Amsterdam finals establish new benchmark
The first day of finals at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands saw a whole range of new World Best Times being set as crews enjoyed tailwind conditions and a jump in competitiveness at the biggest World Rowing Under 23 Championships ever.
The United States women’s pair of Grace Luczak and Felice Mueller made the biggest impression by beating the World Best Time by a whopping nine seconds. What was more impressive, Luczak and Mueller did it without being pushed by any other crew. This was just one of seven World Best Times set today on the Bosbaan.
Women’s Four (BW4-) – Final
The first Under-23 World Champions for 2011 were crowned at the end of this race and a new World Best Time was set. This was done by the Germans in the women’s four. Germany finished third last year and they had every intention of changing their medal colour to gold when they took off at the head of the field. By the half way point the Netherlands remained very much in touch with the Germans.
Germany has retained one member of the bronze medal crew. Lea-Kathleen Kuehne has been joined by three new members. The line up was working well and through the race they were able to move away from their competition. Despite a last minute full out sprint by Italy, the Germans had enough of a lead and a higher stroke rate that kept them impenetrable. The Germans finishing time of 6:34.61 is the new standard in this event.
Results: GER, ITA, NED, AUS, USA, BLR
Kathrin Karches (GER) - Gold
“We are really happy. We expected the Dutch to be stronger on their home territory. We have a lot of experience from Junior World Championships but have only spent 3 weeks together as a crew and our coach Mark Kromer really got us together.”
Laura Basadonna (ITA) – Silver
“Our race went well! At first we were fourth or fifth, but then we looked around and saw we were back in second position.”
Lies Rustenburg (NED) - Bronze
“Our start was great and from that moment we were constantly thinking: ‘yeah, there are three crews behind us!’
Men’s Coxed Four (BM4+) – Final
Had the German men in this race heard the results from the previous race? It seemed that way as they took off like they were on fire and got into the lead. This lead, however, was small - the entire six boats in the field were separated by less than two seconds.
Then everything changed.
Just before the 1000m mark Serbia did a huge push. Veselin Savic, Jovan Jovanovic, Igor Lucic, Luka Djordjevic and Mateja Josic of Serbia had been at the back of the bunch, but this huge push excelled them into the lead. And with that the Serbians never looked back. Only Great Britain appeared to be in any position to hold on, but they soon ran out of steam.
Yet Germany decided that they still had move to give and went after Serbia. But the Serbians had too much of a lead, leaving Germany in second. France and New Zealand went to a photo finish for the third place spot with the bronze medal going to France. Serbia crossed the line notching up a new World Best Time of 6:03.01, breaking New Zealand’s time set in 2006. At the medals ceremony, the very happy Serbians joined in loudly singing along with their national anthem.
Results: SRB, GER, FRA, NZL, GBR, USA
Igor Lucic (SRB) - Gold
"We’re very happy with this result, given that we’re only a crew for a week now. Ten days ago we were only opponents from different clubs, now we set a world record together.
Richard Lorenz (GER) - Silver
"The competition is very strong. We were in front in the first half of the race, then Serbia came through. The final meters we were just defending second place, and we are proud to be in the medals
Benoit Demey (FRA) - Bronze
"The race felt very short. At the 1750m line we were fourth, but we raised the strokerate to 45+ and made it to third position.
There was barely anything in it as all four crews moved through the first quarter of the race together. This all changed by the half way point with Italy and Australia setting the pace. A big push by the Australians in the third 500 gave them the edge over Italy and they held it to the end.
Results: AUS, ITA, NED, ROU
Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls (BLW4x) – Final
As the tail wind conditions continued on the Bosbaan the rain began to fall heavily for these lightweight rowers. It appeared to have no impact on China who rowed a very tight, steady race. China’s Chengcheng Wang, Yueyue Liu, Fenglan Wang and Yanfei Cao overtook the early leaders, Germany to take the lead. The Chinese are all first time internationals and despite this they were rowing a very mature race. Germany held on to the Chinese lead through the middle of the race but then found the pace too strong. This is when France decided to step up.
The French had been sitting back in the middle of the field, outside of the medals. But someone must have made the call and the crew pushed past Italy, and then Germany. At the line China had become under-23 World Champions and set a new World Best Time of 6:30.71. France came through to take second and Germany held on to third.
Results: CHN, FRA, GER, ITA, GBR, USA
CAO Yanfei (CHN ) – gold
“We were sure we would win before we came here. We have trained so hard for this tournament. But we are still excited about the result”
Rachel Jung (FRA ) – Silver:
“At first we wanted to go for the gold medal, but China was such strong competition so we are very pleased with the silver.”
Regina Pieroth (GER ) – Bronze :
“It was a very hard race, with bad weather conditions. There was a lot of wind and high waves, but we did as good as we could, though we had dreamed of a higher ranking.”
Last year at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships, Japan made the final. This year they had to contend with racing Australia in the B-final. Japan made the most of it and used superior stamina to overtake the Australians to finish first, and seventh overall at this regatta.
Results: JPN, AUS
Lightweight Men’s Pair (BLM2-) – Final
Coming through the heats and yesterday’s semifinals, Great Britain looked to be on top of their game. The crew included Peter Chambers who comes to this regatta on the back of winning gold at the senior World Rowing Cup earlier this month. Chambers is also accomplished in the single. Paired up with Kieren Emery, the British got out in front at the start. The British were most concerned about the New Zealanders and kept a wary eye on Curtis Rapley and Armin Svoboda of New Zealand who followed closely.
Coming into the final sprint there was very little between Great Britain and New Zealand, but the British appeared to have more left in the tank. Despite New Zealand giving it their all and rating higher than the British, Chambers and Emery were able to hold off the Kiwis.
Meanwhile Hong Kong’s Chiu Mang Tang and Ki Cheong Kwan were sitting in third and trying to hold off Italy. Hong Kong earned the bronze medal at the line with Great Britain setting a new World Best Time of 6:26.90, a mere three tenths of the the senior World Best Time.
Results: GBR, NZL, HKG, ITA, FRA, HUN
Kieren Emery (GBR) – gold
“It was a very good race. In the first 750m we took the lead and decided that we had to stick to our guns. To be just this tiny bit slower than the senior’s world record is a little frustrating though.”
Armin Svoboda (NZL) – Silver:
“Breaking an U23 world record today is not good enough for a gold medal.”
KWAN Ki Cheong (HKG) – Bronze :
“This is the second Hong Kong U23 medal ever. We just tried to row as fast as we could, and we rowed a personal record here. It was a close race and we are very happy with the medal.”
The strength of German Under-23 rowing means that you don’t often see them racing in a B-final. However, the strength of the lightweight men’s pairf field had put Christopher Herpel and Jan-Philipp Birkner of Germany back into the B-final race. Herpel and Birkner are both first time members of the German national team and made the most of this race by leading from start to finish and holding off South Africa in second.
Results: GER, RSA, USA, ARG, TUR, DEN
Women’s Pair (BW2-) – Final
Last year at the under-23 champs in Brest, Belarus this was the only event to set a new World Best Time. It fell again today, and by the same country. Last year Felice Mueller rowed for her country and came away with a World Champion title as well as a World Best Time. Today she did it all again with a new partner, Grace Luczak.
At the start it was Romania’s Cristina Grigoras and Andreea Boghian who had the lead with the Americans starting off rather slowly. But going through the middle of the race Luczak and Mueller had closed on Romania and as Grigoras and Boghian began to run out of steam the Americans moved away in the lead.
By the finish Luczak and Mueller had a huge open water lead and had broken the World Best Time by a full nine seconds. Romania held on to earn silver and the Netherlands took bronze.
Results: USA, ROU, NED, AUS, RSA, BUL
Grace Luczak (USA ) – Gold
"It was really fun. With this wind it’s all about relaxing and we managed to do that pretty well. We’re really excited and so proud to represent our country here."
Andrea BOGHIAN (ROU ) – Silver:
"We tried our best to win, but we died in the middle part. We are still young, only 20 and 21, so next year we hope to come back for the gold!
Inge Janssen (NED) – Bronze :
"Our plan was to keep focusing on rowing our own race. Maybe we could have battled some more with Romania and the USA but were very pleased we came in third!"
The identical Davids twins, Sara and Miriam took off in the lead of this b-final only to be overtaken in the second half of the race by Alice Mayne and Melanie Cornille of France. As the Davids ran out of steam, Mayne and Cornille recorded a first place finish or seventh overally.
Results: FRA, GRE, GER, CRO, SWE, CZE
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BLM4x) – Final
Andrej Bendtsen (DEN) – Gold
“We had a great start. But after the thousand metre line, we got into a flow and kept that up to the finish!
Dominik Vent (GER ) – Silver
“Our tactic was to be faster at the start and keep some distance to the Danes, but that didn’t really work out, we were constantly at the same level. Their last 500m was so good and it was so close, but I think we can be happy."
Nicolas ROTH (SUI) – Bronze
“We knew that Denmark and Germany would be fast, but the rest of the crews were close. We were very focused, almost like we were not in the final, and it is great we got the bronze medal”
Vincent Giorgis (SUI) – Bronze
“It is so good to bring the first World Championship medal to Switzerland this year!”
A year ago Ireland took silver in this event with Great Britain taking bronze. Today these two countries raced each other in the B-final. As the race panned out, Great Britain were in the lead and Ireland were back in fourth. By the half way point Ireland had moved up to third. It took the Irish another 500m of racing to get into second and then they went after the British. A huge sprint by Ireland forced a photo finish. Great Britain had won, but by just 7/100th of a second.
Results: GBR, IRL, ESP, NED, AUT, TUR
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (BW4x)
Defending Champions Germany dominated the heats of this event, even though Julia Lier at stroke was the only remaining member from the gold winning crew of last year. In this final, the German crew took an early lead at the 500m mark, and it seemed no one was brave enough to go with them. Behind them, New Zealand, Australia and Italy were fighting it out for their share of their medals.
Coming through the half-way mark, Italy gritted their teeth and pushed on, rating in the high 30s to make some headway on the feisty German crew. Yet, Germany had the strength and the experience to hold on to the lead and romp home, in yet another World Best Time of 6.22.84, smashing the previous record by a good ten seconds. As Italy continued to push up on Germany to take the silver, the real race was for the bronze medal. Australia were leading, but New Zealand were challenging hard for the bronze. In the dying strokes, a crab by Australia could have lost it all for the girls, but New Zealand didn’t have enough sprint left to capitalise on their mistake. Australia take bronze.
Results: GER, ITA; AUS, NZL, ROU, POL
Marie-Christine Arnold (GER) – gold
“After the first 500m we had a length advantage, so we knew we would win. After that it was really fun racing, we enjoyed it very much”
Alessandra Patelli (ITA ) – Silver:
“We had a bad start which caused that Germany was gone. The 1000 in the middle we pushed very hard and the last part we had our eyes closed”
Katrina Bateman (AUS ) – Bronze :
“Our goal was to cross the finish line and know that we did the best we could, whatever the outcome was.”
United States of America took this one out from the start, and neither Russia or Ukraine could hack the pace. Ukraine put a strong challegne in the first 500m of the race, before United States of America powered away, rating higher than their opponents at 36 strokes a minute. The American crew, who narrowly missed the A Final, stretched out their lead whilst Ukraine really struggled with the conditions, steering out of their lane. Once the crews came through the final 500m, Ukraine had regained their rhythm and established some pacey momentum, and it was not long before they were once again overlapping with the American bowball. Yet, the Americans had done enough, and take seventh position overall. Ukraine come in second, furiously discussing the steering issues as they crossed the line, and Russia followed up in third.
Results: USA, UKR, RUS
Men’s Coxless Four (BM4-)
“When arriving in the Netherlands we did not expect much, we are a young team. But during the tournament we knew we could win a medal- and so we did!”
Six boats contested this final, and it was a fantastic row for the Croatian boat. With a commanding rowing style, the Croats stretched out to a half length lead by 500m and never looked back. Norway dropped back, and it was up to Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, and France to battle it out. France recovered from a slow start, in which they lay in fifth place, to row through the field and take second place. Despite holding on to third position for the majortiy of the race, the Czech Republic caught a crab in the bumpy water in the final 500m, and lost their place to Romania.
Results: CRO, FRA, ROU, CZE, LTU, NOR