Hot weather, warm water, fast heats at rowing’s junior championships
A new junior World Best Time in the men's single sculls was the feature of the first day of racing at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships in Racice, Czech Republic. Clark Dean of the United States took over five seconds off the former best time in a stunning performance of sculling control.
With temperatures in the mid 30s Celsius, warm water and a slight tail breeze, conditions were looking good for fast times in this first day of heats.
Junior Men’s Double Sculls (JM2x) – Heats
Sweden came out at a fast 53 stroke rate pace in Heat One of five heats. The goal here was to be in a top four position to make it into the quarterfinals. Despite the high stroke rate for Sweden, it was Italy’s Sebastiano Carrettin and Nicolo Carucci that had the best speed and they led the way through the first half of the race. Carrettin and Carucci hit the middle of the race at below junior World Best Time pace with Hungary and Lithuania the closest followers. The Italians did not sprint the finish and were at 31 with Hungary going to 35 to take second.
Fastest at the start of Heat Two was Jakub Kyncl and Jan Vacek of the Czech Republic. Being the home favourites must have been on their mind as Kyncl and Vacek led into the middle of the race. These unusually hot conditions, however, would have been impacting even the local athletes. Belgium had now moved into second with the United States in third. Belgium was faster than the Czech Republic back in May at the European Junior Championships, but they were back fighting with the US today. Coming through to the fourth 500 the Czechs dropped their stroke rate so as not to extend themselves too much. No one really sprinted as the order looked to be sorted.
Russia had the fastest pace at the start of Heat Three and this crew of Aleksandr Suvorov and Maksim Zhevlachenko already had a boat length lead with 500m raced. Russia retained a handy margin going through the middle of the race with Belarus and Slovenia following in second and third respectively. Belarus then closed on the leading Russians and challenged them in the final sprint. Belarus went to 34 and got the leading position.
Heat Four saw Germany’s Paul Krueger and Klas Ole Lass out in front at the start with a line between Poland, France and Serbia forming behind them. This line broke up, but only slightly, going through the 1000m mark with Poland earning a small advantage. Poland then broke away from France with Spain now chasing hard. The Germans remained easily out in front and rated 33 to the line with Poland at 38 to get second.
At the start of Heat Five it was Greece in the lead with Great Britain the main threat for the lead. The Greek crew of Petros Gkiadatzis and Grigorios Schizodimos remained out in front through the 1000m mark with the British slipping back and now having to contend with Austria. The race didn’t change order with Greece holding a 34 for most of the close before dropping their stroke rate.
Qualifiers: ITA, HUN, LTU, SWE, CZE, BEL, JPN, USA, BLR, RUS, SLO, UKR, GER, POL, FRA, ESP, GRE, GBR, AUT, ROU
Junior Men’s Single Sculls (JM1x) – Heats
The biggest boat class of this regatta, eight heats lined up with the goal to be in a top two position for a direct path to the quarterfinals. Heat One had Peru jump out of the starting blocks, but it was Germany’s Moritz Wolff who got to the first 500m mark in the lead. Wolff finished second at last year’s junior champs and earlier this year Wolff was second at the European Junior Championships. Belarus was not in second with Wolff having built up an open water lead. Only Tunisia and Peru were really fighting for it, but they would have a lot to do to catch Belarus. Wolff rated 28 at the end with no need to sprint.
Australia’s Cormac Kennedy-Leverett had a very quick start in Heat Two with Belgium following in second. By the middle of the race this heat was widely spread and it would take a lot for any challengers to come up on the top two rowers. Then Belgium’s Tristan Vandenbussche challenged Kennedy-Leverett who did not fight back. Vandenbusche took the win and was just 0.36 of a second off the junior World Best Time.
Heat Three opened with the reigning junior champion, Clark Dean of the United States in the lead. But Italy was challenging hard. Dean, however, had a plan and was able to move away from Gennaro di Mauro of Italy as the race progressed. The Czech Republic tried to challenge Italy and these two boats came into the final sprint neck-and-neck. Di Mauro went to 38 with Gabriel Mahler of the Czech Republic went to 36, but then gave up the chase. Dean, holding off this fight, had set a new junior World Best Time. The new time of 6:52.20 was more than five seconds faster than the former time set back in 2004.
Slovenia’s Jaka Cas had the fastest first 500 in Heat Four. This gave him a lead over John Walkey of Canada. Through the middle of the race Cas and Walkey were able to move away from the rest of the field. Cas then seemed to run out of steam and Walkey was able to overtake with Brazil coming up to challenge Cas. Marco Misasi of Brazil then went after Walkey as Misasi went to 35, Walkey reacted and went to 34. Walkey finished just ahead of Misasi.
Heat Five saw Martin Gonzalez Volkman of Uruguay jump out at a 53 stroke rate. This race started a bit late as one of the athletes was late to the start. Switzerland and Russia were neck-and-neck for second behind Gonzalez. Switzerland then got the edge over Russia and moved a bit closer to Gonzalez. Eric von Bodungen of Switzerland nearly caught Gonzalez. Gonzalez went to 41 was von Bodungen came up at 37. The Gonzalez completely ran out of steam and paddled the last 30m of the race. Von Bodugen finished first.
South Africa’s Liam Smit was the fastest out at the start of Heat Six. Moldova followed the closest and chased Smit through the middle of the race. These two boats broke clean away from the rest of the field as they challenged each other at the head of the field. Pride or practice? The two leading boats were miles out in front and still went hard. Ivan Corsunov of Moldova then got a bit ahead of Smit. At around the 1700m mark the two boats decided enough was enough. And they boat paddled it home.
Heat Seven had James Hall of New Zealand out in front. But not by much. There was only a second separating the field and there was still a lot of racing to do. Then Hall managed to break away with Japan and Estonia going neck-and-neck for second. Hall did not need to sprint at the end with Estonia easing off the pace, giving Japan the second qualifying spot.
Anthony Girerd of France had the fastest start in Heat Eight – the final heat in this boat class. Girerd clipped a buoy early on, but it didn’t seem to worry him and he continued to lead through the middle of the race. Then Koxme Burutaran of Spain went for broke. He took his stroke rate to 41 and despite Girerd challenging back, Burutaran finished first.
Qualifiers: GER, BLR, BEL, AUS, USA, ITA, CAN, BRA, SUI, URU, MDA, RSA, NZL, JPN, ESP, FRA
Junior Women’s Single Sculls (JW1x) – Heats
This boat class had five heats with the goal being to gain a top four position for a direct path to the quarterfinals. Sweden’s Elin Lindroth had the best speed in Heat One at the start. Then Italy’s Greta Martinelli pulled out into the lead and held a 34 stroke rate to stay in front of a challenge from South Africa. Martinelli’s high rating was maintained through to the end to finish first.
Heat Two began with Taylor McCarthy-Smith out in front with the rest of the field tightly packed together. Then Argentina moved up on the Aussie and got into the lead going through the middle of the race. Disaster for Ermioni Lamprianidou of Greece who struck a buoy at the middle of the race and fell in the water. This meant that Mexico had to endure the wash of the rescue boats, but she managed well. Maria Sol Ordas of Argentina then moved clean away from the rest of the field with a procession coming through to the line. McCarthy-Smith dropped her rating to 28 with Ordas doing the same. Lamprianidou meanwhile got back in her boat and rowed towards the finish. As long as she crossed the line she can progress to the repechage. A respectful clap went up from the crowd.
Germany’s Tabea Kuhnert had a great start in Heat Three and the five scullers behind her formed a practical line. The spread was just one and a half seconds. Kuhnert was going for it and broke clean away from this five-way tussle. The field then began to spread with Bulgaria’s Madlen Markova slotting into second and trying to move up on Kuhnert. These two scullers now had a clear lead over the rest of the field. At the finish the race was on for the fourth spot. Lithuania took it just ahead of the Czech Republic.
Heat Four opened with Tabita Maftei of Romania out in front and she got a full boat length lead with only 500m raced. Maftei still had the lead through the middle of the race with Canada and Belgium chasing hard. The race between Canada and Belgium remained tight and it meant that they closed on Maftei. In the final sprint the fourth spot was between Switzerland and France with the Swiss sculler at 37 and in the qualifying spot.
The reigning junior champion Esther Briz Zamorano of Spain sat in lane five and she was in the lead right from the start in Heat Five. By the middle of the race Briz Zamorano had moved to an open water lead with New Zealand in second and Estonia in third. Veronica Wall of New Zealand then managed to close the gap on Briz Zamorano. Wall held 30 in the final sprint with Briz Zamorano on 32 in their domination of this race.
Qualifiers: ITA, RSA, SWE, ZIM, ARG, AUS, SLO, MEX, GER, BUL, UKR, LTU, ROU, BEL, CAN, SUI, ESP, NZL, CHN, EST