Championships and they finished first with the fastest qualifying time. The Czech crew of Jakub Podrazil and Lukas Helesic were second.

Qualifiers: FRA1, NED, SRB, CZE1

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Heats

The 13 boats in this race were divided into three heats with the top three boats getting to go through to the semifinals. In Heat One France had an early lead and stayed there just ahead of Germany One through the first half of the race. Then Germany One of Ruben Steinhardt and Henrik Runge got out in front. France chased hard but there was also Poland and Bulgaria right on the pace. Four boats charged for the finish line. Poland’s Dominik Czaja and Adam Wicenciak got there first with France half a second back and Bulgaria just 0.08 back again.

All eyes were on the Olympic medallists, Olaf Tufte and Kjetil Borch of Norway in Heat Two. This is Borch’s first race of the season as he comes back from injury. Rating 34 through the body of the race Tufte and Borch remained ahead of Argentina’s Rodrigo Murillo and Cristian Rosso of Argentina. Looking calm and composed, Tufte and Borch crossed the finish line first.

Heat Three opened with Petr Melichar and Matyas Klang of the Czech Republic in the lead. All four of the boats in this heat were new combinations compared to 2016. John Storey and Christopher Harris of New Zealand then picked up their pace going through the second 500 and by the half way point they had grabbed the lead. Going through the third 500, Storey and Harris had a stroke rate of 38 and they improved their lead over the Czech’s. Australia’s Luke Letcher and David Watts then pulled into second, but they were well down on New Zealand who crossed the line first without having to change their 38 stroke rate pace.  The New Zealanders had the fastest qualifying time.

Qualifiers: POL, FRA, BUL, NOR, ARG, NED2, NZL, AUS, CZE

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Heats

Always a popular boat class, this race had three heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to go directly to Saturday’s semifinals. In Heat One American Meghan O’Leary had a very fast start. O’Leary raced in the double at the Rio Olympics. Then Jingli Duan of China One got out in front. Duan was third at the Rio Olympics in the single and this is her first international race since that final. Duan kept her boat ahead of O’Leary who was staying ahead of her USA One counterpart – Lauren Schmetterling.  With every stroke Duan built her lead as Diana Dymchenko of Ukraine pushed through into second with Schmetterling hot on her heels. Schmetterling took gold at the Olympics in the women’s eight. Duan and Dymchenko were the qualifiers.

The European Champion, Victoria Thornley of Great Britain led Heat Two. Thornley medalled in the double at the Rio Olympics and has done a successful swap to the single. Ireland’s Sanita Puspure then pushed through into second. Puspure missed the European Champs due to an eye infection and is back looking strong. The Hannah Osborne of New Zealand did a third 500m push and got ahead of Puspure. The water was now quite bobbly with Osborne and Puspure now going neck-and-neck to the line. Thorney finished first with Osborne in second by just 0.31 of a second.

Heat Three had Germany’s Annekatrin Thiele with the fastest start before Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig of Austria One got her boat in front. Thiele, who took gold in the women’s quad at the Rio Olympics, held on to Olympian Lobnig who likes rough water. Lobnig won the 2016 European Rowing Championships in rough water. Lobnig crossed the finish line in the fastest qualifying time of 7:22. Thiele qualified from second.

Qualifiers: CHN1, UKR, GBR1, NZL, AUT1, GER 

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Heats

This boat class had a big field of 21 scullers and they were divided into four heats with the top boat only getting to go directly to the semifinals tomorrow. Robert Manson of New Zealand shot out at a blistering pace in Heat One and he continued to push it through the full race. This put Manson way out in front and on a World Best Time pace. But Manson then slowed before the line and the World Best Time remained with his fellow countryman, Mahe Drysdale. Manson was on his way to the semifinals.

Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba raced in his first international race for the 2017 season in Heat Two. Olympic finalist, Fournier led over Switzerland’s Nico Stahlberg, but Fournier was making the race his own and he led the way for the entire race. The tall Fournier crossed the line in a time of 6:43 – the fastest qualifying time.

It was no surprise to see Damir Martin of Croatia in the lead of Heat Three. Martin was second at the Rio Olympics by a whisker and today he was in front by a very handy lead with just half the race gone. Finland two of Joel Naukkarinen followed in second. Martin was not rating high but he remained in front with Sweden now in second. Martin dropped from 29 to 26 stroke rate as he came into the finishing red buoys. Martin qualified for the semifinals.

Germany’s Tim Ole Naske led the way in Heat Four. Naske is the under-23 champion and late last year he finished ahead of Damir Martin in a long distance race in New Zealand. Serbia’s Marko Marjanovic sat right behind Naske in second. But Naske looked confident and rated in the low 30s to stay in the lead. Then Marjanovic did a final push and Naske had to react. And he did, going to 38 over 34 for Marjanovic. Naske had made it through to the semifinals.

Qualifiers: NZL, CUB, CRO, GER

Women’s Pair (W2-) – Heats

The two heats in this boat class meant that a first was needed for a direct path to the final on Sunday. In Heat One New Zealand Two got away the fastest. This boat included Jackie Gowler and Kirstyn Goodger and they were being chased hard by USA One which had a substitute in the boat due to Megan Kalmoe pulling out. Erin Reelick had come into the boat with Tracy Eisser who was in the quad at the Rio Olympics. Then Reelick and Eisser got their nose in front and kept their rating up to pull away from the Kiwis. Reelick and Eisser had made the final.

Heat Two had a fast start by New Zealand One, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler. Gowler’s sister just raced in the previous race. Chile followed in second, but were off the pace of Predergast and Gowler. This duo raced to fourth in the women’s eight at the Rio Olympics and they crossed the line in 6:54, just one and a half seconds outside of the World Cup best time.

Qualifiers: USA1, NZL1

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Heats

Two heats lined up and the goal here was to finish first for a direct path to Sunday’s final. This meant avoiding a repechage. In Heat One it was New Zealand’s Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe in the lead. Germany One of Daniela Schultze and Frieda Haemmerling followed in second but were quite down on the Kiwis. This looked to be a repeat of the last race where New Zealand dominated and by the third 500, Donoghue and Loe had an open water lead rating 34. Donoghue and Loe were only four seconds off the World Best Time pace. In the final buoys of the race the New Zealand crew remained easily out in front and crossed with a time of 6:45.

Heat Two was Australia’s Olympia Aldersey and Madeleine Edmunds in the lead. Aldersey and Edmunds raced to an under-23 medal in the quad back in 2012 and they are now back together. China Two of Ling Zhang and Xinyue Zhang was in second following the Australians very closely. Then in the third 500 Zhang and Zhang overtook the Australians and lifted their rating for a strong finish. Aldersey and Edmunds had no reply and China became the qualifying boat with a 40 stroke rate finish and the fastest qualifying time of 6:43.

Qualifiers: NZL, CHN2

Men’s Four (M4-) – Heats

The two heats in the men’s four required a first place finish in each heat for a direct path to the final in Sunday. Heat One had Australia out in front at the start. Australia was second in this boat class at the Rio Olympics and they were keeping in front of Germany through the middle of the race. In the Australian boat stroke man, Alexander Hill was in the Olympic silver medal boat while Spencer Turrin in seat two in an Olympian from the men’s pair. Australia kept the pace on and moved away from Germany as the race progressed. They crossed the line rating 26 so despite being on a World Best Time pace, they did not manage it at the finish.

The Olympic Champion country, Great Britain was second off the line with France (fourth at the European Rowing Championships) the leading crew in Heat Two. Great Britain finished fifth at the European Rowing Championships and this disappointment meant a change in the line up. Today they had found the lead by the half way point and with William Satch in stroke seat it looked like they were rowing longer through the water than the European Championship boat. The British now moved away from the rest of the field and crossed the line in 5:44 – by far the fastest qualifying time.

Qualifiers: AUS, GBR

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Heats

As the wind picked up the waves got bigger on the Malta Lake with Heat One of two heats seeing Poland handling the conditions the best. This race required a first place finish for a direct path to the final on Sunday. Poland’s Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak won the European Rowing Championships last month and they continued to lead with a higher stroke rate than Great Britain One in second. The British boat of Katherine Copeland and Emily Craig held on to the pace despite rating lower. Both Great Britain and Poland were at 35 as the waves turned to surfing conditions. Who would handle it the best? At the line it was Deresz and Mikolajczak who got there first to claim a spot in the final.

Two Chinese boats led the way at the start of Heat Two with China Two holding a very slight edge. The rain was now falling as China Two of Fang Chen and Dandan Pan got out to a half boat length lead over China One. Pan medalled at the Rio Olympics in this boat class. The two leading boats both rated 34 to maintain control in these wavy conditions as the rain stopped. Chen and Pan crossed the line in first to qualify.

Qualifiers: POL, CHN2

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Heats

Two heats lined up for this doubles race and the deal here was a first place was necessary for a direct path to the final. In Heat One it was incredibly tight at the start between China One, Poland, Ireland, Slovenia and Hong Kong. Then Paul and Gary O’Donovan of Ireland did a kick which saw them surge into the lead. The Chinese tried to hold on as the O’Donovan’s rated 38 stroke per minute to stay ahead. The O’Donovan’s continued to move away from Junjie Fan and Man Sun of China One. But then China lifted their rating and held on to the Irish. With 150m to go, the O’Donovans lifted their stroke rate over 40 with China following suit. It was close with Ireland getting there first.

Heat Two opened with the Olympic and European Champions, France’s Jeremis Azou and Pierre Houin in the lead. There was no other crew that could hold the pace of the French although Japan Two gave it their best shot. Azou and Houin then moved clean away, keeping a 38 stroke rate pace. The finishing time of Azou and Houin was 6:16.

Qualifiers: IRL, FRA

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Heats

The top two boats in each of the two heats would get to go directly to the final on Sunday and at the start of Heat One it was the Netherlands that held the top position. The Dutch finished sixth at last month’s European Rowing Championships and with the same crew racing here they were still in the lead going through the middle of the race rating 36. Poland and Germany were very close in second and third respectively. The Poland really picked up the pace in the third 500 and they got into the lead over the Dutch. But both the Netherlands and Germany remained in touch. Three boats charged for the finish. Poland, at 39 held the lead and won the race. Germany snatched second from the Dutch by just 0.10 of a second.

Great Britain One had the fastest start in Heat Two. The British are probably the most experienced of these crews with a number of the crew coming back from injury to race at this second World Rowing Cup. France followed very closely in second with Norway also on the leading pace in third. Norway was being stroked by Filippi Spirit Award winner Nils Jakob Hoff. Hoff will receive his winning Filippi boat at this regatta. Great Britain then moved to a clear water lead going through the third 500 with France slotting into second.

Qualifiers: POL, GER, GBR1, FRA