Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Semifinals

In the first of two semifinals, Germany’s Samantha Nesajda started out in front. Germany had qualified for her semifinal directly from her heat. But soon Japan’s Chiaki Tomita took over the lead, with Germany losing speed and gradually falling to the back of the field. Tomita had also obtained a direct qualifying spot for this semifinal, finishing first in Heat Two. Russia’s Anastasiia Ianina had the fastest qualifying time for this semifinal and followed in second behind Japan for most of the race. Meanwhile, Sweden’s Annie Svensson began moving up the ranks. With the final stretches of the race in sight, Russia’s Ianina showcased the speed she was capable of, moved up on Japan and pipped Tomita on the line.

Greece’s Amalia Tsiavou took the lead from the get-go. Tsiavou qualified for the semifinal through the repechage but the extra racing did not seem to impact her form. Lithuania’s Sonata Petrikaite in lane five secured her second position in this semifinal by the half-way point, with the Dutch sculler Anne Marie Schonk taking third. The positions remained unchanged until the line.

Qualifiers: RUS, JPN, SWE, GRE, LTU, NED

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Semifinals

In Semifinal One of the lightweight men’s single sculls, France’s Pierre Houin lined up in lane three. He is the current senior European Champion in this boat class and also won gold at the World Rowing Cup in Varese a couple weeks ago. Houin qualified for his semifinal directly from his heat with the fastest qualifying time. China followed in second throughout the race but did not pose any threat to France. Japan’s Yasushi Fukui also made his way in the top three qualifying spot from the onset of the semifinal. In the final quarter of the race, China’s Man Sun overtook Japan to take the second qualifying spot.

Italy’s Francesco Pegoraro lined up in Semifinal Two. Pegoraro is last year’s world under-23 bronze medallist in this event. But instead it was the Netherlands, with Leonard Van Lierop in lane one, securing the lead from the early strokes. Croatia’s Luka Radonic followed in third. But the order changed significantly in the final strokes, with Croatia making a huge push, moving through Italy and the Netherlands.

Qualifiers: FRA, JPN, CHN, CRO, NED, ITA 

Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Semifinals

Last year’s bronze medallists, Serbia, lined up in Semifinal One. But it was Romania in the lead from the early strokes. Serbia stayed in a safe second position throughout, to secure their qualification for the A-Final. Germany were behind in third. The positions remained unchanged until the line.

Australia’s Jack Hargreaves and Nicholas Wheatley lined up in middle lane four in Semifinal Two. The Australians are last year’s world under-23 silver medallists in this boat class and are also travelling this year with the senior team. As expected, they led the race from the start. With 500m left to race, they had a boat and a half length’s lead over Great Britain in second, with Austria in third. These boats would move on to the A-final, qualifying in that order.

Qualifiers: ROU, SRB, GER, AUS, GBR, AUT 

Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Semifinals

The Netherlands qualified directly for their semifinal from their heat, with the fastest qualifying time. But it was Italy’s Cecilia Bellati and Ludovica Serafini who were in the lead from the beginning of the race, with New Zealand securing their qualifying spot for the A-Final in third. With 500m to go Italy gradually began to lose steam, dropping back in the field. How much did they have left to give? Unfortunately, not enough, as they fell back into fourth, missing out on a qualification spot for the A-Final. This pushed the Netherlands and New Zealand into the first and second qualifying spots, with Belarus driving through to take third.

Lining up in lane five in Semifinal Two were the Romanians, Viviana-Iuliana Bejinariu and Ioana Vrinceanu, the 2014 under-23 World Champions in this event. The Romanians did not mind when Great Britain began out in front, as by the half-way mark the Romanian boat found the power to move up in front. Germany was following in a steady third position. These three crews qualified for the A-Final clear of the rest of the field.

Qualifiers: NED, NZL, BLR, ROU, GBR, GER

Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Semifinals

The field was tightly packed in Semifinal One, with less than two seconds separating the top three boats at the half-way mark: Germany in first, Hungary in second and Lithuania in third. Two boats, France and Italy, were almost level in fourth in fifth, hoping to challenge for third. But the top three qualification spots remained unchallenged until the line, with Lithuania charging in the final strokes to move up on Hungary and cross the line in second.

It was Spain starting out at the front of the field in Semifinal Two. Joaquin Montero Gomez and Alex Marti Roura finished sixth in this boat class at last year’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships and will be looking to do as well or even better this year. The Netherlands had qualified directly for this semifinal from their heat with the fastest qualifying time. But they started in second behind the Spanish, leaving Norway in their wake in third. In the final 500m stretch, the Norwegians and the Netherlands charged, overtaking Spain who fell back in third. Norway crossed the line first. Spain will again race in the A-Final.

Qualifiers: GER, LTU, HUN, NOR, NED, ESP

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Semifinals

Unsurprisingly, New Zealand bolted out to secure their first qualification spot from the onset of Semifinal One. Zoe McBride is the World Best Time holder at senior level in the lightweight women’s single sculls and won gold in the lightweight single at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne two weekends ago. Last year, she took the under-23 world title in the lightweight double and this year she is partnered with Jackie Kiddle. At the half-way mark, it was Switzerland in the second qualifying spot, with Australia in third. Switzerland closed the gap to New Zealand in the last 500 metres to stay ahead of a strong challenge from Italy in the final 300m that brought them into the top three and pushed Australia back into fourth position.

It was a tight field in Semifinal Two, with positions swapping for three quarters of the race. It was China, however, in front with Nan Gao and Miao Wang. With 500m to go, Romania had moved up into second position from their initial fourth, and Greece was in third. In the final 250m, the Poles made a massive push to move up from fifth and secure a qualification spot for the final, relegating Greece back into fourth.

Qualifiers: NZL, SUI, ITA, CHN, ROU, POL

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Semifinals

Germany qualified directly for Semifinal One from their quarterfinal with the fastest qualifying time. Taking the lead from the start, they stayed there until the line, unchallenged. New Zealand was following in second. But with 1000m left to row, Italy began moving up the ranks and had secured the second qualification spot with 500m to go. New Zealand followed in third.

The Netherlands boat of Berend Mortier and Daan Klomp took the first qualification spot early on in Semifinal Two. They were in the lead by the half-way mark, followed by Spain and Switzerland. With 500m left to row, the Dutch had a three second lead over the rest of the field, showcasing their dominance. As the Swiss began to lose speed, it was the Czech Republic moving up the ranks to take the third and final qualifying spot.

Qualifiers: GER, ITA, NZL, NED, ESP, CZE

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Semifinals

Kai Fuhrmann is part of the senior German men’s quad that won bronze at last year’s World Rowing Championships and is racing in the under-23 boat here in Plovdiv. But Germany did not start out in front in Semifinal One, racing instead back in fourth. It was Canada in the lead, with Poland in second and Australia following in a steady third. In the final stretch of the race, Australia made a powerful move to get past Poland. Canada held on to their dominant lead. Germany will race in B-Final.

New Zealand came to Semifinal Two with the fastest qualifying time from the heats. Racing in second for half of the race, the Kiwis then pushed on the gas to get to the front of the field and stay there until the line. Ukraine, initially in first, fell back into second with Italy holding on to a steady third throughout. The positions remained unchanged until the line.

Qualifiers: CAN, AUS, POL, NZL, UKR, ITA

Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Semifinals

Great Britain’s Jack Beaumont was part of the senior British men’s quadruple sculls that won European Championship bronze earlier this year. He also won bronze in the men’s double sculls at last year’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships. Unsurprisingly, with as much experience under his belt, he managed to take the lead by the half-way mark, ahead of Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen. But there was hardly anything between the two boats. Belarus’s Pilip Pavukou was racing in the third qualifying spot. With the line fast approaching, Beaumont increased his lead and took the first qualifying spot even more convincingly.

Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk lined up in lane four in Semifinal Two. Wegrzycki-Szymczyk is last year’s silver medallist in this event. But it was Germany’s Philipp Syring out in front for the first half of the race with Philipp Syring having had the fastest direct qualifying time from the heats. Serbia’s Andrija Sljukic, in lane six, was also rowing strong. With 500m left to row, Sljukic had moved up to take the lead. At the line, it was Serbia in front, with Poland in second and Germany having slipped back into third.

Qualifiers: GBR, DEN, BLR, SRB, POL, GER

Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) - Semifinals

Lithuania’s Ieva Adomaviciute took an early lead in Semifinal One of the women’s single sculls. Sweden’s Lovisa Claesson followed in a steady second with China’s Yue Zhou moving into third by the half-way mark. Lithuania continued to increase her lead over the rest of the field in impressive fashion, having a seven-second lead over the rest of the field with 500m left to row. At this point, there was hardly anything separating crews in third, fourth and fifth, and the final qualification spot could go either to Croatia, China or Italy. At the line it was Croatia securing her place in the top three, with China falling back into fifth. Lithuania remained unchallenged.

Julia Leiding from Germany took the lead and stayed there for most of Semifinal Two. Latvia’s Elza Gulbe finished fifth overall in this boat class at last year’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships and showed good form in this race, following in second, with hardly anything between her and Leiding.  With 500m left to row, Gulbe picked up more speed, while Lediing began to lose stamina and fell back into second. Meanwhile, a battle was going on for the third and final qualifying spot between Russia and Switzerland in the final strokes of the race. It was Switzerland’s Pascale Walker, who had raced in fourth for most of the race, who managed to power her way to the line and qualify over Russia.

Qualifiers: LTU, SWE, CRO, LAT, GER, SUI