World Rowing continues its series on the 2019 rowing season with all of its drama and excitement. We also look towards the 2020 Olympic season and make some bold predictions.

Men’s Quadruple Sculls

Best performance: Poland. Winners of all three World Rowing Cups and silver medallists at the World Rowing Championships, this team stands out. They faced constant line-up changes throughout the season, but despite the ups and downs, their ultimate performance remained consistent.

The best comeback: The Netherlands. They had relatively good results throughout the season, including a European Rowing Championship win, but no one expected that they could take home gold at the World Rowing Championships. A stellar final race put them on top of the podium and in a good position for the 2020 season.

Fastest Time: 5:33.22. Italy in the semifinal at the World Rowing Championships. That is just under one second outside the World Best Time of 5:32.36. It is one of the closest we’ve seen all season.

Remember that oh-so-close finish: The B-final of the World Rowing Championships when Norway and Great Britain went head-to-head for their tickets to Tokyo. In the stroke seat, Olaf Tufte qualified for his seventh Olympic Games.

Must watch:  The A-final of the European Rowing Championships is the one to watch. Incredible racing on a spectacular backdrop here

Quote of the Year: Olaf Tufte via Instagram to his team: “Last month training as a team. Love, hate and sharing everything as one team. With the old grumpy farmer pushing you every day. In every detail of life and training. You have proven to yourself, me and the team that you are hard working men on a mission. Hope I can keep up with you the next 340 days, so you don’t kick me out. Thanks for dragging an old farmer along.”

The Olympic qualifiers: Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Australia, Germany China, Norway, Great Britain (8).

The Olympic prediction: This is a tough one. The Dutch like their chances, but they should not count their chickens too soon. The Polish have been a dominant force this season and have proven they have a team of strong scullers. Italy has had some inconsistent results, but are often able to pull it out when it really counts. Don’t forget about Australia, Germany and Great Britain. They have strong teams and are good at timing their Olympic cycle.

Saturday Podiums at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz Ottensheim © Detlev Seyb/


Women’s Quadruple Sculls

Best performance: China. The Chinese women’s quad was the surprise this season. They started by winning a two-boat race with the Netherlands at the first World Rowing Cup and then came back to win at the second World Rowing Cup ahead of a bigger field. Not present at the third World Rowing Cup, the question was if they could do it again at the World Rowing Championships. They did. 

Remember that oh-so-close finish: Just 0.03 seconds separated the Dutch and the Polish at the World Rowing Championships. These two crews have been amongst the medal winners for the entire Olympic cycle and now they are going stroke for stroke into the Olympic year.

Fastest Time: 6:12.10. Poland in the repechage at the World Rowing Championships. This is six seconds outside of the World Best Time. The times in the women’s quadruple sculls were relatively slow this year. No one came close to beating the German record of 6:06.84 set back in 2014.

Biggest Surprise: Germany fell outside of the medals at the World Rowing Championships.  The Germans have had some ups and downs in this boat class after dominating for many years. In 2018, it looked like they might be set to dominate again, but the 2019 season was again fraught with inconsistent results.

Must watch:  Watch the final of the World Rowing Championships here

Quote of the year: “I don’t like to make predictions but let me say that I am confident about the Tokyo 2020 Games. Our crew puts on crazy socks because sometimes our boat can be a bit crazy.” - Agnieszka Kobus Zawojska, Poland, 2019 World Rowing Championships, Silver

The Olympic qualifiers: China, Poland, Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Great Britain, United States of America, Italy (8).

The Olympic prediction: It is looking like China might be set for the gold medal at the Olympic Games next year. But there are a few countries still fighting for it. The Polish have been consistently in the medals the last three years and have a chance to be there again. The Dutch are currently testing their line-up and debating if the quad (or the double) will be their priority boat. The Germans are also looking strong and stand a chance at a medal.