Greece strike World Best Time pace in under-23 semifinals
The semifinal round of racing at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships was delayed due to the weather conditions. The skies then cleared at the Nathan Benderson Park regatta course in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA and rowers faced mild tailwind conditions and sunny, humid conditions.
Christina Bourmpou and Maria Kyridou of Greece showed they were on their way to championship status when they broke the under-23 World Best Time in the women’s pair. Great Britain’s men’s quadruple sculls also got incredibly close from setting a new time.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Semifinals
Coming through from the heats two days ago Germany’s Johanna Reichardt had recorded the fastest qualifying time. She lined up in Semifinal One against Wednesday’s winner of heat one, Susannah Duncan of Great Britain. At the start Austria’s Tiefenthaler was the fastest. She was then hunted down by Duncan in Lane 4 and Reichardt. Reichardt then got into second and started making her way into first. The leading three had now left the rest of the field behind. At 750 to go, Reichardt kicked it up, going for a 35 stroke rate speed. Australia tried to come back into the leading three and goes to 36. In second Duncan goes to 36 to pass Reichardt at a 32. In the last 50 metres, she overhauls Reichardt to win. Duncan had recorded the fastest qualifying time and at 7:34 was just six seconds outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
At 800m in, in Semfinal Two it was a good lead for Mihai from Romania, with United States and Switzerland fighting for second. Brigid Kennedy from USA then made a push and drew into the lead, trying to use the same strategy from her previous races – get into the lead and stay there. Mihai and Kennedy last went head to head in the b-final of the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
This was now a four-boat race for three spots with Hong Kong still within striking distance. Kennedy took her rating up at a 36. Could she hold it? The others were down at a 31-32. At 1500m in, Kennedy has a 2.5 second margin. Hong Kong made a big push to try to pass Nacht to get that third qualifying spot, putting pressure on Mihai. Coming into the last 100, these 4 scullers were only a bow deck length apart. Switzerland, United States, and Hong Kong had done it in the final sprint.
Qualifiers: GBR, GER, AUT, SUI, USA, HKG
Women’s Pair (BW2-) – Semifinals
A new under-23 World Best Time was about to be set in Semifinal One. Here’s how it happened. Greece’s Christina Bourmpou and Maria Kyridou got off to a good start and in the lead with New Zealand’s Grace Holland and Ruby Willis going with them. Then Sarah Johanek and Hadley Irwin of the United States did a push and moved up into second with Bourmpou and Kyridou now really finding their stride at the head of the field. Australia hung onto fourth but would have to do a lot of work to get into a top three spot. Coming into 1500m Greece continued to lead the way and open up a huge gap. It seems the places are already set. If anyone can crack those three qualifying spots it would be Australia, but they had ground to make up. New Zealand went to 37 to close on the USA. At the line Bourmpou and Kyridou had recorded 6:58.68 – a new Under-23 World Best Time, beating the former time from 2014 by four seconds.
South Africa led the way after the first 500 in Semifinal Two. The crew of Tayla-May Bentley and Jessica Schoonbee of South Africa then moved to a full boat length advantage on the rest of the field. This left a full-on tussle between the Netherlands, Russia and Great Britain. The British then managed to nudge ahead of the Netherlands to hold second place. Great Britain then took their rate up again to try to catch the South Africans. But Bentley and Schoonbee had a comfortable lead. Russi’s Elena Danliuk and Ekaterina Glazkova the did a push and overtook both the Netherlands and Great Britain. The sprint was on with Russia closing on South Africa. The British had missed out by just 0.02 of a second.
Qualifiers: GRE, USA, NZL, RSA, RUS, NED
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Semifinals
In the heats on Wednesday Great Britain had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall and they got away quickly in Semifinal One. This crew has three members of the 2018 under-23 World Champion crew – Meijer, Armstrong and Haywood. They had been joined by George Bourne. The Czech Republic moved with Great Britain. The Czechs have had some international racing already this year at the European Rowing Championships and they had finished second in their heat two days ago.
Coming down the course the Moldovan crew were having some issues with their steering, which then resulted in some equipment trouble seeing them come to a paddle. Great Britain and the Czechs battled each other through the first half of the race with New Zealand remaining within striking distance. Then the British pushed away. New Zealand tried to attach the Czechs in the final sprint, but ran out of water.
Great Britain crossed the line first in the fastest qualifying time and just one second outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
Wednesday’s heat were very close in time and this played out in Semifinal Two with all crews moving through the first 500m in a virtual line, Germany had a very slight lead over Italy, but there was nothing in it. Germany and Italy then started to push away from the rest of the field. Romania was able to hold the leaders pace with Hungary, Switzerland and France trying their best to keep up. France and Switzerland then decided to drop their pace and the field really began to spread.
Just before the 1500 meter marker, the Italian crew manage to slip ahead of the Germans. Germany fought back and the two crews kept on trading places up until 1700 meters, where the Italians managed to pull away. Crossing the line the Italian crew finished first with half a length on the Germans who had a whole length ahead of the Romanian crew who took third place.
Qualifiers: GBR; CZE; NZL; ITA; GER; ROU