Grainger and Watkins cement their position on the Rotsee
The British women’s double sculls of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins sent out a strong message today in the finals at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. Grainger and Watkins showed that can change gear quickly when they were challenged for the lead by Australia in the double.
The New Zealand men’s pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray also signalled that they would be hard to beat after winning their race by a full six seconds at this final stage of the World Cup for 2011. The highly anticipated showdown between Bond and Murray and Great Britain’s Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge never eventuated after the British failed to fire at the start and spent the race playing catch up.
A very slight breeze with clouds coming and going from the mainly sunny day had rowers enjoying flat water conditions. The ever-distinctive ringing of bells from the necks of cows that wander on the far side of the Rotsee rowing course added to the unique atmosphere of this favourite rowing venue with crowds swelling on this finals day.
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Final
“What a cracking start to the A-final programme”. Commentator Paul Castle had said it all.
World Champions, New Zealand’s Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown met world silver medallists Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain for the first time this season today on the Rotsee. Glover and Stanning chose the approach of dominating from the first stroke and they took off in the lead, despite underrating Haigh and Scown. Glover and Stanning won the first World Cup but missed the second World Cup where Haigh and Scown won.
Glover and Stanning still had the lead as they went past the Rotsee boatpark and past the middle point of the race. The high rating Haigh and Scown then began to pick their way up towards the British. With 500m to go Haigh and Scown really started to close the gap between them and the British. Haigh and Scown were now at a 39 stoke rate to what looked like a tiring Glover and Stanning. But the British had just enough in the tank. In a beautifully timed race they held the New Zealanders off in the final strokes. United States’ Caroline Lind and Taylor Ritzel came through in third.
Results: GBR, NZL, USA1, USA2, ROM, RSA
Helen Glover (GBR) – Gold
“We were confident and knew we had speed. We were able to look at the field and keep the race under control.”
Heather Stanning (GBR) – Gold
“We have quiet confidence and that allowed us to relax during the race. We have a very good relationship in the boat.
Juliette Haigh (NZL) – Silver
“Of course we have things to improve on, but we have fun rowing together. It makes things particularly exciting to see that the field is closing. That is motivating and fun for us.”
Rebecca Scown (NZL) – Silver
“Such close racing is really fun for us. It is really cool to get out and race here.
Caroline Lind and Taylor Ritzel (USA) – Bronze
"We are very happy. We had a powerful run. We started as a pair a couple of weeks ago . Our plans are to train hard and hope to go to the worlds in Bled.”
Sarah Tait and Phoebe Stanley of Australia's first entry lined up as the favourites on paper. The duo were fourth at last year’s World Rowing Championships and rank as Australia’s top pair. This is Tait and Stanley’s first international race for the 2011 season and they have their goals firmly set on qualifying for the 2012 Olympics later this year. Today they led the B-final comfortably, maintaining a solid mid-30s stroke rate and not really having to sprint the finish.
Results: AUS1, CAN1, AUS2, CHN, ITA, CAN2
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Final
New Zealand looked supreme. Whether the commentary was in English or German at the Lucerne regatta course, it was easy to tell who was impressing the rowing crowd. At the finish line New Zealand’s Hamish Bond and Eric Murray had finished with a massive six second margin.
The long-awaited showdown between Bond and Murray and Great Britain’s Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge ended up being rather disappointing as Great Britain started off slow and ended up having to claw their way back to the head of the field. But Reed and Triggs Hodge showed that they have guts and determination as, despite their starting deficit, they managed to work their way back into second by catching up on Canada’s David Calder and Scott Frandsen in the last 200m. Meanwhile Bond and Murray continued on their unbeaten run in the pair and will give British coach Juergen Grobler food for thought going into this year’s Olympic qualification regatta.
Results: NZL, GBR, CAN, GRE, ITA, HUN
Eric Murray (NZL) – Gold
“It has been a while since we raced them and we therefore wanted to go pull away quickly. The Canadians are back, it’s their first race since Beijing and we hoped they didn’t have the stamina to come back on us. I’m waiting for a phone call from my wife in New Zealand as our baby – a little boy – can come any day now; as soon as I have the phone call, I fly back for a week.”
Peter Reed (GBR) – Silver
“It’s very high standard racing. We have to try going ahead of the kiwis, there are only human as well and they also feel pain so we hope we can overtake them.”
Scott Fradsen(CAN) – Bronze
“This is the first race since Beijing, whereafter we retired: We wanted to win of course, but are also happy with the bronze medal: The New Zealanders were stronger than we expected. Dave started training one year ago and I restarted only 6 months ago and we are really very happy to be back in racing.”
This event started off as one of the biggest of the regatta with crews having to row for the first time in quarterfinals due to the size of the entries. Today’s b-final reflected the size and quality of the crews as Hamburg medallists, both Germany's first boat (Munski and Drahotta) and South Africa (Di Clemente and Brittain) raced in this B-final. Dominating the race, however, was Great Britain’s under-23 crew of George Nash and Costantine Louloudis footing it very admirably at the senior level. Munski and Drahotta finished second in a race that had a large crowd of vocal Dutch supporters cheering on Nanne Sluis and Rogier Blink.
Results: GBR2, GER1, GER2, NED1, FRA, RSA
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Final
Is it possible that Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain are unbeatable? The duo has not lost a race since they came together in 2010 and despite Watkins taking time out of the boat earlier in the season to recover from a back problem, together they have appeared to win easily.
Today Grainger and Watkins faced last year’s silver medallists, Australia’s Kerry Hore and Kim Crow for the first time since the 2010 World Rowing Championships. Grainger, who has recently received an honorary doctorate from her Scottish university, took her boat through to the lead at the start and moved away to a handy margin with Australia and Poland in hot pursuit. Going through the middle of the race Grainger and Watkins took their stroke rate right down and did just enough to hold off the field. But Hore and Crow saw this as a great opportunity and attacked with a 43 stroke rate closing on the British. Great Britain had been shocked into action and had to change gears completely. Grainger and Watkins also took their stroke rate into the low 40s and held off the Australians.
For the first time in recent races Grainger and Watkins had to work right through to the end to hold off the feisty Australians. The British hold on to their winning streak. Hore and Crow take second and Anastasiia Kozhenkova and Yana Dementieva of Ukraine proved that their change from the quad to the double was a good choice. Ukraine takes third.
Results: GBR, AUS, UKR, POL, CZE, NZL
Katherine Grainger (GBR) – Gold
“We are very pleased with the result. We knew the standard would be high and we would be put to the test. The racing was brilliant and very tactical. The Australian boat was incredibly strong. ”
Anna Watkins (GBR) – Gold
“We decided it was ok to hold speed against the other crews and we stuck to a steady, strong race plan. It was a close, hard race. ”
Kerry Hore (AUS) – Silver
“We have not been together long and we are always improving. It is great to have confidence in each other and our coach.”
Kim Crow (AUS) – Silver
“We are lucky to race in a competition where the bar is set so high. Of course we come to win and it is disappointing not to, but it is great to have such good competition.
Yana Dementieva (UKR1) – Bronze
“”This was a very important race for us and We are very happy to win bronze. We like Luzern and the flat water on the Rotsee."
Laura Schiavone and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy are in their seventh year of racing together and in that time they have competed at the Olympic Games as well as picked up three World Cup medals. Today they took off at the head of this b-final. But Schiavone and Sancassani did not have the juice to hold them to the finish. An impressive sprint by Tatsiana Kukhta and Yuliya Bichyk of Belarus gave them the lead at the finish and a seventh place overall.
Results: BLR, USA, ITA1, ROU, IRL, CHN1
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Final
After a false start that brought all six crews back into the starting blocks, Canada’s Douglas Vandor and Cameron Sylvester took off like a crew possessed at an impressive 41 stroke rate. Could they maintain this over Hamburg World Cup winners and last year’s bronze medallists, New Zealand?
Storm Uru and Peter Taylor of New Zealand seemed unperturbed by Canada’s opening pace and stayed within their boat, following coach Calvin Fergusson’s race as planned, and slowly moved on the Canadians. Going through the 1200m mark Uru and Taylor had got their boat nose ahead of Canada’s. Vandor and Sylverster were looking decidedly frazzled next to a much smoother, flowing style of the New Zealanders. Now in the lead, Uru and Taylor made rowing look easy in a display of textbook technique.
Italy’s Lorenzo Bertini and Elia Luini then took advantage of the slowing Canadians and moved into a medal position. Canada, giving it their all, tried to hold on. In the last 250m Denmark’s Olympic medallists Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist really moved. In the last 100m Rasmussen and Quist got their bow ahead of Canada to gain a medal position. Canada had missed out on the medals podium.
Results: NZL, ITA, DEN, CAN, GER, FRA
Portugal’s Pedro Fraga and Nuno Mendes have been making the a-final regularly lately, but the stiff competition here in Lucerne meant that they found themselves racing in the b-final. Fraga and Mendes had not been showing their usual fast finishing sprint through racing at this regatta, but today they pulled it out and had their stroke rate at 37 coming into the finish. Fraga and Mendes thus finished just ahead of Olympic Champion, Mark Hunter with his substitute partner (filling in for an ill Zac Purchase), Adam Freeman-Pask of Great Britain. Finishing first, Portugal earns one World Cup point for their nation.
Results: POR, GBR, NOR, BUL, SUI, BEL
Storm Uru (NZL) – Gold
“We have been training in France. After Hamburg we knew that Lucerne would be very hard and so it was. We have rowed together for years now and are very happy with the results.”
Lorenzo Bertini(ITA) – Silver
“I’ve been coming to Lucerne since 1995 and it’s always a great race. I like the city. We will build up our training and next week we start training in the mountains. The next race will be Livinio, a local race in Italy.”
Mads Rasmussen (Country code) – Bronze
“It was not our best race; we had problems with the rhythm and could find the right race pace. The only good parts were the start and the finish. After the start I quickly realized it was not good and I tried to keep my head cool.”
Men’s Four (M4-) – Final
Great Britain did everything right in this final. Matthew Langridge, Richard Egington, Tom James and Alex Gregory have often been overshadowed by the high profile men’s pair in the British media. But this crew has been plugging away with impressive results in this very competitive event. The crew (minus James) were the 2009 World Champions and then took a disappointing fourth in 2010. They came back (with James) this season and won the first World Cup in Munich.
Today the British led from start to finish, including more than a boat length lead through the middle of the race. This left the rest of the field to fight it out for the lesser medals. And fight they did. The United States and Greece were practically on top of each other through the body of the race with Germany trying their best to work back into a medal position.
Coming into the line Greece went for the big sprint and got the better of the US. Germany nearly managed to catch up on the medal position but will have to settle for fourth. Serbia and New Zealand ended in a photo finish. At the head of the field, Great Britain earned a deserved gold medal.
Results: GBR, GRE, USA1, GER1, SRB, NZL
Tom James (GBR) – Gold
”I am pleased with the first place. It was a nice run. It gets closer and harder now with every race. We are really looking forward to the 2012 Olympics."
In the illustrious career of Drew Ginn, it would not be very often that he has raced in a B-final. Three-time Olympic Champion, Ginn has returned to rowing after a post-2008 Olympic break and decided the four was the boat he wanted to be in at the 2012 Olympics. The crew was meant to include Ginn’s Olympic pair partner Duncan Free, but a bike accident destroyed Free’s 2011 season. Free hopes to be back rowing for 2012. The Australian crew led from start to finish beating out 2010 World Champions, France at the line.
Results: AUS, FRA, USA2, NED, ITA, ESP
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Final
World Champions Lindsay Jennerich and Tracy Cameron of Canada came to Europe late last month and raced in Amsterdam’s Holland Beker Regatta. They met winners of the first World Cup, Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking of Great Britain and were beaten both days by the Brits. Today on the Rotsee, Jennerich and Cameron got their revenge.
After a fast start by Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols of the United States, Jennerich and Cameron pushed through into the lead by a small margin over the Americans and the gaining British. Jennerich, 28, and Cameron, 36, have been rowing together since last year and bring into the boat a range of experiences. Jennerich has been on the national team since her junior days 10 years ago while Cameron came to rowing relatively late as a 25 year old. Together they have clicked and with 1500m rowed Cameron and Jennerich had a small margin. The duo continued to work hard to the line finishing in a very healthy time of 7:01.
Great Britain had to settle for second and winners of the Hamburg World Cup, the United States hung on to third.
Results: CAN, GBR, USA1, GRE, AUS, ITA2
Lindsay Jennerich (CAN) – Gold
“Our medal is a kind of unexpected; although the times in the heats and the semi told us we could go for a win we had to stick to our race plan. It was a nice surprise to be in the lead and we tried to keep us away of attacks from the other crews.”
Tracy Cameron (CAN) – Gold
“It is fabulous. We went into a sustainable rhythm early on and even we went into that “easy speed”. We just kept pushing.”
Hester Goodsell (GBR) – Silver
“We went in knowing it would be a good race with Canada. We beat them in the Holland Beker, two weeks ago and they beat us yesterday.”
Sophie Hosking (GBR) – Silver
“The Final in Lucerne is always a big race and there is a big field. We enjoy racing at the Rotsee and look forward to the World Championships in Bled in 6 weeks from now.”
Julie NIchols (USA) – Bronze
“We would have liked to place higher, but it was a good race and we feel like we are in a good position for the Worlds. We have a good base rowing together and we have time now to go home and do some fine tuning.”
Kristin Hedstrom (USA) – Bronze
“We have a strong standing going into the Championships this year and we have time to improve. The last 500 metres here really hurt and we knew it was close. We just had to GO!"
The Netherlands led the way with New Zealand and USA's second entry in hot pursuit. The Dutch kept their nerve through the body of the race but seemed to run out of puff in the final sprint. New Zealand’s Lucy Strack and Louise Ayling, rating 39, crossed the line first to win one World Cup point for their country. Germany's boat, who won silver in Hamburg, did not start as Anja Noske withdrew for medical reasons.
Results: NZL, NED, USA2, ITA1, FRA
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Final
This race began in all innocence and ended as one of the biggest upsets of this regatta. The World Champion Croatians came together in 2009 and only once since then have they not made the medals podium. Today it became twice.
At the start of the race Germany’s Schulze, Wende, Schoof and Grohmann pushed into the lead and by half way they had built up a full boat length lead with Great Britain, Croatia and New Zealand moving through the middle together. Then Germany really showed their boat speed and as the final 500m came into view the Germans nearly had open water. This is when Australia decided to move. Croatia looked like they did not have another gear for the final sprint and remained in fourth. Australia, meanwhile had overtaken Croatia and was going after New Zealand. Germany remained comfortable.
Coming into the finish the crowd was going wild. Switzerland’s crew was moving up. The Swiss, stroked by Andre Vonarburg, had made local newspaper headlines yesterday with the title, ‘from no class to world class’, and, buoyed by the crowd, Switzerland was doing a world class finish. At the line Germany was jubilant, Great Britain was happy and Australia was contented. Switzerland, in fourth, saluted a cheering crowd.
Results: GER, AUS, GBR, SUI, CRO, NZL
Philipp Wende (GER) – Gold
“It was surprising that we had such a clear win. Yesterday we trained a lot for today and that worked out well. We won a ticket for the World Championships today. We won in Munich but it was much closer to Croatia."
Sam Townsend (GBR) – Silver
“It was an enjoyable race but we are tired now. We changed our crew last year – Tom Solesbury came in – and we are training hard.”
James McRae (AUS) – Bronze
“We are happy to be on the podium. It is our first World cup of the season after our training in Australia. We knew we would be good after Henley last week but the result is nevertheless surprising, especially to beat the Croatians. We’ll stay in Europe now and go for a training camp in Varese. We'll spend a long time in Europe now, it’s tough but it’s the best way to prepare for the World Championships.”
Russia may have finished third at the Hamburg World Cup, but today, in the b-final, seventh would be the highest result that they could take. And seventh it was. With 2004 Olympic Champion, Sergey Fedorovtsev in the boat, Russia held a reasonable lead throughout the race leaving Slovenia and Ukraine to go head-to-head for the eighth place spot. Slovenia got there first, but only by a fraction of a second.
Results: RUS, SLO, UKR, FRA, EST, ITA
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Final
There is no doubt, if you love close, heart-pounding racing, this event is the one to go for. Denmark has managed to just sneak through to first at both World Cups this season. Would they do it again today?
Coming out of the start there was absolutely nothing in it and with about 40 strokes rowed the gap between all six crews was little more than a second. South Africa had a slight lead. As the boat park came into view and crews raced through the middle 1000m of the race the margin between all six boats remained just as tight. South Africa still had a small margin. Nothing much had changed in the next part of the race but as the final 500m of this event came into view, the British World Champion crew took their pace up a gear and gave the race their all.
No one could match the flying British, not even the high rating Danes. At the line Great Britain had won by half a boat length with the next three boats finishing practically on top of each other. The finish line judges called Italy as second and Denmark as third.
Results: GBR, ITA, DEN, AUS, SUI, RSA
Rob Williams (GBR) – Gold
“We got out quick and stayed on it. We were able to get enough of a margin to stop the sprint.”
Richard Chambers (GBR) – Gold
“We were really strong in the middle and were able to hold everyone back.”
Paul Mattick (GBR) – Gold
“Peter (just recently in the boat) is our hero!”
Peter Chambers (GBR) – Gold
Martino Goretti (ITA) – Silver
“”We are very happy. In Munchen we got on the place. We chanced one person for 10 days. He only row sculls till then. I row in Luzern already as a junior. I like Luzern for the conditions are prefect and we can concentrate on the rowing.
Esklid Ebbesen (DEN) – Bronze
“We missed a little in the sprint due to steering, so that can be better. The race was ok, but it has been a hard World Cup season. We are looking forward to our preparation phase getting away from racing for a little while.”
This race was whittled down to three boats. Both France and Poland did not start as each had an athlete out for medical reasons. Germany did now start as they did not weigh in correctly. This left Serbia, the Czech Republic and Canada to battle it out. Serbia and Czech Republic went neck-and-neck right to the end finishing just 9/100 of a second apart – Serbia holding the advantage.
Results: SRB, CZE, CAN
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Final
The Germans went for a double header in the quad as the women followed the example of their male counterparts and grabbed their race by the horns, despite being up against the reigning World Champions, Great Britain. Julia Richter, Tina Manker, Stephanie Schiller and the experienced Britta Oppelt made up the German boat. Oppelt, in stroke seat, has two Olympic medals to her name as she moves into her second decade of rowing on the national team.
From second Great Britain stayed in touch with the leading Germans throughout the race, but Germany looked in control and remained in control. Coming into the final sprint Germany held their pace and kept a wary eye on the British charge. Meanwhile New Zealand desperately tried to hold on to the third spot over a charging American crew.
At the line Germany had held off Great Britain and New Zealand had held off the United States.
Results: GER, GBR, NZL, USA, AUS, UKR
Julia Richter (GER) – Gold
“We are very happy to win gold – of course! The additional joy is to beat Ukraine, in Munich, they were faster – today it was us. On Wednesday, we will start training again for Slowenia:”
Beth Rodford (GBR) – Silver
“”The Germans were quicker. We missed the race in Hamburg. Getting silver is good and there are two months left until the World Championships. I have been to Lucerne many times before and it's good to be back."
Fiona Bourke (NZL) – Bronze
“”We are getting better and better and are happy with bronze today. Yesterday the USA was stronger and today we were. For me and two others it is the first time in Lucerne. The difference to Hamburg is that there are twice as many teams. The field is hard and the conditions are perfect here."
Stroked by 2007 junior champion from the single, Weiwei Zhu, the Chinese rowed through Poland and Italy to take the lead in the closely fought race. This relatively young Chinese crew’s most senior member is Liang Tian who was part of her country’s Olympic team, racing to fourth in the women’s double. By the line the Chinese had pushed clean away from Poland who now lay in second.
Results: CHN1, POL, ITA, CHN2, RUS
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Final
They may be the World Champions, but New Zealand’s Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan were looking like this wasn’t their day as the men’s double got under way. Cohen and Sullivan were down by over three seconds coming out of the start with Great Britain and Germany showing the way. Great Britain’s Matthew Wells and Marcus Bateman come to Lucerne with a confidence boost. They not only won the double at the Henley Royal Regatta, but they also set a new course record. Germany, meanwhile, is dealing with a substitute with Hans Gruhne joining Stephan Krueger as Krueger’s regular partner, Erik Kinttel is out of action for this regatta.
Going through the half way point Cohen and Sullivan still trailed behind Germany (who were having a great race and had now pushed into the lead) and Great Britain and Estonia. But then the New Zealanders decided they wanted a medal after all and a huge piece just before the 1500m mark saw their boat really start to move. What could Germany and Great Britain do?
As Cohen and Sullivan gave it their all for gold, Germany and Great Britain looked like they had no answer. The World Champions had totally protected their reputation.
Results: NZL, GER1, GBR, FRA1, SLO, EST
Nathan Cohen (NZL) – Gold
“Lucerne is our favourite course in the world. We have been here the last five years – this time to become comparable with the concurrence. Next Wednesday, we start a five-week’s-training in Belgium to get ready for Slovenia:.”
Stephan Krueger (GER) – Silver
“Rowing with a new partner at the last minute was surprisingly good. It is really nice when this happens.”
Hans Gruhne (GER) – Silver
“It was a perfect race. During the week we got better from race to race. The gusts of wind were hard to deal with.”
Matthew Wells (GBR) – Bronze
“We had a good start and just kept building. All week we had good, tough races and now we know what to do. We are happy with the way things have gone so far.”
A slight, gusty head breeze came and went for this B-final that featured the return to international rowing of 2008 Olympic Champions, Scott Brennan and David Crawshay of Australia. Brennan took time out after Beijing to work on his medical studies while Crawshay kept rowing mainly in the quad. The duo are now working on their build-up to next year’s Olympics. Today they overtook Norway to get in front and move away. Racing 40 strokes a minute nearing the finish line, Brennan and Crawshay finished in a very good time of 6:15.
Results: AUS1, NOR, ITA2, CAN, USA, RUS1