Heats close with lightning excitement at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships
The 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships went into day two of racing which saw the remainder of the heats being raced. These heats began with sunny conditions and finished with rain and lightning in Sarasta-Bradenton, Florida, United States. Temperatures remained hot and humid with a crosswind at the Nathan Benderson Park regatta course.
Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Heats
The aim in these two heats was to finish first for a direct path to the finals on Sunday. In Heat One Hungary had the best speed, holding a 37 stroke rate for most of the first 500m This gave Vivien Preil and Zoltana Gadanyi of Hungary the lead at 500m mark with the rest of the crews forming a line behind them. The Hungarian speed remained and they were able to move away to a boat length lead with only Greece now within striking distance. Preil and Gadanyi raced at World Rowing Cup I earlier this season finishing fifth in the final. They must have known that they were quick. Greece had now broken way to a clear water lead over the rest of the field, but were still not able to catch Hungary who took the one qualifying spot and earned the fastest time overall.
Heat Two had Lisa Gutfleisch and Nora Peuser of Germany in the lead at the start. The United States tried to hold the speed and did a big push through the middle of the race. The Americans were at 38 strokes per minute and closing on Germany. Gutfleisch and Peuser went to 35 and remained just in front of Elizabeth Sharis and Emily Delleman of the United States. This was going to be a two-boat sprint to the line with Canada, in third, also well within the distance to take on the leading two boats. The Germans went to 38 with the United States at 42. Gutfleisch and Peuser had done it. They will be racing in the final.
Qualifiers: HUN, GER
Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Heats
The goal here was to be in a top three position to earn a direct path to the semifinals and Italy made their intentions clear in Heat One. They got out to a small margin over Germany and used a higher stroke rate to stay in front. Andrea Cattaneo and Luca Chiumento raced in World Rowing Cup II earlier this season finishing twelfth. The German crew was perhaps more experience having medalled in quad at last year’s under-23 Championships. But Italy was able to stay in front and push to an easy win.
Out in lane four, Russia’s Nikita Eskin and Aleksandr Matveev had a good start and got into the lead of Heat Two. It was neck-and-neck going through the middle of the race with the British and the Netherlands right with Russia. Despite a lower stroke rate, Eskin and Matveev remained in the lead with the Dutch starting to drop back. Russia had to keep an eye on Great Britain, but with three boats qualifying for the semifinals, both Russia and Great Britain were quite secure. Russia was at a rather leisurely 32 in the closing sprint and still finished first.
Pushing into the lead at the start of Heat Three was New Zealand’s Jack Opas and Oliver MacLean. They held a 40 stroke rate through the first 500m marker and into the middle of the race. This earned them a handy lead over Switzerland who had slotted into second. New Zealand was at 36 in the final sprint with all the other crews really winding in up. The New Zealanders took the win and in the fastest overall qualifying time.
Qualifiers: ITA, GER, EST, RUS, GBR, NED, NZL, SUI, DEN
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Heats
It was the first two through to the final in these two heats. In Heat One Switzerland jumped into the lead. They are likely to be the most experienced in this race. Eline Rol and Sofia Meakin of Switzerland remained out in front going through the middle of the race. Rol and Meakin raced together in a couple of senior regattas this season. Behind the Swiss the Dutch and Irish went head-to-head to get the second qualifying spot. Then Germany joined in the challenge and Ireland was in trouble. A great sprint by the Germans gave them second and the qualifying spot. Switzerland had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.
China had the best speed at the start of Heat Two. The crew of Xiaoyue Fu and Jiawang Zou of China remained in the lead through the middle of the race. The United States and Denmark tussled for second with both boats level at the half way point. The US boat then got a small advantage over Denmark, but Denmark came back. Both China and Denmark warmed up for this regatta by racing at the senior level. Denmark went to 38 and put China under threat. Now both Denmark and the United States were at 39-40 with China unreactive. Had China gone too hard too early? Three boats went for two spots. Denmark had won with the US taking second.
Qualifiers: SUI, GER, DEN, USA
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Heats
This race of three heats was all about finishing in the top three for a qualification in the semifinals. In Heat One Germany lined up and they must have been the favourites as both Jonathan Schreiber and Eric Magnus Paul had already raced at the under-23 level. Australia went into second with Portugal within striking distance in third. Germany remained in the lead and now had an open water advantage. They went into the final sprint at 37 strokes per minute. They did not to go any harder.
New Zealand jumped out quickly in Heat Two and they still held a 38 stroke rate going through the first 500m. This combination of Isaac Everitt and Christopher Stockley of New Zealand finished sixth last year. Despite the high rating Belgium was holding on to the Kiwi fast pace and these two countries moved clean away from the rest of the field. This left Uruguay and Honk Kong to fight it out for the third qualifying spot. Belgium then did a piece and got ahead of New Zealand. The crew of Marion Colpaert and Tibo Vyvey then got a slight edge over New Zealand and continued to charge for the line. Uruguay went to 38 to overtake Hong Kong.
Heat Three opened with Italy steaming ahead. Niels Torre and Giuiseppe di Mare of Italy held 39 through the first 500m marker with Spain in hot pursuit. Torre and di Mare have experience in different boats with Torre a world champion in the lightweight quad. They now broke away from the field with a line forming behind them. Just two seconds separated the three boats and they knew there was only two more qualifying spots available. Switzerland then broke away and closed on Italy. It looked like Spain may miss out. Italy went to 40 in the final sprint and held on to first. Switzerland went to 41 as Spain came back at the end. Italy had recorded the fastest qualifying time. Spain had missed out.
Qualifiers: GER, AUS, POR, BEL, NZL, URU, ITA, SUI, GRE
Men’s Eight (BM8+) – Heats
It was a good start for Great Britain in Heat One. The goal here was to be in a top two position of the two heats. The British crew are the silver medallists from 2018 and they have held four of the same rowers. Romania followed in second. The Romanians are a very young crew of 18 and 19-year-olds and they were doing great despite their youth. Great Britain remained in the lead through the middle of the race holding a 37 stroke rate. Coming into the final sprint Romania went to 40 to stay ahead of Germany in third. Romania was at 41 with Great Britain at 38. The British had the fastest overall qualifying time.
In Heat Two the United States jumped out to an early lead and rating 39 they went through the 500m out in front. The rain started to fall as the United States continued to lead. They are the under-23 World Champions and they have retained five members of that 2018 boat. The Netherlands followed in second and were challenging the more experienced US crew. But the United States pushed on and rated 39 through the half way point. The lightening then struck and everyone at the course was told to go to the safe zones. The rest of racing was suspended. This race, however, got to finish and the US did it in style and finished with an open water lead on a stroke rate of 39. The Dutch grabbed the second spot.
Qualifiers: GBR, ROU, USA, NED