Semifinal racing a fight to make the final at Belgrade World Rowing Cup
The first World Rowing Cup of the 2018 season continued in Belgrade, Serbia with semifinals. Rowers today faced head wind conditions but still great water conditions and continued warm weather.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Semifinals
This race was part of the Athlete Lane Selection trial which meant the athletes could choose which lane they would be. In lane five of Semifinal One, Germany’s Ladina Meier was holding the lead. Meier had to come to this race from the repechage so she had an extra race compared to some of her competition. But margins were tight and at the half-way point the top four boats were just one second apart. Then Belarus’s Alena Furman got her nose in front and never looked back. China’s Qiang Wu came through into second and Meier just held on to third.
Semifinal Two opened with Ellen Gleadow of Canada in the lead. Gleadow recorded the fastest qualifying time in yesterday’s heats and she was leading over Anastasia Lebedeva of Russia. By the middle of the race Gleadow had half a boat length over Lebedeva with Great Britain’s Imogen Grant right on the pace. Grant then overtook Lebedeva as they came into the final sprint. Gleadow did not need to sprint the finish but she still recorded the fastest time overall. This potentially makes Gleadow the favourite for the final later today.
Qualifiers: BLR, CHN3, GER, CAN, GBR, RUS
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals
Like the previous race, these scullers also got to pick their lane in World Rowing's test of Athlete Lane Selection. These rowers already have raced twice with heats and quarterfinals yesterday and today they were narrowed down to the final 12 in these semi-finals. In Semifinal One Hungary’s Peter Galambos had the lead. But it was oh so close and at the half way point there was less than two seconds splitting the top four rowers. Galambos still had the lead with Germany’s Jonathan Rommelmann in second. This was going to be a sprint to the end. Ratings rose with Jamie Copus of Great Britain hitting 39. But it was not quite enough. Michael Schmid of Switzerland took first with Rommelmann holding on to second and Galambos taking third.
Germany featured again in Semifinal Two with Jason Osborne out in front. And what a race he was having. Coached by Robert Sens, Osborne had an open water lead by the middle of the race. At 38 strokes per minute Osborne looked fluid and in control. Belgium’s Ruben Somers slotted into second with Rajko Hrvat of Slovenia challenging from third. Then Ask Jari Tjoem of Norway came flying and rating 44 he managed to pip Hrvat at the line to take the third and final qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: SUI, GER2, HUN, GER1, BEL, SLO
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Semfinals
The fastest boat from yesterday’s heats was Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens of Canada and they had the early lead in Semifinal One. They then continued to build their lead getting to a boat length over Great Britain and the Netherlands. This left a fleet of three Chinese crews at the back of the field. Going through the middle of the race Filmer and Janssens held a comfortable lead with the Dutch and the British neck-and-neck with China Three knocking on their door.
Janssens was in Canada’s eight in 2017 and got a silver medal and now teamed with Filmer they looked the picture of partnerships with a smooth 32 stroke rate pace. The British had now dropped into fourth with Yingying Li and Xinyu Lin of China Three now in second. The sprint was on to the finish and both the Dutch and British upped their stroke rate. China Three didn’t. Canada, the Netherlands and Great Britain had qualified.
It was Great Britain’s second crew of Emily Ford and Emily Ashford who had the fastest start in Semifinal Two with last year’s bronze medallists, Hedvig Rasmussen and Christina Johansen of Denmark in second. But the margins were close with Spain now coming up to challenge for the lead. Spain had the second fastest qualifying time in yesterday’s heats and they nearly had their nose in front.
Coming into the final sprint Anna Boada Peiro and Ania Cid of Spain had a very small lead. Rasmussen and Johansen fought back going to 35 with Boada and Cid at 36. There was nothing in it and in a final push Spain crossed the line half a second ahead of Denmark with Great Britain Two in third.
Qualifiers: CAN, NED, GBR1, ESP, DEN, GBR2
Men’s Pair (M2-) – Semifinals
South Africa had to go through the repechage to get to this semi-final and they were in the lead at the start of Semifinal One. Charles Brittain and James Mitchell of South Africa was still in the lead at the half way point with Belarus moving with them in second. Then Romania, who had the fastest qualifying time in the heats, moved through the two leading boats and got their nose in front. Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa of Romania then moved to 41 strokes per minute and they were stamping their authority on this race. South Africa and Belarus held on to the line and these were the three qualifying boats.
There in the middle lane of Semifinal Two were the Sinkovic brothers of Croatia. They took off ahead of the Czech Republic crew of Jakub Podrazil and Lukas Helesic. Martin and Valent Sinkovic now tried to move away from the pack. But Podrazil and Helesic, who finished eighth at last year’s World Rowing Championships, held the Croatian pace. Spain followed in third. The Sinkovic’s held 36 through the body of the race and this helped keep them in front. At the finish Croatia had spread the field out and crossed first with the Czech Republic in second.
Qualifiers: ROU, BLR, RSA1, CRO, CZE, ESP
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Semifinals
Semifinal One had Germany’s Franziska Kampmann and Carlotta Nwajide in the lead. They won their heat yesterday and are in their first season together. Surprisingly the Lithuanians, who were fourth in 2017, were at the back of the field. Then France’s Helene Lefebvre and Marie Jacquet moved out in front with Lithuania now finding their pace and moving up into third. Milda Valciukaite and Ieva Adomaviciute of Lithuania then took their stroke rate up and mowed their way through the field. Germany held them off, but Valciukaite and Adomavicuite had finished second with China One qualifying from third.
The 46-year-old from Belarus, Ekaterina Karsten and her partner, Tatsiana Kukhta where in the lead of Semifinal Two. Then the Dutch crew of Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard pushed into the lead. But Karsten and Kukhta still had lots of pace and they held on tightly to the Netherlands. Meanwhile Belarus’s second crew was also staying with the leading action and these three crews held it to the finish.
Qualifiers: GER, LTU, CHN1, NED, BLR1, BLR2
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Semifinals
In Semifinal One out in front was Timo Piontek and lars Hartig of Germany. This duo had secured the fastest qualifying time in yesterday’s heats and they were setting the pace. But then Serbia’s Igor Djeric and Alekasndar Bedik pushed into the front. This push, however, overcooked them and they slipped back into fifth as Great Britain’s Angus Groom and Jack Beaumont pushed out in front. The British held on to the end despite some awesome sprints going on around them.
Lithuania has a very strong sculling programme and their boat for 2018 for the double looks to be Dovydas Nemeravicius and Saulius Ritter. In Semifinal Two they come out at the start in second but soon got into the lead through the middle of the race. At the half way point the margins were tight with just two seconds separating the top three boats. Romania was now in second and the Netherlands One were in third. The Dutch raced twice yesterday as they had to do the repechage to get into today’s semifinal. With Greece now pressing, the final sprint became hotly contested and ratings were high. But no one could catch the Lithuanians.
Qualifiers: GBR, GER, NOR, LTU1, NED1, ROU
Men’s Four (M4-) – Semifinals
In the heats yesterday Netherlands One won their race and so did not have to race the repechage. They raced again today in Semifinal One and got out to a commanding lead within the first half of the race. Van den Ende, Wieten, Tissen and Luecken of the Netherlands One then had Germany start to move on them. The Germans took up their stroke rate and in a strong third 500 push, Germany had got the lead. But only just and there was still 500m left to row. Germany went to 38 strokes per minute and tried to stay ahead of the Dutch. Romania and Austria had their own tussle to get the final qualifying spot. Romania went to 42 strokes per minute in an attempt to overtake Austria. Austria was flying and overtook the Netherlands. Romania had missed out on the final by just 0.26 of a second.
Belarus was the fastest boat at the start of Semifinal Two with Great Britain Two in second place. All around 38-39 strokes per minute, all of the boats had a chance to qualify. Belarus (LIalin, Vyberanets, Pashevich and Sharlap) still had a lead at the half way point but just a second separated the top three boats and only three seconds separated the entire six boats. It was the final sprint and Belarus still led the way. The sprint was on and South Africa went to 41 and closed on the leaders. They then went to 45 with the Dutch going to 42. It was tight at the line and hard to call. Great Britain had won and with the fastest overall qualifying time.
Qualifiers: GER, AUT, NED1, GBR2, BLR, NED2
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Semifinals
Denmark’s Fie Udby Erichsen had the lead in Semifinal One. She finished second in her heat yesterday and with one of the slower times. But Erichsen still had the lead at the half way point with Kara Kohler of the United States One following in second and ahead of Ireland’s Sanita Puspure in third.
Coming through to the final sprint, Erichsen continued to lead as Victoria Thornley of Great Britain started to move. Thornley won her heat yesterday and she medalled in Belgrade in 2017 when they hosted World Rowing Cup I. Kohler then took her stroke rate to 36 and tried to hold a qualifying spot. Erichsen had won with Kohler missing out.
Semifinal Two was stacked with some of the best in the world in the single. It included World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland and Olympic Champion from the quad, Annekatrin Thiele of Germany One and 2017 bronze medallist Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. Thiele took the lead at the start as she is getting to be known by her fast starts. Gmelin chased hard with Lobnig right there. These three boats formed a leading gap as the wind switched to a bit of a tail wind. The sprint was going to be on for the order of the finish of the top three boats as no other crew was close enough to challenge. Gmelin went to 36 strokes over Thiele at 32 and Gmelin got the lead. Lobnig hit 36. Gmelin hit the line first.
Qualifiers: DEN, IRL, GBR, SUI, GER1, AUT
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Semfinals
These scullers had to go through heats and quarterfinals to get to this semifinal and today it was all about making the final. In Semifinal One Kjetil Borch of Norway had an absolute flyer of a start. He completed the first 500m in a time faster than World Best Time holder, Robbie Manson of New Zealand. Then the World Champion, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic got into the lead and powered away from the rest of the field. Holding on to Synek and in his first season as an international rower was Oliver Zeidler of Germany Two. Synek was at 35 and Zeidler at 37 to hold the leading spots.
Borch was now closing on the leaders. Synek took the win with Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen surprising everyone and taking second. Zeldler got third with Borch missing out by just 0.22 of a second.
The fastest start in Semifinal Two was Roman Roeoesli of Switzerland Two with Olympian from Cuba Angel Fournier Rodriguez in second. Fournier looked long and relaxed as he did just enough to hold second over Nico Stahlberg of Switzerland One. Then Milos Vasic of Serbia Two was really moving as he sprinted for the line. Stahlberg was under threat from Vasic. Stahlberg won gold here in Belgrade last year and he must have felt confident. Vasic had done it. He was in the A-final along with Roeoesli and Fournier.
Qualifiers: CZE, DEN, GER2, SUI2, CUB, SRB2
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Semifinals
Semifinal One included Laura Tarantola and Claiare Bove of France who recorded the fastest qualifying time in yesterday’s heats. But it was Great Britain’s Eleanor Piggott and Emily Craig who were in the lead with France in second. This all changed in the second half of the race with Bove and Tarantola pushing into the lead. Piggott and Craig now had to worry about South Africa and Poland. The Poles went to 40 strokes per minute and had nearly caught South Africa. The margins were tight at the line. Poland had just missed out by half a second and South Africa had snatched second.
The fastest at the start of Semifinal Two was Germany’s Katrin Thoma and Leonie Pless. But there was nothing in it with just a second separating the top five boats. Then Emily Schmeig and Mary Jones of the United States One got into the lead, followed by Canada. At the half way point there was just over a second separating the top five boats. Only Ireland was off the pace. Schmeig and Jones came into the final 500m as leaders. Now at 38 strokes per minute the Dutch was really sprinting. The boat included Ilse Paulis who finished with gold at the Rio Olympics. But the United States managed to hold on to first with Switzerland and second and the Netherlands winning third.
Qualifiers: FRA, RSA, GBR1, USA1, SUI, NED
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Semifinals
The fastest qualifier from yesterday’s heats was Canada Two and they were in today’s Semifinal One. But at the start it was Spain in the lead. They continued to lead at the half way point, but only two seconds separated the top five boats at this point. Who could break away? With Mexico off the pace, five boats came flying into the finish and formed a virtual line. Stroke rates went into the low 40’s. It was going to be one of the closest finishes of the day. Spain was at 41 and Austria was at 43. Austria’s Julian Schoeberl and Bernhard Sieber had won. Denmark had missed out by a tiny 0.01 of a second.
The O’Donovan brothers of Ireland raced in Semifinal Two. They are not known to be fast starters and they came out in fourth position at the start. The Czechs had the early lead before the O’Donovans took over in the lead followed closely by Poland and Belgium. Belgium then joined in on the leading crews and the charge to the line was on. Striking 38, the O’Donovan’s led the race home striking a 38 stroke rate. They won ahead of Poland and Belgium.
Qualifiers: AUT, CAN2, SUI1, IRL, POL, BEL