Women’s Pair  (W2-) – Heats

The two heats in the women’s pair opened these 2018 European Championships with the goal of being in a top two position for a direct path to the finals. Leading the way at the start of Heat One was the British crew of Rowan McKellar and Harriet Taylor. But they were soon overhauled by Elsbeth Beeres and Laila Youssifou of the Netherlands. Coming through into the final sprint three boats were going for two spots as the Romanian crew of Madalina Beres and Denisa Tilvescu came charging through. This duo won gold in the women’s eight at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they must be a favourite to medal. Romania crossed the line in first and recorded the fastest qualifying time overall. The British had missed out.

Italy led the way from start to finish in Heat Two. Alessandra Patelli and Sara Bertolasi of Italy gained a small margin at the start against Ukraine. Oksana Golub and Anna Kontseva of Ukraine challenged for 1500m but then decided not to sprint as they were comfortably in second and in a qualifying spot.

Qualifiers: ROU, NED, ITA, UKR

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Heats

This boat class is going to be one of the prime events of the regatta and it had three heats with the goal of being in a top two position to go directly to the semifinals. Romania was having a great race in Heat One. Marius-Wasile Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa of Romania got out in the lead at the start and held off Valentin and Theophile Onfroy of France. The Onfroy brothers took silver at last year’s European Championships and they were having a full on battle with Serbia. In the final sprint the Onfroy’s went to 43 to get ahead of Serbia’s Bedik and Vasic. Serbia reacted and went to 40. But then Serbia gave it away and Romania and France became the qualifiers.

Heat Two was a very tight crew at the start with the Netherlands crew of Vincent Klaassens and Sander de Graaf. Then medallists from World Rowing Cup II, Belarus pushed through to get close to the Dutch with the Polish under-23 crew coming down the outside. Then Dzimitry Furman and Siarhei Valadzko of Belarus pushed out in front with the Netherlands holding on. In the final sprint Great Britain went to 40 with the Dutch at 41 and Belarus matching the sprint. The British had snuck through to a qualifying spot.

Germany kept at 40 strokes per minute right through to the 500m mark to try and take the advantage in Heat Three. But it did not get them ahead of Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia. The Sinkovic’s are Rio Olympic Champions from the men’s double and they have made a successful change to the pair. They must be a favourite to medal. But this was a stacked race with World Champion Matteo Lodo sitting in the Italian boat with new partner Domenico Montrone. Lodo and Montrone established a very high rating. They sat in third and were rating 39. Croatia remained in the lead at a 36 stroke rate. The race was all but over in the final sprint. Croatia was firmly in first with Italy comfortably in second. No sprint happened.

Qualifiers: ROU, FRA, BLR, GBR, CRO, ITA

Women’s Four (W4-) – Heats

Two heats lined up and the aim was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the finals. In Heat One Russia led the way over a very tightly packed field. The Russians finished fifth at World Rowing Cup II and they were still in the lead, only just over the Netherlands, at the half way point. The field remained tight between the top four boats and there would definitely be a sprint for the top two to be selected. Ratings began to rise and Russia was making the best of it. Russia recorded the fastest time overall. Poland came through in a photo finish for second over Great Britain. The British had missed out by just 0.01 of a second.

In Heat Two the way was led by Romania. The Romania’s finished with silver a couple of days ago at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Poland and they did not look tired as they led the way over Germany and Denmark through the middle of the race. Denmark had a bit of steering problems early on and they remained in third coming into the final sprint. Romania took their stroke rate up as there were still boats within striking distance of the qualifying spots. Romania had done it.

Qualifiers: RUS, POL, ROU, GER

Men’s Four (M4-) – Heats

The Netherlands was the first to show in the first of two heats. Their goal was to finish first to get a direct path to the final. The Dutch crew of Schwarz, Tissen, Wieten and van den Ende continued to lead through the middle of the race and rating 38 kept them in the lead. The Czech Republic and France were neck-and-neck in second. Then the last three boats were reasonably level. Then Switzerland suffered steering problems that put them at the back of the field. The Dutch remained in first and they move directly to the final.

Heat Two had Romania in the lead. But it was a slim margin with Great Britain and Italy right with them. Then the British did a piece and moved into the lead going through the middle of the race with Romania trying to hold on to the pace. Italy, who took silver in this boat class at last year’s World Rowing Championships, followed in third. A big sprint to the line saw the British go 5:59 and not only finish first, they also scored the fastest overall qualifying time. Romania would have to go to the repechage.

Qualifiers: NED, GBR

Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Heats

Poland had a great start in Heat One of two heats. They needed to have a first place finish for a direct path to the finals. The Poles were second at World Rowing Cup III in July and they are also the silver medallists from the 2017 World Rowing Championships. They kept ahead of the current World Champions, the Netherlands who sat in an outside lane. These two boats moved clear away from the rest of the field. Despite the leading edge, both boats were keeping the other honest and the Poles could not feel comfortable about qualifying yet. Rating 38 through to the finish Poland’s crew of Zillmann, Springwald, Wieliczko and Kobus-Zawojska remained in the lead.

Ukraine took a flying start in Heat Two. The crew of Verkhogliad, Buryak, Kozhenkova and Dovhodko for Ukraine remained out in front and with clear water going through the middle of the race. The rest of the field was tightly bunched together and less than two seconds separated the four boats. Ukraine, who finished eighth at last year’s World Rowing Championships, remained out in front with the Italians in second. At the line Ukraine easily qualified.

Qualifiers: POL, UKR

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Heats

The goal of these two heats was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the final. It was Russia who grabbed the lead at the start of Heat One. Then the Netherlands pushed through into the lead. Surprisingly the 2017 World Champions Lithuania was back and off the pace with the World Cup III winners Great Britain also back. Then the British began to sprint and they overtook Russia and went after the leading Dutch. Much to the crowd’s delight, Great Britain got into second and qualified for the final with Wiersma, Netsemakers, broenink and Uittenbogaard of the Netherlands taking first.

Italy zoomed out at the start to try and take the lead. And they did in Heat Two, but their margin was small with Poland and Ukraine in hot pursuit. Only Estonia, who took bronze at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, was out of the picture. Poland then moved up on Italy and these two boats were neck-and-neck coming into the 1500m mark. Italy then put the hammer down and Poland looked continent to stay in second. These were the two qualifying boats. Italy was just one second slower than the Dutch in Heat One.

Qualifiers: NED, GBR, ITA, POL

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Heats

It was only one through to the final from each of these two heats. In Heat One the Netherlands crew of Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard had the lead. They were ahead of Greece, with a boat that continued Olympian Sofia Asoumanaki who rowed to fourth over the weekend at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships. Scheenaard won silver in this boat class last year and the Dutch managed to push away from the Greeks going through the middle of the race. Switzerland sat in third and were not too much off the pace. The Dutch remained in the lead to the finish and even extended it with Greece stepping off the power.

Italy raced last week at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Poland and they’ve come straight to Glasgow and into the lead of Heat Two. But then Milda Valciukaite and Ieva Adomaviciute of Lithuania pushed into the lead. Valciukaite medalled at the Rio Olympics and with her new partner they were fourth in 2017 at the World Championships. They moved away from the rest of the field and finished with the fastest qualifying time.

Qualifiers: NED, LTU

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Heats

This big field had three heats lined up and all of these athletes wanted to be in a top three position for a direct path to the semifinals. It was a fast start for Norway in Heat One. But the new Norwegian crew, who finished fifth at World Rowing Cup I, started to slip back with Romania taking over in the lead. Romania finished third at World Rowing Cup I in June and they remained in the lead with Great Britain coming through to second. The British crew of Jack Beaumont and Harry Leask coming in to replace Angus Groom who was ill, were doing great. Leask is from Scotland and can consider this like his home course. The British were fastest at the end and got a huge cheer from the crowd.

Heat Two had Germany sprinting out at the start. The crew of Stephan Riemekasten and Max Appel of Germany went through the 500m mark in the lead with Poland the closest challengers. The German crew is a new one for this regatta and they bring with them an unknown element. Then Poland’s Biskup and Zietarski took over in the lead. They are the 2017 silver medallists and they looked powerful as they tried to stay ahead of Germany and extend their lead. Poland kept the pressure on through to the end, but they were the only crew that really sprinted. This gave them a huge margin at the finish.

At the start of Heat Three, France had the leading margin Matthieu Androdias and Hugo Boucheron of France were just a fraction ahead of Nico Stahlberg and Barnabe Delarze of Switzerland. The French looked the best on paper and they were working into a very handy lead ahead of the Swiss. At the line France had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall, just a fraction faster than Great Britain.

Qualifiers: GBR, ROU, NED, POL, ITA, GER, FRA, SUI, BEL

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Heats

Two heats lined up and it was all about being first or second for a direct path to the finals. In Heat One it must have been hard on Latvia, Greece, Italy and Lithuania to know that sitting in the middle lane was World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland. Gmelin has not lost a race this season making her the World Cup overall winner and as her main competition, Sanita Purspure of Ireland has had to pull out, this may be an easy regatta for Gmelin. But Italy’s Kiri Tontodonati gave it a good shot at the start and led the way until Gmelin overtook in the second 500 and then broke clean from the rest of the field. It would need a shipwreck by Gmelin to not win this race. Tontodonati followed in second with Greece in third.

If anyone is really going to challenge Gmelin, it is likely to be Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. Lobnig raced at the head of the field in Heat Two. Ukraine’s Diana Dymchenko followed in second and kept Lobnig honest at the front of the field. Lobnig is a former European Champion and has also medalled at this year’s World Cup races. Austria and Ukraine moved away from the rest of the field and were the easy qualifiers.

Qualifiers: SUI, ITA, AUT, UKR

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Heats

Three heats lined up and the goal was a top two spot for a direct path to the semifinals. Right from the start the very accomplished Mindaugas Griskonis of Lithuania was in the lead of Heat One. Griskonis has been on the international scene since his second year on the Lithuanian team as a junior back in 2003 and he was ahead of Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk of Poland. Wegrzycki-Szymczyk has recently graduated from University in the United States where he rowed as a sweep rower. Now back in the single he was showing his pace and got ahead of Griskonis. Griskonis fought back and crossed the line ahead of the Pole.

Heat Two opened with Serbia’s Marko Marjanovic in the lead. But it was short-lived as Switzerland’s Roman Roeoesli pushed out in front.  France’s Thibaut Verhoeven followed closely behind and tried to catch the Swiss as Serbia slipped back. Belarus gave it his best shot to get into a qualifying spot, but France was able to hold him off.

It was tight between Kjetil Borch of Norway, Russia’s Vladislav Ryabcev and Damir Martin of Croatia in Heat Three. Borch is an Olympic medallist from the double and a World Champion from the double while Martin took silver in the single at the Rio Olympics. Ryabcev is an Olympian from the men’s four and last year he raced in the b-final of the single at the World Rowing Championships. Borch remained in the lead with Martin and Ryabcev neck-and-neck. Borch crossed the line in first with Martin taking the power right off giving Ryabcev the second place.

Qualifiers: LTU, POL, SUI, FRA, NOR, RUS

Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Heats

This boat class had two heats and the aim was a top two position for a direct path to the final. It was Clara Guerra of Italy that had an early lead in Heat One. Guerra comes directly to Glasgow after racing at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Poland. Guerra medalled at the under-23s and she must have been a favourite to medal at this regatta. But it was France’s Laura Tarantola that made it to the first 500m mark in the lead. Tarantola remained in front with Germany’s Marie-Louise Draeger and Guerra neck-and-neck. Draeger was already competing as a rower before the 19-year-old Guerra was even born. Guerra then got a small margin over Draeger and tried to close on Tarantola. Tarantola raced in the lightweight double earlier this season and she had been racing internationally since the junior level.

The fastest start in Heat Two was Katarzyna Welna of Poland. But then Belarus’s Alena Furman pushed out into the lead. Furman medalled at World Rowing Cup II this season and she has a rowing pedigree that goes back to nearly a decade of international racing. Furman then pushed away from the rest of the field with Welna and Emma Fredh of Sweden then going head-to-head for the second qualifying spot. Fredh kept the pressure on and earned the qualifying spot but did not catch the quick Furman.

Qualifiers: FRA, ITA, BLR, SWE

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Heats

Three heats lined up in the lightweight single and the goal here was to be in a top three position to go directly to the semifinals. Heat One featured the winner from World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Michael Schmid of Switzerland. But he was down in the field at the start of the race. Instead it was France out in front. Then Samuel Mottram of Great Britain that took over in the lead with Greece chasing hard. Where was Schmid? Coming into the second half of the race Schmid really picked up the pace and he overtook Greece. But Mottram kept the pressure on and remained out in front with a rather large margin and the fastest overall qualifying time.

The early leader in Heat Two was Lars Wichert of Germany. He had a small margin over Belgium’s Ruben Somers and Peter Galambos of Hungary. Then Galambos picked up the pace and not only moved into second but was right up there with Wichert. Galambos got silver last year at the European Rowing Championships and he has been racing internationally for over a decade. Galambos then got into the lead with Wichert holding on to second. Galambos decided not to sprint the finish and he dropped his rating down as he had done the hard work earlier on.

Heat Three had Martino Goretti of Italy the fastest starter. Goretti kept the pressure on and still had the lead at the half way point. Goretti won bronze at the World Rowing Cup II and he is one to watch through this regatta. Slovenia’s Rajko Hrvat followed in second with Croatia back in third. Hrvat tried for the Rio Olympics by trialling in the openweight single. He missed out and came back to the lightweight races. Goretti remained out in front until the end of the race with Luka Radonic of Croatia sprinting through to second.

Qualifiers: GBR, SUI, GRE, HUN, GER, BEL, ITA, CRO, SLO

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Heats

Two heats, first place to the final. That was the formula here with Heat One starting with Weronika Deresz and Joanna Dorociak of Poland in the lead. Italy’s Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini followed in second with Switzerland right on their tails. Deresz and Dorociak remained out in front. In the sprint to the line it was a full on sprint as Italy went to a 36 stroke rate to try and get into the qualifying spot. Switzerland was also giving it their all and Poland was hanging on. The Polish held off the challengers to get the one spot.

The Netherlands may be the favourites of this boat class and they raced in Heat Two. Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis of the Netherlands have done well through the World Cup season with Paulis the 2016 Olympic Champion in this boat class. They got out the quickest. But the current World Champions Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc and Gianina-Elena Beleaga of Romania were moving with the Dutch. But the Dutch looked smoother and in control and it looked as though it would take a lot for the Romanians to overtake them. Keijser and Paulis went to 36 in the final sprint with Romania coming through at 39, then 42. The Dutch remained in first and recorded the fastest overall qualifying time.

Qualifiers: POL, NED

2018 European Rowing Championships, NOR, LM2x Strandli and Brun © Ben Chattell

 

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Heats

Three heats, top two through to the semifinal was the formula. In Heat One the Olympic medallists, Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway had the lead. They’ve come back together this season after a 2017 break and they took a medal at the World Cup. Greece followed in second with Belgium in third. Brun and Strandli then moved away from the field with Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe of Belgium pushing into second and going after Norway. Greece fought back and as Norway crossed the line in first, Belgium managed to sneak through ahead of Greece. The Greeks will have to race in the repechage.

Italy’s Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta were silver medallists at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they took a gold medal at the World Cup this season. But it was Slovakia that had the early lead in Heat Two. It didn’t take long for Oppo and Ruta to then push into the lead with Poland coming up to challenge Slovakia. Coming into the final sprint the field remained tight and five crews were in striking distance of qualifying. The best sprint went to Poland and Italy who both rated 42 and race each other to the line. Italy got there first and both boats qualify.

The Olympic Champion, Pierre Houin of France had a very fast start in Heat Three. He is racing this season with new partner Thomas Baroukh. Going with the French was the Olympic silver medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan of Ireland. The Irish brothers are perhaps the best known rowers at present helped by them being the first ever Olympic rowing medal for Ireland. Ireland was able to form a small gap between them and France. Behind this leading battle there was very little between the rest of the field.  In the sprint to the finish France went to 37 and then 39 to try and overtake Ireland. The Irish held them off at a 37 stroke rate.

Qualifiers: NOR, BEL, ITA, POL, IRL, FRA

Men’s Eight (M8+) – Heats

The Netherlands jumped out early in Heat One. They rated 43 and then 42 to get the lead and extend it. They kept their stroke above the rest of the field which moved practically level. The goal here was to finish first for a direct path to the final. The Netherland had now broken away from the field and had nearly a boat length lead over Great Britain who had pushed into second. The Dutch continued to move away from the field and they gained an open water lead over the Olympic Champions, Great Britain. The British fought back and got the overlap but could not get into the lead.

It was absolutely level between Romania and Germany in Heat Two. They remained level through the second 500, both sitting on a 39 stroke rate. The Germans are the World Champions and they have won all of their races this season. Germany then got a small lead over Romania with Italy at the back of the field. Germany won the race, but it was an impressive performance by Romania who held onto the Germans for the entire race. They must be happy with their race.

Qualifiers: NED, GER