British tackle tough Germans at Huegel Regatta

17/05/2013 - 12:15:00

There was no rest for German national team contenders as the Huegel Regatta in Essen, Germany acted as another step along the way to national team selection.

Attracting 1300 athletes from 17 nations, German rowers faced international-standard competition especially with the representation of the British National Team. For Germany’s head coach, Marcus Schwarzrock, it was a chanceto look at potential combinations, especially in the men’s and women’s double sculls, quadruple sculls and men’s four in preparation for the European Rowing Championships at the end of May in Seville, Spain. For Great Britain it was an opportunity to try different line-ups and test their 2000m boat speed.
In challenging rowing conditions on the Essen-Baldeneysee, the two day regatta had a different rowing programme on each day of racing. This meant that there were heats and finals on both days with crews often mixing up their line-ups between the two days.

A German-British face-off created exciting racing in the men’s single sculls when Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell of Great Britain fronted up against Germany’s top single sculler, Marcel Hacker. Hacker was the fastest (7:46) with Campbell in second (7:49) and Slovenia’s Luka Spik in third (7:54).

The men’s double sculls was also hotly contended with Germany’s Olympic double of Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger beating members of their nation’s Olympic Champion quad, Karl Schulze and Lauritz Schoof. British Olympians, Bill Lucas and Matthew Langridge were in fourth just behind the young German duo of Kai Furhmann and Paul Heinrich.
Poland entered a new women’s double sculls line-up of Olympic bronze medallist Magdalena Fularczyk teamed up with Natalia Madaj. They led a group of three German boats loaded with the best of Germany’s women scullers. Lisa Schmidla and Mareike Adams ended in second and the top finishing German boat in this boat class. On the second day of racing the German women were recombined in the double with Annekatrin Thiele and Carina Baer proving to be the fastest combination.

The men’s four turned out to be a crowd-pleaser when Germany’s crew of Richard Schmidt, Eric Johannesen, Anton Braun and Felix Drahotta held off the British line-up which included three members of the London Olympic Champion four – Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Andrew Triggs Hodge and new member Mohamed Sbihi. Just 0.28 of a second separated these top two crews.

Croatia’s Olympic silver medal crew of David Sain, Damir Martin and the Sinkovic brothers won the men’s quadruple sculls on both days. On the first day Croatia finished just a fraction ahead of Great Britain’s Lambert, Thomas, Cousins and Townsend. On the second day Croatia were two seconds ahead of Germany with a crew that included Marcel Hacker.
Germany did not dominate in the men’s eight. Instead it was Poland that finished first on day one of racing with Great Britain in second. Then on day two Great Britain added their men’s four to the crew and finished first with France in second.

Poland’s women’s quadruple sculls won on both days with the race on day two including the German Olympic silver medal crew.
Great Britain used this regatta to test the speed of their newly formed combinations ahead of the Samsung World Rowing Cup II which will be held at the London 2012 Olympic Rowing Regatta course at Eton Dorney.

This is the 97th time that the Huegel Regatta has been raced after first taking place in 1901. The name ‘Huegel’ comes from the hill which stands behind the boathouses and has a castle at the top.

More photographs of the regatta can be found here.

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