Exceptional day for Great Britain at Munich World Cup
The domination of Great Britain at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Munich, Germany sent out a signal to the rowing world – they are going to be a huge force at next year’s Olympic Games in London. Under similar weather conditions to Saturday’s racing - calm waters with a small tail wind – Great Britain was a regular sight on the medals podium.
Not including the Blue Riband events, Great Britain picked up medals five gold medals out of the 10 Olympic events. But the British were also victims of a big upset. World and Olympic Champions in the lightweight men’s double sculls, Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter were unable to medal in a very tight and competitive race.
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Final
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain came into this event as top seeds. In the absence of World Champions, New Zealand, Glover and Stanning are the next best having won silver last year. The duo knew that their main competition would come from two very competent American boats, but at the start it was Chantel Achterberg and Nienke Kingma of the Netherlands that were putting the greatest pressure on Glover and Stanning.
As the race progressed, Susan Francia and Meghan Musnicki of the United States started to work their way back from a slow start and through the third 500 Francia and Musnicki had found second. The Americans, however, had left it a bit late to catch the British. Glover and Stanning looked comfortable coming into the finish at a 33 stroke rate pace, while Francia and Musnicki and the Dutch got their ratings over 40 strokes per minute. Glover and Stanning win and take the World Cup leaders bib. The United States come through in second and Achterberg and Kingma take third. Achterberg and Kingma then had to head back to the boat park to prepare for the women’s eight race.
Results: GBR, USA1, NED2, USA2, ROU2, NED1
Helen Glover (GBR)– Gold
“We wanted to be assertive and rude: we were really ready to race.”
“We were both in the world class starters project and really happy to win here. Helen has only been rowing for three years, I’ve been rowing for almost six years now.”
Meghan Musnicki (USA1)– Silver
“This result is enough to be qualified. So now we are going back to the States to try to get faster every day. I really love to race with Zsuzsanna. It is going pretty well. We push each other.”
Last year Kerstin Hartmann and Marlene Sinnig of Germany competed in the A-final of the World Rowing Championships. It looks as if they are starting off this season a tad slower. Hartmann and Sinning, however, made the most of their race and led comfortably from start to finish. Their seventh place overall finish earns them one World Rowing Cup point for their country.
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Final
Last year two boats dominated this event; New Zealand and Great Britain. These two countries held such a dominating private battle that no other country could get close to them. Today, in the absence of New Zealand, Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge of Great Britain were the favourites. Reed and Hodge won the time trial two days ago and looked strong in yesterday’s semi-final.
At the start, however, it was Germany and then Greek twins, Nikolaos and Apostolos Gkountoulas who were showing the way. There was very little in it and going through the 700m mark Reed and Hodge had pushed into the lead. Only Greece and Italy (Lorenzo Carboncini and Niccolo Mornati) were able to hold on to the British pace with Reed and Hodge looking very powerful.
Coming into the finish Reed and Hodge had a solid 38 stroke rate with Italy and Greece trying to hold on. The usual strong sprint from Greece did not come as the twins looked like they’d run out of steam. Carboncini and Mornati were also tiring while Hungary pulled out a massive closing sprint. The Hungarians nearly caught Greece – but not quite. Great Britain win, Italy take second and Greece are third.
Results: GBR, ITA, GRE, HUN, GER, NED1
Pete Reed (GBR)– Gold
“It’s good to win but we would have raced and prepared differently if New Zealand had been here.”
Niccolo Mornati (ITA)– Silver
“It was pretty tough to catch up with the British. But in the middle of the race we had a really good rhythm. This race was a good point to start.”
Nikolaos Gkountoulas (GRE) – Bronze
" It was difficult because of the though preparation so we are very happy.”
Serbia’s most successful active rower, Nikola Stojic has a new partner this year. Stojic has teamed up with Marko Marjanovic and rowed a very consistent race. But it was not enough to earn them the lead. Instead it was Poland’s Maciej Mattik and Zbigniew Schodowski who got through to the front of the field to take the top spot.
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Final
Ever since Great Britain’s most successful woman rower, Katherine Grainger came into the double she has owned it. Last season Grainger was unbeaten and today, despite rowing with the British sculling ‘spare’, Grainger continued her winning streak. With Melanie Wilson filling in for an injured Anna Watkins, the British boat shot out of the start and proceeded to move away from the field. By the middle of the race Wilson and Grainger had more than a boat length over the United States in second (Sarah Trowbridge and Kathleen Bertko).
Wilson and Grainger continued to pull away and got themselves into such a healthy position that they looked relaxed and comfortable in the final sprint. Rating a solid 33 strokes per minute, Wilson and Grainger still maintained a controlled recovery phase making the pace look easy. Trowbridge and Bertko, rating 40, looked decidedly frantic. But it held their second spot easily over Yuliya Bichyk and Tatsiana Kukhta of Belarus.
Results: GBR, USA, BLR1, ROU, IRL, AUT
Katherine Grainger (GBR)– Gold
“It was enjoyable because we felt no pressure. But we knew we could be fast. We have simply been working on the important things not the tiny little adjustments you make when you have been together longer.”
Kathleen Bertko (USA)– Silver
“We were happy with this race because we are qualified for the team. But we now know where we need to improve as we raced some of the best crews here.”
Yuliya Bichyk (BLR1) – Bronze
"Changing from sweeping to sculling makes no difference to me. It is all rowing. But the race today was tough because we have a new boat which we raced in Munich for the first time.”
Leading from start to finish was Gabriele Albertaviciute and Lina Saltyte of Lithuania. These two scullers have worked their way through the junior and under-23 ranks and are now starting to make a mark at the senior level. But the rest of the fleet did not make it easy for Albertaviciute and Saltyte. Coming into the final sprint Finland, Belarus2 and Denmark all sprinted. Lithuania managed to hold them off the finish seventh overall at this regatta.
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Final
This regatta looked to be turning into a British whitewash until Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger of Germany's first boat decided to change this situation in the men’s double. Knittel and Krueger were World Champions in 2009 but injury to Knittel set the duo back last season. Today Knittel and Krueger left the starters blocks just behind last year’s silver medallists, Matthew Wells and Marcus Bateman.
A big push in the second 500 brought Knittel and Krueger into the lead with Wells and Bateman holding on tightly. Meanwhile Germany's second boat and Estonia's first boat held their own battle for the bronze medal.
As the six boats came into view, the roar in the grandstand could be heard, helping the German crew home. Wells and Bateman fought back strongly, rating 41 to Germany’s 38. At the line no one could pick it. Krueger lay down in his boat exhausted. The winning announcement brought a very happy crowd to their feet. Knittel and Krueger earn the gold medal and the World Cup leader’s bib. Germany's second boat (Rocher and Gruhne) got the better of Estonia – but only just – to earn bronze.
Results: GER1, GBR1, GER2, EST1, USA, LTU2
Eric Knittel (GER1)– Gold
"We are very happy that we beat the British, after being injured last year. It is a really nice feeling to be 100% again. Not having to fear any more that I lose my power during the race”
Marcus Bateman (GBR)– Silver
“We had a good start to compensate for the semi, but after that it was like a German sandwich with us in the middle.”
Slovenia’s most successful rower, Iztok Cop is back on the international scene after taking some time off from top racing last year. Cop, comes to Munich on the back of a singles win in the Philadelphia Challenge Cup, but at this regatta Cop raced in the double with Gasper Fistravec. Together they challenged Italy's second boat down the 2000m course, but couldn’t quite hold the same pace as Leopoldo Sansone and Federico Ustolin of Italy. Sansone and Ustolin finish first.
Men’s Four (M4-) – Final
Great Britain’s four is back on form. After a disappointing race at last year’s World Rowing Championships (finishing fourth), the four has changed one person and look to have come back stronger. Matthew Langridge, Richard Egington and Alex Gregory have been joined by 2008 Olympic Champion, Tom James. Today Germany took off strongly, but it wasn’t long until Great Britain had pushed into the lead with Germany now under pressure from Greece.
The Greeks finished second last year but their line up this year is new as the Gkountoulas brothers are now in the pair. Coming into the third 500 Greece managed to get the better of Germany and move into second. Germany fought back but the Greeks had Great Britain on their mind and moved away from Germany.
In the final sprint Great Britain kept the pressure on rating 38, while Greece got into the low 40s. Great Britain held Greece off to add another gold to Great Britain’s already phenomenal result at this regatta.
Results: GBR, GRE, GER, BLR, FRA, ITA
Alex Gregory (GBR)– Gold
“We have a new crew with a new dynamic, that is refreshing. This race is a great start, but we're certainly not the finished article yet."
Loannis Christou (GRE)– Silver
“We have a new crew just like the Brits. It was not our best race today and although we came really close, we lost. But the season will be very interesting”
Maximilian Reinelt (GER) – Bronze
"After rowing in the eight it is a totally new experience for me to now row in the 4. I've never rowed in the 4 on an international level, but i have to say i really enjoy it. The crew is great, we all get along very well. But of course i still have an eye on the eight. Everything is still open.”
A killer sprint in the last 200m with their stroke rate in the 40s earned Serbia the first place position. Vasic, Djeric, Vukovic and Jagar came through from a full-on mid-race fight to knock China off the top spot. This race attracted a lot of support at the 1972 Olympic course in Munich on a relatively quiet morning.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Final
In this day of British domination, the lightweight women took it one step further with Great Britain securing both the gold and silver medal. This is how they did it: Great Britain's first boat, Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking finished fifth last year and are the highest seeded duo in this event. Goodsell and Hosking confidently took the lead coming out of the start but were followed very closely by their fellow team mates, Kathryn Twyman and Andrea Dennis of Great Britain's second boat and the new United States combination of Julie Nichols and Kristin Hedstrom.
Nichols raced at the World Rowing Championships in the lightweight single last year but decided to try for the Olympic event, the double, this year. It looks to be a fine choice as Nichols and Hedstrom kept their boat up with the leaders even managing to sneak into first through the middle of the race. Goodsell and Hosking fought back. So did Twyman and Dennis. In the sprint to the finish, Goodsell and Hosking showed their experience and their higher stroke rate. Goodsell and Hosking earned gold and the World Cup leader’s bib.
Results: GBR1, GBR2, USA, NED, DEN, GRE
Hester Goodsell (GBR1)– Gold
“We knew our second team was fast. It is good for them to get silver here. But in Lucerne we will meet our big opponents. We don´t know yet where we are.”
Kathryn Twyman (GBR2)– Silver
“We are so new, we're making massive leaps. It is really fantastic that the two GB teams are so dominant here. I am really proud as this is my first World Cup.”
Julie Nichols (USA) – Bronze
"Kristin and I have only been rowing together for one month. So this is a good start for us and it means that we have now qualified for the Championships. We are looking forward to more racing.”
Sweden got off to a solid start, but in true lightweight racing form, there was very little in it and coming through the middle of the race France’s Coralie Simon and Elise Maurin had gained the lead. Simon and Maurin held tightly onto this lead until the end, despite a strong finish by Belgium. The Belgian’s are coached by Olympic Champion, Marit van Eupen (NED) and have their sights set on Olympic qualification. Simon and Maurin crossed the line first earning their country one World Rowing Cup point and finishing seventh overall at this regatta.
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Final
This event started off with the biggest number of entries for the regatta (36) and finished with the biggest upset of the regatta. Today Purchase and Hunter misjudged their race and misjudged their competition. The Great Britain double got off to a good start in a bunch with Denmark, France and Germany. Coming through the middle of the race Jeremie Azou and Frederic Dufour had earned a slight lead over Linus Lichtschlag and Lars Hartig of Germany with Great Britain slipping back to third.
France and Germany then grabbed hold of the race and moved into the final sprint together in the lead. The crowd loved it. The talented young duo of Lichtschlag and Hartig are reigning World Champions in the lightweight quad and they also raced at last year’s World Rowing Championships in the double, finishing seventh. Today they pulled out a beautiful sprint to get ahead of Azou and Dufour and secure the gold. Azou and Dufour held on to second with the return of 2008 Olympic medallists, Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark getting the better of Great Britain to earn bronze.
Great Britain, who gave it their all at the end, rating 42, end up in the unusual position of fourth and stopped rowing just before the finish.
Results: GER, FRA, DEN1, GBR, ITA1, USA
Linus Lichtschlag (GER)– Gold
“This victory is unbelievable. We still can´t believe that we won. It was our first race this year, so we are looking forward to the next races.”
Jeremie Azou (FRA)– Silver
“We did a big push at the 1000 meter mark but the German sprint at the end was too strong.”
Rasmus Quist (DEN1) – Bronze
"This was our first regatta together again. Our goal was making the final but in the final we wanted to win. We are not stable yet in our performance but the old guys are back on track.”
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Final
It was too tempting for uber-lightweight Eskild Ebbesen of Denmark. Ebbesen won his third Olympic Champion title at the Beijing Olympic before retiring. But the aim of becoming Denmark’s most successful Olympian ever was too tempting. Ebbesen worked his way back into the four after seriously starting training late last year. Today, stroking the Danish boat, Ebbesen took his crew through to first in an extremely tight race that saw three crews within 2/100 of a second of each other at the finish.
Great Britain are the reigning World Champions but have not been so successful in earlier rounds of this regatta. They rowed a much better race today sticking with Denmark and France through the entire race. It all came down to the final sprint for these three crews with Denmark rating 43 – 44, France on 40 and Great Britain also on 40.
On the medals dais Great Britain looked decidedly dejected, while Denmark and France were all smiles. As the season progresses, this event is only going to get tougher.
Results: DEN, FRA, GBR1, SUI, NED, ITA
Eskild Ebbesen (DEN1) – Gold
“It was a really tight race, but is so great to race. I will celebrate both my birthday and our medal on Monday!”
Nicolas Moutton(FRA)– Silver
“We had a good race. Compared to last season we are all sitting in different seats and it works well. The start was good and we made some good attacks on the other boats.”
Two Chinese crews charged for the line matching each other’s 41 stroke rate pace, but China1 had done more earlier on in the race and was able to hold the lead until the end. Germany, meanwhile managed to get in-between the Chinese and finish second.
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Final
Ukraine look to be putting all of their energy into this boat. They finished with silver behind Great Britain last year and were not happy with that result. Today Ukraine did nothing wrong. Jumping out to an early lead, Ukraine, who have retained their 2010 line up of Tarasenko, Buryak, Kozhenkova and Dementieva, held off Germany - in second - by holding a very steady speed through the middle of the race.
The steady speed enabled Ukraine to move away, albeit slightly, from Germany. Meanwhile, World Champions Great Britain found themselves back in third and without the drive to get them into the better medals. Ukraine crossed the finish line rating a comfortable 34 while Great Britain gave it their best at 38 and Germany rated 37. Ukraine are back.
Results: UKR1, GER1, GBR, POL, ITA, SUI
Kateryna Tarasenko (UKR1)– Gold
“We had little time to train on the water, so we are happy that we won. But this year is about winning the World Rowing Championships and the European Rowing Championships.”
Carina Baer (GER1)– Silver
“I have a cold so at the end I had some breathing problems. But on the whole it went pretty well for us. We’ve only been rowing together since Monday and it we don’t know yet if we will stay together in this team.”
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Final
Has the dominating reign of Poland ended? In 2005 the Polish quad won the World Rowing Championships and started a winning streak that went through the 2008 Olympics and into 2009. Last year Poland chose not to compete at the World Rowing Championships and Croatia became the World Champions. At this regatta Poland had to come through the repechage to make it to the final. Today the Poles started off well but then seemed to run out of steam in the second half of the race.
Meanwhile, Germany was having a great race. By the half way point Germany (Grohmann, Wende, Schulze and Schoof) had earned the lead with Croatia challenging hard. Bringing the crowd to their feet, Germany charged for the line at a solid 35 stroke rate. Croatia took their rating to 39 and tried to close the gap. Great Britain came flying down the side but looked a bit short at their 42 stroke rate. Ukraine came sneaking through. At the line Germany had won, Croatia taken second and on the last few strokes Ukraine had won out over Great Britain.
The World Champions, Croatia and Olympic Champions, Poland, have had their world shaken up.
Results: GER, CRO, UKR1, GBR, POL, FRA
Tim Grohmann (GER)– Gold
“The race went the way we expected it to. We knew that Croatia is always very strong. Last year we were beaten by them. But this time we managed to defend their finish sprint.”
Martin Sinkovic (CRO)– Silver
“We didn’t have such a good race and we really broke at the last 250 meters. That cost us.”
Ivan Dovgodko (UKR1) – Bronze
"It was not such a good race. We didn’t know the result of the women’s quad when we started. But at least we are on the podium.”
When you see names like Simone Raineri and Simone Venier (ITA) in a B-final you know that competition is strong. Despite the talent of these two scullers, Italy could not hold off the young and fast sprinting Slovenian crew. With cow bells ringing in support of Switzerland, Slovenia’s Pirih, Zupan, Spik and Rojec brought their boat home at the head of the field to finish first. Italy managed second.