Race Report: Keeping hopes alive in the senior semifinals at Rotterdam
The last opportunity to make it to the final was the formula today for the senior rowers at the combined 2016 World Rowing Senior, Under 23 & Junior World Rowing Championships for 2016 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Men’s Coxed Pair (M2+) – Semifinals
A fast heat earlier in the week for Great Britain’s Oliver Cook and Callum McBrierty, gave them the title of favourite coming into this race. The British are the reigning World Champions in this boat class and Cook and McBrierty must have wanted to work on continuing this position. The British, however, came out the slowest in Semifinal One with Ukraine instead being the leader. Ukraine’s Sergi Gryn and Artem Moroz remained in front at the half way point with the United States about to overtake them.
Rating 35 the United States had the lead as the final sprint came into view. As Ukraine faded Great Britain moved into second. But with 200m left to row, Ukraine went to a 40 stroke rate and came back. Yohann Rigogne and Thomas Peszek of the United States were then confronted by a flying Great Britain. In the last stroke Cook and McBriety gained the lead and recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Coming directly from the men’s pair at the Rio Olympics, Roel Braas and Mitchel Steenman got away the quickest in Semifinal Two. The duo was being joined by Olympic bronze medallist from the eight, coxswain Peter Wiersum. The Dutch were still in the lead with half the race gone, but only by a fraction. Andrew Stewart-Jones and Benjamin De Wit of Canada were just a bow ball down of stealing the lead. Braas and Steenman had no answer. Stewart-Jones and De Wit had the lead. But the Netherlands had more to give. In the final sprint they came back on Canada with Spain’s Javier Garcia Ordonez and Ismael Montes coming up alongside.
Qualifiers: GBR, USA, ITA, CAN, NED, ESP
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Semfinals
Results from the heats indicated that Sweden’s Emma Fredh would be the one to beat and she raced in Semifinal One. But it was Aja Runge Holmegaard who had the lead at the start. Fredh then moved up on Runge Holmegaard with Mary Jones of the United States moving closely with these leaders. Fredh then pushed into the lead and held it to the finish. She was able to watch a three boat battle for the two remaining qualifying spots. The huge sprint by Georgia Dimakou of Greece had earned her a spot in the final along with Jones.
The reigning World Champion, Zoe McBride had the lead in Semifinal One with Switzerland’s Patricia Merz of Switzerland the closest challenger. Then McBride showed her winning pedigree by pushing away from Merz. The real excitement now turned to Russia and Canada who were battling it out for third. Anastasiia Ianina of Russia was now moving away from Canada. In the final sprint McBride remained untouchable with Ianina now in second. Katherine Sauks of Canada did a huge sprint to get into third. McBride had finished less than three seconds outside of the World Best Time that she set last year.
Qualifiers: SWE, USA, GRE, NZL, RUS, CAN
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
Having gone through the repechage, Silvan Zehnder of Switzerland decided his best chance was to go out hard at the start. Zehnder had the early lead before Slovenia’s Rajko Hrvat pushed into the lead and remained there through the middle of the race. But then Olympic medallist Paul O’Donovan of Ireland went to a 38 stroke rate and moved up on the field. Hrvat’s lead was under threat. O’Donovan, who won the first ever Olympic rowing Olympic medal for his country earlier this month, then went to 40. At the line, Ireland had won.
Lukas Babac, 31, of Slovakia led the way in Semifinal Two. Babac has loads of experience and he was able to use long, low rating strokes to stay in front. But Babac could not sit on his laurels as the margins were tight and three boats went through the half way point together – Hungry and Serbia were right there. Babac then used his experience and perfect pacing to do just enough to stay ahead as Hungary’s Peter Galambos began to sprint. Serbia’s Milos Stanojevic would have to keep up. And keep up he did. Galambos went to 37, but Babac continued to do just enough to stay ahead. Stanojevic remained in third.
Qualifiers: IRL, SLO, GER, SVK, HUN, SRB
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Semifinals
The reigning World and European Champions, Great Britain raced in Semifinal One. Sam Scrimgeour and Joel Cassells of Great Britain got away the quickest with Denmark’s Emil Espensen and Jens Vilhelmsen following very, very closely in second. Great Britain recorded the fastest time in the heats and Denmark was doing a very good job to keep up. In the final sprint Denmark and Great Britain remained absolutely level coming into the final sprint. Meanwhile China and Japan were both fighting it out for the third spot. The British had held off Denmark and China had held off Japan.
France’s Augustin Mouterde and Alexis Guerinot had a very lovely start in Semifinal Two with Ireland giving it their all to be in second. France had won their heat a couple of days ago, but Ireland had recorded a faster time from another heat. Ireland remained close to France going into the middle of the race with Brazil and United States neck-and-neck on the outside. Mouterde and Guerinot remained smooth as they moved into the remaining 500m. The French then changed gears and took an edge. Ireland went to 42 as they now had to watch out for the United States and Brazil. Brazil had just missed out. Andrew Weiland and Peter Gibson of the United states are in the final.
Qualifiers: GBR, DEN, CHN, FRA, IRL, USA