Rowing into a top three spot for semifinals at European Rowing Championships
Flat water, barely any wind, warm weather. It was a beautiful day at the Rotsee for this day of semifinals at the 2019 European Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Semifinals
Romania (Adriana Ailincai and Maria Tivodariu) had the fastest qualifying time and they lined up in Semifinal One. They took off at 49 strokes per minute with the highest rating, but they were not in front. Instead it was Aletta Jorritsma and Jose van Veen of the Netherlands. Spain’s Aina Cid and Virginia Diaz Rivas slotted into second right on the pace of the Dutch. Romania moved with them and these three boats broke away from the rest of the pack. The Dutch managed to hold a slight lead through to the final sprint. Then Romania came up to challenge Spain. Diaz Rivas and Cid were ready and took it up a gear. Romania went to 40 strokes per minute and pulled up level. Spain gave it their all and took first. Romania got the better of the Dutch and were second.
At the start of Semifinal Two it was Ukraine in the lead. Ukraine’s Olena Buryak and Oksana Golub had finished third in the heats yesterday and maybe they were saving something for today. But the lead was slight with Great Britain close in second and Germany in third. Then Greece did a push and moved into second. In the Greek boat is the World Rowing current ‘Rising Star’, Christina Bourmpou and she was teamed up with Maria Kyridou. Bourmpou and Kyridou then managed to get just a nose ahead of Ukraine with Italy and Great Britain very much in the mix. Just one second separated these top four crews. Great Britain started to sprint with 500m to go. At 38 it was paying off. Bourmpou went to 42. But it was Italy’s sprint, at 40, that got the win. Kiri Tontodonati and Aisha Rocek of Italy go to the final with the fastest qualifying time.
Qualifiers: ESP, ROU, NED, ITA, GRE, GBR
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Semifinals
The Croatians had already earned a handy lead with just 500m raced. This was the formula for the start of Semifinal One when Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia took off. The Sinkovic brothers are the World Champions in this boat class and they were dominating today’s race. Romania’s Cozmiuc and Tudosa followed in second, but quite a way back. Croatia looked to be continuing their race domination through the middle of the race. Yesterday in the heats Romania and Croatia had won their respective heats with almost identical times, but today it was all about Croatia. Italy was in third with Belarus challenging them in the final sprint. Italy was at 42 and it was difficult to see if they had another gear. Croatia took the win with Romania in second and Italy getting third.
Spain had a great start in Semifinal One. Jamie Canelejo Pazos and Javier Garcia Ordonez of Spain continued to lead this class field which included winners of World Rowing Cup I, Serbia’s Martin Mackovic and Milos Vasic. Mackovic and Vasic then decided to move and going through the third 500 the Serbians did a push that brought them into the lead. Serbia was at 40 and aimed to hold their now leading spot. Spain began to slip back. The French went to 42, but they had a lot of work to do to get into the final. Serbia now looked good for the win and they crossed the line in first.
Qualifiers: CRO, ROU, ITA, SRB, ESP, CZE
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Semifinals
It was Germany’s Leonie Menzel and Carlotta Nwajide grabbed this Semifinal One and went for it. The duo won their heat yesterday, but not in the fastest overall time. By the middle of the race the Germans had a rather handy lead over the current World Champions, Lithuania in second. Germany continued to move away with Lithuania now under threat from Greece. Milda Valciukaite and Ieva Adomaviciute of Lithuania decided it was time to move and they left Greece behind with Russia now threatening the Greeks for third. Germany crossed the line in first, Lithuania took second and Greek fought back to overtake Russia and take third.
In Semifinal Two the Netherlands got away quickly. Elisbeth Beeres and Laila Youssifou of the Netherlands come from the gold medal women’s eight from World Rowing Cup I. They finished second in their heat yesterday, behind Lithuania. Romania then did a push to get their nose ahead of the Dutch. Meanwhile the 2018 European Champions, France were back in fourth. Belarus now stepped up and overtook the Dutch and closed on Romania. The Romanian crew of Nicoleta-Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis kept pushing on and held their lead. Belarus, however, managed to match the Romanian speed. These two boats when head to head into the final line. In the final sprint Italy went to 38 and tried to get into a qualifying spot. Italy was nearly level with the Netherlands with just 100m to row. Italy had done it. They qualify along with Belarus and Romania. All had faster times than the winner of the first semifinal.
Qualifiers: GER, LTU, GRE, ROU, BLR, ITA
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Semifinals
The Netherlands had a very good start in Semifinal One. The Dutch finished just a fraction behind Poland in the heats yesterday and today they led over Ireland and Italy. Great Britain then moved up. The British had won their heat yesterday and they had recorded the fastest qualifying time. Meanwhile the World Champions, France was giving it their all to get in a qualifying spot. It was just two seconds between the top four crews coming into the final sprint. The Dutch crew of Keijser and van Sprang remained in first with Great Britain taking second and Boucheron and Androdias flying through to take third for France.
The second Semifinal started off incredibly tight at the start and there was just two seconds between the entire pace at the first 500m mark. Switzerland had a slight edge. The crew of Delarze and Roeoseli of Switzerland had the second fastest time in yesterday’s heats. Then Poland did a big push and overtook the Swiss with Romania and Germany remaining very much on the pace. There were now four crews going for three spots. Poland’s Zietarski and Baranski were still ahead of Switzerland but Delarze and Roeoseli remained hot on their heels.
Romania then went to 39 strokes per minute in an amazing sprint finish. Poland and Switzerland took first and second. Who would get third? Romania had done it. Germany had missed out.
Qualifiers: NED, GBR, FRA, POL, SUI, ROU
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
Winner of his heat yesterday, Martino Goretti of Italy led Semifinal One. Goretti finished second at last year’s European Rowing Championships and he had a great heat on Friday. Poland’s Artur Mikolajczewski followed closely in second. Then Mikolajczewski did a push that propelled him into first. Italy held on as Turkey and Germany fought it out for third. Mikolajczewski then got a small margin over Goretti with Germany’s Max Roeger in third. In the final sprint Great Britain’s Jamie Copus came flying. Copus had come through from the repechage and he went to 41 strokes per minute and not only overtook Roeger, but got an overlap on the Pole. Poland remained in first.
In Semifinal Two Hungary’s Peter Galambos was the first to show. Galambos finished second to Poland in yesterday’s heats and he may have been saving something for today. Galambos still led at the half way point with Slovenia’s Rajko Hrvat in second. Hrvat had the fastest qualifying time from yesterday’s heats and he, along with Galambos are very, very experienced single scullers. Switzerland’s Jan Schaeuble was in third, just a little ahead of Jiri Kopac of the Czech Republic. Kopac then did a push and got himself into a qualifying spot and closed on Hrvat as Galambos powered on, sculling beautifully to get a length lead over the field. Hrvat went to 42 strokes per minute and started to move on Galambos. The top three boats were made up of incredible single sculling experience.
Qualilfiers: POL, ITA, GBR, HUN, SLO, CRO
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Semifinals
Belarus had the fastest qualifying time in yesterday’s heats and they raced in Semifinal One. But they got away second to France’s crew of Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove. By the middle of the race Taratola and Bove still had the lead with Belarus’s Anastasiia Ianina and Alena Furman pacing them. Among these two crews are a lot of names that have done well in different levels of the lightweight single including Furman who won the lightweight single at the World Rowing Cup I earlier this season. Ianina and Furman then overtook France and they did it by underrating by two or three pips. France went to 38 with Belarus staying at 34 to take first. France were second ahead of Great Britain.
Semifinal Two had Italy in the lead at the start. The Italian crew of Giulia Mignemi and Valentina Rodini finished third in their heat yesterday. Maybe they were saving something for today’s all-important race. Switzerland’s Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol followed closely in second. Merz and Rol were fourth at last year’s World Rowing Championships and one lane over from them and sitting in third was Romania who are the reigning World Champions. Going through the middle of the race Italy remained in front and they were able to watch a very, very close battle between Switzerland, Romania and the Netherlands. With only three positions up for grabs, this was going to have to be a battle to the line.
In the close of the race Switzerland used the help of the crowd to bring them ahead of the Romanians. Switzerland rated 38 as Romania went to 40 and the Dutch at 36 may have left their sprint a little late. This push took the Swiss into the lead with Italy taking second ahead of Romania.
Qualifiers: BLR, FRA, GBR, SUI, ITA, ROU
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Semifinals
Germany bolted out in Semifinal One. Rommelmann and Osborne won their heat yesterday and this new combination had earned a slight advantage going through the first 500m mark. Osborne is the World Champion in the lightweight single and he has teamed up with Rommelmann to race in this Olympic class boat. Spain sat in second with Ireland’s McCarthy brothers back a fraction in third. The Irish then overtook Spain with the Czech’s now moving up to take on Spain. Ireland went to 39 while Spain was at 41 as the Czechs went to 44. Germany had won, Spain took second and the Irish took third. The Czech Republic had missed out by less than a second.
It was a very tightly packed field at the start of Semifinal Two with Italy holding a slight lead. Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta of Italy finished second at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they had the fastest qualifying time in yesterday’s heats. Denmark and Belgium went neck and neck for second with Austria trying to hold on to their place. Going through the 1000m mark Italy was still in the lead, but only just over Belgium and Denmark who remained locked together. Italy then managed to break away slightly but Belgium and Denmark were still neck and neck. Italy then went to 39 with Belgium going to 40. The sprint was on. Oppo and Ruta had won with Belgium just ahead of Denmark.
Qualifiers: GER, ESP, IRL, ITA, BEL, DEN
Men’s Four (M4-) – Semifinals
Germany won their heat yesterday and they were the quickest away in Semifinal One. The crew of Brummel, Wimberger, Planer and Merget include members who have been in the great German eight. Germany remained at 40 going through the first 500m mark. But Italy had slightly more speed. The Italians finished second at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they still had the lead at the half way mark. Meanwhile the Netherlands and Austria were neck and neck fighting for the third and final qualifying spot. This battle remained coming through to the final sprint. Italy was now at 41 as they charged through to the end. Austria and the Netherlands were both at 41 with Belarus now flying down the outside. There were now three boats fighting for the last spot. A push by Germany gave them first ahead of Italy with Belarus getting the better of the Dutch and Austrians.
Great Britain had the fastest qualifying time from yesterday’s heats but at the start of Semifinal Two it was Romania, rating 54, who got away the quickest. They are the under-23 champions and also the European Champions. Poland then upped their pace and got to the first 500m marker just in front. But it was oh so tight with just a second between the top three crews. Poland was still in front at the half way point with Great Britain slotting into second. This is a new British line up and this is their first international outing for the 2019 season.
As the end of the race came into sight, Poland took their crew to 40 strokes per minute. Great Britain matched them with three boats going for the third spot – Switzerland, Ukraine and Romania. The British had won and with the fastest qualifying time overall. Poland to second with Ukraine taking third.
Qualifiers: GER, ITA, BLR, GBR, POL, UKR
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Semifinals
Victoria Thornley of Great Britain was away the quickest in Semifinal One and she took the lead. Then Lisa Scheenaard of the Netherlands did a push with Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin and Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig well on the pace. Gmelin then pushed into the lead. Gmelin is the 2017 World Champion and also the 2018 European Champions. The race remained tight and just one second separated the top four crews. Gmelin now had a small lead with Austria and the Netherlands just behind her and moving together.
Gmelin then began to show her talent and she got a lead over Scheenaard who had gotten a slight advantage over Lobnig. What a race! This race was showing the talent that currently exists in the single. Gmelin got to the line first and recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Like in the heats Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark was very fast in the first half of the race. Today Erichsen had the lead at the start of Semifinal Two and still had it at the half way point. The 2012 Olympic Champion Mirka Topinkova Knapkova had moved into second. This is Knapkova’s second international race of the season as she raced in World Rowing Cup I in May. The World Champion, Sanita Puspure of Ireland was in third and sticking closely to Knapkova. Puspure had the fastest time in the heats and she looked content to just be in a qualifying spot. Knapkova and Puspure were at 33 coming into the final sprint. Knapkova overtook Erichsen and crossed the line in first.
Qualifiers: SUI, NED, AUT, CZE, IRL, DEN
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Semifinals
It was Stef Broenink of the Netherlands in the lead of Semifinal One. But there was very little in it with World Champion Kjetil Borch of Norway in the mix along with Croatia’s Damir Martin and Belarus’s Pilip Pavukou. All of these athletes raced in the quarterfinal earlier today so this race would definitely be a test of their stamina. Martin then moved out in front with Broenink and Borch with in challenging distance. Pavukou then pushed back and got ahead of the World Champion Borch. Meanwhile Martin was really showing his stuff and he pushed away from the pack. Borch was at 37, but he was still behind Pavukou. Martin had won. Borch had missed out on the final.
Opening quickly in Semifinal Two wa Sverri Nielsen of Denmark. This was remarkable as he was up against Olympic medallist Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and Germany’s new sensation Oliver "Olli" Zeidler. Zeidler won his quarterfinal this morning but he may have done a bit too much as he was in third. Switzerland’s Nico Stahlberg was in second. Just one second separated the top four boats at the half way point. What a race! Nielsen was still in the lead with Zeidler now in second and Synek moving with them in third. Stahlberg had dropped out of a top three spot. Zeidler then got the lead rating 36. Synek seemed to drop a little. Could Stahlberg come back? Zeidler, at 40, had won, Nielsen, at 39, was 0.23 of a second back. Synek took third.
Qualifiers: CRO, NED, BLR, GER, DEN, CZE
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Semifinals
In yesterday’s heats the Netherlands had the fastest qualifying time and today they led the way in Semifinal One. The Dutch were at 40 and closest to them were the Polish crew at 41. Italy sat in third. The Netherlands still had the lead through the middle of the race and they had gained a half boat length over Poland. Italy was now coming up to challenge Poland with Norway within striking distance in fourth. Italy are the World Champions and they had just overtaken Poland. The Poles went to 39 to try and counter the Italians. Norway went to 41, led by veteran rower Olaf Tufte. They overtook Poland and got into a qualifying spot. The Netherlands had recorded a new European Best Time of 5:41.18.
At the start of Semifinal Two it was Ukraine in the lead. But it was small as Germany and Great Britain came up alongside. The British then did a solid push and they were now in the lead. Beaumont, Walton, Groom and Lambert of Great Britain are all well-seasoned international rowers. The margin remained tight with just half a second between the top three boats. The British then got a very small advantage but not enough to ignore the final sprint. Great Britain went to 37 to remain in the front. The British had won ahead of Germany and Ukraine.
Qualifiers: NED, ITA, NOR, GBR, GER, UKR