Inaugural beach sprint finals displays a new rowing momentum
Four small years ago the concept of beach sprint racing for coastal rowers was conceived. It was 2015 in Pescara, Italy and this weekend the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals became a reality.
Raced in four boat classes, the mixed double sculls (CMix2x), mixed coxed quadruple sculls (CMix4x+) and the men’s and women’s solo (CM1x & CW1x), the competitors began with a beach sprint to their boat. Then they rowed a slalom course around two buoys, a final buoy turn back to the beach for a total of 500m water racing. Then a final beach sprint by one crew member to the finish line.
On the first day of finals the mixed double went through quarterfinals, semifinals and then finals. This meant that for the finalists it would be their third race of the day, all in the space of 45 minutes. China’s Wen and Wang raced off against Ledard and Alfred in the final. China got into their boat the quickest and were away ahead of France. Using a higher stroke rate of 41, compared to France’s 39, China was able to move away in the lead. The much straighter course by China – with buoy-hitting part of the strategy – saw Wen and Wang return to the beach first. They crossed the line in 2:23.
The B-final race-off for the bronze medal was between the Netherlands and Canada. The beach start saw Canada’s D’arsy Arends reach her boat first with Aubrey Oldham waiting to push off. The lead was slight, though with Janneke van der Meulen and Mitchel Steenman of the Netherlands right behind them. The two crews raced out together, but at the final buoy turn van der Meulen and Steenman managed to push into the lead finishing first in a time of 2:31 and securing the bronze medal.
Results: CHN, FRA, NED, CAN
Gold Medallists, Dongmei Wang (b)
“I was actually very nervous at the beginning since we’ve had three races this afternoon, which is more than our training. We made some mistakes in the Quarterfinal, but luckily Hong Kong, China didn’t catch up with us. Finally we got the gold, and I am so proud that we could be the champions at the first edition of the WRBSF.”
Silver medallists, Pierrick Ledard (b);
"It was a very nice race, we're very happy that we finished in the A-Final. The beach sprints are such a good idea, they're very fun and especially the races which are very short. If you lose your start, then you will lose your turn at the buoys and the race. This is very different from the Coastal Championships. We look forward to the next time"
The mixed coxed quadruple sculls had Spain come into the final as the fastest qualifier. These crews had raced through heats and semifinals prior to this final. Spain was up against China and at the start both crews were even in getting their boat going off the beach start. China was rating 49 and Spain on 48 with China able to get into a slight lead. The speed on the way out was around 17 km/hour and once around the final buoy the speed picked up to nearly 20 km/hour. China’s crew of Li, Xie, Li, Mi and Guo managed to then push away from Spain and cross the line to win gold in a time of 2:20.
The B-final race for bronze opened with Great Britain racing France. The French had the better start as both boats moved away at a 43 stroke rate pace. Great Britain’s course did not look so good, but coming around the final buoy, the British took a very tight corner which helped get them out in front. The British then led the way to the final finishing beach sprint and a bronze medal win.
Results: CHN, ESP, GBR, FRA
The second day of finals featured the men’s and women’s solo races. On the water it was an offshore cross breeze.
It came down to Spain and China in the final of the men’s solo. Adrian Miramon Quiroga of Spain was up against Zhe Huang of China. Miramon had the better sprint to his boat and got away the quickest. Both crews rated high with Spain on 49 and China hitting 46. China had the better course and took a better final buoy turn, but Miramon had the rowing power. Miramon became the inaugural gold medallist in the men’s solo.
The B-final race for bronze was between Hong Kong’s Tik Lun Chan and Ivan Bove of France. Chan was unlucky at the start as his seat came off which cost him a few seconds. Bove was able to take off and gain a 50m lead. Chan was never able to eat away at this lead with Bove taking the bronze medal.
Results: ESP, CHN, FRA, HKG
CM1x, Gold Medallist, Adrian Miramon Quiroga (ESP);
"I had already seen the performance of the Chinese rower so I knew it would be a tough race, so I was a bit nervous at the beginning. Zhe Huang is fast so I had to get the advantage in the sprint to the boats as I haven't been rowing for a long time. I am really happy that I was able to make it to the A Final and then win the gold medal.
CM1x, Silver Medallist, Zhe Huang (CHN)
"It was a very tough race and I was exhausted after competing several times this afternoon. I didn't perform as well as I did in the time trials on Friday. To be honest, I am disappointed that I didn't win the gold medal but I will come back next year to try and win it."
For the women’s solo China and Great Britain raced for the gold medal. China’s Yuting Zheng had the faster run to her boat and got away first. Zheng then took her stroke rate to 44, a full 6 pips higher than Great Britain’s Robyn Hart-Winks. This saw Zheng move away from Hart-Winks and grow her lead as the race progressed. Coming through to the finish Zheng raced to the line in a time of 2:45.
The race for bronze was between France and Greece. Zoi Fitsiou of Greece was the first to her boat and she steadied into a 37 stroke rate pace. This got Fitsiou a handy lead over Diane Delalleau of France. Delalleau had also raced in the mixed quad where she finished fourth yesterday. It was another fourth for Delalleau as Fitsiou led through to the finish.
Results: CHN, GBR, GRE, FRA
CW1x, Gold Medallist, Yiting Zheng;
"It was a really good race for me, I was really focusing on all the details to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. I was hoping to win the gold medal and I'm really happy that I did. I will definitely compete next year."
CW1x, Silver Medallist, Robyn Hart-Winks (GBR);
"I am really happy about this medal! In training this morning, I had a crash when coming onto the beach so I was kind of nervous going into the race. It's amazing that I got a silver medal today and I'm really happy with it!"
To re-watch the races click here.