Kicking off the 2020 season with the European Under 23s
The water was still and the wind almost imperceptible for the first races of the 2020 season in Duisburg, Germany. The anticipation was palpable as athletes prepared to head up to the startline. The morning began with heats in the international boat classes before moving on to the Olympic categories.
The women’s coxed four started off the morning with a preliminary race. After steering problems at the start, Belarus fell to the back of the pack. France strode out to the lead and held through to the finish. This race determined the lanes for tomorrow’s A-final.
Finishing order: FRA, ROU, GER, BLR
In the heats of the men’s coxed four the water started to heat up when Ireland and France went head-to-head in the Heat 1. With one crew through directly to the A-final, that was the place to be. In the last 500m, Ireland picked up the rate and secured their place in tomorrow’s A-Final. In Heat 2, Romania took the early lead, but hot on their tails was Germany. Crossing the thousand-meter mark, Germany took up the rate to secure their first place into tomorrow’s A-final.
A-final qualifiers: FRA, GER
There were two heats in the lightweight women’s single sculls with the first place qualifying directly to the A-final. In Heat 1 the race was between Greece’s Evangelina Anastasiadou and Italy’s Greta Martinelli. They crossed 1500m evenly and it would all come down to the final sprint. Anastasiadou had a bit more power in the legs and pipped Martinelli at the line. Heat 2 had a clear winner when Femke van de Vliet from the Netherlands took an early lead and walked away from the rest of the field. She took her rate down and strolled over the finish line.
A-final qualifiers: GRE, NED
In the lightweight men’s single sculls it was the first three crews through to tomorrow’s semifinal. In Heat 1, the crews came down the course spread out and racing their own pace. Spain had the best of the pack, followed by Czech Republic and Germany. In Heat 2, Bulgaria’s Lazar Penev got off to blistering start, but he ran out of steam and Italy’s Niels Torre pushed through. At the finish line it was Italy, Denmark, Bulgaria. Heat 3 was the closest of the three with Greece and France charging through at the front of the pack. Through the line, Portugal had made the best of a tussle with Ireland.
Semifinal A/B qualifiers: ESP, CZE, GER, ITA, DEN, BUL, GRE, FRA, POR
Turkey had something to say in Heat 1 of the lightweight women’s pair. With only one crew directly through to the A-final, Turkey wanted to avoid a second race today. They held off a challenge from Ukraine to secure the position. In Heat 2, it was Italy with the fastest start, but into the final 500m they lost steam and Ireland pushed through to secure their A-final position.
A-final qualifiers: TUR, IRL
The water remained flat and a slight rain started to come down at the start of the lightweight men’s pair. Moldova shot off the start in Heat 1 and had a commanding lead down the course. But in the last 250m, Ukraine turned on the gas. Moldova seemed to be discouraged and in the last strokes, paddled over the finish line. In Heat 2, Italy and Germany went head-to-head for the first 1000 meters. Crossing into the second half of the race, Italy made a push and held their advantage through the line.
A-final qualifiers: UKR, ITA
It was a preliminary race in the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls and it was no surprise to see Italy dominating the field. They are the strongest crew on paper and looked to be proving that today.
Finishing order: ITA, GER, NED, FRA, GRE
Ireland has been building their lightweight team and it showed in Heat 1 of the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls. With one crew through to the A-final, Ireland secured their spot early on. In Heat 2, France got the best of Italy off the start and held their lead through the finish line.
A-final qualifiers: IRL, FRA
The first Olympic boatclass on the water was the women’s single sculls. This much-anticipated event did not disappoint as the field was narrowed moving toward the semifinals. Home favourite Alexandra Foester showed that she was ready to impress by taking the lead in Heat 1. Following her with a direct spot to the A/B semifinal was Ireland’s Claire Feerick. In Heat 2, the favourite on paper Anneta Kyridou of Greece had an open-water lead ahead of the field. Greta Jaanson of Estonia fought off Bulgaria to take the second spot. And a close race in Heat 3 pulled the top two scullers away from the rest of the field. Russia’s Anastasiia Liubich got the better of Austria’s Johanna Kristof at the line, but both progress to the A/B semifinal.
A/B Semifinal qualifiers: GER, IRL, GRE, EST, RUS, AUT
The biggest entry of the entire event was in the men’s single sculls. There were four heats to come down the course and the rain just let up as they got underway. The top two qualified directly for the A/B semifinal and in the first heat there were three crews fighting for that position. Italy’s Nicolo Carucci had the best middle thousand to take the lead, followed by Estonia ahead of Denmark. In Heat 2, the first two became clear at the start when Lukas Reim of Austria and Jan Fleissner of the Czech Republic took off. These two went stroke-for-stroke through the middle of the race and secured their spot in the A/B semifinal. It was a spread field in Heat 3 when Romania’s Mihai Chiruta took the lead. The rest of the pack fell into line behind him, with Hungary making the best of it to claim the second spot. Home favourite Moritz Wolff was the quickest in Heat 4. He was followed by Daan van Haasteren from the Netherlands.
A/B semifinal qualifiers: ITA, EST, AUT, CZE, ROU, HUN, GER, NED
The World Rowing rising star Anna Santruckova lined up in Heat 1 of the women’s pair together with partner Pavlina Flamikova of the Czech Republic. The duo set a blistering pace off the start as Germany was hot on their tails. Into the final sprint Germany took up the pace, but it wasn’t enough. The Czech Republic took the one spot directly into the A-final. Heat 2 saw the Romanians in the early lead. Ireland pushed up through the middle of the race, but Romania saw them coming. They put in the power and opened up the lead through the finish line.
A-final qualifiers: CZE, ROU
In typical Spanish fashion, the women’s four jumped out to the lead in Heat 1. The question was, could they hold off the rest of the pack? Through the middle of the race the other four crews started closing in. Russia made their move in the third 500 meters to edge into the lead. Spain responded, France tried to go too. Down to the line, it was Russia ahead of Spain. Heat 2 had slightly larger margins. After a sluggish start, Romania found their speed through the middle of the race, while Italy and the Netherlands slipped back. Romania and Italy took the two spots directly to the A-final.
A-final qualifiers: RUS, ESP, ROU, ITA
The sun tried to break through the clouds for the start of the men’s pair with the water remaining perfectly flat. Off the start line in Heat 1 it was Greece in the early lead. As the race progressed, Slovenia found their solid rhythm and started to move back on the field. The continued their march straight through to the finish line to take the one spot directly to the A-final. In Heat 2 it was no surprise to see the defending champions from Romania in the lead. They had open water ahead of Croatia, who had a slight lead from the rest of the field.
A-final qualifiers: SLO, ROU
There were just two heats in the women’s double sculls, meaning one spot directly through to the A-final. In Heat 1 there was a tussle at the front of the pack between Germany and Greece. But the German duo of Lisa Gutfleisch and Marie-Sophie Zeidler stayed calm and smoothly pushed their boat ahead to claim the one spot. It was done and dusted in Heat 2 when Romania broke free and had open water back to Italy.
A-final qualifiers: GER, ROU
The men’s double sculls was one of the largest entries at this event and with four heats it was the first two crews to the A/B semifinal. In Heat 1 the Germans got off the line first, followed by a sharp Swiss crew. But Switzerland held on to their starting speed a little longer and took the lead. This remained through the finish. The Irish took open water at the start in Heat 2 and there was no reckoning with them, they continued to pull away and did not stop until they heard the beep. Russia managed to get the best of the rest. After a quick start in Heat 3, the French tried to maintain their lead. But they went through the 1000m-mark even with Belarus. And then the Belarussians unleashed their power to claim a five-second advantage over 500 meters. In the final heat, Spain and Moldova went off the start together, with Spain taking a slight advantage. With open water back to the rest of the field, both crews relaxed through the finish line.
A/B semifinal qualifiers: SUI, GER, IRL, RUS, BLR, FRA, ESP, MDA
Defending champions from Romania dominated in Heat 1 of the men’s four ahead of Italy and Switzerland. With only two crews through directly to the A-final, it was Romania and Italy through the line. Heat 2 saw a closer race between the top two contenders of Germany and Greece. With their A-final spots secured, the boats wanted to test their speed and boost their confidence going into tomorrow’s race. It was Germany ahead of Greece.
A-final qualifiers: ROU, ITA, GER, GRE
Just four crews competing in the lightweight women’s double sculls and their preliminary race saw Italy dominating ahead of Ireland, Germany and Switzerland.
Finishing order: Italy, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland
The lightweight men’s double sculls had three heats with the top two crews progressing directly to the A/B semifinal. Belgium has quite a pedigree in lightweight rowing and their crew did not disappoint in Heat 1. They got off to a convincing start and had amassed a five second lead at 500 meters. With a view back on the rest of the field, they continued to race their way to a place in the A/B semis. Greece was the best of the rest to claim the second spot. Defending silver medallist crew from France Paul Tixier and Ferdinand Ludwig rowed a convincing race in Heat 2. Estonia challenged slightly it the middle, but France held them off. Both earned places through to the semifinal. Heat 3 proved to be the closest race of the day. The Netherlands led much of the race in the outside lane, but Spain was not giving in. Into the final sprint, Spain charged, the Dutch responded. They had secured their spots, but who would take the extra boost of confidence through to the next round? The Netherlands by a photo finish.
A/B semifinal qualifiers: BEL, FRE, FRA, EST, NED, ESP
Two heats in the women’s quadruple sculls with the top two from each heat progressing directly to the A-final. In Heat 1, Germany looked calm and collected. They seemed to measure the race and execute to perfection. The Netherlands kept contact through the finish line to prove they have a shot come tomorrow’s A-final. Heat 2 was the faster of the two with Romania charging down the course. Italy stayed hot on their tails and pushed them further from the others. Through the line, Romania held their lead ahead of Italy.
A-final qualifiers: GER, NED, ROU, ITA
Another tight race in the first heat of the men’s quadruple sculls when the Czech Republic and the Netherlands came barreling down at top speed. The Dutch had the advantage at 1500 meters, but the Czech Republic moved back. Across the line, the two crews recorded the same time. Belarus took the third spot into the A/B semifinal. Heat 2 was a tussle at the front between Poland and Lithuania. Both crews crossed 1500 meters together, but Poland had a slightly better sprint. Ukraine took the third spot to the semis. And in the Heat 3 Italy and Germany were going stroke for stroke with a pace that pulled them away from the rest. Romania tried to hold on, but fell back slightly into the third spot.
A/B semifinal qualifiers: NED, CZE, BLR, POL, LTU, UKR, ITA, GER, ROU
The eights took to the water to finish off the morning session in Duisburg. Weather conditions remained the same with the sun just peeking out from behind the clouds. In Heat 1 of the women’s eight it was a convincing performance by Germany ahead of the defending champions from Romania. In Heat 2 it was Poland who got ahead of Russia through the middle of the race to take the one spot directly to the A-final.
A-final qualifiers: GER, POL
The men’s eight wrapped up the racing and in Heat 1 the young German crew took the lead and swept up by crossing the line first and securing their spot in the A-final. Heat 2 saw Ukraine take an early lead and then all crews powered down, paddling through the finish line.
A-final qualifiers: GER, UKR