Joy and pain in last chance for crews at Chungju
Action continued at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea with athletes getting a second chance to advance to the next round of racing.
Today’s repechages were do or die for these crews as failing to finish in the required position meant that their chance to advance to the final would be gone. In warm conditions with temperatures pressing into the high 20s degrees Celsius, athletes returned to the waters of the Tangeum Lake International Rowing Regatta venue. A changeable light breeze was enough to send small ripples across the water and to also cause times between races difficult to compare.
Here are today’s race highlights.
The first race of the day was a preliminary race for the women’s four. As there are less than seven crews entered in this event, the preliminary race gives crews an opportunity to have a race before their final and this preliminary race turned into a show of form by the United States. The crew of Emily Huelskamp, Olivia Coffey, Tessa Gobbo and Felice Mueller finished first and, despite not really being pushed, they finished within three seconds of the World Best Time. This places the United States in a fine position to take gold in the final.
The lightweight women’s single sculls repechage required these scullers to finish either first or second to make it through to the semifinals. In the first repechage Ireland’s Claire Lambe just missed out on qualifying by less than a second when she failed to catch Australia’s Ella Flecker in the final sprint. Lambe, who was 11th at last year’s World Rowing Championships, will now contend the C/D semifinal with the best result chance being a 13th place overall.
Coming within metres of a new lightweight men’s eight World Best Time, Italy flew down the Tangeum Lake regatta course finishing in a time of 5:46.89 – two seconds outside of the World Best Time. Italy were racing in their preliminary race which included three entries. They will race again in the final on Friday.
The men’s pair repechage required boats to gain a top two place if they wanted to advance to the semifinals. In the first of four repechages Argentina, the Netherlands and the United States were all vying for those two spots. The United States’ Michael Di Santo and Alexander Karwoski missed out by a heartbreaking half a second. The Dutch and Argentineans made it through to the semifinals.
Even closer than the men’s pair was the second repechage of the men’s four. For the full 2,000m four boats fought it out to the line, never straying more than a couple of seconds apart. All four crews had impressive sprints, but Canada were just a fraction slower and missed out on a spot in the semifinals by just 0.24 of a second. The Czech Republic, in first had given it their all and looked to be suffering after the line. Spain and Germany also managed to qualify.
The women’s quadruple sculls Repechage Two featured silver medallists from the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne and also in Eton Dorney – Poland. They were up against the United States who had a crew with three members that raced to sliver at the World Rowing Cup in Sydney back in March. The two boats went head-to-head for the entire race course with New Zealand up there and at pace.
In a tight sprint to the finish Poland earned a slight lead with the United States finding themselves increasingly under threat from New Zealand. At the line Poland had qualified for the final with the United States just squeaking through ahead of New Zealand by half a second.
The men’s quadruples sculls Repechage Two required a top three finish for a chance at the semifinals. Four boats remained tightly in contention. The final sprint was the decider as the United States did not quite have the remaining horse power to get into a qualifying spot. The top three boats, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Canada, all crossed the line within half a second of each other.