Securing a place for the A-finals at World Rowing Cup II
On the second day of racing at World Rowing Cup II at Malta Lake in Poznan, Poland, athletes raced in the first semifinals of the regatta in the hope to qualify for the A-finals. Rowers lined up for the first races of the day in cloudy and rainy conditions with a direct tail wind dominating.
Para PR1 men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x) – Semifinals
Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev took an early lead in Semfinal One. At the 500m mark Poland’s Jaroslaw Kailing was in close pursuit with Brazil’s Rene Pereira hot on his heels. Kailing and Pereira, a Paralympic finalist in Rio, both won their heat yesterday. The Polish and Brazilian rowers went head to head throughout most of the race, with little separating them. By the half-way mark the Brazilian para-rower had moved past the Pole into second and the Russian continued to increase his lead. Cruvashev crossed the line three lengths ahead of Brazil’s Pereira, with Poland also qualifying for this evening’s final from third.
Paralympic Champion Roman Polianskyi from Ukraine won his heat with the fastest qualifying time and took the lead from the start in Semifinal Two. The Lithuanian Augustus Navisckas and the German Johannes Schmidt, who raced in the Paralympic B-final in Rio, were second and third in the early stages of the race. By the half-way mark, the Lithuanian had lost some steam with French para-sculler Pascal Daniere moving up into third. At the 1500m mark, Polianskyi had more than a ten-second lead over the rest of the field and was twelve seconds faster than the Russian Chuvashev had been ten minutes earlier at the same point in the race in Semifinal One. As the line came within reach, the Frenchman resisted any challenges coming from the Lithuanian to hold on to the third qualifying spot. The German para-rower Schmidt qualified from second.
Qualifiers: RUS, BRA, POL, UKR, GER, FRA
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Semifinals
In Semifinal One of the lightweight women’s single sculls, Poland’s Joanna Dorociak bolted out of the starting blocks in front, but Leonie Pieper from Germany struck back to secure the lead by the 500m mark. Only a few hundredths of a second separated the top three boats – Germany, Poland, and Switzerland. Swiss sculler Patricia Merz medalled twice already this season, having won bronze at the European Rowing Championships and gold at World Rowing Cup I. With half of the race left to row, Merz had moved up into the lead. Germany’s Piepier had fallen back into third with New Zealand’s Jackie Kiddle moving up from fourth. Kiddle kept building her momentum, taking over Poland’s Dorociak and gradually moving up in front to own the lead in the final quarter of the race. With 50m to go, Poland challenged Merz to take second. At the line it was New Zealand, Poland and Switzerland qualifying for the final.
The gold and silver medallists from the European Rowing Championships, Sweden’s Emma Fredh and Ireland’s Denise Walsh respectively, lined up in Semifinal Two. The two scullers swapped between first and second throughout the first half of the race. Following on their heels in third was Mary Jones from the United States. In the final quarter, Jones moved ahead of Walsh moving into a safe second qualifying position. Walsh increased her rate up to 36 strokes a minute to secure her spot in the A-final.
Qualifiers: NZL, POL, SUI, SWE, USA, IRL
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
Rajko Hrvat of Slovenia, Lukas Babac of Slovakia and Matthew Dunham of New Zealand were the top three rowers at the half-way mark in Semifinal One of the lightweight men’s single sculls. Zak Lee-Green of Great Britain had crossed the line in first at 500m and then fallen back into fourth. In the final quarter, Brazil’s Uncas Batista began to challenge the rest of the field. Moving up from fifth, Batista overtook Lee-Green, then Dunham. Charging for the line, the leading athletes had upped their rate to 40 strokes a minute to secure their final place. Only one hundredth of a second separated positions three and four, with New Zealand missing out.
The reigning Olympic bronze medallist in the lightweight men’s double sculls, Kristoffer Brun of Norway, held an early lead in Semifinal Two. Following in second was Hungary’s Peter Galambos who won gold at World Rowing Cup I and silver at the European Rowing Championships this year. By the half-way mark, Galambos had moved up in front, with Norway following. Poland’s Artur Mikolajczewski secured his third position and held it until the line. The top three remained unchallenged in the second half of the race. At the line it was Hungary in first, Norway in second and Poland in third.
Qualifiers: SLO, SVK, BRA, HUN, NOR, POL
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) - Semifinals
The new New Zealand combination of John Storey and Christopher Harris took an early lead in Semifinal One of the men’s double sculls. By the half-way mark they had established clear-water between their boat and the rest of the field. Great Britain’s Nicholas Middleton and Frazier Christie reached this semifinal through the repechage and were in the mix of the battle in the first half of the race, crossing the 500m in second and the 1000m mark in third. Poland’s Dominik Czaja and Adam Wicenciak, who won bronze at World Rowing Cup I, also positioned themselves among the top contenders in the second quarter of the race and held on to their final qualification until the line. Meanwhile, Argentina gradually moved up the ranks from fourth at the half-way mark into second with one quarter of the race left to row. Great Britain was unable to hold on to the pace while New Zealand remained untouchable at the head of the field.
All six boats crossed the 500m mark within one second of each other in Semifinal Two of the men’s double sculls. Kjetil Borch and Olaf Tufte of Norway won Olympic bronze last year together in this event. In the first quarter of the race Australians Luke Letcher and David Watts were in the lead and despite the very tight racing managed to maintain their advantage and increase it as the race unfolded. At the half-way mark, Germany’s Ruben Steinhardt and Henrik Runge were in second and the Norwegians in third. With one quarter of the race left to row, the Germans had fallen to the back of the field while the Bulgarian duo of Georgi Bozhilov and Kristian Vasilev battled it out to move up into third. In the last strokes the Bulgarians upped their stroke rate to 42 to secure their qualification spot and at the line, five tenths of a second separated Australia in first and Norway in second.
Qualifiers: NZL, ARG, POL, AUS, NOR, BUL
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Semifinals
Starting out in front in Semifinal One of the women’s single sculls was Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig. Lobnig took bronze at World Rowing Cup I but then finished in the B-final at the European Rowing Championships. Also in the race for A-final qualification was China’s Jingli Duan who won Olympic bronze in this event last year. At the 1000m mark, Lobnig led Duan by half a length with Ireland’s Sanita Puspure following in third. In the second part of the race, New Zealand’s Hannah Osborne who at 500m was at the back of the field in sixth position and then in fourth position at the half-way mark had moved up on Ireland with one quarter of the race left to row. By the 1500m mark, China’s Duan had overhauled Lobnig to take the lead. With 100m left to row, New Zealand’s Osborne increased her stroke rate to 35 to overtake Ireland and secure the third qualifying spot.
Semifinal Two saw Victoria Thornley from Great Britain and Annekatrin Thiele from Germany line up. Thornley medalled twice this season so far, winning silver at World Rowing Cup I and gold at the European Rowing Championships. Thiele, an Olympic Champion in the women’s quadruple sculls, took bronze in the single at this year’s European Rowing Championships. The two athletes led the field throughout, with Thornley increasing her lead over Thiele until the line. Ukraine and Ireland battled it out for third, with the Ukrainian Diana Dymchenko pushing away from Monika Dukarska of Ireland to secure third.
Qualifiers: CHN1, AUT1, NZL, GBR1, GER1, UKR
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Semifinals
The two leading contenders were way out ahead of the field at the half-way mark in Semifinal One of the men’s single sculls, with Robert Manson of New Zealand leading Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin of Croatia. The two scullers had clear water separating them from the rest of the field. In third place was Thomas Barras who secured his qualification spot by the half-way mark and fought off the charges coming from Serbia’s Marko Marjanovic and Belarus’s Stanislau Shcharbachenia in the final quarter to cling on to third. At the line, New Zealand finished in first, followed by Croatia and Serbia.
Germany’s under-23 World Champion in the men’s single sculls Tim Ole Naske took an early lead ahead of Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez in Semifinal Two. Fournier has been a regular international medallist in this event and was an Olympic finalist last year. Nico Stahlberg of Switzerland, who won gold at World Rowing Cup I this season, followed steadily in third. In the third quarter of the race, Fournier increased his rate to overhaul Naske and secure a clear-water lead over the German by the 1500m mark. Switzerland’s Stahlberg qualified from third.
Qualifiers: NZL, CRO, GBR1, CUB, GER, SUI