Crowd pleasers for day two heats at World Rowing Champs
Flat calm conditions on the Tangeum Lake regatta course greeted the best rowers in the world for day two of heats at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea.
A large, flag waving crowd, vocally supported their favourite country as Norway’s men’s double impressed by getting within six seconds of the World Best Time in their heat. Italy in the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls also recorded a scorching time which came within six seconds of the World Best Time.
Temperatures pressed into the high 20s degrees Celsius and humidity of around 55 per cent had athletes commenting on the need to be diligent in keeping cool for these conditions.
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Heats
The top two boats in these two heats would get to go directly to the finals on Friday and in Heat One Switzerland sorted out their dominance early on in the piece. Simon Niepmann and Lucas Tramer come out of their nation’s 2012 Olympic lightweight four and won at the European Rowing Championships earlier this season. Today Niepmann and Tramer rowed to the sound of cow bells from the enthusiastic finish line crowd to cross the line in first and with the fastest qualifying time. Germany’s Jan-Philipp Birkner and Christopher Herpel, using a much more sedate pace qualified for the final from second.
A ferocious tussle went on at the head of the field in Heat Two between Great Britain and Italy. The Italians are the reigning world champions in this boat but have two new rowers in the boat this year, one being the multiple Olympian Elia Luini and also Martino Goretti. For Great Britain, Sam Scrimgeour and Mark Aldred had come to Chungju following a win at the World Rowing Cup last month in Lucerne. For the entire 2000m race these two crews matched each other, taking turns to grab the lead. At the line Italy’s 41 stroke rate sprint had earned them the first place. Both will advance to the finals.
Qualifiers: SUI, GER, ITA, GBR
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Repechage
These two repechages represented a cross-section of the nations where rowing is currently developing. A repechage today was necessary as the large number of entries meant that these crews would have to advance through a quarterfinal race. The goal today was to be either first or second to qualify. Indonesia’s Ihram Inram started rowing internationally this year and raced in the lightweight double at two of the World Rowing Cups. Now in the single he finished first in Repechage One to advance to the quarterfinals along with Uganda’s Gerald Ssemambo.
Repechage Two had Akiyoshi Tsukamoto of Japan lead from start to finish. Tsukamoto raced at last year’s World Rowing Championships in the lightweight quadruple sculls and has moved to the single this year. Behind Japan, Malaysia’s Mohd Zulfali Rozali held on to second to take the remaining qualifying spot.
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (LM4x) – Heats
The two heats in this event required crews to be in the top spot if they wanted a direct path to Friday’s final. In Heat One, out in front were Italy. The Italians have rarely lost a race in this boat class over the last decade, except for last year when they finished just outside of the medals in fourth. Germany pressed hard to keep up with the Italians, but with a slightly higher stroke rate Rigon, Cereda, Mulas and Ghadini of Italy managed to just remain ahead of Germany and, in the process, record the fastest qualifying time. Italy had made the final.
In Heat Two a very smooth and in-control Greece outclassed the rest of the field by staying in the lead for the entire race. Greece were the silver medallists in this event at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they have retained three members of this crew for 2013. Displaying perfect synchronicity amongst the four scullers, Greece did just enough to stay in front . The United States put up a huge sprint to try and catch the Greek’s, but they had left it just a bit too late. Greece had earned a spot in the final. Meanwhile Iraq did not race due to not weighing in on time.
Qualifiers: ITA, GRE
Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls (LW4x) – Heats
This boat class had two heats with the top two boats from each heat getting to go directly to Friday’s final. In Heat One, Russia got off the line very quickly. Russia couldn’t sustain their early pace with the United States pushing into the lead just before the half way point. The United States finished fourth at last year’s World Rowing Championships but have arrived with three new crew members this year. Training out of the Seattle Rowing Centre, Miles, Tompkins, Saeger and Stortvedt of the United States were conducting a great international debut performance.
Meanwhile, coming into the finish, to the shouts of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’, the Australians had found another gear. Taking their stroke rate to 39, Australia pushed ahead of Russia to get the second qualifying spot. The United States remained in control at the head of the field. The United States and Australia had made it directly to the final.
After an initial lead by Vietnam, the Netherlands took over in the lead in Heat Two. The Dutch crew is coached by the return to Dutch rowing of Josy Verdonkschot and Verdonkschot has placed Maaike Head in this boat as well as the lightweight double. This is Head’s second race of the regatta. The Dutch crew remained ahead of Italy (coached by Verdonkschot last year to bronze medal) who was establishing themselves firmly in second. These two boats crossed the finish line very comfortably in their qualifying positions.
Qualifiers: USA, AUS, NED, ITA
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Heats
This boat class had attracted a talented field from 17 nations and they were divided into three heats. In these three heats the goal was to finish either first or second to earn a direct path to the semifinals.
Heat One presented a back-to-form Norwegian double of Nils Jakob Hoff and Kjetil Borch. This Olympic duo finished fifth at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne last month after injury kept Hoff out of racing earlier in the season. Today Hoff and Borch attacked this race with winning on their mind. Leading from start to finish Hoff and Borch held off Lucerne silver medallists, Italy’s Francesco Fossi and Romano Battisti.
Coming into the line, Argentina challenged Italy to try and get into a qualifying position, but they didn’t quite have the finishing oomph to get there. Norway and Italy were on their way to the semifinals, Norway with the fastest qualifying time.
One of the biggest upsets of the day played out in Heat Two when winners of the World Cup series, New Zealand (Arms and Manson) found themselves playing second fiddle to a flying Great Britain (Langridge and Lucas). These two nations held a very close battle through the middle of the race with Langridge and Lucas holding just a slight edge. Coming into the final sprint both boats kept their stroke rate high but both looked like they had another gear up their sleeve with perhaps an unspoken gentleman’s agreement meaning neither really pushed it. Great Britain and New Zealand move on to the semifinals.
Similar to heat two, Heat Three had two boats battling it out at the front of the field. Lithuania’s Rolandas Mascinskas and Saulius Ritter had a very slight edge over Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger of Germany. At the World Rowing Cup last month in Lucerne, Lithuania and Germany had finished in almost identical times and it looked like a further month of training had left them reasonably well matched. In the final sprint Germany chose to back off with Lithuania crossing the line in first. These are the two qualifying boats.
Qualifiers: NOR, ITA, GBR, NZL, LTU, GER
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Heats
This boat class had three heats with the top three boats in each heat able to take a direct path to the semifinals on Friday. Heat One featured winners of the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Lithuania’s Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite. Vistartaite and Valciukaite showed their talent by pushing out into the lead right from the start. By the middle of the race the order seemed all but sorted with Denmark’s Mette Petersen and Lisbet Jakobsen getting ahead of Ukraine to make the qualifying order; Lithuania, Denmark and Ukraine. All three boats looked comfortable in the final sprint to stay in this same order with no threat coming from Ireland and Russia.
The great single sculler, Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus may have found her new calling at the age of 41. Karsten has teamed up with Yuliya Bichyk and together they raced in Heat Two. Germany had the lead at the start with Belarus tracking very closely. Coming through the third 500m, Karsten and Bichyk pushed ahead of Germany and then proceeded to do just enough to hold the lead. Germany, meanwhile were under threat from a charging United States. Coming into the final sprint Meghan O’Leary and Ellen Tomek of the United Sates had upped their stroke rate to 39 and closed on Germany. But the order was academic with all three leading boats comfortably in qualifying spots.
At the line Belarus had taken first with the fastest qualifying time, Germany qualified from second and the United States from third.
Great Britain’s Frances Houghton and Victoria Meyer-Laker got out to a very fast start in Heat Three and by the first 500m mark they already had more than a boat length lead over Italy in second. With that Houghton and Meyer-Laker proceeded to move further away from the field. This left Italy and New Zealand to fight it out for second. New Zealand’s Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson won the battle with Italy then taking the pressure down, content to qualify from third. The order of Great Britain, New Zealand and Italy stayed the same through to the line.
Qualifiers: LTU, DEN, UKR, BLR, GER, USA, GBR, NZL, ITA
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Heats
This boat class had 18 nations entered with the top two boats in each of the three heats getting to go directly to the semifinals. All three heats turned out to be battles from start to finish. Here is how they panned out.
In Heat One, Olympic bronze medallists, Denmark edged out ahead of Great Britain at the start to take a very small lead. The Danes have retained three of their Olympic crew and they have been working their way through the season as regular medallists. By the middle of the race, Great Britain continued to pressure Denmark as these two boats managed to get the edge at the head of the field.
Coming through to the final sprint, a more aggressive stroke, and a higher rate by Denmark had enabled them to earn a small margin over Great Britain who appeared move relaxed in their second place position. At the line Denmark’s time of 5:54 had earned them the fastest qualifying time – a time just nine seconds outside of the World Best Time set back in 1999 by Denmark. Denmark and Great Britain had qualified for the semifinals.
Heat Two saw Italy rocket out of the start at such a dominating pace that they had more than a boat length lead with just 500m rowed. Could the Italian’s maintain this, or had they gone out way too fast? The Italians had rowed a very average race at the World Rowing Cup last month in Lucerne where they had finished 12th. Since then they have changed all but one member of the crew – Giogio Tuccinardi has remained in stroke seat.
By the middle of the race, Italy had extended their lead with the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Spain and South Africa fighting hard to be second. Coming into the line Italy still had the lead but both Spain and the Netherlands were rapidly closing. The crowd’s Dutch supporters were going wild. Spain was rating 42 and challenging the Dutch. At the line Italy had just held on to first with the Netherlands being able to hold off Spain to take the second qualifying spot.
Unbeaten this season, New Zealand’s Hunter, Lassche, Taylor and Rapley took off at an impressive 51 stroke rate pace in Heat Three. This was enough to give them a clear boat length lead by the first 500m mark. Poland slotted into second with Australia and Germany chasing hard to get into that vital qualifying spot.
Coming into the final sprint Poland had managed to close on New Zealand who, at 38 strokes per minute, still looked very much in control. Hunched over, Poland were giving it their all to New Zealand’s more relaxed upright style. New Zealand remained in front to qualify from first and Poland qualified from second.
Qualifiers: DEN, GBR, ITA, NED, NZL, POL
Women’s Eight (W8+) – Heats
This event had attracted nine countries and they had been split into two heats with the top two crews in each heat getting to go directly to the final on Sunday.
How do the United States remain so dominating in this event? Today in Heat One, it was simple. On top of rowing well, they just looked stronger through from the catch to the finish. Their competition would find it hard to discover the weak point. Australia got off to a very fast start but were soon swallowed up by the United States who, with every stroke, were moving further and further away from the rest of the field.
This left a race for second to go on between Great Britain and Australia. Australia prevailed and at the line United States, way out in front, had qualified for the final along with Australia. The United States, not surprisingly, had recorded the fastest qualifying time.
In Heat Two a heated battle went on between Canada and Romania. These two crews had finished third and second respectively at last month’s World Rowing Cup in Lucerne and today they showed how closely matched they continued to be. Under the guidance of new coxswain for Canada, Kristen Kit and Romania’s coxswain, Daniela Druncea, these two crews – three lanes apart – powered away at the head of the field.
In the final sprint Canada was at 36 and with sharper strokes of Romania were at 37. Romania got to the line first with Canada just half a second back. These are the two qualifying boats.
Qualifiers: USA, AUS, ROU, CAN
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Heats
The women’s single sculls had attracted 18 countries and they were divided into three heats. To go directly to the semifinals it required these scullers to finish in a top two position.
In Heat One New Zealand’s Emma Twigg took the lead at the start over Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic. Twigg finished fourth at London Olympics while Knapkova is the reigning Olympic Champion. These two scullers completely outclassed the rest of the field and by the second half of the race both Twigg and Knapkova must had made the decision not to pressure each other. Twigg brought her boat into the finish at a 28 stroke rate with Knapkova looking like she was out for a casual Monday row at a 25 stroke rate pace. These are the two qualifying scullers.
At the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne last month, Australia’s Kim Crow won. Leading up to these World Rowing Championships the word was that this could be Crow’s year of becoming a world champion. Crow lined up in Heat Two and it only took a couple of strokes to realise that she was in a class of her own. Moving away to an open water lead, Crow, who is often used as a technique example of a well-connected drive, had no competition.
Way back in second, Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley was easily in second ahead of the Netherlands. Then in the final sprint Thornely took a bad stroke and looked like she had completely run out of steam. Inge Janssen of the Netherland’s rating in the high 30s was able to overtake and grab the second qualifying spot. Crow took first and also recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Silver medallist from World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Eleanor Logan of the United States raced in Heat Three and found herself in a full-on battle with Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. Lobnig, who was sixth at Lucerne, had a slight edge at the start. By the middle of the race Logan and Lobnig remained locked together and this remained the case through into the final sprint. Then Logan, rating 28 strokes per minute, appeared to back off. Lobnig, at 32, crossed the finish line easily in the lead.
Qualifiers: NZL, CZE, AUS, NED, AUT, USA
Men’s Eight (M8+) – Heats
Divided into two heats, the goal here was to finish first or second for a direct path to the final – the last race of this regatta on Sunday.
In Heat One, Olympic and World Champions, Germany got out in front at the start ahead of Poland. The Poles have been working away diligently through this season and recorded some promising results, but at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne they finished back in sixth. Today Poland challenged the German lead with the Netherlands trying very hard to catch up to the two leading crews.
In the final sprint Germany showed their class and they were able to inch away to take first at a 38 stroke rate. Germany and Poland had qualified directly for the final, Germany with the fastest qualifying time.
Heat Two featured the United States who ended the unbeaten (since 2009) run of the German’s at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne. The US, who have changed one member of this crew from Lucerne, came out in third. Today, Great Britain got out to a fast start and into the lead. By the middle of the race the British, who finished fourth at Lucerne, had moved away from an intense battle that was going on between the United States and France.
Coming through to the line, Great Britain remained in front and looked like they had another gear in store if they needed it. The United States and France were really moving. The US, coming through in second, had grabbed the qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: GER, POL, GBR, USA