Second chance rowing in the international events
At the 2007 Rowing World Championships course in Munich, Germany, the rowers in the international events raced the repechages for a second chance or for the first time to be allocated a lane in the final in smaller events.
A cool day with temperatures around 18° Celsius, bobbly water and inconsistent but small head cross winds made for slower times.
But the atmosphere remained hot with the large grandstand, built for the 1972 Olympic Games, filling up with spectators, numbering over 4,000, from around the world.
Women’s Four (W4-) – Race for Lanes
The Australians like this event and are the current World Champions. They use it to develop their women’s sweep squad and their boat includes Vicky Roberts in stroke. Roberts has come back to rowing after last racing internationally in the eight at the Athens Olympics. Her hopes must be resting on getting back in the eight. Today Australia went head to head with the United States and came off second best and by a big four seconds. Australia had a fast start but the USA hauled them back in, rating a solid 33 down the course, and the Australians appeared to have no answer. All will be revealed when they race in the final on Saturday.
Men’s Coxed Pair (M2+) - Repechages
The last chance for these athletes to make the final meant a top two finish and in repechage one Italy and Australia went head to head. Australia, coxed by Marty Rabjohns who also coxes the men’s eight, led for the first half of the race but then looked happy to qualify from second with Italy pushing through to take first. Both boats move on to the final.
Germany took off in the lead of repechage two with Michael Ruhe sitting in stroke seat. Two years ago Ruhe fought successfully against cancer and, in the mould of Lance Armstrong, is back as an elite athlete and hoping to break again into the men’s eight where he used to hold stroke seat. The Germans' lead was soon taken over by Canada with Brian Price sitting in the coxswain’s seat. Price has also suffered from cancer. As a child leukemia impacted on his potential size, but Price says it made him an ideal coxswain size. Price also coxes the men’s eight who are on a 2007 winning run. At the line Canada just takes first over Germany with both boats qualifying.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) - Repechages
This event had four repechages and requirements of a top two place for advancement to the semifinal. In repechage one Canada’s Melanie Kok dominated. Kok is a World Champion after winning the lightweight quad in 2005 and when she’s not competing for Canada she rows in the United States at Virginia University, as a heavyweight sweep rower. The training must be working for Kok as she left the favoured German Laura Tasch in the dust. Ireland put in a strong burst to try and catch Tasch, but was unsuccessful. Kok and Tasch move on to the semifinal.
An unusual sight. Current World Champion Marit van Eupen of the Netherlands today racing in repechage two. Van Eupen has had an interesting season. She started off aiming for the Dutch women’s eight but then moved back into the lightweight single still hoping to find a partner to make the Olympic event, the lightweight double, possible. Today van Eupen stayed just ahead of Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria. Both of these scullers know each other well after years of racing and maybe they were happy to remain in the two qualifying positions, van Eupen dropping her rating to 29. The Netherlands and Austria advance to the semifinal.
Fabiane Albrecht of Switzerland has spent most of the season in the Olympic event, the lightweight double, but sub-average results have brought her back into the single for the World Rowing Championships. It looks like a good move for Albrecht as she pushed her way to the front of repechage three. Albrecht will qualify along with Italy’s Valentina Galmarini who was under no threat in her second qualifying position.
The final repechage saw Great Britain’s Andrea Dennis at the head of the field. After shaking off a fast start by Spain, Dennis moved out to an easy lead with only Ilona Hiltunen of Finland even remotely challenging. But even though Dennis and Hiltunen were well ahead of the rest of the field Hiltunen decided she wanted first. Dennis, under pressure in the last 500m, took her rating up to 35 and held off Hiltunen. Both boats go on to the semifinal.
TASCH Laura (GER): "It`s very good. The crowd is loud, it`s right to row in front of these spectators."
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Repechages
The four repechages opened with Jaap Schouten of the Netherlands in the lead. Schouten was unlucky in the heats to draw the high rating Baldychev of the United States and so had to come to the repechage today. Schouten led the way with Valeri Prosvirnin of Estonia following. A battle between France and Palestine went on behind them. Mark Gerban of Palestine has been plugging away internationally for a couple of years and is being helped by a German coach in Hamburg. He is the sole Palestinian rower racing at the international level. Gerban tried but couldn’t catch Prosvirnin. Schouten and Prosvirnin move on to the semifinal.
Repechage two was led from start to finish by Germany’s Jonathan Koch. This left Slovakia and Chinese newcomer, Tianfeng Dong to go after the second qualifying spot. Dong has moved into the single after spending most of the season in the lightweight double and today he pushed past Slovakia with a rating of 35 to take the second qualifying spot. Koch and Dong advance to the semifinal.
A fast start by Timothy Colson of Canada accelerated him into the lead over Bine Pislar of Slovenia. But it didn’t last long. Former Under 23 Champion Pislar pushed into the lead and Colson had no answer. With Slovenia and Canada clearly in the two qualifying spots, no challenges came. Pislar and Colson move on to the semifinal.
Alasdair Leighton-Crawford of Great Britain took off at the lead of repechage four with Portugal’s Carlos Fernandes in hot pursuit. Leighton-Crawford had the better momentum and moved away from Fernandes. Matti Jaeaeskelainen of Finland then challenged Fernandes who looked to be fading as the race headed towards the second half. In the final sprint a minor crab by Fernandes removed any chances of him qualifying. Leighton-Crawford and Jaeaeskelainen take the two qualifying spots.
ARRANZ PUENTE Mario (ESP): "I`m not satisfied with my result, so I`m not happy now."
Lightweight Men’s Eight (LM8+) – Race for Lanes
Perhaps the result of the cross wind, the United States lost their bow number coming to the start. This delayed the race a tad, but did not help US chances. Italy come into this event as the favourites with so far a successful season. But Germany upset that. With a boat full of brothers, two Schoemann-Fincks and two Rueckbrodts, the Germans had the skill to take the lead and hold off Italy. Italy challenged back. Germany held them off. Germany will take the favoured centre lane for Saturday’s final.