Race Report: Remaining heats completed at rowing's under-23 championships in Rotterdam
Despite enduring four seasons of weather, the best under 23 rowers in the world showed their racing skills in the afternoon of heats at the combined World Rowing Senior, Under 23 & Junior World Rowing Championships for 2016 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
On the water, competitors dealt with cross-tail wind conditions with sunshine sometimes breaking through before disappearing behind thick cloud.
Under-23 Men's Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) - Heats
This is one of the fastest rowing boats and hit had attracted crews from 16 nations. They were divided into three heats with the aim of being in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. Heat One saw the Polish crew that tried to qualify for the Rio Olympics earlier this year. The Poles got away the quickest with New Zealand following in second. Przekopski, Pawlowski, Czala and Dominiczak of Poland had broken away to an impressive lead by the half way point. Then New Zealand took their stroke rate to 38-39 and they closed the gap. This put the under-23 World Champions, Canada, into third and at this stage out of the qualifying spots. Poland held off the Kiwis and recorded a quick time of 5:52.
Belarus and Germany were the quickest coming out at the start in Heat Two. Then a strong push saw Germany move away from Belarus with Ukraine now closing on the Belarusians. Germany crossed the finish line easily in front with Ukraine blowing Belarus away to come in second. Heat Three rounded out the boat class and it saw Australia fky out at the start using an impressive 1:24 pace for the first 500m. But the Australians may have gone out a bit too fast. Great Britain first did a push to close and then Italy took their stroke rate up and overtook Great Britain and closed on Australia. The Australians held them off and recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Qualifiers: POL, NZL, GER, UKR, AUS, ITA
Under-23 Women's Four (BW4-) - Heats
Two heats lined up with the goal of being in a top two position for a direct path to the final. In Heat One the under-23 World Champions, the United States, were led out from the start by Germany. The United States, who has retained one athlete from their 2015 winning crew, then got into the lead. With the US still in the lead, Germany had to push hard to hold off Belarus who were at a 38 stroke rate and flying. The United States won with the fastest qualifying time. Germany just managed to stay in second. The Netherlands had the crowd support as they led Heat Two. This helped them get to an open water lead by the middle of the race with Romania being the closest challengers. Romania overrated the Dutch by four beats in the final sprint and it was enough to give them the lead. Both boats qualified for the final.
Qualifiers: USA, GER, ROU, NED
Under-23 Men's Coxed Four (BM4+) - Heats
The goal in these two heats was to finish first. This would give a direct path to the finals on Thursday. Italy, who are the reigning under-23 World Champions in this boat class, had the lead at the start of Heat One. The Italians remained there through the middle of the race with France and Serbia very much on the pace. Serbia began to slip back as New Zealand came sprinting through at the end. But Italy managed to hold off all challengers and will go directly to the A-final. Switzerland proved to have the fastest start in Heat Two. But they were soon edged out of the lead by Australia. The Australians continued to lead through the middle of the race with Great Britain then pulling through into second. Australia proved to have the stamina and they became the sole qualifiers.
Qualifiers: ITA, AUS
Under-23 Lightweight Women's Quadruple Sculls (BLW4x) - Heats
This boat class had two heats and the top two boats in each heat would get to go directly to the final. Italy had a blistering start in Heat One and they still had the lead going through the middle of the race. Italy is the under-23 World Champions and they have maintained Giorgia Lo Bue from that 2015 boat. Italy then went out to a huge lead with Great Britain holding a firm second-place spot. Italy was able to wind down the rating in the final sprint and still maintain a big lead. Heat Two had Switzerland get away the quickest and lead over Germany. These two boats looked to be easily in the two qualifying spots and their order remained unchanged right through to the line.
Qualifiers: ITA, GBR, SUI, GER
Under-23 Women's Pair (BW2-) - Heats
Two heats lined up with the top boat only being able to qualify direct for final. Canada's Nicole Hare and Hillary Janssens led the way. Hare has come directly from the Rio Olympics to race here and she was showing her Olympic class today as Canada moved clean away from the rest of the field. They were able to tap the boat along at a rather comfortable 32 stroke rate pace to take first. They did have a small crab in the final 200m which saw Italy close on them. But Canada remained in first. The United States hold the under-23 World Championship title and Georgia Ratcliff remains in the boat for 2016. Looking smooth and strong, Ratcliff and new team mate Kendall Chase built up an enormous lead rowing in a class of their own. No one could touch the Americans.
Qualifiers: CAN, USA
Under-23 Lightweight Men's Quadruple Sculls (BLM4x) - Heats
This boat class had three heats and the top three boats from each head would earn a spot in the semifinals. Germany was the fastest away and they moved away from the rest of the field using a 37 stroke rate through the body of the race. Sweden followed in second and coming through the third 500, Sweden closed the gap on Germany with Ireland not far off in third. Germany got to the line first. Italy got away the quickest in Heat Two with Australia slotting into second. This left Norway and New Zealand to battle it out for third. Italy retained their first-place spot with a cracking pace and crossed the line in first. A big sprint by Norway got them up with Australia and into the qualifying spot.
The under-23 World Champions, France raced in Heat Three. But it was Great Britain that led the boats out at the start and remained there through the body of the race. France followed rather closely in second and these two boats moved away from the rest of the field. France put in a solid final sprint and nearly caught the lead, but the British remained just in front and recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.
Qualifiers: GER, SWE, IRL, ITA, NOR, AUS, GBR, FRA
Under-23 Men's Four (BM4-) - Heats
Romania is the under-23 World Champions and they race in the first of three heats with the same line-up as the one that won a year ago. The goal of these boats was to finish in a top three position for a direct path to the semifinals. Romania had the fastest start before Austria took over in the lead. The Austrians had the lead through the middle of the race with Romania then slipping back into third. The Unites States now had second. In the final sprint Romania went to a 41 stroke rate, but Austria had just enough of an advantage to hold off Romania.
Heat Two opened with Germany out in front by a small margin over the rest of the field. Then Great Britain moved into first. Great Britain took silver in 2015 and they have retained two members of that boat. Germany's boat won the junior world title two years ago and they were maintaining the second place spot into the close of the race. Canada came through to take the third qualifying spot. New Zealand had the early lead in Heat Three with the closest challenge coming from Argentina. But the New Zealanders looked comfortable and strong has they continued to lead. In the final sprint it was Russia that managed to grab the final qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: AUT, ROU, USA, GBR, GER, CAN, NZL, ARG, RUS
Under-23 Lightweight Men's Four (BLM4-) - Heats
The lightweight four was divided into three heats with the aim for these crews to be in a top three position for a direct path to the semifinals. Germany had the lead in Heat One and they held it through the middle of the race by an impressive margin. Then Italy, who hold the title of reigning under-23 World Champions, moved up on Germany. The Italians have two of the 2015 crew back in the boat, but they were being outclassed by Germany today. Italy had to be satisfied with second while Austria and France went to a photo finish for third. Austria got there first and recorded the fastest qualifying time of all of the three heats.
Great Britain had the fastest start in Heat Two with Chile and Denmark fighting it out for second. Then Chile broke away from Denmark as Great Britain retained the leading edge. Spain then charged and put Denmark's qualifying spot under threat. Denmark reacted and reacted strongly. They got away from Spain and took it to a photo finish with Chile. Denmark is through to the semifinals.
Heat Three opened with Poland in the lead and this is where they remained through the middle of the race with a virtual line forming between the remaining three crews. Poland remained out in front for the entire race, despite the late charge by Japan who came in second over Switzerland.
Qualifiers: GER, ITA, AUT, GBR, CHI, DEN, POL, JPN, SUI
Under-23 Women's Quadruple Sculls (BW4x) - Heats
Two heats required a first-place finish for a direct path to the final on Thursday. In Heat One Romania had the lead with Germany chasing hard. Germany recently won this boat class at the Rio Olympics and through the middle of the race they closed on Romania. These two boats then went head to head through to the final sprint. Germany got their nose in front with 500m left to row. But Romania held on rating 37 then 38. Germany got to the line first and also recorded the fastest qualifying time. Heat Two featured the under-23 World Champions, Poland. The Poles have retained their 2015 crew intact and they showed their winning speed by jumping out into the lead at the start. Great Britain, France and Italy formed a virtual line and Poland had to work hard in the final sprint to stay ahead. What a finish! Poland had done just enough to stay in front.
Qualifiers: GER, POL
Under-23 Women's Eight (BW8+) - Heats
This boat class had two heats with only the first placed crew in each heat getting to go directly to the final. Heat One was a very hot race with the reigning under-23 World Champions, the United States not in the lead. Instead it was New Zealand holding the lead, just ahead of the US crew. But margins were incredibly close and everything seemed to change in the third 500, The United States managed to push in front with the British then overtaking New Zealand. The US took their boat to the line in first and recorded the fastest overall qualifying time. Heat Two opened with Russia in the lead followed closely by Australia. Russia still had the lead through the middle of the race as Australia remained very much within striking distance. These two boats then went into the final 500m neck-and-neck. A higher stroke rate - going up to 39 strokes per minute - and slightly more aggression gave Russia the win.
Qualifiers: USA, RUS
Under-23 Men's Eight (BM8+) - Heats
The 13 nations entered in this boat class had been divided into three heats with the top three boats in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals. In Heat One the Netherlands got away the quickest. But there was nothing much in it and going through the middle of the race the Dutch still had the lead, but it was not by much. Coming through to the final sprint, the Dutch retained a slight lead as a fierce battle went on behind them for second and third. In a very tight finish, Great Britain had taken second with Ukraine in third. There was a slight delay in Heat Two as the starting shoes had to be reset. France got away the quickest before Australia took over in the lead. But there was nothing in it and the French, at 39 strokes per minute, fought back and found the lead again. The French then managed to pull away from Australia who were firmly in second.
The reigning under-23 World Champions, Germany led the way in Heat Three. By the middle of the race Germany still had the lead with Italy right on the German pace. Germany did their best to hold off Italy and these two boats went head to head into the finish. Going to 40 strokes per minute, Italy stole the lead from Germany and crossed the line in first.
Qualifiers: NED, GBR, UKR, FRA, AUS, POL, ITA, GER, USA