Alena Krysheyenka of Belarus races in the heats of the Under 23 Lightweight Women's Single Sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Semifinals

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Katherine Copeland of Great Britain is racing at the under-23 level in between her senior team responsibilities and today she showed why she is on the very successful British team. Copeland took off in the lead of semifinal one. Rowing a very controlled race Copeland was overtaken through the middle of the race by Annick Taselaar of the Netherlands. Copeland bided her time and came through into first in the last stretch, recording the fastest qualifying time in the process. Canada’s Patricia Obee also got the better of Taselaar and also earned a spot in the final by finishing second. Taselaar held on the third and also qualified.

Copeland’s finishing time was less than a second outside the World Best Time set in 2006 by Greece.

Belarus’s Alena Kryvasheyenka showed why she is the reigning under-23 champion. She came through to these semifinals with the fastest qualifying time and in semifinal two she showed her dominance. After overtaking a fast-starting France, Kryvasheyenka pushed into the lead and never looked back, moving to over a boat length lead through the middle of the race. Emma Fred of Sweden slotted into second and did her best to keep Kryvasheyenka honest. But the Belarusian was in control and did just enough to stay ahead of Fred. Fred medalled earlier this season at the senior Samsung World Rowing Cup and she is at her third under-23 championships. Fred qualified for the final from second and Belgium’s Clara Francois took the third qualifying spot.

Qualifiers: GBR, CAN, NED, BLR, SWE, BEL

Panagiotis Magdanis of Greece racing in the heats of the Under 23 Lightweight Men's Single Sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Semifinals

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The 25 countries that began in this event have now been narrowed down to 12, divided into two semifinals. Semifinal one featured Panagiotis Magdanis. Magdanis is the reigning under-23 World Champion from the lightweight double and also rows at senior level in the same boat class. In Amsterdam the lightweight single is his boat and he showed that – even by himself, Magdanis’s speed is impressive. After an initial lead by the fast starting Peruvian, Renzo Leon Garcia, Magdanis used an aggressive stroke rate to get into the lead. Leon could not match the pace and settled into second ahead of Nedelcho Vasilev of Bulgaria.

Coming through to the end of the race a crab by Vasilev removed his chances of catching Leon who was happy to stay in second and keep a 29 stroke rate to qualify. Magdanis did a 35 stroke sprint to cross the line well in front. Magdanis, Leon and Vasilev are in the final.

France’s Jeremie Azou is at his first under-23 championships as he has spent every year since junior level racing at the senior level. But he’s giving the under-23s a go in Amsterdam and he enjoyed another win today in semifinal two. Azou was chased closely by 2010 junior bronze medallist, Andrew Campbell of the United States, but then managed to shake off the American in the second half of the race to finish with clear water. Campbell qualified from second and Slovenia’s Jure Grace qualifed from third, holding this position for the entire race. Azou’s time of 7:00 is the fastest qualifying time.

Qualifiers: GRE, PER, BUL, FRA, USA, SLO

Lawrence Brittain (S) and David Hunt of South Africa racing in Under 23 Men's Pairs Semifinals at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, Holland
Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Semifinals

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The much hyped British pair of George Nash and Constantine Louloudis continued on their winning ways by taking out semifinal one. Doing what competitors love to do, Nash and Louloudis led from start to finish and with enough of a lead to keep an eye on their competition and counter any potential moves. Poland’s Dawid Grabowski and Bartosz Zablocki slotted into second and this front-of-the-field situation remained the same throughout the race. The real tussle instead went on for the third qualifying spot. Coming through the third 500 Turkey came up from behind to challenge Argentina. The Argentineans did all that they could to fight back. Turkey attacked again in the final sprint rating 39. Argentina’s Remo Lanzoni and Ivan Carino went to 41 and both boats crossed the line together in a photo finish. After finish line judge assessment, Argentina was awarded third.

Despite the success so far of the British, they are yet to meet the reigning under-23 champions, South Africa. Lawrence Brittain of South Africa is back defending his title with new partner, David Hunt. In semifinal two, South Africa showed their dominance leading over Romania and Germany in these tail wind conditions. Hunt and Brittain settled into a good rhythm keeping a close eye on the tussle between Romania and Germany.

In the final sprint Anton Braun and Bastian Bechler of Germany got the better of Romania while France, in fourth, had to save themselves in these tricky conditions when they nearly fell into the water. This mishap put France out of any chance of getting into a qualifying spot. These will go to South Africa, German and Romania.

Qualifiers: GBR, POL, ARG, RSA, GER, ROU

Holland's Dirk Uittenbogaard (S) and Freek Robbers (B) racing in the Under 23 Men's Double Sculls semifinals at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, Holland
Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Semifinals

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Much to the crowd’s delight, the Netherlands’ Freek Robbers and Dirk Uittenbogaard were in the lead at the start of semifinal one. The Germans (Hagen Rothe and Sebastian Peter), however, were creeping up and going through the middle 1000m. A push by Rothe and Peter gave them the lead. Soon, the Dutch found themselves under threat from Slovenia. Ales Zupan and Grega Domanjko of Slovenia are in their first season together. Domanjko has come through from junior ranks while Zupan raced in the four at last year’s Under-23 Championships. Slovenia got ahead of the Dutch and then went after Germany, but there was too much of a gap. Germany remained in first, Slovenia qualify from second and the Netherlands hold on to third.

Latvia’s Lauris Sire and Dairis Adamaitis are the reigning under-23 World Champions and as a few spots of rain fell, they got away in the lead in semifinal two. By the half way point Sire and Adamaitis still had Belarus, France and Lithuania well within striking distance. Lithuania’s Gytis Ruzgys and Mykolas Masilionis then decided they wanted this race the most and attacked to move into third. Coming through the 1750m mark Ruzgys and Masilionis attacked again. Latvia held them off but France did not. Latvia, Lithuania and France move on to the finals.

Qualifiers: GER, SLO, NED, LAT, LTU, FRA

 

Christina Giatzidou (S) and Triantafyllia Kalampoka (B) racing in the U23 Lightweight Women's Double Sculls semifinals fo Greece at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, Holland
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Semifinals

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Regulars at the under-23 championships, Greece’s Triantafyllia Kalampoka and Christina Giazitzidou are the reigning World Champions in this event. They took off in semifinal one just behind Spain and the Netherlands. Going through the middle of the race Veronica Garcia Mulet and Laura Terradas of Spain held the lead as Greece remained close on hand. As the crews went past the white bridge that signals 500m to go, Spain still had the lead but Kalampoka and Giazitzidou were closing fast. Spain had nothing more to give and Greece got into the lead. The Greeks then dropped their rating to 28 as they crossed the finish line, their work done. Spain took second and Elisabeth Woerner and Lieve Leijssen of the Netherlands were third.

The aggressive, short style of Alyce Pulford and Julia Edward of New Zealand was serving them well as they grabbed hold of the lead in semifinal two. By the half-way point Pulford and Edward had gained a boat length lead. Edward was in the boat that took silver a year ago and Pulford has joined Edward from racing two years ago in the under-23 quad. Behind the New Zealanders Germany moved into second with Belarus in third. Coming through the 1250m mark, Sarah Keller and Elizabeth Bates of the United States upped their stroke rate and moved on Belarus. Swallowing Belarus up, they went after Germany and overtook them as well. Keller and Bates then closed on the New Zealanders, but Pulford and Edward were punching along with a 38 stroke rate and had enough left in the tank to hold off the USA. New Zealand, the United States and Germany qualify for the final on Sunday.

Qualifiers: GRE, ESP, NED, NZL, USA, GER

Davide Babboni (S) and Leonardo Boccuni (B) of Italy racing in the Under 23 Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Repechage at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships on the Bosbaan, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Semifinals

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As the wind turned to a cross-tail wind, the decision was made to change the lanes being used to increase the fairness for the competitors. It was now up to athletes to make the best of these conditions. In semifinal one France’s Damien Piqueras and Alexandre Pilat and Italy’s Leonardo Boccuni and Davide Babboni went head-to-head at the front of the field. By the half way point these two crews remained on top of each other and they continued to stick to each other like glue. This left last year’s under-23 World Champions Greece to sit in third.

Coming through the third 500m Italy managed to break away just slightly from France. The French came back and at the line Piqueras and Pilat had the first place.

The fastest qualifying time was struck in semifinal two by Germany. The Germans (Christian Hochbruck and Matthais Arnold) came out of the starting blocks in second behind Spain, but only by a fraction and by the half way point they had pushed ahead of Daniel Sigurjorsson Benet and Arnau Bertran Sastre of Spain. The Spanish duo finished fifth last year at the under-23 champs and they warmed up for this regatta by racing at the senior World Rowing Cup.

As the finish came into view Spain, fought back and closed the gap on Hochbruck and Arnold, but did not get to overtake. These two crews qualify along with Austria in third.

Qualifiers: FRA, ITA, GRE, GER, ESP, AUT

Poland's Sebastian Krajewski (B), Adam Mrotek (2), Tomasz Zagorski (3) and Pawel Cieszkowski (S) racing in the heats of the Under 23 Lightweight Men's Fours at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Lightweight Men’s Four (BLM4-) – Semifinals

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Right from the start Italy showed their aggression and their desire to win. De Maria, Amarante, Nicoletti and Pinca of Italy used a high stroke rate to take the lead in semifinal one. The Italians finished second last year and they are after that elusive gold. Going through the middle of the race France had moved into second and although they got close to Italy, the French soon slipped back, hoping just to hold off Hungary in third.

Italy kept their stroke rate high until the end,  sitting on 40 strokes per minute as France rated 37 behind them. The order did not change.

The first World Best Time of the day went down in semifinal two in a race that had four crews neck-and-neck for the entire race. Poland, Germany, Great Britain and Germany set out together, stayed together through the middle of the race then sprinted to the line together. In a flurry of oars and men and boats Germany’s Franzmann, Noske, Corinth and Antczak got to the line first in a new World Best Time of 5:58.07. Unfortunately, in this tight tussle one crew had to miss out. Reigning under-23 World Champions Great Britain will not be in the final by a mere 20th of a second.

Qualifiers: ITA, FRA, HUN, GER, ESP, POL

 

The start of the Under 23 Men's Fours semifinals at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Semifinals

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The big Ukrainian crew of Ivanov, Futryk, Nadtoka and Dovgodko were the crew to beat in semifinal one. Ukraine finished third last year and they are hoping to better it this year. Following stroke, Ivan Dovgodko, the Ukrainians took off in the lead closely followed by the United States. A big push by the American in the third 500 gave them the lead, but the lead was tiny and Ukraine was fighting back.

Ukraine gave it their all in the final sprint to take first, the United States just ahead of Italy in second. Italy qualified from third. Steering problems in the Estonian boat probably cost them a qualifying place as they finish in fourth just a fraction behind Italy.

The Czech Republic looked in control and relaxed in semifinal two. Despite an incredibly close battle with Germany, the Czechs remained composed, underrating the Germans. The Czech Republic were fourth last year and they must have a fair idea what it takes to get into a medal place. Germany, with former Junior Champion single sculler Felix Bach sitting in the middle of the boat, rated 39 coming into the finish while the Czechs held on with a 32 stroke rate. Latvia came through in third.

Qualifiers: UKR, USA, ITA, CZE, GER, LAT

 

Georgi Bozhilov of Bulgaria concentrates for the start of his heat in the Under 23 Men's Single Sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) - Semifinals

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Despite a slow start, Stergios Papachristos of Greece found his rhythm, picked up the pace and worked his way through the five other boats to find the lead in semifinal one. By the middle of the race Papachristos was in second behind Georgi Bozhilov of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian, however, could not hold off the Greek and Papachristos was in the lead with water to spare. Papachristos showed the audience an interesting style of looking over his right shoulder as he rowed. It did him no harm and he finished clearly in the lead. Bozhilov took second and Austria’s Camillo Franek came through into third, denying Great Britain a spot in the final by just 16 hundredths of a second.

The fastest qualifying time came in semifinal two and was achieved by Germany’s Hubert Trzybinski. This is Trzybinski’s first season racing in the single internationally and he already has two junior champion titles in team boats. The single seems to suit Trzybinski well and he led from start to finish. But it wasn’t all easy for Germany. In the final sprint Lithuania’s Rolandas Mascinskas and Bram Dubois of Belgium went after Trzybinski. Meanwhile last year’s silver medallist Aleksandar Aleksandrov of Azerbaijan found the pace too much and gave up before the line. Germany, Lithuania and Belgium qualified for the final on Sunday.

Qualifiers: GRE, BUL, AUT, GER, LTU, BEL

 

Carina Baer of Germany racing in the Under 23 Women's Single Sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) – Semifinals

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Wow, what a finish! Semifinal one saw the top three boats cross the finish line within half a second of each other. Ukraine lead at the start before Kaisa Pajusalu of Estonia took over the lead through the middle of the race. As Ivana Filipovic of Serbia charged for the line, Iskra Angelova of Azerbaijan came with her. Angelova has had previous success for Bulgaria and now rows for Azerbaijan. It was Filipovic that had the best sprint to cross the line first.

Despite the tightness of semifinal one, semifinal two recorded the fastest qualifying time. This was done by Donata Visartaite of Lithuania. World under-23 champion, Vistartaite spent most of the race in second behind Germany’s Carina Baer but then did just enough to overtake Baer at the end. But it was Nicole Beukers of the Netherlands that had the crowd going.

Beukers was battling with Greece and Australia for most of the race before she used the home crowd support to bring her through to the finish in third and qualifying position.

Qualifiers: SRB, EST, AZE, LTU, GER, NED