Germany and Great Britain start their run in under-23 semifinals
The 2012 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Trakai, Lithuania saw two semifinal events being contested.
The lightweight men’s pair and men’s four had both Germany and Great Britain qualify for the final in these two events thus indicating the continuing power of these two rowing nations.
Raced in late afternoon conditions which had rowers face a small headwind with practically calm water, Lake Trakai again turned on favourable weather that was warm and sunny.
Lightweight Men’s Pair (BLM2-) – Semifinals
In Semifinal One five boats left the start virtually together with only Ireland dropping off the pace. Italy got their nose in front by keeping their stroke rate high. They crossed the 400m mark and were still rating 41. Francesco Schisano and Vincenzo Serpico of Italy continued to rate high, ‘settling’ at 38 with Germany in second at a more calm 35 stroke rate. This strategy to go out hard looked to be working for Italy as they got out to a five second lead going through the middle of the race. Hong Kong China, who got the bronze last year, were in third.
Schisano and Serpico continued to lead, but coming into the finish Hong Kong China’s Chiu Mang Tang and Ki Cheong Kwan charged to a 42 stroke rate pace. Germany held on by the skin of their teeth to remain in second. Italy, Germany and Hong Kong China qualify for the final.
Semifinal Two looked to be much closer across the entire six crews and with 500m rowed less than two seconds separated the boats. France’s Augustin Mouterde and Edouard Jonville had the edge, but only just. The margins remained close through the middle of the race with France being followed closely by Great Britain’s Matthew Bedford and Wilf Kimberley and Belarus in third. Bedford and Kimberley qualified with the fastest time two days ago in the heats and it looked like they were sitting waiting to attack. But Mouterde and Jonville, rating a pip higher, still had the lead as the final sprint came into view.
Then with about 350m left to row it looked like Bedford and Kimberley had the lead. Did France have a reply? Both boats charged to the line. Mouterde and Jonville had got there first. Great Britain took second and Jan Hajek and Matous Lorenc of the Czech Republic came through to qualify from third. The winning times in the two heats turned out to be practically identical between Italy and France.
Finalists: ITA, GER, HKG, FRA, GBR, CZE
Men’s Four (BM4-) – Semifinals
The United States and Germany went head-to-head in Semifinal One, with less than a second separating them as they crossed the half-way point. Germany had a slight advantage with their much more experienced crew. Germany are the Under-23 Champions in this event and coming into the second half of the race they were proving to have the better stamina. Meanwhile the United States were coming under attack from Australia. In the final sprint Australia and Canada really pushed it hard. Canada were at 40 with Australia on 38. The Americans tried to hold on. Germany – Kuhnert, Schroeter, Bock and Bechler – remained in front and take the first qualifying spot. Australia, who came through from the heats with the fastest qualifying time, got ahead of the United States to qualify from second with the United States holding on to third.
Great Britain were third in this event in 2011 and they have retained three of their crew of Holmes, Rossiter, Evans and Lapage. Today they took off in the lead of Semifinal Two. But the lead didn’t last long as New Zealand came through to push the Brits into second. Spain followed very closely in third. Going through the middle of the race four boats were very close with the Czech Republic now very much in the mix. New Zealand’s Howard, Sele, Morrison and Kirkham still had a slight lead coming into the last 500m. Then the Czech Republic charged at a 39 stroke rate. Great Britain went to 41 with Spain on 42. Who would get to the line first? Great Britain had done it by just 17/100th of a second over New Zealand in second and Spain managed to hold off the Czech Republic to qualify from third.
Finalists: GER, AUS, USA, GBR, NZL, ESP