Progression day at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships
An enthusiastic crowd watched nine boat classes on day two at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships in Trakai, Lithuania. The picturesque regatta course complete with an island castle at the finish line was a view of flat water and sunny skies.
Junior Women’s Four (JW4-) – Heats
Three heats lined up with the goal of being first or second for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One it was the winners of this year’s European Rowing Junior Championships, Croatia who had the lead. By the middle of the race Croatia had a handy lead over Great Britain. Behind these two boats Greece and the Netherlands tussled it out for third. Croatia kept their pace up and moved to a bigger lead coming into the last 500m. Croatia stayed at 36 strokes per minute and remained easily in front. Great Britain finished easily in second and at 33 did not really need to sprint the finish.
Romania had the fastest pace in Heat Two. They left the starting blocks in the lead and pushed away from Italy who sat in second with the United States challenging them. The US crew included two bronze medallists from last year’s junior championships and they got into second with a piece through the third 500. Romania kept a 34 stroke rate to stay in front as the US went to 37 and then 40 in the final sprint. Heat Three was a race of leadership swapping. The race opened with New Zealand having a fast start. Then Poland took over in front with China in hot pursuit. The Chinese crew included Shiyu Lu who is a junior world champion from the women’s quadruple sculls. Once in front China pushed away from Poland to win the race. Poland was second with New Zealand in third needing to race the repechage. China had recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Qualifiers: CRO, GBR, ROU, USA, CHN, POL
Junior Men’s Coxed Four (JM4+) – Heats
This boat class had two heats and the gold was to be in the top two spots for a direct path to the final on Sunday. It started out with South Africa in the lead in Heat One. Then Italy upped the pace and used a high stroke rate to get in front. South Africa held on as Switzerland came through to match these leading boats. Three countries charged for the finish line with Switzerland now getting a slight edge over South Africa. In a flurry to the line Italy finished just a bit ahead of Switzerland with South Africa, in third, having to come back for the repechage. Italy had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.
The United States had the fastest start in Heat Two. This crew included Clark Dean who raced yesterday in the men’s single. Holding a 37 stroke rate the US tried to hold off Germany and Croatia. Both Germany and Croatia medalled earlier this season in the European Rowing Junior Championships. The United States looked smooth as they came through to the final 500m still in the lead. The US went to 40 to stay in front as Germany came through to try and get the lead. The US got to the line in first.
Qualifiers: ITA, SUI, USA, GER
Junior Women’s Pair (JW2-) – Heats
Three heats lined up with the aim of being in a top three spot on the cards. This would earn a direct path to the semifinals on Saturday. Greece had a very slight margin at the start of Heat One and they got to the first 500m marker in the lead. Italy was the closest challenger and going into the second 500, Italy had the fastest pace. Greece has been together for two years now. They finished fourth last year at the junior championships and this year they were second at the European Rowing Junior Championships. The Italians then got ahead of Greece but Margarita Georgoudi and Christina Bourmpou of Greece fought back. Vittoria Tonoli and Laura Meriano of Italy found themselves back in second. In the final sprint Greece went to 36 to hold off Italy who was under threat from China. But with three spots up for grabs it was merely academic. Greece’s time of 7:31. 06 was the fastest qualifying time by just a fraction of a second.
Heat Two had Germany’s Katja Fuhrmann and Marie-Sophie Zeidler in the lead at the start. Slovenia was the closest challenger but by the middle of the race Fuhrmann and Zeidler was way out in front with Slovenia holding off New Zealand for second. Germany remained well in front with the order remaining the same behind them. The Germans did not sprint the finish, rating 33 through to the line. Meanwhile New Zealand did a push that got them equal with Slovenia who fought back. These three crews are in the semifinals.
Romania was at the head of the field in Heat Three. Adriana Ailincai and Maria Tivodariu of Romania were first at the European Rowing Junior Championships earlier this season and they looked comfortable in the lead. Lithuania followed back in second with South Africa and the United States battling it out for third. The United States then managed to get a small margin over South Africa. Romania held 30 strokes per minute through the body of the race and remained easily in the lead. Lithuania held on to second and the United States held off South Africa.
Qualifiers: GRE, ITA, CHN, GER, SLO, NZL, ROU, LTU, USA
Junior Men’s Pair (JM2-) – Heats
The goal here was to finish first. This would gain a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals in each of these four heats. Heat One had Uzbekistan getting out in front, remaining there going into the middle of the race. Spain and Austria battled it out for second behind them. Then Argentina’s Lautaro Barrios and Franco Calvo had a very fast third 500 and to into second. They then challenged Sardor Tulkinkhujaev and Alisher Turdiev of Uzbekistan for the lead. The Uzbek’s were ready and took their stroke rate to 40 to win the qualifying spot. At the end of these heats Uzbekistan had recorded the fastest qualifying time by a handy three seconds.
New Zealand’s Samuel Jones and James Hall had the fastest start in Heat Two. They remained in the lead at the half way point with a 38 stroke rate pace. They had now established a huge lead with the United States and Italy a way back but the closest challengers. Jones and Hall continued to keep the fastest pace as Italy got away from the United States and tried their best to close on the New Zealanders. In the final sprint Italy went to 43 and closed on New Zealand, but Jones and Hall were ready and crossed the line in first. Like their female counterparts, Romania led the way in Heat Three. Stefan-Constantin Berariu and Florin-Sorin Lehaci of Romania had a slight lead at the start but it was very close with Croatia. By the middle of the race Croatia had the lead. Romania, who finished first at the European Rowing Junior Championships, tried to hold on in second, but Croatia had a better pace. Patrik and Anton Loncaric of Croatia then did a huge sprint finish and pulled away from Romania.
Turkey took the lead in Heat Four and was still in front with half the race gone. Germany and France battled it out for second, but they were way back as Turkey’s Aydin Inanc Sahin and Ismail Ali Bekiroglu held an open water lead. The Turkish crew did not need to sprint the finish with Germany having pulled away from France were not close enough to get to Turkey.
Qualifiers: UZB, NZL, CRO, TUR
Junior Men’s Four (JM4-) – Heats
A first place finish was needed to earn a direct path to the semifinals on Saturday for the rowers in these four heats. In Heat One Great Britain took off in the lead with Greece chasing hard. By the middle of the race De Graaf, Woods, Tarczy and Drinkall of Great Britain had earned a handy lead and they continued to increase it through the body of the race. Greece held on to second with Croatia doing a 49 stroke finish to get into third. Great Britain became the one qualifying boat. At the end of the heats the British proved to have the fastest qualifying time. Denmark had a great start in Heat Two with the United States the closest followers. Then Denmark really took off and by the middle of the race Valbirk, Kok, Christiansen and Rathenborg of Denmark had a very handy lead with Serbia now moving into second and closing on the Serbians. Denmark then took their stroke rate up and at a 36 stroke rate they remained ahead of Serbia.
It was a very good start for New Zealand in Heat Three as they moved away ahead of Spain. The Spanish then did a piece to try and fend off South Africa and that saw them close a little on New Zealand. But the New Zealand crew of Williamson, Russel, MacDonald and Taylor looked good at the head of the field. This crew includes three international newcomers with Russel having raced in the pair at last year’s junior championships. South Africa was now in second and getting away from Spain. Now Canada moved up, but it was a race for second as New Zealand remained comfortably in front rating 40 at the finish.
Germany was out in front of Heat Four with Romania following the closest in second. Romania’s crew of Ciobica, Chelaru, Cojocaru and Huc then got their nose ahead of Germany with Italy also closing on the Germans through the middle of the race. These three countries were neck-and-neck now and with just one qualifying spot it was going to be a sprint to the finish. Italy then took a very slight advantage. Germany then dropped their rating and let Romania and Italy battle it out for the line. Italy was at 45 and Romania at 40 in a very close finish. Romania had done it by a slight margin.
Qualifiers: GBR, DEN, NZL, ROU
Junior Women’s Quadruple Sculls (JW4x) – Heats
The top three from each of these three heats would get to go directly to the semifinals on Saturday. In Heat One Germany had the early lead with Great Britain chasing hard. Then Germany managed to get a handy advantage over the British with Bachmann, Leupold, Kuhnert and Menzel of Germany keeping their pace going and working at gaining water. Now Italy tried to move up on Great Britain but with China way back the top three positions were all but decided. There was not a lot of sprinting going on at the end.
It was Switzerland in the lead at the start with Romania in hot pursuit in Heat Two. Then Romania managed to get into the lead but Switzerland was not going to let them get away. These two crews moved away from the rest of the field and realised that they didn’t need to sprint as they were both comfortably in qualifying spots. The Czech Republic came through in third and the order did not change. Romania had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall, just a fraction ahead of Germany in heat one.
The Netherlands had the edge in Heat Three. This crew included Femke Paulis who is the sister of Olympic Champion Ilse. The Dutch remained in front at the middle of the race watching a tussle go on between the United States and Russia. In the US boat Caroline Sharis sat in bow. She is a junior champion from last year’s women’s double. India then caught a crab and dropped further off the pace. The United States then went to 39 and then 41 and closed on the Dutch in the final sprint. The Netherlands reacted and kept ahead of the Americans who earned second with Russia in third. *The Russian boat was weighed after the race and was underweight. This meant India qualifies for the semifinal and Russia will have to race in the repechage.
Qualifiers: GER, GBR, ITA, ROU, SUI, CZE, NED, USA, IND
Junior Men’s Quadruple Sculls (JM4x) – Heats
This boat class had three heats and the aim here was to be in a top two position for a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals. Italy had the early lead in Heat One with Poland gaining. The Poles then took the lead, but Italy fought back and at the half way point the Italians were back in front. Three of Italy’s crew raced last year in their junior men’s eight and they were now moving away from the field. Poland held on to second with Australia and Greece trying hard to get up into a qualifying position. In the final sprint Italy was in front with Australia flying through at 40 strokes per minute to try and catch Poland. Greece was coming too and it was a virtual line for second with Estonia joining in the charge for the line. This must be the closest finish of the day. Greece had done it. Just one second had separated Greece, Australia, Poland and Estonia.
The Czech crew had a very small lead in Heat Two. But there was so, so little in it with just a second separating the top four boats. The Czech Republic kept their speed up and managed to get to the half way point first. Germany and China was just a bit back fighting it out for second. Germany, who were second in this boat class in 2016, then did a piece and got their boat ahead of the Czechs with Denmark now moving swiftly. Rating 41 in the final sprint Denmark had moved through the Czech Republic and were catching Germany. The Germans held them off, but only just and at the line they had recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Heat Three had Switzerland in the lead with Great Britain chasing hard. The Swiss crew of Huehn, Condrau, Gulich and Copes were still in front at the half way point. But only just as Great Britain hung on to the Swiss pace. Behind these two leaders Russia and New Zealand battled it out for third – at this stage outside of the qualifying spots. Switzerland finished the race in first having led the entire race with Great Britain taking the second qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: ITA, GRE, GER, DEN, SUI, GBR
Junior Women’s Eight (JW8+) – Heats
This boat class had two heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to go directly to the final on Sunday. Romania had the fastest start in Heat One. But it was very close with Belarus, Australia and China all close enough to challenge the leader. Romania then managed to squeeze away with Belarus in second and China and Australia neck-and-neck for third. Coming into the last 500m, China had broken away from Australia and moving on Belarus. China was rating 39 and was neck-and-neck now with Belarus. China was now at 41 and they had overtaken Belarus. Belarus tried to come back, but ran out of water.
Heat Two had Russia looking good out of the start. They settled into a 37 stroke rate pace with the Germans and Czechs moving with Russia. Russia was tenth in this race last year and they were ahead of the reigning junior champions, the Czech Republic. At this stage only the United States was off the pace. The Czech Republic, Russia and Germany remained neck-and-neck through the middle of the race. Then Germany pulled into the lead. This left the battle for second between the Czechs and Russia. The Czech Republic was sprinting at 41 and they were now level with Germany. The Germans came back and finished first. Germany had recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Qualifiers: ROU, CHN, GER, CZE
Junior Men’s Eight (JM8+) – Heats
Two heats lined up with the aim here to be in a top two position for a direct path to Sunday’s final. In Heat One the United States got away very quickly with Germany holding on to their pace. The United States finished second last year and they still have two of those silver medallists in the boat. Russia then joined the leading duo as three boats went through the middle of the race together. Germany and Russia went to 39 with the United States holding on to the lead in the final sprint. The US went to 40 as Germany came through into first. There was very little in it at the line. Germany had squeezed through to take first with the US qualifying from second. Germany’s time was 5:48.04.
Italy was the fastest out of the blocks in Heat Two with the Netherlands moving with them. Then the British joined the leaders and at the half way point the British had grabbed the lead with Italy and the Netherlands sticking with the British. Great Britain continued to have the fastest pace as the Netherlands started to drop back, finding the speed a bit too much. Romania was now giving their all to catch the leading crews. Romania had overtaken the Dutch but could not catch Italy. They will return for a repechage. Great Britain had won in a time of 5:48.56.
Qualifiers: GER, USA, GBR, ITA