Olympians and newcomers mix as under-23 heats conclude
The 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria entered day two of heats as rowers faced calm waters and temperatures that rose into the high 20s (Celsius) as the racing progressed.
Those racing included Olympic Champions like Nataliya Dovgodko of Ukraine who was here in the women’s single sculls and newcomers to the international rowing scene like Patryk Kusz and Karol Leszczynski from the Polish men’s eight.
Standout performances included Spain who qualified for the next round of racing by finishing first in their heats of the lightweight men’s double sculls, lightweight men’s four and the men’s double sculls.
Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Heats
The three heats in the lightweight women’s single sculls lined up with the aim of finishing in the top two for a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals. All other boats would have to return for tomorrow’s repechage for their second chance to advance to the semifinals.
In Heat One Ireland’s Denise Walsh shot out of the start at a terrific pace but she was not able to break away from her competitors, with Eveline Peleman of Belgium soon taking over in the lead. Peleman then proceeded to pull completely away from the rest of the field. This is a huge leap for Peleman who finished 14th in this event at last year’s under-23 championships. At the line Peleman was able to drop her stroke rate to 31 and still remain in first. Walsh came through in second rating 35 as the second qualifier. Peleman’s time of 7:46 was the fastest qualifying time.
Japan’s Ayami Oishi got off to a great start in Heat Two with Greece’s Aikaterini Nikolaidou moving with her. Nikolaidou is having a superb season so far coming to these under-23 championships after winning the European Rowing Championships last month. Oishi and Nikolaidou tussled through the middle of the race which moved them clean away from the rest of the field. Nikolaidou then got the upper hand to qualify from first. Oishi, safely in the second qualifying spot kept her pace going but seemed happy to just hold on to her position.
Last year Anna Ioannou of Cyprus made history by earning the first international medal for her country in rowing. Today Iaonnou was back to compete again in Heat Three. Iaonnou got out quickly at the start but she was in the same heat as the reigning under-23 champion,
Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus. By the middle of the course Kryvasheyenka had pushed into first and then started to inch away from the field. Meanwhile Ioannou found herself in a hefty battle with newcomer Anna Berger of Austria. Going stroke for stroke, Ioannou and Berger charged for the finish line. The crowd was loving seeing a local in such a close battle. At the line just 0.21 of a second separated Berger and Ioannou. Ioannou prevailed to qualify for the semifinal along with Kryvasheyenka. Berger was visibly not happy. She will have to return for the repechage.
Qualifiers: BEL, IRL, GRE, JPN, BLR, CYP
Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Heats
An impressive field of 18 nations had entered this event. These crews were divided into three heats with the top two boats from each heat getting to go directly to Saturday’s semifinals.
Heat One saw Serbia’s Milos Vasic and Radoje Deric dominate. The Serbian duo, who raced in the men’s four at the London Olympics, led from start to finish despite Azerbaijan’s Igor Lucic and Luka Dordevic giving it their all to get into the lead. Rating 38 in the final sprint, Lucic and Dordevic managed to close the gap on the more relaxed Vasic and Deric, but the Serbian’s had enough of a lead that they remained in front. Serbia and Azerbaijan had qualified for the semifinals.
In Heat Two Australia’s Angus Moore and Alexander Hill made easy work of their race by leading the entire race and never being challenged. Despite their dominant position Moore and Hill still recorded the fastest qualifying time. Moore and Hill warmed up for these championships by racing at the Samsung World Rowing Cup earlier this month in Lucerne (SUI). There they finished 10th overall before heading back to their European training base in Varese, Italy. Ireland’s Sean O-Connor and Flonnan McQuillan-Tolan followed in second with no challenges happening for the two leading boats.
The vuvuzelas got going for Heat Three as David Hunt and Vincent Breet of South Africa led the way. Hunt and Breet have been having a great season. They raced in the men’s pair final at the Henley Royal Regatta and then went on to the Lucerne World Rowing Cup where they finished seventh. They are also the 2012 under-23 silver medallists. Today Hunt and Breet took a very handy lead at the start and then, with a wary eye on the rest of the field, did just enough to remain in front. Germany’s Daniel Walter and Finn Knueppel, meanwhile, were having a full one tussle with the Netherlands. Crossing the line it was hard to pick who had the edge. The finish line judges called Germany as the second place getters. South Africa and Germany were going directly to the semifinals.
Qualifiers: SRB, AZE, AUS, IRL, RSA, GER
Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Heats
This event had two heats with the first boat only getting to go directly to Sunday’s final. In Heat One Romania’s Ionela-Madalina Rusu and Laura Oprea absolutely dominated. This race also saw the start of a small tail wind pushing finishing times closer to the under-23 World Best Times. This new Romanian double is made up of Oprea who finished third in the single at last year’s World Rowing Junior Championships and Rusa who was in last year’s under-23 quad. Together they look like a fine combination as they had clear water with just 500m raced. At the finish Romania had earned huge lead and the fastest qualifying time.
Heat Two was a bit more of a battle as France shot out to an early lead. This, however, didn’t last long as first the Czech Republic and then Denmark overtook the French. Denmark’s Anne Andersen and Hedvig Rasmussen were now in the lead and with that made their lead larger as the metres of the race slipped behind them. Andersen and Rasmussen have spent the 2013 season so far in their country’s senior quad and it must have worked as a great warm up for these under-23 championships. At the line Denmark was the sole qualifiers.
Qualifiers: ROU, DEN
Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Heats
The three heats in this event had attracted entries from 17 nations and today’s job for the crews was to finish in a top two position for a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals. Heat One saw some of the tightest racing of the day with five boats moving together. At the start Latvia had a small lead over Denmark, Spain, Ukraine and Azerbaijan with only Italy off the pace. By the middle of the race margins remained very tight, but now Pau Franquet Monfort and Ruben Padilla Camara of Spain were in the lead. Once in front, Franquet and Padilla got into a good rhythm and managed to get a bit of space between them and Denmark who was now in second.
In the final sprint Spain held their lead with Latvia’s Kriss Kalnins and Gints Zunde giving it their all at a 36 stroke rate to try and grab the remaining qualifying spot. They did it. Spain and Latvia had earned semifinal positions.
Heat Two turned out to be the fastest of the three heats when Lithuania’s Dominykas Jancionis and Aurimas Adomavicius fighting it out with Stephan Riemekasten and Timo Piontek of Germany. Riemekasten finished second in this event at last year’s under-23 championships and he is joined by Piontek who comes from the 2012 under-23 quad.
As the race progressed Jancionis and Adomavicius held a slight advantage, albeit only slight. In the final sprint, however, Riemekasten and Piontek had more power left and took it to the line in first place using a 33 stroke rate to Lithuania’s 32. These two boats had qualified for the semifinals.
Hungary’s Gergely Papp and Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar led the race in Heat Three. The Hungarians timed it perfectly by using a fast start and then holding a steady pace through the body of the race. Austria initially put up a strong challenge before slipping back letting Bulgaria’s Kristian Vasilev and Romeo Angelov come through into second. Hungary and Bulgaria were the two qualifying boats. This is a great result for Papp and Petervari-Molnar who finished 16th at last year’s under-23 championships in the men’s quad.
Qualifiers: ESP, LAT, GER, LTU, HUN, BUL
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Heats
This event had attracted three heats of boats with the top three crews in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals on Saturday. This was something all crews desperately wanted as it would not only mean one less race but also one less weigh-in session. At the end of the three heats finishing times reflected the tough competition as all of the top boats were within a bit over a second of each other. Heat Two’s Georgia Miansarow and Georgia Nesbitt of Australia had recorded the fastest qualifying time of a very quick 7:09.14.
But first to Heat One; Germany’s Fabienne Knoke and Leonie Pieper were the quickest out at the start. Germany won this event last year but with a different combination. By the middle of the race Great Britain’s Eleanor Piggott and Brianna Stubbs had gained on Germany and they were continuing to close the gap. Piggott and Stubbs raced at the Eton Dorney Samsung World Rowing Cup last month where they finished a very respectable fourth place. The British duo then got their nose in front and powered through to the end at a 35 stroke rate pace. Germany held on to second and Lisa Owen and Sophie MacKenzie held on to third to take the final qualifying spot.
A tight three boat tussle between Switzerland, Romania and Australia set a very fast pace in Heat Two. Switzerland’s Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol had the edge at the start, but the margin was tiny. Going through the middle of the race less than a second separated the top three boats and this margin shrunk to less than half a second in the third quarter. Australia’s Georgia Miansarow and Georgia Nesbitt had now pushed into the lead as the charge for the finish got going. Miansarow and Nesbitt, rating 35, held the lead with Ionela-Livia Lehaci and Andreea Asoltanei of Romania coming through into second. Switzerland held on to third. These were the three qualifying boats.
Heat Three had Monika Kowalska and Joanna Dorociak of Poland setting the pace. Kowalska and Dorociak finished eighth in this event at last year’s under-23 championships and they look to have stepped up a notch one year on. Behind Poland Hungary’s Sara Balint and Dorottya Bene followed in second with the Netherlands in third. As Norway, in last, soon dropped off the pace, this race turned into a procession with the top three boats under no threat for their qualifying spots. Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands had earned positions in the semifinals.
Qualifiers: GBR, GER, NZL, AUS, ROU, SUI, POL, HUN, NED
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Heats
A very impressive field of 19 nations took to the water in the lightweight men’s double sculls. They were divided into four heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals on Saturday.
Heat One got under way with Denmark’s Peter Noerlem and Mathias Larsen battling it out with Jaime De Haz and Ander Zabala Artetxe of Spain. This front-of-the-field fight meant that Spain and Denmark moved clear away from the rest of the field. It began with Denmark in the lead and through the middle of the race they had gained nearly one and a half seconds. But Spain must have wanted to press their dominance. In the final sprint De Haz and Zabala Artetxe took their stroke rate to 35 and got their boat in front. At the line Spain and Denmark were easily the two qualifying boats.
The fastest qualifying time, by quite a margin, was recorded in Heat Two when Moritz Moos and Jason Osborne of Germany dominated from start to finish. Moos and Osborne got selected for the German under-23 team after winning the Samsung World Rowing Cup in the lightweight quad earlier this month in Lucerne. The duo has also been recording good times in internal qualification races. Behind Germany, Bart Lukkes and Daan Klomp of the Netherlands slotted into second but seemed content just to do enough to remain in second.
The order did not change to the line with Germany and the Netherlands being the two qualifying boats. Germany’s time of 6:23 was just over 10 seconds outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
A beautiful display of smooth rowing was seen at the head of the field in Heat Three. Damien Piqueras and Pierre Houin of France looked very comfortable in the lead which they held for the entire race. Italy’s Leone Barbaro and Simone Molteni challenged the French for the first half of the race and then looked content just to hold on to second. These are the two countries that would race again in the semifinals.
The fourth and final heat began with a false start and then once they got away the story unfolding was of Norway and Hungary pacing each other. Norway’s Frederic Skjoenhaug and Nicolai Astrup Wiik had an early lead but it didn’t last long as Daniel Matyasovszki and Bence Pozsar got into the lead and then proceeded to move clean away from Norway. Great Britain put in a huge closing sprint to try and catch Norway and earn the second qualifying spot, but Norway had enough of a margin that they were able to hold on to second. Hungary and Norway had made the semifinals.
Qualifiers: ESP, DEN, GER, NED, HUN, NOR
Lightweight Men’s Four (BLM4-) – Heats
Two full heats in the lightweight four required crews to finish first if they wanted to go on the direct path to Sunday’s final. In Heat One the reigning World Champions, Italy made the best of it. Italy has retained Guido Gravina and Petru Zaharia from last year’s winning boat. But the Italians had their work cut out for them with Great Britain and the United States challenging the Italians through the first half of the race. Italy then managed to shake the United States, but Great Britain were not giving up.
Rating 39 in the final sprint Italy had shaken the British, remained in first, recorded the fastest qualifying time and their time of 6:00.57 was just six seconds outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
The Italians, however, would not be able to sit on their laurels. In Heat Two a storming Spanish crew finished in first and in a time less than half a second outside of the Italian time. Spain finished second in this event last year and two of the members of that crew had remained the same for 2013. Germany put up a strong fight in the first half of the race but then slipped back as Spain practiced domination. Italy and Spain would get to face each other from the two middle lanes in Sunday’s final.
Qualifiers: ITA, ESP
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Heats
This event had attracted three heats and the formula for getting a direct route to the semifinals was to finish eight first or second. Heat One saw a very confident Switzerland grab the lead and refuse to give it up. Both Nico Stahlberg and Augustin Maillefer of Switzerland raced at the London Olympic Games and they opened their 2013 season by racing to fifth in the European Rowing Championships.
By the middle of the race the Swiss had built up a convincing margin leaving France and New Zealand battling it out for second. France and New Zealand remained locked together coming into the final sprint and it would have to come down to the better sprinters to secure the second qualifying spot. New Zealand, rating 43 went for it. France, at 42, tried to hold on. The margin at the line was miniscule. New Zealand had earned the qualifying spot by just 0.09 of a second. Switzerland had recorded the fastest qualifying time which was just seven seconds outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
As temperatures continued to rise at the Linz-Ottensheim regatta course, Heat Two got under way. In front at the start was Great Britain. But their margin was small with Australia and Norway and last year’s under-23 champions, Ukraine following closely. By the middle of the race Australia, who were third in 2012, had pushed ahead. Great Britain tried to hold on, but once in front Australia were able to push away from the British. These two countries then proceeded to hold their own battle at the head of the field. Australia, rating 36, had held the lead. Great Britain, rating up to 42, closed the gap on Australia but remained in second. These two crews took the qualifying spots.
Poland has put together a completely new crew for 2013 and they proved to be a force to be reckoned with when they took on Germany at the head of the field. Germany had the edge at the start and held it through the first half of the race with Poland very much on the pace. This took Germany and Poland away from the rest of the field. Then Germany looked to be tiring a little. Poland seized the opportunity and pushed into the lead. Germany held on. Then in the final sprint Germany found themselves under threat from a flying Romanian crew. The Romanian’s had forced Germany to take their stroke rate to 41 as the finish line came into view.
At the line Germany had managed to stay ahead of Romania by just under a second. Poland and Germany had gained spots in the semifinals.
Qualifiers: SUI, NZL, AUS, GBR, POL. GER
Women’s Eight (BW8+) – Heats
The formula here for direct advancement to the final on Sunday was to be first. In Heat One of two heats Great Britain made their intentions clear. Coxed by Morgan Baynham-Williams, Great Britain jumped out at the start and into the lead. Australia and Belarus tried to hold on to the British pace while the Netherlands, at the back of the field, were doing little more than paddle pace.
Through the middle of the race Australia and Belarus paced each other stroke for stroke. Despite this battle Great Britain remained at the head of the field and on the home straight they looked relatively comfortable rating 35 to the line. The British crew now gets to go directly to the final.
Reigning under-23 World Champions, the United States proved that they will be the crew to beat again this year after dominating Heat Two. The Americans had the best speed coming out of the starting block and they rowed a very steady middle 1000. Germany, who was second in 2012, followed back in second. As the race progressed the Americans pulled further and further away from Germany so that at the line they had a huge five second lead. The US finishing time of 6:15.79 was the fastest qualifying time of the two heats.
Qualifiers: GBR, USA
Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) – Heats
Four heats lined up in the women’s single sculls with the top two boats in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals on Saturday. Heat One proved to be the fastest heat and featured the favourite, Lisa Schmidla of Germany. Leading up to these under-23 championships Schmidla has been rowing in Germany’s senior crews. The adaptable Schmidla started off the season in the double at the European Rowing Championships before switching to the quad at the Eton Dorney Samsung World Rowing Cup and then into the single at the final of the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne. Today, Schmidla proved her rowing prowess by winning her heat in a time of 7:34.53 – just seven seconds outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
Behind Schmidla, Olympic Champion from the quad, Nataliya Dovgodko of Ukraine seemed to be doing just enough to work her way into the second qualifying spot. Both Schmidla and Dovgodko were able to cruise through the final metres of the race under no threat to their qualifying positions.
Last year university rower, Carling Zeeman of Canada burst onto the international rowing scene by taking bronze in this event. Zeeman is back this year and she led Heat Two from start to finish. Behind Zeeman it was not so clear cut. Bulgaria set out at a great pace but soon lost it to Filippa Kaarrfelt of Sweden. Then Norway came up to challenge Kaarrfelt for second but the Swede was ready. At the line Zeeman and Kaarrfelt had qualified for the semifinals.
After an initial lead by Switzerland, Latvia’s Elza Gulbe took over out in front of the third heat. Gulbe was fifth in this event last year and she has been a familiar face in the single for three years now. Switzerland chased hard but then succumbed to Madison Lips of the United States. Lips finished 15th in this event a year ago and, with another year of experience under her belt, she looks to have stepped up. Secure in their qualifying spots there was no need for Gulbe or Lips to sprint the finish.
Heat Four brought the crowd to their feet. Local Austrian sculler, Lisa Farthofer was on the course. Farthofer got out of the starting blocks just behind Marine Lewuillon of Belgium. Lewuillon finished 14th in this event a year ago and she was looking smooth and confident as she powered away at the head of the field. Despite huge support from the crowd Farthofer, the reigning under-23 champion from the double, remained in second. Lewuillon and Farthofer had both qualified for the semifinals and both only had to rate in the high 20s in the close of the race.
Qualifiers: GER, UKR, CAN, SWE, LAT, USA, BEL, AUT
Men’s Eight (BM8+) – Heats
A full field of 12 countries lined up in the Blue Riband men’s eight. They were divided into two heats with the goal being to finish first for a direct path to Sunday’s final. This event is regularly dominated by Germany and the United States, but in today’s heats this was not the case. In Heat One the Netherlands had the early advantage but it was soon swallowed up by Poland. Last year Poland’s men’s eight finished fifth and four members of this boat are back again this year. The Dutch held on to the Poles for the first half of the race then began to face with the Czech Republic now stepping up to challenge. Poland remained in control and crossed the line easily in first.
The Linz-Ottensheim regatta course has very little water space after the finish line and this meant these fast eights really had to slam on the brakes at the end. It was an impressive scene to see six big boats do their best at maneuvering out from the finish. They all managed splendidly.
Heat Two opened with reigning under-23 champions, the United States in the lead. The US has a completely new line up from last year with Paul Farber now sitting in the coxswain seat. They held the lead through the first part of the race but then began to run out of steam. This gave New Zealand the opportunity that they were looking for. The New Zealanders had received a yellow card for a traffic violation. They came out of the start in third place and through the third 500 they managed to pull into the lead with the United States just able to hang on.
In the sprint to the line New Zealand, rating 38, pulled clean away from the rest of the field to finish easily in first. New Zealand’s finishing time of 5:31 was the fastest qualifying time and less than seven seconds outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
Qualifiers: POL, NZL