A battle to make the rowing final; European Championships semifinals
The 2018 European Championships in Glasgow completed the semifinal round with great conditions of almost flat water and mild temperatures.
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
After a lead at the start by Luka Radonic of Croatia, Peter Galambos of Hungary took over in the front of Semifinal One. Galambos is the silver medallist from last year’s European Championships and going through the middle of the race Galambos had a couple of seconds over Radonic in second. Then coming into the 1500m mark the fight was on between Great Britain’s Samuel Mottram and Radonic. Could Radonic hold on? To the crowd’s delight Mottram overtook Radonic and went after Galambos. His sprint worked. Mottram finished first.
A slight problem at the start of Semifinal Two delayed the start. The boots that hold the boat in place did not drop and so all boats got stuck. All Lars Wichert of Germany could do was laugh, while Michael Schmid of Switzerland got out to check his boat. Schmid is the reigning European Champion and he also won at World Rowing Cup III last month. The race was delayed as rowers checked their boats and rescheduled until 1:30pm BST.
A successful start at 1:30 saw Schmid shoot out at 55 strokes per minute. Schmid quickly built to a half boat length lead. Then Martino Goretti of Italy popped his stroke rate up to 41 and he kept up with Schmid. The Swiss sculler got to the 500m mark just a fraction ahead. Schmid and Goretti went head-to-head through to the middle of the race. Then Schmid broke away from Goretti with Wichert now moving up. Switzerland, Italy and Germany looked to be securely in the qualifying positions.
These three boats were well out in front and with 200m left to row none of them looked like they were really sprinting hard. They did enough just to hold their positions.
Qualifiers: GBR, HUN, CRO,SUI, ITA, GER
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Semifinals
Germany surged out into the lead of Semifinal One using a very high stroke rate. Germany’s Stephan Riemekasten and Max Appel then dropped to 36 with Great Britain at 37 gaining. The British boat included Scottish local Harry Leask coming into the boat to replace Angus Groom and to row with Jack Beaumont. Leask and Beaumont then snuck into the lead with Poland now moving up. Poland won their heat two days ago, but the British, who won their heat, recorded a faster qualifying time. Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup of Poland remained just in front coming into the final sprint.
Ratings began to rise as Poland and Great Britain went head-to-head into the close of the race. In the final couple of strokes of the race, Leask and Beaumont grabbed the win. Poland held on to second with Switzerland pulling away from the rest of the field to take third.
Amos Keijser and Nicolas van Sprang of the Netherlands got away quickly in Semifinal Two before Romania took over in the lead. Ioan Prundeanu and Marian-Florian Enache of Romania finished fifth at World Rowing Cup I and they were looking in fine form at this regatta. France was now coming up and had moved into second. Then the reigning European Champions, Italy did an almighty sprint and got into a qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: GBR, POL, SUI, ROU, FRA, ITA
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Semifinals
After an initial lead by Aleksandar Aleksanrov of Azerbaijan in Semifinal One, it was Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis that took over in the lead. Griskonis has raced internationally since 2002 and much of that time he’s spent in the single. Then former World Champion from the double, Kjetil Borch of Norway closed in on Griskonis. The sprint was on and Marjanovic of Serbia was moving up on Borch by rating 42. Griskonis held on to the lead with Borch holding off Marjanovic.
At this start of Semifinal Two it was Dzianis Mihal of Belarus who had an early lead with Roman Roeoesli of Switzerland following in second. A full on tussle went on for third between Russia and Poland. Russia’s Vladislav Ryabcev then got a slight edge over Poland. But there was still the final sprint to go. And what a sprint it was. Mihal went to 44 with Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk of Poland at 42. Roeoesli had found the lead rating 38 and Ryabcev held a similar stroke rate. Just before the line Mihal ran out of steam and Poland grabbed the final qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: LTU, NOR, SRB, SUI, RUS, POL
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Semifinals
Semifinal One opened with Italy in the lead. Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta of Italy got the better of Olympic bronze medallists, Norway and these two boats fought for the head of the field. Going through the middle of the race there was nothing between the field with just three seconds separating the top five boats. This was going to be a tough race to win. The fight was on for the line and Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway was sneaking into the lead. Behind them Ukraine had upped their stroke rate and was giving it their all to overtake France. The French are the European Champions and they were really trying to hold on. Ukraine had got through to the final.
Poland shot out in Semifinal Two and surprisingly held their position through to the middle of the race. But then the Olympic silver medallists, Ireland began to move. They are known for being able to sprint and they were. Paul and Gary O’Donovan had pushed into the lead. But Poland’s Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski were not letting them get away with Great Britain and Belgium right on the pace.
Qualifiers: NOR, ITA, UKR, IRL, BEL, POL