Finalists decided at rowing’s under-23 championships
The 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships continued with the remainder of the semifinals being raced. In calm, sunny conditions at the Nathan Benderson Park regatta course in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA the true test to make the finals played out with crews trying to be in the top three.
Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Semifinals
The winner of their heat on Thursday and second fastest qualifying time was Italy and they lined up in Semifinal One. The Italian crew of Andrea Cattaneo and Luca Chiumento got out in front at the start and never looked back. They had a 51 stroke rate start over the United States at 56, but the Italians managed to get to the first 500m mark in the lead. From there they rated 37-38 for the majority of the race. But they did not have an easy ride of it. Russia’s Nikita Eskin and Aleksandr Matveev pushed them hard at the start of the race and along with Jaap de Jong and Ralf Rienks of the Netherlands, Italy was kept honest. Part of this was Russia and the Netherlands battling each other with Russia showing greater stamina and managing to stay in second at the end. As the leading three crews had a handy margin at the end none of them really sprinted hard.
The fastest qualifying time of the semifinals went to New Zealand. Oliver MacLean and Jack Lopas had the middle lane of Semifinal Two and they moved out at the start level with Germany’s Anton Finger and Henrik Runge. New Zealand and Germany moved through into the middle of the race tied together with Lopas and MacLean holding just a small advantage. The New Zealanders were maintaining an amazing 40 strokes per minute through this first half of the race and they were still at 40 going into the third 500.
Meanwhile Estonia was trying to shake off Great Britain to secure the third qualifying spot. In the third 500 Estonia’s Mikhail Kushteyn and Johann Poolak pushed away from Great Britain despite both crews being on the same rating. At the head of the field Germany closed on New Zealand in the final sprint, but the Kiwis crossed the line first.
Qualifiers: ITA, RUS, NED, NZL, GER, EST
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Semifinals
Austria jumped out at a 55 stroke rate pace in Semifinal One. But it was Canada that got to the first 500 metre mark Spencer Kielar of Canada and Austria’s Rainer Kepplinger then went neck-and-neck through to the middle of the race. Kielar had gone through a repechage to get to this semifinal while Kepplinger had won his heat on Wednesday and earned a direct path to the semi – one less race and one less time he had to have his weight checked. Germany’s Malte Koch was holding the pace of the two leading boats with China’s Wiechun Chen very much in the leading action. It was now four boats going for three qualifying spots. Kepplinger moved into an impressive sprint. Kielar had run out of steam. The Canadian had missed out on qualifying.
Semfinal Two had Obbe Durk Tibben of the Netherlands and Alexandros Zisimidis of Cyprus take off together at the start and lead the way. Both Tibben and Zisimidis had won their respective heats on Wednesday and they met for the first time today. Zismidis is the sole representative from Cyprus at this regatta and he has been racing internationally since 2014. In 2018 he took the year off but previously had raced at the under-23 Championships. Tibben kept a small lead over Zisimidis with the rest of the field locked together in a fierce battle for third. Samuel Melvin of the United States then broke away from the battle and went after the leading duo. In the final sprint Great Britain joined in. Zisimidis was the highest rating boat at 40-41 strokes per minute. But all boats were sprinting hard. Tibben remained in front with Horsburgh of Great Britain missing out by just 0.14 of a second.
Qualifiers: AUT, CHN, GER, NED, CYP, USA
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Semifinals
Italy is known for their ability to rate high and the crew of Niels Torre and Giuseppe di Mare had the highest stroke rate at the start of Semifinal One. Torre and di Mare had recorded the fastest qualifying time from Thursday’s heats, bit it was Jonathan Schreiber and Eric Magnus Paul of Germany that had the early lead. These two crews kept locked together through the middle of the race, neither willing to concede an inch. This left Greece’s Petros Gkaidatzis and Antonios Papakonstantinou to hold onto the third position. New Zealand was in the closest position to challenge but didn’t seem to have the push to do it. In the final sprint Greece took the pressure off with Germany still pushing hard. The effort paid off for Schreiber and Paul. They won the race and also qualified for the final with the fastest overall time.
In Semifinal Two the defending under-23 champions, Spain got away the quickest. Spain has a new crew for 2019 with Dennis Carracedo and Jordi Orofino in the boat. They were being challenged hard by Matthias Fernandez and Jan Schaeuble of Switzerland. This challenge remained through the majority of the race. Carracedo and Orofino had raced Switzerland in the heats on Thursday. It turned out to be a very fast heat with the Spanish finishing last and having to race the repechage on Friday. They were the only boat in this semi that had come through the repechages. It didn’t seem to bother Carracedo and Orofino who continued to stay tied to the Swiss leaders.
Meanwhile Belgium and Australia were fighting for the third qualifying position. Belgium’s Tibo Vyvey and Marlon Colpaert must have had more steam as they were able to get into third in the third 500m and hold themselves there. All boats sprinted at the end with Switzerland, on 39, finishing first.
Qualifiers: GER, ITA, GRE, SUI, ESP, BEL
Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Semifinals
At the start of Semifinal One, Alexander Vyazovkin of Russia came flying out with Australia, Greece and Germany in hot pursuit. Then Australia looked like he couldn’t hold the pace with Germany’s Marc Weber now pushing though to first followed very, very closely by Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece. Vyazovkin was also right there and these three crews hit the 1000m mark in a virtual line. Weber, who took silver in the single at last year’s under-23 championships, decided enough was enough and he moved away to an open water lead. Ntouskos and Vyazovkin had no answer. Weber took the pressure off in the last 100m of the race allowing Greece and Russia to close on him but not overtake. Weber’s time was still the fastest overall.
In Thursday’s quarterfinals Romania’s Mihai Chiruta had scored the second fastest qualifying time. Chiruta lined up today in Semifinal Two. There was nothing between the crews at the start with only Japan off the pace. Norway’s Jonas Juel had a very small advantage with Chiruta and Austria’s Likas Reim moving with him. Then Juel did a push and got into the lead. Juel had finished 11th in this boat class at last year’s under-23 championships while Chiruta had raced at the European Championships earlier this season and finished eighth. Juel had been underrating Chiruta and still managing to stay in front. The race then turned into a procession with Juel and Reim choosing not to sprint the finish. Chiruta had an open water win.
Qualifiers: GER, GRE, RUS, ROU, NOR, AUT