Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals

The fastest from yesterday’s heats racing in Semifinal One was Switzerland’s Michael Schmid. But at the start it was Sean Murphy of Australia Two who came racing out. Murphy is getting ready for the World Rowing Under 23 Championships and at 22 years old he is racing at the senior level for the second year. Coming into the half way point Schmid picked up the pace and took over in the lead with the Murphy, Lasr Wichert of Germany Two and New Zealand’s James Lassche all within striking distance. The third 500 was when this race was decided. Lassche challenged to get into a qualifying spot, but did not have the legs. This left Schmid, Wichert and Murphy to qualify. Schmid had clocked the fastest qualifying time overall.

Samuel Mottram of Great Britain recorded the fastest qualifying time overall in yesterday’s heats and today he started off at the back of the field in Semifinal Two. Instead it was Junjie Fan in the lead. Fan took bronze last year at the World Rowing Championships and he was being chased by Australia One of Hamish Parry. At the half way point margins were tight with 0.06 of a second between the top three boats. The closeness continued through to the final sprint with Radonic of Croatia, Parry and Fan all there. Mottram then tried his best to get in the qualifying mix. But he’d left it too late. Luka Radonic took first, Parry second and Fan third.

Qualifiers: SUI1, GER2, AUS2, CRO, AUS1, CHN

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Semifinals

From yesterday’s heats it looked like Spain was the crew to beat in Semifinal One. But it was Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik of Serbia who got away the quickest. Spain’s Jaime Canalejo Pazos and Javier Garcia Ordonez followed in second with Great Britain One on the pace in third. This order stayed the same through the middle of the race. Further back was Croatia. Martin Sinkovic had to withdraw and he was replaced by Karlo Udovicic who joined Valent Sinkovic in the boat. Serbia remained in the lead and they looked rather relaxed as they led the field home. A more hurried Spain came in second with Matthew Rossiter and Oliver Cook of Great Britain One in third.

France’s Valentin and Theophile Onfroy had a very good heat yesterday and today they looked to be the favourites in Semifinal Two. The Onfroy’s did lead at the start with the Czech Republic and New Zealand right on their tails. The closeness remained coming into the middle of the race and only 0.13 of a second separated the top three boats. It was nip and tuck racing with Thomas Murray and Michael Brake of New Zealand One and Lukas Helesic and Jakub Podrazil of the Czech Republic right with the French.

Murray and Brake then went to 39 as the Onfroy brothers upped their rating to shake the followers. Helesic and Podrazil couldn’t keep up but still managed to qualify.

Qualifiers: SRB, ESP1, GBR1, FRA1, NZL1, CZE

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Semifinals

At the beginning of Semifinal One Ireland had the lead. This is a new Irish combination and it wasn’t long before they got soaked up by Canada’s tall Gabrielle Smith and Andrea Proske with the World Champions New Zealand and the Netherlands moving with them. Then Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue of New Zealand pushed into the lead and once there they were able to shake off the challengers with Canada and Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard of the Netherlands battling with each other. The qualifiers had been decided and Loe and Donoghue had recorded the fastest qualifying time.

The Czech duo of Kristyna Fleissnerova and Lenka Antosova finished seventh at last month’s World Rowing Cup, but it looks like their training in-between has really stepped up their game. Today they led the way in Semifinal Two and by the middle of the race they had a half boat lead over Helene Lefebvre and Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino of France with the United States and Lithuania right with them. At the half way point just 0.05 of a second separate second, third and fourth. Who had it in the second half? The United States picked up the pace and just squeaked through the 1500m mark in second. The sprint was on with four boats going after three spots. Meghan O’Leary and Ellen Tomek of the United States took their rating to 37 and gained on the Czechs. France and Lithuania followed suit. Fleissnerova and Antosova could not hold on. The Czechs are in the B-final.

Qualifiers: NZL, CAN, NED, USA, LTU, FRA

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Semifinals

The fast-starting German crew of Timo Piontek and Lars Hartig led the way in Semifinal One. Switzerland were the next fastest as the crews moved into the second quarter of the race. Then Nico Stahlberg and Roman Roeoesli of Switzerland did a push and got their nose ahead of Piontek and Hartig. The German duo came second at World Rowing Cup II where the World Champion Kiwis missed out on the medals. Today the Kiwi crew of John Storey and Chris Harris started at the back of the fleet but were slowly working their way to the font. With 500m left to row only a second separated the top three boats and Storey and Harris were motoring. Rating 38 the New Zealand boat led the way home. Second and third was very tight. Switzerland took second and Germany third.

The Netherlands left the starting blocks at 39 and they created the best boat speed initially in Semifinal Two. Amos Keijser and Nicolas van Sprang went through the first 500m marker in the lead. But it was incredibly tight. Less than half a second separated the top three boats with France Two and China One still on the pace. Then Poland’s Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup upped the anti and took over in front. France One followed suit with Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias of France One nudging ahead of Poland. It was a close race to the line with the French outdoing the rest of the field in the close of the race. The times of the winners of semifinal one and semifinal two was almost identical. This would be an incredible final on Sunday.

Qualifiers: NZL, SUI, GER, FRA1, POL, NED1

Men’s Four (M4-) – Semifinals

Semifinal One had Germany and Great Britain taking up the middle lanes. From yesterday’s heats it looked like Germany was the crew to beat. At the start the Netherlands led the way, just a bit ahead of Germany’s very solid crew of Drahotta, Kluge, Merget and Brummel. The Germans then got their nose ahead of the Dutch with Austria now moving up on them. The Netherlands (Schwarz, Tissen, Wietenand van den Ende) pushed back and were in the lead with just 500m left to race. Great Britain now began to move and in the final sprint a fading Germany had to hold on to reserve a qualifying spot. The order: Dutch, British, Germans. The Netherlands had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

The World Champions, Australia showed why they are the World Champions in Semifinal Two. They settled into a 42 stroke rate pace and broke away from the field with just 500m rowed. Joshua Hicks, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill of Australia had three and a half lengths lead, still at 39 strokes per minute, and only half the race had gone. This left the rest of the field to battle it out for the remaining two qualifying spots. And it was tight. South Africa and Russia One had a slight edge, but challenges could easily come from Denmark, France and the Czech Republic.

Australia chose not to sprint the finish and rated a comfortable looking 33-35 in the close of the race. South Africa and Russia followed to take the remaining qualifying spots.

Qualifiers: NED, GBR, GER, AUS1, RSA, RUS1

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Semifinals

The fast-starting Annekatrin Thiele of Germany One did another fast start today in Semifinal One. The strong Sanita Puspure of Ireland was not far behind and going into the middle of the race Puspure managed to get her bow in front of Thiele. Puspure had the fastest qualifying time from yesterday’s heats and she did it with a healthy margin. But Thiele was holding on with Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig right on the pace. Puspure finished second at World Rowing Cup I and it looks like her training since then has been solid as the Irish led the way into the final sprint. The top three boats then broke away from the rest of the field and it looked like the race would not really move into a full-on sprint. Puspure held 35 and looked very comfortable.

The 2012 Olympic medallist Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark shot out very quickly in Semifinal Two. Was this a ploy to take on the World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland? Gmelin followed in second with Australia’s Madeleine Edmunds right on the pace. The powerful Gmelin was now out in front with Erichsen holding on. Now Kara Kohler of the United States started to motor. Edmunds third place was under threat. Then Kohler took on Erichsen and the margins between the crews really closed up. Now Carling Zeeman of Canada, coached by Dick Tonks, came flying. Gmelin’s lead shrunk away. Rating 36, Gmelin held off the challengers.

Qualifiers: IRL, AUT, GER, SUI, CAN, USA

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Semifinals

Semifinal One featured the two German scullers, Oliver Zeidler and Tim Ole Naske who were aiming to beat each other to earn a spot on the World Championship German team. It also featured Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand, who is back from taking a year off post-Olympics. At the start, though, it was Mindaugas Griskonis of Lithuania in the lead with Naske following in second. Coming into the middle of the race these two leaders remained in front with Zeidler and Drysdale closing the gap.

It then looked as of Griskonis had blown up. He dropped his rating right down. Naske seemed to be suffering as well. Zeidler took the lead with Drysdale gaining with every stroke. Sverri Nielsen of Denmark was now in the mix. Neilsen went to 44, Naske was at 41 and had gotten himself back in the mix. The classy Drysdale was at 39 and leading over Zeidler at 42. Nielson had missed out by just a fraction of a second. Zeidler managed to overtake Drysdale on the line.

It was all about Robbie Manson in Semifinal Two. The World Best Time holder from New Zealand, Manson had put himself in the position of the one to beat. France’s Thibaut Verhoeven followed in second with the World Champion, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic in third. Then Synek, who often only does what he has to, now moved into second. But Manson had more than half a boat length lead. What was Synek going to do today? Now Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk began to move up. Manson remained in the lead as Synek realised he’d better put on the power. Manson won, Synek took second and Barnabe Delarze of Switzerland One did an absolutely huge sprint to take the third and final qualifying spot.

Qualifiers: GER2, NZL2, GER1, NZL1, CZE, SUI1

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Semifinals

The Danish duo of Emil Espensen and Alexander Modest were the first to lead in Semifinal One. Behind them was the O’Donovan brothers from Ireland who recorded the fastest qualifying time from yesterday’s heats. At the first 500m mark there was nothing in it between the entire field with the boats separated by just over a second. Espensen and Modest kept the pace on as Ireland moved up into second with Germany’s Jonathan Rommelmann and Konstantin Steinhuebel in third. The margins were practically as close at the half way point. Two seconds separated the entire field. There were not slow-pokes in this race.

Coming into the final sprint the margins remained practically as tight. This was definitely going to be a sprint to the finish. Paul and Gary O’Donovan had now moved into the lead. Everyone knows these Irish have a sprint on them. Denmark was holding on. Canada went to 42 to try and get into the qualifying boats. Wow, what finish. Ireland, Denmark, Canada.

At the start of Semifinal Two Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe of Belgium had the fastest opening pace. They had the lead at the first 500m mark with France One and New Zealand right on the pace. In the second 500, New Zealand’s Benjamin van Dalen and Matthew Dunham took their boat to a 40 stroke rate as the rest of the field sat around 36-37. Van Dalen and Dunham was now in first, pushing Belgium into second with Poland’s Jerzy Kowalsi and Milosz Jankowski in third. This duo won at World Rowing Cup I and it looks like they’ve found their pace again. Belgium now closed on the Kiwis who looked to be suffering a little.

The final sprint was on. Brys and van Zandweghe had the pace. France, New Zealand and Poland went for broke. France just missed out by less than half a second.

Qualifiers: IRL, DEN, IRL, BEL, NZL, POL