In head wind conditions with relatively flat water, history was made during today’s finals. Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand set the record for the most consecutive wins in rowing at 16. Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy made history in Italian rowing by being the first women to win a World Championship title.

Women’s Pair (W2-) – Final
This event has been dominated by Helen Glover and Polly Swann of Great Britain for the entire 2013 season. No other crew has really been able to challenge them. Glover is the Olympic Champion while relative newcomer Swann joined Glover at the start of the season. At the start the United States must have decided that to get to the gold they would have to take on the British from the first stroke. Taylor Goetzinger and Meghan Musnicki of the United States stuck with Glover and Swann for the first 500m but then the powerful Brits started to push away.

Meanwhile New Zealand and Romania were having a huge battle for third and the battle moved them closer and closer to the Americans. In the final sprint Glover and Swann remained in untouchable form, far enough ahead that they could see the huge battle for the silver and bronze medal going on behind them.

Roxana Cogianu and Nicoleta Albu of Romania were coming on fast with New Zealand’s Kayla Pratt and Rebecca Scown challenging with every stroke. Goetzinger and Musnicki  were running out of steam. Both New Zealand and Romania were at 39 strokes per minute and they had both edged out the Americans. At the line Swann had earned her first World Championship title. Pratt had earned her first senior World Championship medal.  Glover and Swann had completed an unbeaten season.

Three of the medallists from the European Rowing Championships raced in this B-final indicating the quality at these World Rowing Championships. Germany had the fastest start and led through the first half of the race. In the second half, however, Serbia’s Ivana Filipovic and Iva Obradovic practically walked away from the field. Obradovic comes to the pair from a lengthy career in the single and it looks like she’s really clicked with Filipovic. At the line Serbia recorded an easy win.

Helen Glover - Gold
“We were in a commanding position from stroke one, USA put us under pressure for first 500m and made us a bit worried, but we stayed focused and continued on. At 1000m we looked at Romanians and we knew we had it under control. We just couldn’t believe how good it felt for the second thousand. Crossing the finish line we were overjoyed that we did it.”

Nicoleata Albu  - Silver
“We were expecting a medal, but it’s a new crew. We’ve only been together for one month, so this is the beginning. Our aim is the gold, maybe next year, maybe in Rio. We are very happy because you have to start somewhere.”

Kayla Pratt – Bronze
“It was a really tough race. We were a bit slow off the start, but we were able to power through.”

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Final
Everyone knew it would take something very, very special to beat the New Zealanders. At the end of this race if Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand were to win they would set a rowing record for the number of consecutive wins – 16.

At the start New Zealand came out the slowest, but by the first 500m mark Bond and Murray had got their nose in front. Bond and Murray are known to row their own race and they were doing just that today as they settled into a 35 stroke rate pace. The real question now seemed to be, who could take the silver? Times in the semifinals yesterday indicated that Olympic silver medallists Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette of France may be back to their London form.  Chardin and Mortelette thus slotted into second with the Netherlands right on their tails.

Rogier Blink and Mitchel Steenman of the Netherlands had won the European Rowing Championships earlier this season and they had come to the pair after racing last year in their nation’s Olympic eight. Today they were having a great race to hold on to the third spot.

In the final sprint New Zealand had an open water lead and barely needed to sprint. The French were at 40 in an attempt to hold of the Netherlands who looked like they were just hanging in there. The order remained the same with all three crews looking happy with the result. Special mention must be made to Alexander Sigurbjonsson Benet and Pau Vela Maggi of Spain. They came in fourth and completed a season that showed that they will be a crew to watch in 2014.

To honour Bond and Murray’s accomplishment Poi E, an iconic New Zealand song played for the crowds as Bond and Murray rowed to the medals podium.

Going into his third decade of international rowing Nikola Stojic was in stroke seat of the Serbian boat. Along with Nenad Bedik, Serbia led for the majority of the race. Then in the final sprint Serbia ran out of gears and were overtaken by Oliver Cook and James Foad of Great Britain with South Africa coming through in second.
Results: GBR, RSA, SRB, GER, ARG, HUN        

Eric Murray & Hamish Bond - Gold
“This is our 5th World Championship gold medal and each one is special in its own way. We are pleased to be back on course after the Olympic Games. We pride ourselves for being consistent. We respect all the other pairs and we have set benchmarks, everyone is expecting us to win, but we can say that we feel that the field is getting faster, so we have to stay on top of our game.”

“We put a lot of work into this season and now we are relieved that it’s over. We always try to go as fast as possible and not to become complacent. It is very hard to do that and we think that sometimes people don’t understand how hard it is to be on top at every race. Even if we sometimes don’t perform at our best, we are still able to win.”

Germain Chardin - Silver
“We are very happy with the result. It was the best result of the season. The Kiwi pair are two exceptional rowers and they work really hard in New Zealand. Our aim is to get as close (to them) as possible.”

Rogier Blink – Bronze
“We didn’t expect this at all this morning. During the race we were able to stay in contact with the Italians. At the 1250m mark we made a move, but no one else did. We are absolutely delighted”


Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Final
With France not able to contest this event due to an injury this field had opened up as no boat was dominating. The only hint to who today’s medallists could be were the semifinals that saw Simon Schuerch and Mario Gyr of Switzerland clock the fastest time. At the start Andrea Micheletti and Pietro Ruta of Italy flew out of the start and kept their rating up through to the middle of the race. This is a new Italian duo for 2013 and the first time for quite a while that Elia Luini has not been in the boat.

Half the race had been rowed and it was Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway who were the closest to the Italians with Gyr and Schuerch moving on up. Gyr and Schuerch had come to the double after racing last year in the final of the Olympic lightweight men’s four.

In the final sprint Italy were hanging on for dear life, but could not find that extra gear. Instead it was Brun and Strandli who were truly looking impressive. They were maintaining long strokes and a powerful 37 stroke rate pace. At the line Brun and Strandli had become World Champions. Move over Tufte, here come the lightweights. So who are Brun and Strandli? The duo came together in 2008 at the under-23 level and they have been plugging away ever since. They finished ninth at the London Olympics deciding that they had every intention to continue on to Rio. This medal will give them a big boost.

Switzerland came through into second and an exhausted Peter and Richard Chambers of Great Britain held on for third.

Poland had only just missed out on making the A-final in Thursday’s semifinal and they were expected to do well today. And they did. Artur Mikolajczewski and Milosz Jankowski of Poland set off at a cracking pace with the United States in hot pursuit. The field remained tightly packed together and the sprint to the line saw just two seconds separate the top three boats. The Muda twins from the Netherlands had out-sprinted Poland to take first.

Kristoffer Brun – Gold
“This was unbelievable race for us. We stayed cool during the middle part of the race and pushed hard during the last 750m. The last 20 strokes were unbelievably hard. Before this final race we said, ‘we’ll give them hell’ and we delivered. It’s an insane and unbelievable feeling to be World Champions.”

Simon Schuerch - Silver
“Before the race we were expected to fight with Great Britain, Italy and Norway. After the semifinal we thought gold could be possible, but we are very happy with the result. The regatta is really sensational, the course is fantastic and the organisation is much better than we expected.”

Peter Chambers – Bronze
“We couldn’t do anything else. It’s the worst I’ve felt after a race ever. We left everything out there.”

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Final
Germany’s London Olympic double of Lena Mueller and Anja Noske had the lead at the start and held it for the first 500m. But then Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy pushed through to the front and showed the power that has held them in the lead of every race since they came together for last year’s European Rowing Championships. Milani trialled for the London Olympics but did not qualify, while Sancassani had spent her rowing career up to that point rowing as a heavyweight rower.

Once in the lead Milani and Sancassani moved clean away from the field leaving Germany and Kristin Hedstrom and Kathleen Bertko of the United States to battle it out for the silver. And it certainly was a battle. In the final sprint Bertko and Hedstrom prevailed. Using a 39 stroke rate the American duo held their boat ahead of Noske and Mueller.

At the line Milani and Sancassani had made history. The duo had become the first World Champions for Italian women’s rowing – a fabulous achievement for Italian rowing. A large contingent of Italian rowers were in the grandstand to celebrate with them.

A very tight semifinal saw Australia’s Alice McNamara and Maia Simmonds just miss out on making the A-final. Today the duo had the lead at the start and by the first 500m mark they had built up almost a full boat length lead. McNamara and Simmonds took silver at the World Rowing Cup in Sydney but did not race any of the other World Cups. As the race progressed, Australia moved further away from the rest of the field with Sweden and South Africa having a huge battle for second. Kate Johnstone and Kirsten McCann of South Africa earned the upper hand.

Laura Milani – Gold
“We still haven’t realised that we are the World Champions. That was our dream and now it’s for real. It was a very hard race because of the head wind, but we had confidence in our abilities in all weather conditions. We stayed focused the whole way but we worried a little bit that something could happen in the last few hundred metres.”

Kristin Hedstrom – Silver
“The goal was to be internal. We really worked on that after Lucerne.  In the lightweight women’s double you know it’s going to be close. We didn’t know what would happen, but it’s about trusting your strength. That’s all we did and we’re really happy.”

Anja Noske – Bronze
“When we crossed the line, the only thing I felt was that everything hurt but now I’m realising that we got the bronze medal. This bronze at the World Champions means more to me than silver at Europeans. The secret to our success is that we are a strong team who go through highs and lows together. It’s so fun to row with Lena.”


Men’s Four (M4-) – Final
Australia was the first to show at the start of this race with all expectations being on an incredibly close battle between all six crews. Coming through from the semifinals the spread of the entire field was just two seconds. Potentially the United States had the leading edge after winning at the World Rowing Cup last month in Lucerne. But the US came out at the back of the field with Australia starting to inch away.

Australia’s William Lockwood, Alexander Lloyd, Spencer Turrin and Joshua Dunkley-Smith include two members that took the London Olympic silver medal in this event. What could they do one year on?

As the race progressed the United States pushed their way into second with Italy right on their pace. As Australia remained in the lead a virtual line had formed behind them of the United States, Italy and a flying Dutch crew. Boaz Meylink, Kaj Hendriks, Mechiel Versluis and Robert Leuken are three members of the London Olympic four that finished fifth last year. They had won the European Championships earlier this season and then taken fourth at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne.

The Dutch continued to fly and at a 40 stroke rate they had taken the lead. Australia were now holding on to second with the United States and Italy both charging. The Dutch had done it. Before security could take action, three Dutch supporters had started their signature swim out to the Dutch boat.

The effort of this race was evident a member of the Dutch and Australian boat suffered from their energy output.

Croatia were the quickest off the line but they were up against Belarus who had only just missed out on a spot in the final by one second. Belarus finished seventh at the London Olympics and they have been regular A-finalists this season. After Croatia’s initial lead, Romania pushed into the lead and by the half-way point they had a very small advantage over a tightly packed field with just a three second spread. Then Croatia got their nose in front. Finally Belarus showed their class and in the closing metres they pulled clean away from the rest of the field.

Kaj Hendriks –Gold
“The middle part of the race is our weak point. Our mission was to stay close in the middle. We used to start our sprint late, but our aim was to empty the tank before the finish line. It was hard for me to keep my eyes in the boat because I was waiting for the bowman to call our position, but when he said we were in first it was only legs after that.”

Joshua Dunkley-Smith - Silver
“We were expecting a close finish, and expecting the USA and Italy to be fast, but not the Dutch, even though they were fast in the semifinal. We didn’t know what to expect from Chungju except heat and humidity. It took us a while to adjust to the weather, but after the semis we were back up on top of things.”

Seth Weil – Bronze
“We expected to be competitive and race for the medals today. We are a pretty new crews so I didn’t assume anything before the race. We knew we had speed, but today we didn’t quite execute what we planned. It seemed like we didn’t have the next gear in the last quarter of the race. Still it was a great race and all this year was good for us. We are looking forward to racing Dutch and Australians in the coming years.”

Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Final
Germany had a big target on their back. They had gone unbeaten so far this season and every other crew in this race wanted to change that. But it was Germany’s Annekatrin Thiele, Carina Baer, Julia Richter and Britta Oppelt that had the lead at the start and by the first 500m mark they had earned nearly a full boat length lead.

Behind Germany, Canada were slotting into second. The Canadians had won their heat earlier in the week with a crew thatis racing for the first time internationally in this combination. Emily Cameron, Katharine Goodfellow, Carling Zeeman and Antje Von Seydlitz-Kurzbach of Canada look like they have found a great line up as the crew remained in second through the middle of the race.

With Germany out in front, Poland were closing on Canada. The Poles had been having a great season taking silver at two of the World Cup races and they were definite medal contenders today.

Now the final sprint was coming into view and Poland was at 38 with Canada at 36. As Germany remained comfortably in front, Canada had earned the silver medal just ahead of Poland.
Results : GER, CAN, POL, NED, USA, ITA

Margins were close at the start with Belarus moving just a fraction faster than their competition. But by the first 500m mark, Australia had pulled into the lead. The Australian crew had medalled at all three World Cups this season and they were shocked to miss out on the final after racing in the repechage earlier in the week. New Zealand challenged hard as they and Australia pulled away from the rest of the field. In the final sprint New Zealand, who had rated rather conservatively through most of the race overtook Australia. The Australians came through in second, but only just over an awesome closing sprint by Great Britain.
Results: NZL, AUS, GBR, BLR, KOR

Britta Opelt – Gold
“I am speechless! It’s really an amazing feeling. Racing was a lot of fun. We were very happy to be able to apply our training in the race.”

Antje Von Seydlitz-Kurzbach - Silver
“I think it’s a long time since the Canadians had a female crew in the A-final. I’m super excited to be part of it. We raced like we do in training and it worked. We gave it our all and I’m really happy with the result.”

Magdalena Fularczyk - Bronze
“We have only been rowing together a few months in the quad, so we are very happy with the result. The organisation of the regatta was really good, but 8 days is a long competition. The venue and region is really beautiful.”

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Final
Coming through from the semfinals the top two boats, Croatia and Germany had recorded almost identical times in their respective semis. Who would win today? Germany are the reigning Olympic Champions and have just had one change from that Olympic crew.  Croatia finished second at the Olympics and has remained with the same Olympic line up. They have won both World Cup races that they entered this season.

Making their intentions clear from the start David Sain, Damir Martin and Valent and Martin Sinkovic got out to a fast start with the rest of the field all very much on the pace. Through the middle of the race margins remained tight - just two seconds separating the field. Switzerland then slipped back slightly, but they were still within striking distance.

Croatia remained in the lead coming into the final sprint but they had only a slight margin. Germany were on attack mode with Great Britain now flying down the outside. It looked like all of the leading crews were only just hanging in there expending every ounce of energy to get to the finish line. At a 38 stroke rate the Croatian’s had got there first. In 2010 Croatia took the World Championship title and became the first Croatian rowers to win the title. Today they added number two to their collection. Germany came through in second with a very happy Great Britain taking the bronze.

Judging by the semifinals, the Dutch would be the crew to beat. As has regularly been the case the Netherlands came out of the starting blocks rather slowly. In the lead were Slovenia. The field remained tightly bunched. Bu the middle of the race Italy’s Cagna, Rambaldi, Venier and Montrone had a rather healthy margin. This margin remained. Meanwhile it took until the final sprint for the Netherlands to finally make an impact. With Italy in front the Dutch, rating 38, pulled into second.

David Sain – Gold
“This was a fantastic race. Everything unfolded according to plan. This was maybe the best race of our lives. We really drained all our reserves, but saved enough energy to hold the challengers in the last 200m. We planned to get ahead of the rest, but not at any cost. We took a commanding lead at 500m and it was easier for us after that. We are really satisfied with the conditions here in Korea. Today’s weather conditions were better than the rest of the week. We had a head wind, which has always suited us fine, although we are prepared for all weather conditions.”

Tim Grohmann - Silver
“Of course our aim was gold, but I think we had a 50/50 chance. It’s usually like this with the Croatians. The Croatians got off better at the start, basically what we did in London last year. In general, we are happy with the result. It was really nice to row in Korea, but we struggled with heat, humidity and jet lag. By the semifinal we were fit and prepared to give our best effort. The course is great and very fair and the surroundings are beautiful.”

Peter Lambert - Bronze
“We were very controlled for the first 1000m. We knew the other guys were ahead of us, but we knew we had a strong second thousand. We backed ourselves to do well in last thousand. I’m really happy for the guy behind me. It’s good that the Ukrainians came at us because I didn’t realise the Germans were that close. It’s a historic medal, first ever for a GB quad, so we’re very happy with the result.”