All go at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup
A full day of heats and repechages represents day one at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. Lucerne’s Rotsee regatta course is a favourite amongst rowers due to its fair and consistent weather conditions as well as beautiful surroundings.
Today the weather was just what the rowers wanted. There was not much more than a ripple on the water which occasionally made for a bit of a tail wind. Temperatures started out in the high teens Celsius warming to the high 20s as the day progressed.
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Heats
Three heats lined up with the top three boats in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals. Switzerland’s Simon Niepmann and Lucas Tramer led the way in Heat One turning the race into a procession. All crews thus looked remarkably relaxed as they crossed the finish line with Switzerland, Germany Two and Chile Two the qualifying boats.
A similar scenario played out in Heat Two with Spain’s Xavier Vela Maggi and Daniel Sigurjorsson Benet the dominant boat. At the line Spain, Germany Three and the United States had earned the direct path to the semifinals.
Heat Three turned on the most competitive heat when three boats sprinted to the finish line. Italy’s Francesco Schisano and Vincenzo Serpico had been leading for the majority of the race but in the final sprint both Greece and Great Britain upped the pace and, rating in the high 30s, gave it their best. Great Britain’s Sam Scrimgeour and Mark Aldred got there first and also recorded the fastest qualifying time. Greece and Italy One will also advance.
Qualifiers: SUI, GER2, CHI2, ESP, GER3, USA, GBR, GRE, ITA1
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Heats
This event attracted more entries than any other event of the regatta with 22 boats lining up over four heats. These boats were divided into four heats and the top boat only in each heat got to go directly to the semifinal. Pedro Fraga of Portugal chose to make his mark in Heat One. Fraga has been having a great season so far with three podium positions from three international regattas, including gold at the World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney. Fraga was able to cruise the last 200m of the race to cross the line in first and with the fastest qualifying time.
Hungary’s Peter Galambos dominated Heat Two. Galambos has a stack of World Cup medals and he looks to be on pace at this regatta, finishing less than a couple of seconds outside of Fraga’s time.
Three-time World Champion, Duncan Grant of New Zealand raced in Heat Three in the leading position. Grant finished fourth at last month’s Eton Dorney World Cup and he will be aiming to get back into the medals at this regatta. Grant easily qualified from the front.
Heat Four had the Swiss cow bells ringing with Michael Schmid of Switzerland was able to come through in first after race leader Jonathan Koch of Germany One hit the wall 40m out from the finish line and thus could only managed a slow paddle to the line.
Qualifiers: POR, HUN, NZL, SUI1
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Heats
The three heats in this event meant that the goal was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. Winner of the Eton Dorney World Cup, Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria was the dominant boat in Heat One. Her domination meant that in the last quarter of the race Taupe-Traer did not have to push it. She cruised across the finish line at a pedestrian 26 strokes per minute to qualify for the semifinals. New Zealand took the other qualifying spot.
Heat Two was one of the closest races of the morning when Canada’s Patricia Obee and South Africa’s Ursula Grobler spent the second 1000m of the race going head to head. Despite both scullers being easily in qualifying spots, Obee and Grobler must have wanted to show their mettle. Obee got the better of the battle and finished first, less than half a second ahead of Grobler. Obee and Grobler earned the two bet qualifying times for their efforts.
The 2011 World Champion, Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil showed her superiority in Heat Three by leading from start to finish. Beltrame was easily the most experienced in this heat but it didn’t stop Roth Walczak of Great Britain giving it a good bash to try and keep up with Beltrame. Both Beltrame and Walczak qualified for the semifinals.
Qualifiers: AUT, NZL, CAN, RSA, BRA, GBR
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Heats
The men’s pair had attracted a dense field of 20 boats. These crews were divided into four heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to go directly to Saturday’s semifinals. Heat One opened with Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain of South Africa One in the lead. After battling with Germany Two, Andre Sieber and Philipp Naruhn of Germany One got into the lead and pushed away from South Africa. This battle had done enough to break South Africa and Germany One away from the rest of the field and they crossed to line as the two qualifying boats, Germany One ahead of South Africa.
Heat Two saw Serbia’s Nenad Bedik and Nikola Stojic test their closing sprint against Italy Two to cross the line in first. The Serbian duo won gold at the European Rowing Championships last month and they are back to hone their skills before the World Rowing Championships. Both Serbia and Italy Two qualify for the semifinals.
Looking to have a better regatta than their sixth-place finish at the European Rowing Championships, Olympic silver medallists, Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette of France One carried out a battle against Italy One in Heat Three. Despite Italy having the advantage for the majority of the race, Chardin and Mortelette overtook the Italians during the closing sprint. Both boats, though, had qualified for the semifinals.
It took until Heat Four for the fastest qualifying time to come out. World and Olympic Champions, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand crossed the line in a time of 6:26 to win and move on to the semifinals. But the Spanish crew of Alexander Sigurbjonsson Benet and Pau Vela Maggi got off to a burning start to lead the New Zealander’s for the first 500m of the race. Spain was the second qualifying boat.
Qualifiers: GER1, RSA1, SRB, ITA2, FRA1, ITA1, NZL, ESP
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Heats
This is always a popular event and here at the Rotsee today 19 crews began their mission to make it through to Sunday’s final. Divided into four heats the goal today was to get a top two finish for a direct path to the semifinals. Not having to race a repechage is always an important goal for lightweight rowers who have to carefully balance their food intake and this meant that racing stepped up a level.
Heat One saw France’s Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou lead the way from start to finish and recorded the fastest qualifying time. Delayre and Azou started off the 2013 season with a win at the European Rowing Championships and in this regatta they will face stiffer competition. But in this heat the French had a relatively easy run to cross the line five seconds ahead of Italy One in second. Italy’s Andrea Micheletti and Pietro Ruta also qualified for Saturday’s semifinal.
The silver medallists from the Eton Dorney World Cup, Peter and Richard Chambers of Great Britain led Heat Two from start to finish. But the Chambers brothers did not have an easy ride with Konstantin Steinhuebel and Lars Hartig continually challenging the British. In the final sprint Steinhuebel and Hartig made the decision to back off leaving the Chambers brothers to cross easily in first. Both Great Britain and Germany thus advance to the semifinals.
A very happy Greece crossed the line in first in Heat Three. Eleftherios Konsolas and Spyridon Giannaros of Greece had taken the lead at the start and held it despite a solid challenge by Artur Mikolajczewski and Mariusz Stanczuk of Poland. These two boats finished well ahead of the rest of the field to qualify for the semifinals.
In Heat Four Norway’s Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli battled with Paul and Bernhard Sieber of Austria for the entire 2000m course. Brun and Strandli have already picked up two international medals this season, but the gold still eludes them. At the line Brun and Strandli had a small margin over the Austrians with both boats qualifying for the semifinals.
Qualifiers: FRA, ITA1, GBR, GER, GRE, POL, NOR, AUT
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Heats
Three heats lined up with the top three in each event earning a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals. Heat One opened with a tight battle going on between Germany’s Lena Mueller and Anja Noske and Maaike Head and Elisabeth Woerner of the Netherlands. The battle was so close that barely a bow ball separated the two crews as they came into the final sprint. Mueller and Noske raced in the A-final at last year’s Olympic Games while Head made it through to the Olympic B-final. Head has a new partner this year in Woerner and they look like they are making great progress. As Germany backed off in the final sprint Head and Woerner were able to cross the line easily in first. The Netherlands, Germany One and Sweden all qualified.
Heat Two also saw a hefty tussle going on between New Zealand’s Julia Edward and Lucy Strack and Kristin Hedstrom and Kathleen Bertko of the United States. A year ago on these Rotsee waters Edward was part of the New Zealand double that set a new World Best Time, a time that still remains. She is back with Strack and the two of them were unrelenting against the Americans. At the line Hedstrom and Bertko had got the better of the battle and also recorded the fastest qualifying time. New Zealand, using a longer-stroke style, qualified from second with Great Britain qualifying in third.
Winners of the European Rowing Championships, Italy’s Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani may not have been the fastest starters but by the half-way point they had the lead over Poland and Germany Two. The order remained the same to the line despite Germany conducting a solid sprint that brought them closer to the Poles. These were the three qualifying boats
Qualifiers: NED, GER1, SWE, USA, NZL, GBR, ITA, POL, GER2
Men’s Four (M4-) – Heats
The men’s four was divided into three heats with the top three boats from each heat getting to go directly to tomorrow’s semifinals. Heat One was fast and furious and recorded the fastest qualifying time when the new United States line up led the way. With a crew that has retained just Henrik Rummel from the Olympic bronze medal four, the United States started out battling with Great Britain but through the middle of the race they managed to gain a standout advantage. Then Belarus and the Czech Republic upped their game to come after the Americans. But the US advantage was solid and they crossed the line as the leaders rating 39. Belarus finished second and the Czech Republic was third. Surprisingly Eton Dorney silver medallists Great Britain were back in fourth.
Winners of the Eton Dorney World Cup, Australia led Heat Two from start to finish. Croatia gave it a good shot but they could not match the Australian boat speed. Australia, Croatia and Canada were the qualifying boats.
When the Netherlands last raced at the 2013 European Rowing Championships they finished first. Today they lined up in Heat Three and found themselves battling with Germany and Italy. This three-way battle continued through the middle of the race with Italy having a slight margin. But it was the Netherlands that must have wanted first place the most. As Germany backed off, the Netherlands and Italy led the field home.
Results: USA, BLR, CZE, AUS, CRO, CAN, NED, ITA, GER
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Heats
The three heats of the men’s quadruple sculls meant these crews had to finish in the top three spots if they wanted to go directly to Saturday’s semifinals. Croatia set the pace in Heat One. This Olympic silver medal crew, Croatia was the fastest boat at the second World Cup in Eton Dorney last month and today they led the way from start to finish. Behind Croatia, New Zealand pushed their way through from fourth into second ahead of Italy and the Czech Republic. The qualifiers at the line: Croatia, New Zealand and Italy.
Olympic Champions, Germany had to get ahead of Russia to take the lead in Heat Two. The Germans finished second to the Croatians at Eton Dorney, but today they secured the fastest qualifying time following a rather heated scuffle with Russia and Great Britain. At the line Germany, Great Britain and Russia were the qualifying boats.
The smooth, upright style of Estonia came into the leading frame in Heat Three. Estonia has reshaped their Olympic fourth-placed crew with Allar Raja and Kaspar Taimsoo remaining in the boat. Canada’s new 2013 line up challenged the Estonians hard and nearly got the better of them in the final sprint. But Estonia held on to the number one spot with Canada qualifying from second and the United States taking third.
Qualifiers: CRO, NZL, ITA, GER, GBR, RUS, EST, CAN, USA
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Heats
The 16 entries in the lightweight men’s four were divided into three heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to take a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals. The Netherlands set the standard in Heat One by finishing first and recording the fastest qualifying time in the process. The Dutch have rearranged their European Rowing Championships crew that finished ninth bringing Timothee Heijbrock into stroke seat. Behind the Netherlands, France followed very closely as Italy was continually putting the pressure on for that second qualifying spot. The Dutch and French qualified for the semifinals with a sprint that saw them get into the 40 – 41 strokes per minute zone. This heat also saw the return of the Olympic Champions, South Africa to the international scene. Today the South Africans finished in fourth and will face the evening’s repechage.
Winners of the Eton Dorney World Cup and the Sydney World Cup, New Zealand looked comfortable in the lead of Heat Two. The crew of James Hunter, James Lassche, Peter Taylor and Curtis Rapley kept ahead of Poland who followed in second. The Czech Republic was back in third and challenged hard, but never made it into a qualifying position. New Zealand and Poland had earned the direct path to the semifinals.
It is not often that you see a lightweight fours race that isn’t a sprint to the finish, but Heat Three rather looked this way. The Olympic bronze medallists, Denmark spent three quarters of the race battling with Olympic silver medallists, Great Britain for the majority of the race. But in the final sprint Great Britain chose not to push it leaving Denmark to row home at what looked to be a relaxed 38 stroke rate. The Danish place and prise style accentuated at this lower stroke rate. Denmark and Great Britain were the two qualifiers.
Qualifiers: NED, FRA, NZL, POL, DEN, GBR
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Heats
The 18 crews that lined up in the men’s single sculls were divided into three heats with the top two boats getting to go directly to tomorrow’s semifinals. This event saw a hugely talented group of scullers seeded into the three heats with Germany’s Marcel Hacker first up in Heat One. Hacker got out quickly at the start and raced the kind of race that he loves – get out into the lead and then sit on the rest of the field. Georgi Bozhilov of Bulgaria slotted into second and the race was all but decided. Bozhilov showed no desire to challenge Hacker, instead doing just enough to stay ahead of Mexico in third. Hacker and Bozhilov were the two qualifiers with Hacker recording the fastest qualifying time.
The favourite to win this event, Olympic silver medallist, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic featured in Heat Two. After an initial lead by 2013 Holland Beker winner, Roel Braas of the Netherlands, Synek pushed into the lead and raced a tactical race that saw him doing just enough to stay ahead of Braas. The long and strong strokes of Synek saw him only needing to rate a 26 stroke rate to finish the race in first. Braas also qualified for the semifinals from second.
In his first international race for the season, Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba battled with Great Britain’s Alan Campbell in Heat Three. 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, Campbell had the edge for the first half of the race, but then looked content to let the Cuban cross the line first. Fournier and Campbell are the two qualifying boats.
Qualifiers: GER, BUL, CZE, NED, CUB, GBR1
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Heats
The women’s single sculls attracted a field of 20 boats which were then divided into four heats. This meant that the top two scullers in each heat got to advance directly to the semifinals. New Zealand’s Emma Twigg and Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley went head to head in Heat One. Thornley, who comes into the single from last year’s Olympic women’s eight, led at the start but by the middle of the race Twigg was in the lead. Twigg was then able to earn a small edge so that in the final sprint she could relax down to a 28 stroke rate pace. Twigg and Thornley were the two qualifying boats.
Winner of the Holland Beker and winner of the Sydney World Rowing Cup, Kim Crow of Australia got ahead of the fast starting Magdalena Lobnig of Austria to take the lead in Heat Two by the middle of the race. Lobnig, and under-23 champion from 2012, did her best to hold on to Crow, but the Australian, inch-by-inch, wore the Austrian down. At the line Crow had recorded the fastest qualifying time with Lobnig also getting a spot in the semifinals.
The third heat started out with Olympic Champion, Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic in the lead. But this was soon to change as Eleanor Logan of the United States pushed past. Logan is also a 2012 Olympic Champion but from the women’s eight. Once Logan was in the lead, Knapkova did not back down until the final sprint despite the two leading crews being under no threat for their positions. Logan and Knapkova, who last weekend won the single at the Henley Royal Regatta, were the two qualifying boats.
Heat Four had China’s Xiunyun Zhang lead from start to finish. Zhang is well into her second decade of international rowing and regularly medals in the single. Today Zhang led over the just-as-senior Julia Levina of Russia One. Levina kept the pressure on Zhang through the body of the race which helped move the two leaders away from the rest of the field. In the close of the race neither Zhang, nor Levina felt the need to sprint. They were the two qualifying boats.
Results: NZL, GBR, AUS, AUT, USA, CZE, CHN, RUS1
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Heats
The two heats that lined up in the women’s pair required a first place finish for a direct path to the final on Sunday. Heat One saw World Cup leaders, Helen Glover and Polly Swann of Great Britain up against the United States new line up for the first time this season. Glover and Swann got out into the lead but Taylor Goetzinger and Meghan Musnicki of the United States were unrelenting. Goetzinger and Musnicki pushed the British pair to the end. Glover and Swann stayed in the lead but looked a bit panicked, shortening up over the last 100m of the race. Glover and Swann were the sole qualifiers.
At the Eton Dorney World Cup Kayla Pratt and Rebecca Scown of New Zealand finished second to Glover and Swann. Today they raced in Heat Two, having a relatively easy time of it after shaking off Romania at the start. Pratt and Scown easily crossed the line in first place to qualify directly for the final.
Qualifiers: GBR, NZL
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Heats
There were two heats in the women’s quadruple sculls requiring crews to finish first if they wanted to go directly to the final on Sunday. Heat One took off with Germany in the lead. The Germans have won at both the Eton World Cup and the European Rowing Championships this year with slight reshufflings of the crew. Britta Oppelt is back in the boat at Lucerne and today’s crew stayed in the lead for the entire race. The Netherlands put up a solid challenge but remained in second with the Germans having no need to sprint the finish.
It looks as though Germany will have a new challenger in the final. Winners of Heat Two, Poland, not only led from start to finish but they were the fastest qualifiers with a time just seven seconds outside of the World Best Time. Poland was challenged hard by the new United States line-up that included Susan Francia and Esther Lofgren from the 2012 Olympic Champion women’s eight. At the line Poland had held off the United States and recorded a time of 6:16.
Qualifiers: GER, POL
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Heats
It was all about coming first in the two heats of the men’s double sculls. First place would get to go directly to Sunday’s final and it meant that Heat One turned into an exciting battle for the lead. Germany’s Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger had a slight advantage over the tightly packed field which remained tight through the middle of the race. It wasn’t until the second half of the race that some of the crews started to drop off with Germany left to battle it out with Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis and Saulius Ritter. These two boats remained tightly together until the end with Knittel and Krueger just holding off the Lithuanians.
Since Michael Arms and Robert Manson of New Zealand came together at the start of this season they have won every major race they have entered – two World Cups and the Henley Royal Regatta (where they set a new course record). Today Arms and Manson raced in Heat Two. At the start racing was tight between Norway, Slovenia and New Zealand with Norway in the lead. Arms and Manson kept the pressure on and by the second half of the race they were nearly in the lead. As Slovenia fell back, Norway started to feel the pressure and decided to drop their speed in the final sprint. This spelt an easy win for Arms and Manson and a direct path to the final on Sunday.
Qualifiers: GER, NZL
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Heats
The two heats required crews to be in first or second position if they wanted a direct path to the finals. Lithuania’s new 2013 combination of Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite started off in third place in Heat One when Germany got off to a flying start. By the middle of the race it remained a three-way fight with less than a second and a half separating Germany, Great Britain and Lithuania. Then as the Germans began to fade Vistartaite and Valciukaite seized the opportunity to take the lead and hold it to the end. Lithuania and Great Britain become the two qualifying crews.
Heat Two saw the United States One crew of Meghan O’Leary and Ellen Tomek lead from start to finish. Behind the US, New Zealand and Belarus remained tightly together before New Zealand appeared to give it away leaving Belarus’s Ekaterina Karsten and Yuliya Bichyk to take the second qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: LTU, GBR, USA1, BLR
Men’s Eight (M8+) – Heats
Two heats lined up in the men’s eight with the top crew only from each heat getting to go directly to Sunday’s final. A very lively and quick United States crew dominated Heat One in their first international outing for the 2013 season. The United States win pushed World Cup leaders, Great Britain One, into the repechage despite their best efforts to reel in the Americans. But the British looked a bit heavy through the water and leaving the United States to earn the qualifying spot and also record the fastest qualifying time.
There looks to be no stopping the Germans. The Olympic Champion crew, in a new configuration, led Heat Two from start to finish. Great Britain Two and Poland gave it their best effort to catch the Germans, but, for now, Germany remains unbeaten. Germany crossed the line to qualify directly for Sunday’s final.
Qualifiers: USA, GER