Great Britain got caught out in the men’s four while Croatia continued on their winning ways in the men’s quadruple sculls. Ekaterina Karsten of Belraus was back on form in the women’s single sculls while Marcel Hacker of Germany claimed gold in the men’s single sculls. The 14 finals in the Olympic class events was a mixture of expectation and surprise.
Just a slight head wind breeze on flat, calm water caused times to be a little slower than usual. Temperatures were also a bit cooler than the past two days, reaching the low 20s degrees Celsius. 

Women’s pair (W2-) – Final
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain made their stand at the start of this Final. The two-time World silver medallists have won both World Cup’s this season and were aiming to make it a hat-trick here in Munich. Settling into a 35 stroke rate pace, Glover and Stanning looked good. World Champions, New Zealand followed in second but going through the half-way point, Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown of New Zealand would have to have a great second half to get in front.

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover of Great Britain celebrate gold in the women's pair at the 2012 World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

Turning the race into something rather like a procession, Glover and Stanning remained in front, with Haigh and Scown back in second and two-time Olympic Champions, Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu of Romania solidly in third.

At the line Glover and Stanning had made a clean sweep of the 2012 World Cup season and go to the Olympics with huge confidence. Haigh and Scown will now go away and try to work out how to gain a few seconds of boat-speed. Andrunache and Susanu will be feeling confident that they are on track for a good showing at the Olympics after doing a very solid 2012 comeback. However, at the end of the race Andrunache and Susanu admitted that the final pair for the Olympics was still to be decided by their country.

Results: GBR, NZL, ROU, GER1, CAN, ARG

B-Final
Italy’s Claudia Wurzel and Sara Bertolasi qualified for the London Olympics last year at the World Rowing Championships when they finished seventh but their results haven’t been quite as good this season after they finished 10th at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup. Today they raced Germany2 for seventh overall and made easy work of it.

Results: ITA, GER2

Men’s pair (M2-) – Final
It has become custom since 2009 to talk about New Zealand’s Eric Murray and Hamish Bond when the men’s pair is mentioned. Murray and Bond have not lost a race since that year and more than once they have come close to breaking the World Best Time. Despite their domination, Murray and Bond always perform a strong and solid race, even when they are racing way out in front. Today they did just that. Despite their formidable lead Murray and Bond kept their stroke rate in the 36 – 37 range and remained strong and solid through the race.
Hamish Bond (s) and Eric Murray (b) of New Zealand react after winning the men's pair final at the 2012 World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

Meanwhile Australia1, Italy and France were holding a super battle. France’s Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette had the edge but were keeping a wary eye out for their competition. And so they should. A huge sprint by Australia’s Brodie Buckland and James Marburg overhauled the French with Italy still on the pace. These crews will meet again in Eton Dorney for the 2012 Olympic Games. Murray and Bond continue on their winning ways and cement themselves as the top hope for their country to win Olympic gold.

Results: NZL, AUS1, FRA, ITA, ESP, SRB

B-Final
Australia2 crew of Nick Hudson and Fergus Pragnell took on Anton Braun and Felix Drahotta of Germany1. It is a bit of a surprise to see Braun and Drahotta in this B-final as they finished first in the Belgrade World Rowing Cup and then fourth at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup. Drahotta is known to be the strongest member of Germany’s very powerful men’s sweep squad and potentially this result is all part of their Olympic planning. But the half-way point Hudson and Pragnell, rating higher, managed to get ahead of Braun and Drahotta. The order didn’t change in the final sprint with the higher rating Australians crossing the line first.

Results: AUS2, GER1, GBR2, GER2, ROU

Women’s double sculls (W2x) – Final
Coming into this final there was a lot of talk about the arrival of Australia’s new doubles combination of Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley. Could this duo that had the fastest qualifying time earlier in this regatta beat the formidable British duo of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins? In the opening of the race everything went to plan for Grainger and Watkins. The British duo got out strongly with Crow and Pratley following in second. By the middle of the race Crow, who was second in the single at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup last month while Pratley recovered from injury, and Pratley had closed the gap on Great Britain and were underrating the British by a pip.

Grainger and Watkins were ready for anything. At around the 1500m mark Great Britain did a piece and broke away from the Australians. Crow and Pratley had no answer and had to settle for second. Meanwhile a huge finishing battle went on between Poland’s Julia Michalska and Magdalena Fularczyk and New Zealand2 – their spare crew. Poland got there first to claim a well-deserved bronze.

Results: GBR, AUS, POL, NZL2, NZL1, UKR

B-Final
Tina Manker and Stephanie Schiller Germany1 took the lead early on. The German women’s sculling squad has been swapping between the quad and the double as the best Olympic combinations are worked out and for today Manker and Schiller race in the double. The duo took the lead for the entire race with Inge Janssen and Elisabeth Hogerwerf of the Netherlands holding on the second. The race was tight to the end with just over two seconds separating the top four crews with Belarus and Germany2 finishing in a photo finish.

Results: GER1, NED, BLR, GER2, ITA, FIN

Men’s double sculls (M2x) – Final
France’s Cederic Berrest and Julien Bahain got out to a flying 45 stroke rate start. They must have taken note on how Norway’s Nils Jakob Hoff and Kjetil Borch have learnt a new fast start and they wanted to counter it. But Hoff and Borch were ready for any challenge and together they got to the first 500m mark first. Last year at the World Rowing Championships in Bled Hoff and Borch finished eighth to qualify for the London Olympics and they have been improving ever since.

Going through the middle of the race, Hoff and Borch remained in the lead but it was only a fraction over Bill Lucas and Sam Townsend of Great Britain with France, Argentina and Germany1 in a veritable line behind them.
Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti of Italy and Dmytro Mikhay and Artem Morozov of Ukraine qualifiy for the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the men's double sculls at the 2012 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Oh my gosh! With 1500m rowed only one second separated the entire field. All six groups would have to sprint to the line. No one was relenting. New Zealand went to 44, Norway was at 38 and Germany was on 40. The crowd was going crazy as one crew after another made a move followed by counter move. Hoff and Borch had done it. They had got their first ever international medal and they had made it gold. New Zealand World Champions, Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen had redeemed their B-final finish last month in Lucerne to take silver and Germany’s Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger had earned bronze.

Results: NOR, NZL, GER1, GBR, FRA, ARG

B-Final
Both Slovenia and Australia did not start for medical reasons leaving four boats to race. This is Slovenia’s Iztok Cop’s 40th birthday today and, along with Luka Spik, we will next see them race at the Olympic Games. So instead it was Lithuania’s Saulius Ritter and Rolandas Mascinskas who took the lead settling into a solid 35 stroke rate through the body of the race.  Behind them the German lightweights, Linus Lichtschlag and Lars Hartig, finished a bit back in second. Lichtschlag and Hartig will race at the London Olympics in the lightweight double, but chose not to make weight today so raced in the open category.

Results: LTU, GER2, EST2, EST1, (SLO1 and AUS did not start)

Men's Four (M4-)
This would potentially be one of the most highly anticipated races of the day. After a spectacular showing in the semifinal, would the Australian foursome again be able to hold off the British attempts to claim gold? How much could the spectators take from the semifinal? Was it a preview of what was to come or did Great Britain still have another gear? How could the men who had won the first two World Cup regattas and set a new World Best Time react to the speed and power that the Australian’s had unleashed on the in yesterday’s racing?

The initial stages of the race were led out by a fast starting Romania, who were the first to get to the 500m mark. But the Australians and the British were on their tail and it didn’t take long for them to reel the put an end to Romania’s lead.  From the thousand metre mark these two crews started to squeeze away from the field, making it a two boat race for gold. Australia began to really dominate from the 1250m mark and by 1500m half a boat length stood between the two crews.  The speed generated from their long, powerful strokes could not be matched by the British, even rating two pips higher.

As the race came by the grandstand, a final sprint led by Andrew trigs-Hodge saw them eat into some of the distance the Australians had on them but it was too late. Australia crossed the line first, leaving the Olympic hosts, Great Britain to take silver and Belarus, who had never featured in the battle at the front of the field, took bronze.

Results: AUS, GBR, BLR, SRB, CZE, ROU

B-Final
Germany2 took charge of this race from start to finish. There may have been no medals up for grabs but all six crews raced as though there were. Croatia attempted to chase down the leaders but the effort had taken too much out of the by the 1500m mark as they dropped back to third place, leaving the fast finishing Italians to move up the rankings to eight place overall.

Results: GER2, ITA, CRO, NZL, POL, GER

Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x) – Final
At the 250m mark three boats were at the front of the field; Germany, New Zealand and Denmark with Lena Mueller and Anja Noske of Germany having a slight edge. Then Louise Ayling and Julia Edward of New Zealand got their nose in front. Ayling and Edward set a new World Best Time at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup, but did not win gold. Instead it was China, who are not racing in Munich.
New Zealand's Julia Edward and Louise Ayling take Gold, Julianne Rasmussen and Anne Lolk Thomssen of Denmark take silver and Germany's Anja Noske and Lena Mueller with bronze on the podium of the lightweight women's double sculls at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

Edward and Ayling continued to lead through the middle of the race with Denmark’s Anne Lolk Thomsen and Juliane Rasmussen right on the leader’s pace and so much so that the two crews moved into the final sprint at exactly the same time. Germany and Great Britain went head-to-head for third.

New Zealand upped their stroke rate to 39 to try and hold on. Denmark was at 38 and Germany and Great Britain were still very much in the race. There was nothing in it with the crowd loving the German move towards the line. This great finish meant that the finishing judges had to call the order. Edward and Ayling had won gold. Thomsen and Rasmussen got silver and late Olympic qualifiers, Noske and Mueller got bronze. These crews will meet again at the Eton Olympic regatta course next month.

Results: NZL, DEN, GER, GBR1, NED, GBR2

B-Final
Jumping out at the start was Australia’s new 2012 combination of Bronwen Watson and Hannah Every-Hall. Watson has come out of retirement after last racing internationally in 2009 to join with Hannah Every-Hall who was part of the crew that qualified this boat for the Olympics in 2011. Through the middle of the race Watson and Every-Hall remained in the lead with Switzerland’s Olivia Wyss and Eliane Waser pushing into second. Wyss and Waser missed out on Olympic qualification by just one spot, but they are back racing at this regatta as they continue their 2012 season.

Watson and Every-Hall remained in first using a steady 33 stroke rate and taking it up to 35 in their push to keep their boat out in front.

Results: AUS, SUI, ARG, BRA, KOR, JPN

Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x) – Final
This final represented six crews that all had the talent to take gold. Peter Taylor and Storm Uru of New Zealand knew this and they jumped out into an early lead with France’s brand new wonder-crew of Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou the closest challengers. Taylor and Uru kept their stroke rate high as they headed into the middle of the race reaching the half-way point in a speedy 3:16 time. Delayre and Azou remained in second with Denmark and Italy going head-to-head.
Peter Taylor and Storm Uru of New Zealand take gold, Jeremie Azou and Stany Delayre of France take silver and Denmark's Rasmus Quist and Mads Rasmussen take Bronze in the lightweight men's double sculls at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

Taylor and Uru must have been building in confidence from their leading position as they  began to open up a bit of water between them and France who were still in second. A huge burst by Azou and Delayre just before the line closed the gap and pushed the result to a photo finish with Taylor and Uru just holding on to first. Azou and Delayre take second and Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark earn the bronze.

Olympic and World Champions, Great Britain (Purchase and Hunter) will be putting a lot of thought into their race result as they came home in sixth.

Results: NZL, FRA, DEN, ITA, HUN, GBR

B-Final
Norway’s Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli have shown some very solid racing through this regatta and they just missed out on making the A-final yesterday when they finished fourth in a very tough semifinal. Today Brun and Standli made the best of the B-final and overtook a fast-starting Egypt to take the lead.

Through the middle of the race Brun and Strandli remained in the lead with Portugal’s Olympic hopefuls, Pedro Fraga and Nuno Mendes slotting into second. Both Norway and Portugal went to 38 coming into the final sprint with Norway having more push at this stroke rate. Norway and Portugal will meet again at the London Olympics.

Results: NOR, POR, POL, MEX, EGY, ARG

Lightweight men’s four (LM4-) – Final
At the Lucerne World Rowing Cup last month, Denmark finished outside of the medals. It looked like they did not want that happen today. Denmark’s Winther, Joergensen, Barsoe and Ebbesen got off to a powerful start over a tightly packed field. By the middle of the race, however, the Danes had been overtaken by Switzerland. But the entire field remained tightly packed with just two seconds separating all six boats.

Then Great Britain, who took bronze in Lucerne last month, moved into the lead as Switzerland faded. This was followed by Australia who made a huge 40 stroke rate charge to overtake Denmark and take on the British. Denmark were rating high but did not seem to be able to move back into the lead while Great Britain remained powerful and in the lead. A very tight finish had given Great Britain the gold for the first time this season and earned them bragging rights leading into the London Olympic Games.  World Champions Australia took silver and Olympic Champions, Denmark, were the bronze medallists.

Results: GBR, AUS, DEN, FRA, SUI, CZE

B-Final
Five crews only started as Poland1 could not race due to not making the correct crew weight. It was Germany1 that got off the line first being chased closely by Italy. Italy finished second at the World Rowing Championships last year and it must be disappointing for them to be racing in the B-final today. But Italy had a lot to think about as the chased Germany down the 2000m Munich course.
The Italians then got their nose in front of the Germans and pushed on. Italy sprinted home at a 39 stroke rate that really got the boat moving. Germany went to 40 to try and reel the Italians back in, but it was too late. Italy finish seventh place overall.

Results: ITA, GER1, POL2, GER2, (POL did not start)

Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x) – Final
With two golds from two World Cups this season, Ukraine were the crew to beat. In the race for lanes two days ago, Ukraine (Kateryna Tarasenko, Nataliya Dovgodko, Anastasiia Kozhenkova and Yana Dementieva) had finished with the fastest time with Germany in second. Today Australia took off in the lead with Ukraine following in second. Australia has had quite a rocky road leading into this regatta. Team mate, Pippa Savage was replaced in the boat by Amy Clay after compatibility issues developed and the current line-up was very keen to show their worth.

By the middle of the race Ukraine, at a lower stroke rate, had slipped into the lead with Australia holding on to second. Then Germany started to really pick it up. The German crew is reshuffled as selectors are still picking their double and quad line-ups for the London Olympic but with top single sculler, Annekatrin Thiele in the boat it is likely that this is the priority line up. With Ukraine now comfortably in first Germany and a fast moving Great Britain went head to head for the line. Germany, with the support of the crowd on their side, had just squeaked home in second with Great Britain taking third.

Results: UKR, GER, GBR, AUS, NZL

Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x) – Final
Croatia have been having a wonderful season. They come to Munich as World Cup leaders, with wins from both World Rowing Cups this season and they started off the fastest here in Munich. Usually Croatia do not lead at the beginning of a race. Had they gone out too fast? David Sain, Damir Martin and brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia continued to hold on to the lead through the middle of the race with last year’s silver medallists, Germany and Italy1 right behind them.
The final of the men's quadruple sculls sees Croatia win gold, Germany take silver and Italy bronze in the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

As all crews wound for the line, Estonia and Great Britain had steering problems getting a bit too close to each other. But this did not impact on the leaders. Croatia remained race leaders having led the entire race. Germany came through in second with Italy earning bronze. Croatia had made a clean sweep of the season and confirm their status as top candidates for Olympic gold.

Results: CRO, GER, ITA1, GBR, AUS, EST

B-Final
Italy2 got into the lead with the very experienced Rossano Galtarossa in the boat. They were followed by New Zealand’s crew which is still missing Matthew Trott, who was selected for this Olympic boat but currently has an injury. New Zealand tried to stick close to the Italians who were underrating the New Zealanders by one pip. Behind these two leading boats a virtual line had formed between Czech Republic2, Switzerland and France.

Italy2 continued to outshine the rest of the field, breaking away to an open water lead. New Zealand tried to catch them but remained in second. A big push by Switzerland gave them third.

Results: ITA2, NZL, SUI, CZE2, FRA, CZE1

Women’s eight (W8+) – Final
The Canadians were the first to cross the 250m mark with the Netherlands right on their pace. Canada is stroked by Andreanne Morin who is a veteran of two Olympic Games, having come fifth in 2004 and fourth in 2008 in the eight. The Canadians almost broke the United States six year winning streak last month at the Lucerne World Rowing Cup and at that point everyone knew that Canada was the crew to watch.
Janine Hanson (b), Rachelle Vinberg, Krista Guloien, Lauren Wilkinson, Natalie Mastracci, Ashley Brzozowicz, Darcy Marquadt, Andreanna Morin (s) and Lesley Thompson-Willie (c) celebrate winning gold in the women's eight at the 2012 World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

In the absence of the United States, Canada continued to lead through the middle of the race. Then coming through the third 500 Romania began to move, getting their boat ahead of the Netherlands and into second. The ratings began to rise as Romania, Canada, Great Britain and the Netherlands all hit 40 strokes per minute. Again a tight finish was on the cards. At the line Canada had held on to first, Romania earned their second silver medal for the season and the British had conducted a storming finish to take bronze.

Results: CAN, ROM, GBR, NED, AUS, GER

Men’s single sculls (M1x) – Final
The two fastest men in the world were missing from this race. Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand suffered a bike accident three days ago and had to miss this regatta and Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic chose to miss this regatta and head to altitude training. This left the next highest rank being Great Britain’s Alan Campbell. Campbell has fond memories of Munich. Back in 2006 Campbell won his first World Cup gold medal here and became the most successful British single sculler in a long time.
The startline of the Men's Single Scull quarterfinals at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup in Munich, Germany

The usual fast starting Campbell, however, was not in the lead at the start. Instead it was local hero Marcel Hacker of Germany followed closely by Mexican Olympic representative, Patrick Loliger Salas.  Going through the middle of the race Hacker remained in the lead with Sweden’s Lassi Karonen now creeping into second. Where was Campbell?

As the final sprint came into view Hacker was in a comfortable first place with Karonen holding on to second and Campbell now moving into third. Just 250m were left and Hacker had enough of a lead to counter any reaction. Karonen, rating  40 strokes per minute, made a move and then pushed again. Hacker continued to counter the Swede’s moves and crossed the line in first. Karonen gave it all he could and managed silver and Campbell would have to be happy with bronze. This is Hacker’s first gold medal in the single since the 2005 World Cup, also in Munich.

Results: GER, SWE, GBR, GBR2, MEX1, NOR

B-Final
Hubert Trzybinski of Germany2 got off to a very strong start. Trzybinski comes to Munich after winning the under-23 single last year and this is his first time racing at the senior level. The tall, 203cm Trzybinski did a fine job to lead this B-final using a steady 32 stroke rate through the body of the race. Argentina2 of Joaquin Iwan got in front of Switzerland to follow in second. But Trzybinski was able to build up a solid lead making it difficult for anyone to catch him.

Trzybinski remained in front to the line with Mexico2 (Juan Carlos Cabrera) pushing ahead of Iwan to take second.

Results: GER2, MEX2, BEL2, ARG2, SUI, EGY1

DSC_4214

DSC_4263

DSC_8820

DSC_9003

DSC_9064

DSC_9416

DSC_5361

DSC_9564

Women’s single sculls (W1x) – Final
Denmark’s Fie Udby Erichsen came flying out of the start with a very high rating. She remained in the lead and had worked her way to a clear water lead with just 600m gone. Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus, rating much lower, followed in second with New Zealand’s Emma Twigg now in third.

Coming through the middle of the race Erichsen remained in the lead although Karsten, who seemed to be rowing a rather conservative race, had closed the gap on the leader. So had Twigg, who had a major overlap on Karsten. Karsten then did a big push in the third 500 and it was enough to get her into the lead. Did Erichsen have a reply? This is Karsten’s first international race this season as has she kept a low profile while recovering from rib problems.

Ekaterina Karsten (BLR) celebrates winning the women's single sculls at the 2012 World Rowing Cup III in Munich, Germany

Twigg then attacked in the last 300m and got her boat ahead of the Dane with Karsten moving away to a solid win. Twigg held on to second with Donata Vistartaite, 23, of Lithuania getting her boat ahead of Erichsen to take third. This is Vistartaite’s first World Cup medal and continues the rise of this talented athlete and Lithuanian rowing.

DSC_5383

Results: BLR, NZL, LTU, DEN, AZE, IRL

B-Final
Nicole Beukers of the Netherlands got out very quickly but by the first 500m mark, Marie-Louise Draeger of Germany2 had grabbed the lead. With Germany’s top single sculler Annekatrin Thiele now in a team boat a spot in the single for the Olympics has come available. Would it go to lightweight sculler, Draeger? Draeger was still in the lead going through the middle of the race but then Iva Obradovic of Serbia got her nose in front.

Draeger fought back and there was very little in it, with Laura Schiavone of Italy following in third. In the final sprint Draeger was back in front with Peggy Waleska of Germany1 now pulling out a huge charge at a 37 stroke rate. Waleska won it on the line by 14/100th of a second over Draeger. The German selectors will have a hard job here.

Results: GER1, GER2, NED, SRB, NOR, ITA

Men’s eight (M8+) – Final
The last race of the regatta, and the last international race before the London Olympic Games, was the men’s eight. These four crews did a preliminary race two days ago where Great Britain won over Poland with three-time World Champions, Germany not racing here due to two of their crew having health issues. Could the British do it again today? At the start it was Australia and Poland that led the way. Australia had a very tiny margin, but it didn’t last long as Poland then moved into the lead and got a half second margin over Australia.

C├ędric Berrest and Jluien Bahain from France win the gold medal of the men's pair. Allar Raja and Kaspar Taimsoo from Estonia win the silver medal and Petr Vitasek and David Jirka from the Czech Republic win the bronze medal. (Photo by Detlev Seyb / MyRowingPhoto.com)

Poland were coxed by Daniel Trojanowski and stroked by Krystian Aranowski who has been in the eight since 2009 when he moved up from under-23 rowing. They still had the lead as the final sprint came into view. Where were Great Britain? The British are known to be able to sprint at the end and the field must have been waiting for the attack. It never really came. The beautifully timed race by Poland gave them their first gold medal for the past decade at a World Cup event. Australia came through to silver and Great Britain earned bronze.

DSC_5537

Results: POL, AUS, GBR, UKR