Pace and popularity for Eton Dorney World Cup finals
A huge spectator turnout for finals day at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney, Great Britain, saw record numbers for a World Cup event. The 5,000-plus spectators emulated the ‘Dorney Roar’ that became famous at the London Olympic regatta venue of Eton Dorney.
Cool, cross tail wind conditions were challenging for the athletes but saw some very fast times. Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand set a new World Cup Best Time in the men’s pair while the New Zealand lightweight men’s four led the fastest-pace race of the day when they came within four seconds of breaking the World Best Time.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Final
The two-decades of experience held by Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria shone through today as she led the way in the first A-final of the day. Taupe-Traer finished second at the European Rowing Championships and she was looking to step up in the medal colours today. Leonie Pless of Germany Three followed in second.
Then 2011 World Champion in this event, Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil started to move, closing the gap on Pless while Taupe-Traer now looked in a class of her own at the head of the field on a steady 32 stroke rate. Pless then did enough to shake off Beltrame with Beltrame having to up her rating to hold off Claire Lambe of Ireland. This pushed Beltrame closer to Pless. Behind Taupe-Traer it was a real fight for the line. Taupe-Traer took gold, Pless held on to silver and Beltrame earned bronze.
Results: AUT1, GER3, BRA, GBR, IRL, HKG1
Racing for a best result of seventh at this regatta, Stefanie Borzacchini of Austria Two led from start to finish. Borzacchini raced the last couple of years in the lightweight double and has now moved back into the single behind her country’s top sculler Michaela Taupe-Traer. With Borzacchini in the lead, Gabriela Mosqueira of Paraguay got the better of Singapore to move into second. But no one could get close to Borzacchini who crossed the line of this B-final first.
Results: AUT2, PAR, SIN, HKG2
Michaela Taupe-Traer (AUT1) – Gold
“It was difficult out there, but I was able to control the race and being out infront meant I could really concentrate on my rowing. The noise coming past the grandstand was incredible.”
Leonie Pless (GER3) – Silver
“It was a very hard race and the conditions were awful. At the 1000 m mark I caught a crab and came to standstill. At 1200 metres I thought I was near the finish but couldn’t see the buoys.”
Fabiana Beltrame (BRA) – Bronze
“It felt great – it is a really important medal for me. Rowing is not popular in Brazil, it’s all about football. So it’s important to medal and to raise the profile of rowing."
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Final
After a rather disappointing result in yesterday’s semifinals, former World Champion Duncan Grant of New Zealand took off at a cracking pace hoping to shake up the competition. But Grant wasn’t able to hold the lead in the rougher lane one conditions. Instead, Pedro Fraga of Portugal, in the more sheltered lane six took over in the lead and tried to move away from the field.
But Steffen Jensen of Denmark One was coming into his stride and had overtaken Grant and was going after Fraga. Fraga used 37 strokes per minute in the final sprint to push away from the fast-finishing Jensen. Jensen went to 39 and Fraga counter-attacked. What could Jensen do? Jensen went to 40 strokes per minute. Fraga, however, was ready. Fraga had won gold for Portugal in a time of 6:57.02. Jensen took silver while Andrej Bendtsen of Denmark Two got the better of Grant in a photo finish on the line to win bronze. What a finish! The happiest rower was Bendtsen. In his first senior race he had medalled.
Results: POR1, DEN1, DEN2, NZL, GER2, IRL
Jamie Kirkwood of Great Britain One had a very positive start. Kirkwood was fifth at the Sydney World Rowing Cup, but there is a bit more competition at Eton which has pushed Kirkwood into the B-final. After an early challenge by Chris Boddy of Great Britain Two, Kirkwood was then chased aggressively by Hugh McAdam of the United States. McAdam continued to challenge Kirkwood through the second half of the race but Boddy skilfully countered every attack. Kirkwood finished first with McAdam, who had given it his all, in second.
Results: GBR1, USA, GBR2, POR2, DEN3
Pedro Fraga (POR1) – Gold
“It’s a very good feeling, I worked for it and I hope it is the first of many. I kept relaxed, tried to save my energy to push towards the end. It was a good race. I am much more confident now. Winning is always fun. I will continue to work and hopefully win the next World Rowing Cup and do well at the World Championships.”
Steffen Jensen (DEN1) – Silver
“It was a tough one. I had a good first 1000m but used too much power. My rate was too high and I had to pay for it in the last 500 metres. I usually have a good finish but had no spirit left.”
Andrej Bendtsen (DEN2) - Bronze
“At 500m I could tell Duncan Grant was just in front of me. I managed to get the lead towards the finish line and I was able just to keep going. I could feel the lactic acid building in my muscles but I was able to focus on the bronze medal and keep going.”
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Final
In the preliminary race two days ago Great Britain One proved to be the fastest crew and Sam Scrimgeour and Mark Aldred of Great Britain One were leading the way again today. They were followed closely by an impressive start by Japan. Great Britain Two (Matthew Bedford and Wilf Kimberley) then pushed past the Japanese and tried to close the gap on their compatriots.
With 500m to go the gap between all four crews was small and Scrimgeour and Aldred must have been aware that any other crew was able to attack. This is the first international race for Aldred while Scrimgeour raced at last year’s European Rowing Championships in the lightweight men’s four.
At the line it was gold for Aldred and Scrimgeour with Bedford and Kimberley following in second and Austria, having overtaken Japan in the second half of the race, coming through in third.
Results: GBR1, GBR2, AUT, JPN
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Final
There was no doubt about the crowd support behind Helen Glover and Polly Swann of Great Britain. Glover was one half of the Olympic pair that earned the first gold medal for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Now teamed up with Swann, the duo won the Sydney World Rowing Cup back in March.
But at the start it was the Germans, Marlene Sinning and Kerstin Hartmann, who had the lead. By the first 500m mark Glover and Swann had worked their way into the lead although margins between the top five boats was extremely tight.
Going through the middle of the race Glover and Swann rated 35 strokes per minute with New Zealand’s Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt moving into second. In the heats two days ago Scown and Pratt had set the fastest qualifying time but this is the first time that they have raced Glover and Swann.
As the last 500m came into view Glover and Swann moved to 37 strokes per minute, countering every attack that Scown and Pratt made with Sinnig and Hartmann following in third. Glover and Swann won the gold in a fast 6:58.26 with Scown and Pratt in second and Sinning and Hartmann earning bronze. Glover and Swann had finished less than five seconds outside of the World Best Time.
This race contained extra British crews as the women’s eight is not being raced so Great Britain broke their eight into smaller boats.
Results: GBR1, NZL, GER, GBR2, GBR3, CHN2
At the Sydney World Rowing Cup Australia’s Tess Gerrand and Katrina Bateman raced in two events. They finished first in the women’s eight and third in the pair. At this regatta the duo raced in just the pair in the B-final and led from start to finish by a very impressive margin. This turned the race into a procession with Korea and China One the followers.
Results: AUS, KOR, CHN1
Polly Swann (GBR1) – Gold
“This is my first international race at Dorney so it’s a bit different from domestic racing. I woke up really nervous this morning but felt good on the water. Once I got racing I had a smile on my face. This is what we love doing.”
Rebecca Scown (NZL) – Silver
“We had to play catch-up with the Great Britain One because they got into a very good lead which was expected. I really enjoyed coming back here after the Olympics in 2012. I have a lot of nice memories from London.”
Kerstin Hartmann (GER) – Bronze
"The conditions were difficutl but everyone has the same challenges. It went quite well and we are pleased. We have been rowing together for a long time so are a bit like a married couple.”
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Final
A 47 stroke rate start for New Zealand’s Eric Murray and Hamish Bond gave them the lead at the first 500m mark. But despite the superior pedigree of the Olympic Champions, New Zealand, Poland were hanging on. Wojciech Gutorski and Jaroslaw Godek of Poland finished tenth at the Olympic Games and they raced very well earlier this month at the European Rowing Championships.
Murray and Bond then completely broke away from the field. This is the first international race of the 2013 season for the Kiwi pair and they showed in the heats two days ago that they meant business for this 2013 season.
With New Zealand now well out in front Gutorski and Godek were being chased hard by Romania’s Ionel Strungaru and Florin Curuea. This is the first time Strungaru and Curuea have raced together internationally but they are both experienced in other boats.
At the line Murray and Bond had set a new World Cup Best Time by crossing the line in 6:16.01. Poland just held off Romania to finish second with the Romanian’s less than a second back in third.
Results: NZL, POL, ROU1, ROU2, GBR2, AZE
Racing to be seventh overall at the regatta, Argentina got out quickly and led through the first half of the race. But in the second 1000 margins began to close as Great Britain One of Karl Hudsith and Paul Bennett moved up. Then in the final sprint China One of Lin Wu and Xiaolong Zheng upped their stroke rate and charged. The charge brought them from third into second and they nearly caught the now leading British. But Great Britain finished just in time to hold on to first.
Results: GBR1, CHN1, ARG, FRA, CHN2
Eric Murray (NZL) – Gold
“It was good but the water was very tricky. The strong tail wind knocked the balance off a bit which we didn’t like very much. Overall the preparation was very good and a good stepping stone for the next event.”
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Final
In a race full of sibling pairings, Austria’s Paul and Bernhard Sieber got off the line at a 45 stroke rate pace. But it was Peter and Richard Chambers of Great Britain who got the early lead and reached the first 500m mark the quickest. Margins, however, at this stage of the race were tight with just two seconds separating the top five boats.
From yesterday’s semifinals Norway had the fastest qualifying time, but Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway were back in third coming into the second half of the race. The Chambers brothers continued to lead with Poland’s Artur Mikolajczewski and Milosz Jankowski the closest threat.
The pace continued to be fast and furious as the final sprint came into view and the support for Great Britain reached fever pitch, especially as Mikolajczewski and Jankowski had moved to a 38 stroke rate and were closing on the Chambers brothers. With just 50m left to row the Poles, who had finished seventh at the European Rowing Championships, got their nose ahead of Peter and Richard Chambers with Brun and Strandli now also threatening the British position.
Poland had won gold and a photo finish for second saw Great Britain just hold on to the silver with Norway taking bronze in a time
Results: POL, GBR, NOR, AUT, GER, NED
Hungary’s Daniel Matyasovszki and Peter Galambos finished back in 14th at the European Rowing Championships and they looked to have stepped up for this regatta. The duo took off in the lead and were giving it their all through the middle of the race to break free from the pack. Galambos is well-known for his prowess in the single and finished second at the World Rowing Championships last year. Now in the double they look to be improving with time together. At the line Matyasovszki and Galambos had recorded a very fast time of 6:25 with Japan flying through to take an impressive second.
Results: HUN, JPN, USA, ARG, BRA, HKG1
Milosz Jankowski (POL) – Gold
"In the last 500 metres we just thought we could beat the British team. We are going to Lucerne and then hope to do the World Championships. We have not confirmed to go but our success here will help with the selection.”
Kristoffer Brun (NOR) – Bronze
“The conditions were difficult and we struggled a bit. We didn’t row as well as we wanted to, we were much faster in the heat but we can’t complain.”
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Final
A well organised start set the tone for this race with all boats getting away cleanly. Sweden’s Cecilia Lilja and Emma Fred had the best start, but margins were tight and their lead was narrow. Lilja and Fred come to this regatta having finished fifth at the European Rowing Championships. In the heats, however, Great Britain One (Kathryn Twyman and Imogen Walsh) recorded the fastest time. But today their start was relatively slow.
By the middle of the race Sweden had been overtaken, albeit only just, by Germany’s Olympic double of Lena Mueller and Anja Noske. Lilja and Fred fought back, sticking with the Germans.
In the final spring Mueller and Noske had a very slight lead over Sweden and Great Britain One. It was going to be a full-on sprint to the line. Stroke rates went into the high 30s as the final line came into sight. Germany held on to take the gold with Great Britain One in second and Sweden in third.
Results: GER, GBR1, SWE, GBR2, POL, DEN
Two Japanese crews featured in this race but one was out of contention early on (Japan One) when they caught a boat-stopping crab. Meanwhile Japan Two was making the most of it as Ayami Oishi and Atsumi Fukumoto moved into the lead and remained there through to the finish.
Results: JPN2, ARG, HKG
Anja Noske (GER) - Gold
"I can’t count how many crabs I caught. It was not easy to keep the strokes clean. This was one of our better races considering the conditions but I can’t believe how much I must have slowed the boat down by catching all the crabs.”
Emma Fredh (SWE) – Bronze
“It was a very good race from the beginning. It was an easy race for us as the wind helped a lot. It felt like we were flying. During our third quarter we felt was strongest. I caught my blade on a weed which affected our balance and rhythm slightly.”
Men’s Four (M4-) – Final
The wind made lining up at the start of the men’s quad a bit tricky but once aligned all boats got out of the start well with Romania shooting out the fastest. But it was Australia that got to the first 500m marker the quickest. The Australian crew includes two members of the silver medal Olympic boat – William Lockwood and Joshua Dunkley-Smith -and two members from last year’s under-23 eight.
By the middle of the race Australia had a boat length lead over Romania in second with Great Britain right on top of the Romanians. Great Britain are the Olympic Champions in this event but their 2013 crew has all new members including Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell who helped organise a huge number of school children to come and watch these World Cup races.
In the third 500m Great Britain really began to motor. They took their stroke rate to 38, about three beats above Australia, and began to close the gap on the leaders. In the final sprint Great Britain, to the roar of the crowd, upped the stroke rate again to 39 and then to 40. Australia responded with 36. It was just enough to hold off the British. Australia had won gold. Great Britain took silver and Romania was third. After the finish line Romania looked ecstatic. Two members of this crew had finished second at the European Rowing Championships and the new line up was very proud of their accomplishment.
Results: AUS, GBR, ROU, NZL, NOR1, CHN
Poland got off ahead in this race, but by the first 500m mark there were only two seconds separating the field. Coming through the middle of the race the field started to spread out a little with Poland remaining in first with the Czech Republic in second. Poland finished second at the European Rowing Championships and this new crew is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with. Surprisingly the Czech’s, who were twelfth at the European Rowing Championships, were the crew that was keeping Poland honest.
Then New Zealand stepped up to challenge the leaders and the sprint was on to the line. The order, however, did not change with Poland crossing the line in first.
Results: POL, CZE, NZL, ARG, ROU
William Lockwood (AUS) – Gold
"Obviously (Great Britain) got the edge on us at the Olympics and there was no way we were going to let that happen again. We tried to speed through the middle and hold on at the end which was exactly what we did. I’m proud of the boys.”
Stefan Nica (ROU) – Bronze
“It was a good race. This is a new team so we are happy to medal. As an under-23 team this was our test to see if we could to go the World Rowing Under 23 Championships. We think they will send us now and we should do well.”
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Final
Australia shot out at the start on a 49 stroke rate pace. This crew of Rebekah Hooper, Jessica Hall, Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey are the Under-23 Champions and they moved smoothly to the senior team by winning at the Sydney World Rowing Cup. But the aggressive start by the Australians was soon lost to the almost intact Olympic silver medallist crew of Germany. Annekatrin Thiele, Carina Baer, Julia Richter and Britta Oppelt of Germany moved into the second half of the race as the leaders with Poland matching them stroke for stroke. Germany knew they would have to keep the pressure on as Poland wasn’t giving them an inch.
The experienced Germans had the better sprint and got to the line just ahead of Poland in second with Australia holding on to third. Germany continue their 2013 season unbeaten.
Results: GER, POL, AUS, GBR2, GBR1, CHN
Annekatrin Thiele (GER) – Gold
"We didn’t know until we crossed the line as it was quite close. We also kept catching crabs because of the strong wind. This is obviously not as big as the Olympics last year but still for a World Cup the event is quite large."
Magdalena Fularczyk (POL) – Silver
“It was very good to be back and in this new crew. It’s our debut race in the W4x and we have only been together a week. So this is a really good result for us. It’s good to row with the three younger girls. They have lots of determination towards the success of Poland at this regatta.”
Jessica Hall (AUS) – Bronze
“This race was definitely an improvement from the preliminary race but we still have a lot to train for and improve on.”
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Final
Coming through from the heats, this boat class was looking to be the race to watch with so many top class crews. And the crews did not disappoint. At the start Croatia, who finished with silver at the Olympic Games, jumped out ahead of the Olympic Champions, Germany. Croatia had finished a very disappointing sixth at the European Rowing Championships and they must have decided to make absolutely no mistakes today.
Through the middle of the race Croatia continued to lead over Germany with Estonia a little bit back in third. Germany, who won at the European Rowing Championships and also beat Croatia on the heats two days ago, were in the favoured lane five but they seemed to be powerless against the flying Croatians.
David Sain, Damir Martin and Valent and Martin Sinkovic of Croatia were conducting the perfect race and no one was going to deny them of victory. At the line Croatia had earned the gold medal with Germany having to settle for silver while Estonia looked very pleased with bronze. Croatia had finished just four seconds outside of the World Best Time.
Results: CRO, GER, EST, AUS, GBR, NED
David Sain (CRO) – Gold
“It feels really good because they (other crews) also beat us in the heats. We wanted to go out strong in the first 1000 metres and went little crazy. It was really really tough. We have been together for five years now and each time we are getting quicker and quicker. We look forward to the World Championships and hope we can be as good.”
Tim Grohmann (GER) – Silver
"We thought that we would get the Croatian crew at 1000 metres but they put more pressure on as we put up our rate. We are impressed with the atmosphere and the large crowd watching this World Cup. We were not expecting it to be so crowded.”
Kaur Kuslap (EST) - Bronze
“Thanks to the tail wind the strokes were lighter. It was important to be more technical. We did that very well which we are pleased with as the crew has only been together with for ten days."
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Final
Slovenia and New Zealand - from opposite sides of the field – had the best starts. New Zealand’s Michael Arms and Robert Manson are the World Cup leaders after winning at the Sydney World Rowing Cup, but it was Slovenia that made it to the first 500m the fastest.
Arms and Manson then did a push that took them into the lead with Slovenia looking like they had run out of steam already. Germany’s Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger were now the biggest threat to New Zealand’s lead. In the heats two days ago Knittel and Krueger had the fastest qualifying time and they looked to be the favourites coming into this final.
Coming into the final sprint New Zealand remained just ahead of Germany with a huge fight going in for third between Great Britain and Azerbaijan. This fight brought these two crews closer and closer to the leaders. At the line Arms and Manson had won their second international race together. Knittel and Krueger had earned silver and, in a photo finish, Great Britain’s Bill Lucas and Matt Langridge had earned bronze.
Results: NZL, GER, GBR, AZE1, CZE, SLO
Finland’s Juho Karppinen and Robert Ven jumped out quickly at the start and left the rest of the field to chase them. Through the middle of the race Korea put in their best effort to close on Karppinen and Ven, but Finland remained confident and in the lead. Korea then found themselves challenged by China Two. As the finish came into sight, China Two gave it their all taking their stroke rate to 35, then 37, then 39. It was effective and China Two managed to overtake Korea but they could not reach Finland.
Results: FIN, CHN2, KOR, AZE2, CHN1, VEN
Robert Manson (NZL) – Gold
"Our start was better than we expected but I think we struggled towards the end. Thankfully we had done enough. We wanted to stay above the waves; we did that and set a good time.”
Eric Knittel (GER) - Silver
"The conditions were very tough. New Zealand had a much better start. We thought we would put pressure on them sooner but they rowed away and we had to take care not to catch any crabs.”
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Final
At the Sydney World Rowing Cup Great Britain’s new 2013 pairing of Frances Houghton and Victoria Meyer-Laker finished third and they came into this final as favourites having recorded the fastest time in the heats. But at the start the statuesque Houghton and Meyer-Laker found themselves back in third with Denmark’s Mette Petersen and Lisbet Jakobsen in the lead followed by China’s Dongxiang Xu and Feihong Pan.
Last year Xu and Pan raced as lightweights, but this much smaller crew were showing their bigger counterparts a thing or two about boat speed. Coming into the middle of the race Xu and Pan had the lead with Great Britain and Denmark fighting it out for second. This order remained coming into the final sprint as stroke rates began to rise and boat speeds increased.
Showing that anything can happen, especially when the water’s a bit choppy, bow seat for China, Xu slipped a stroke bringing the boat to a halt. Houghton and Meyer-Laker seized the opportunity and got into the lead with Petersen and Jakobsen also taking advantage of China’s misfortune. Xu and Pan, however, quickly recovered and did everything to stay in the medals. They were successful.
Houghton and Meyer-Laker took gold, Petersen and Jakobsen were the silver medallists and Xu and Pan took a bittersweet bronze.
Results: GBR, DEN, CHN2, GER, FIN, IRL
A strong, low rating style worked a treat for Dandan Pan and Yanqing Wang of China Three. Pan, at 17 years old, is the senior crew member and this is her second time competing internationally while this is an international debut for Wang. The duo remained in the lead despite a strong challenge from Korea. Pan and Wang got to claim seventh overall.
Results: CHN3, KOR, CHN1
Mette Petersen (DEN) – Silver
"The conditions were difficult but fair. Of course you can feel the wind at the start but when you get going it isn’t so bad. It’s as fair as it can be the way things are. We are used to rowing in these conditions.”
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Final
After a slight holdup at the start, New Zealand got off to a quick start using a 52 stroke rate pace with Denmark rating 46 and chasing hard. This has not been a strong event for New Zealand in the past but when this crew won at the Sydney World Rowing Cup in March, it looked as though New Zealand may have put together another world class boat.
Denmark, however, were not going to make it easy for the New Zealanders. Denmark finished first earlier this month at the European Rowing Championships and they are the London Olympic bronze medallists. Through the middle of the race New Zealand, at 42, was still going head-to-head with Denmark. It took until the final sprint for New Zealand’s James Lassche, James Hunter, Peter Taylor and Curtis Rapley to get a slight lead. But then Denmark charged again.
The finish was so tight no one could call it. The two crews looked at each other in wonder. A photo finish announced New Zealand the winners by just 0.04 of a second. Denmark took second and Great Britain came through in third. It looks like there is a new country in the mix of the lightweight men’s four and in fine form finishing less than four seconds outside of the World Best Time.
Results: NZL, DEN, GBR, AUT, POL, JPN
Two boats started in this race and during the opening strokes Egypt struck 45 strokes per minute. But Brazil weren’t going to let a fast start bother them and coming through the second 500, Brazil took over in the lead. With that Brazil took off and left Egypt far behind. Brazil is working towards the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and this is a solid step in that direction.
Results: BRA, EGY
Peter Taylor (NZL) – Gold
"I don’t recommend catching crabs in the last 250 metres. We could have won by a few metres but instead it was a lot closer. But who remembers the time anyway? It’s all about the gold medal.”
Jacob Larsen (DEN) – Silver
“We are satisfied with the race having trained hard since the European Championships as we want to go for gold at the Wprld Rowing Championships. We have a month-long training camp and hopefully that will make a difference.”
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Final
Bulgaria’s Georgi Bozhilov got off to a characteristic fast start. Bozhilov finished first at the Sydney World Rowing Cup but has met stiffer competition at this regatta. Coming into the first 500m Kjetil Borch of Norway had a small lead. Then disaster struck for the Olympic silver medallist and race favourite Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic. Synek caught a crab that stopped his boat and was now in fourth place. Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell of Great Britain then pushed ahead of Borch. Campbell is known for his fast starts and fast finishes. This is his first international race since the Olympic final last year.
Campbell remained in the lead through the middle of the race as Synek used all of his power and experience to come back through the pack overtaking Borch and then Bozhilov. Campbell was now under threat from Synek. Campbell, however, was ready and his stroke rate went to 37, then 40.
But Synek was too powerful. At a lower stroke rate, Synek hauled in Campbell and overtook him to take the gold. Campbell got the silver and Bozhilov showed that he is a new force to be reckoned with by coming through in third.
Results: CZE, GBR1, BUL, GER, NOR, ARG
John Graves of the United States is one of a very well represented rowing family and he made his family proud today by leading the B-final. But Great Britain’s Jonathan Walton was not making it easy for Graves. Walton raced in the A-final at the Sydney World Rowing Cup and by the middle of the race Walton had managed to get his nose ahead of Graves.
Walton then took off leaving the field behind. In the final sprint it was Dani Fridman of Israel One who decided to give it his all. Taking his stroke rate to 38, Fridman overtook Graves and closed in on Walton. Walton, however, had enough of an advantage to hold him off and remain in first position.
Results: GBR2, ISR1, USA, ISR2, NZL2, KOR
Ondrej Synek (CZE) – Gold
"After 500m I hit my oar hard on the water and everyone gained on me. In the end I was quite comfortable. Today is all about technique, especially with the big waves.”
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Final
Austria’s newest sensation, Magdalena Lobnig got out the quickest with New Zealand’s Emma Twigg and Julia Lier of Germany One chasing hard. Then Twigg did a big push and moved into the lead and away from her competition. Twigg finished fourth at the London Olympics and then in the 2012/2013 New Zealand domestic season she moved into the pair. But the single seemed to suit her better and at her first international race for the season Twigg was looking hot.
With 500m left to row Twigg had a very handy five second lead with a practical line formed behind her. Twigg could almost relax in the close of the race, unlike the rest of the field. Sweden’s Frida Svensson took her rating up and changed with Eleanor Logan of the United States chasing hard. At the line Twigg was the gold medal winner. Svensson took silver and her first international medal since her World Championship title in 2010. Logan took her second bronze of the season after also taking bronze at the Sydney World Rowing Cup.
Results: NZL, SWE, USA, GBR1, GER1, AUT
A great start by Great Britain Two, Melanie Wilson gave her the lead with Tale Gjoertz of Norway chasing hard. The experienced Julia Levina of Russia missed a stroke after clipping a buoy but she soon recovered and by the middle of the race Levina had moved into third. Wilson then proceeded to push away from Gjoertz while Levina moved in on the Norwegian.
Coming into the final sprint Wilson was in the best position with Levina now really attacking to overtake Gjoertz. Wilson remained calm as Levina continued to move on Wilson. Wilson then took her stroke rate to 33 to hold off Levina. But Levina, at 35, was attacking with every stroke. Levina, however, had left her charge a bit too late. To the roar of the crowd, Wilson had won.
Results: GBR2, RUS, NOR, EST, CHN, BRA
Emma Twigg (NZL) – Gold
“I was really surprised to come out so far ahead. The wind helped me a lot as it’s a fast tail wind. My coach helped me to relax before the race. He told me to keep the strokes long and relaxed throughout the race and that really helped.”
Frida Svensson (SWE) – Silver
“I didn’t notice it was close but it feels good. It is just a shame it comes a year too late. There were many reasons why I didn’t perform (in 2012). A lot has been different this year. I have a new focus and it gives me good confidence for the rest of the year.”
Eleanor Logan (USA) – Bronze
“(London 2012) was my second Olymic Games in the eight. I wanted to find a new challenge. It’s certainly that it’s a lot of fun. It’s not making me a slower sweep oar anyway. I can tell you that. I the single I’m in constant search of the perfect stroke.”
Men’s Eight (M8+) – Final
In the preliminary race two days ago France had the fastest race followed by Poland. Today, Poland led over Great Britain One with France in third. Poland has retained their 2012 Olympic crew that finished seventh while Great Britain has strengthened their 2012 boat by adding members of the Olympic Champion four – Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed.
Poland continued to lead through the middle of the race with Great Britain One then challenging at a stroke rate of 37, but Poland was ready and went to 39 strokes per minute. France, meanwhile, couldn’t keep up with the leaders and instead battled for third with Great Britain Two and the Czech Republic.
As the buoys turned to red indicating the last 250m of the race, Great Britain One took their stroke rate up again and bore down on the Poles. Poland, encouraged on by coxswain Daniel Trojanowski, tried to react. But with 50m left to row and the full support of the ‘Dorney roar’ behind them, Great Britain One had got their bow ball ahead of Poland.
Great Britain One had secured gold, Poland earned the silver and France squeaked through ahead of Great Britain Two to get the bronze. This is a nice step up for France who finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships.
Results: GBR1, POL, FRA, GBR2, CZE
Marcin Brzezinski (POL) – Silver
"It was not good once again. We do not have luck in London. In the first 1000 metres we rowed well together but in the second 1000 metres we started to separate a bit. All I could think in the last 500 metres was ‘Hold up, hold up, hold the British off!’
Julien Despres (FRA) – Bronze
"The conditions weren’t too much of a problem for us today. It is the same for every team and we are used to training in these conditions. We felt like a fast boat and we are happy with the performance. We would like to congratulate the British team on their gold medal.”