Setting World Best Times at 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Champs
The day started with a lively crowd ready for 31 heats at the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. A slight ripple caused by a small tail wind faced today’s under-23 athletes as the day began under sunny skies with slowly rising temperatures. Under-23 World Best Times fell as these rowers made the most of the conditions.
Women’s Eight (BW8+) – Heats
The two heats required crews to win if they wanted a direct path to Sunday’s final. At the start of Heat One Russia led the way. But then the 2016 under-23 World Champions, the United States took over in the lead. This is a new crew from last year’s winning boat and they were striding away to an open water lead. The US calls on a huge collegiate rowing programme to put together their eight with college rowing focused around eights rowing. Using a 34 stroke rate the US looked strong and ready. Russia will have to content the repechage. The US had set a new under-23 World Best Time, breaking the former one by 3 seconds.
It was all about Canada in Heat Two and at the end of the race Canada had snatched the new under-23 World Best Time from the United States from the previous heat. The new under-23 World Best Time is 6:00.13. This was just 0.22 seconds faster than the US
Qualifiers: USA, CAN
Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Heats
The method here was to get a top three finish for a direct path to the semifinals. This boat class had three heats and in Heat One South Africa got away the quickest. But the South Africans seem to run out of steam in the second half and first Austria and then Serbia took over in the lead. At the finish Serbia’s Viktor Pivac and Martin Mackovic, who are the reigning under-23 World Champions, had taken the lead and at the line they had set a new under-23 World Best Time. The new standard is 6:20.14.
Again the under-23 World Best Time fell. This time it was in Heat Two with France’s identical twins, Thibaud and Guillaume Turlan leading from start to finish. The time set by the Turlan’s was 6:20.06. Romania came through in second with Germany overtaking Turkey to snatch the third and final qualifying spot.
The Netherlands set the pace in Heat Three with a very fast start. The crew of Kostelijk and de Graaf still had the lead at the half way point and were looking good. But then the United States crew of Richards and Corrigan showed their stamina and got in front. Richards and Corrigan held on to the lead through to the end. The Dutch took second and Moldova was in the third and final qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: SRB, AUT, GBR, FRA, ROU, GER, USA, NED, MDA
Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Heats
Three heats lined up and the formula here was to finish in a top three position for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One the Germans got away very quickly. Bu they could not sustain it. Belarus’s Tatsiana Klimovich and Krystina Staraselets remained in front and at the finish they had set a new under-23 World Best Time. The new time is now 6:49.68. This was two seconds faster than the former time. Italy came through in second and an awesome finishing sprint by Hungary denied Germany of a qualifying spot and allowed the Hungarians to go directly to the semifinals.
Heat Two saw a cracking pace at the start by Greece’s Anneta Kyridou and Dimitra-Sofia Tsamopoulou. By the middle of the race Greece had a handy, but not huge, lead over the United States. The Greeks did not sprint the finish but kept it powerful to stay ahead of Elizabeth Sharis and Cicely Madden of the US. Japan followed in third to earn the final qualifying spot.
First to show in Heat Three was the Austrian duo of Sarah Reimann and Miriam Kranzlmueller using a 47 stroke rate pace. But then Croatia’s Teuta Lea Stojakovic and Valentina Plejic started to catch up and these two crews were neck-and-neck through the middle of the race. Croatia kept their stroke rate at 35 to get into the lead. Then Russia moved up and in the close of the race the Russians pushed Austria into third.
Qualifiers: BLR, ITA, HUN, GRE, USA, JPN, CRO, RUS, AUT
Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Heats
This boat class had four heats lining up and the formula here was to finish first for a direct path to the semifinals. At the start of Heat One Uzbekistan had the lead. Bu then from the back of the field, Benjamin Kirsop and Matthew Mesman of New Zealand came flying through to not only overtake the field but start to push away. Bulgaria and Great Britain, however, were not giving up and held on to the New Zealanders. Then a storming sprint by Sebastian Devereux and Samuel Meijer of Great Britain took them into the lead to grab the semifinal spot. The British had missed out on setting a new under-23 World Best Time by just 0.23 of a second.
Croatia is the Olympic Champions in this boat class with the famous Sinkovic brothers and their under-23 crew lined up in Heat Two. The Croatians took the lead at the start, but then Lithuania got in front. The Lithuanians are the Olympic silver medallists and this crew of Dovydas Nemeravicius and Armandas Kelmelis were flying. The Dutch did take them on at the end but Lithuania’s experience came through. Nemeravicius and Kelmelis had set a new under-23 World Best Time with a time of 6:07.57.
Thailand got away quickly in Heat Three. But there was very little in it and at the first 500m marker only a second separated the entire field. Belgium’s De Loof and Claeys then took over in the lead and they looked as though they had enough to push away from the field. Coming into the final sprint De Loof and Claeys had an open water lead and the rest of the field seemed to back off and accept the status quo.
Heat Four looked good for France’s Bastien Quiqueret and Maxime Ducret who had the lead at the start and widened their leading gap as the race progressed. France did not sprint the finish which meant Slovenia, who were really sprinting the finish, managed to close the gap on the leaders. But the gap was too wide and France easily won.
Qualifiers: GBR, LTU, BEL, FRA
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Heats
The idea here was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals and these 17 countries were divided into three heats with Heat One loaded with talent. It included reigning under-23 World Champion, Marieke Keijser of the Netherlands. At the start Sophia Krause had the lead. Krause was third in the under-23 lightweight women’s quad last year and she held the lead through the middle of the race. But Keijser was pacing Krause and these two boats were moving away from the rest of the field. Then Keijser got ahead and at 35 crossed the line easily in front. Krause had to hold off Sweden and managed to do so. Keijser had set a new under-23 World Best Time. The new standard is 7:28.34, which is nearly two seconds faster than the previous record set in 2011.
Italy’s Clara Guerra led the way in Heat Two. Guerra is the 2016 junior World Champion and she moved away from Japan’s Miharu Takashima through the middle of the race. Then Takashima found herself under pressure from Norway’s Anna Sture. This two-way tussle say Takashima and Sture close the gap on Guerra. It was a print to the line as Takashima tried to hold off Sture. Guerra was at 36 and stayed in the lead.
In Heat Three South Africa’s Nicole van Wyk got away very quickly. Van Wyk was second in this boat class last year and by the middle of the race she had nearly a boat length lead over France’s Claire Bove. These two boats came into the final sprint with a handy margin over the rest of the field. Bove decided to sprint the finish and she overtook van Wyk. Van Wyk fought back and got the lead again.
Qualifiers: NED, GER, ITA, JPN, RSA, FRA
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Heats
The three heats in this boat class required a top three finish for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One France had a very fast start before Spain’s Maria Lao Sanchez and Estel Boix took over in the lead. Germany was following closely. The German duo raced to bronze in last year’s lightweight quad and they had more international experience than the Spanish. Spain, however, held on to win the race.
Romania’s Ionela-Livia Lehaci and Gianina-Elena Beleaga had the lead at the start of Heat Two. By the middle of the race Romania had a boat length lead over Greece in second. But then Norway did a piece going into the third 500 and closed the gap on the leaders. Romania remained in the lead and crossed the line in first with Greece holding on to second over Norway. Romania had recorded the fastest qualifying time.
It was Italy’s Allegra Francalacci and Federica Cesarini in the lead of Heat Three and they continued to stay in front through the body of the race. Behind them Canada held on to second with Japan in third. This order did not change through to the line.
Qualifiers: ESP, GER, CHI, ROU, GRE, NOR, ITA, CAN, JPN
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Heats
This boat class had attracted 22 nations who were divided into four heats with the aim of being in first position for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One South Africa had the lead. This did not last long as Canada then took over out in front. But there was lots of racing to come and Italy’s Antonio Vicino and Gabriel Soares was charging down the course. It was an incredible sprint to the line as Canada came charging back with Denmark in hot pursuit. Italy was at 44 and Canada at 42. Italy had grabbed the semifinal spot and got a new under-23 World Best Time. 6:13.62 is now the standard. They beat the time by over a second.
Russia had a good start in Heat Two with Portugal in hot pursuit. By the middle of the race Dinis Duarte Costa and Afonso Costa of Portugal had the lead. Once there they managed to get a small advantage over Russia. Costa and Costa then moved away to an open water lead and crossed the line easily in first. Heat Three opened with Spain in the lead. But then Great Britain’s Matthew Curtis and Gavin Horsburgh took up their speed and got into the lead. Spain did not look to have an answer as Curtis and Horsburgh moved away from the field to take an easy first.
It was all about Poland at the start of Heat Four. The Polish duo still had the lead through the middle of the race with Ireland’s Fintan and Jacob McCarthy moving up. The Irish then did a big push and got ahead of Ireland who were rating in the high 30s. Poland went to 39, but the McCarthy twins held them off to take first.
Qualifiers: ITA, POR, GBR, IRL
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Heats
This boat class had three heats and the idea here was to get a top three finish for a direct path to the semifinals. Canada got away the quickest in Heat One with Hungary in hot pursuit. At the half way point only a second separated the top three boats with Ukraine in the mix. Hungary had athletes with international experience going back to 2014 and they looked to have the potential to do well. Coming into the final sprint Hungary and Canada were neck-and-neck. Canada went to 37 and it was enough to hold off Hungary.
Heat Two saw Poland in the lead at the start and they remained there through the middle of the race. But margins were close and New Zealand then pushed into the lead with Great Britain now in hot pursuit. New Zealand went to 37 to hold off Great Britain who were at 33. Poland cruised home in third. The third and final heat, Heat Three began with Italy out in front with Russia and Germany the closest challengers. Then Russia picked up the pace and moved ahead of Italy and away from the rest of the field. Russia finished in a time just 0.23 outside of the under-23 World Best Time.
Qualifiers: CAN, HUN, UKR, NZL, GBR, POL, RUS, ITA, GER
Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) – Heats
Four heats made up this boat class and the formula here was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One Russia’s Ekaterina Pitirimova of Russia was the quickest away. Then Thea Helseth of Norway pushed into the lead with Russia, New Zealand and Bulgaria all within striking distance. Helseth and Pitirimova were able to get a bit of an edge and it would take a lot by the other crews to get a qualifying spot. Norway and Russia had earned the two qualifying spots.
Heat Two had a much faster start with Lovisa Claesson of Sweden getting her nose in front. Claesson finished second in this boat class last year and she must be a favourite to do well this year. But then Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino of France then got ahead. Ravera-Scaramozzino raced at the Rio Olympics and also got a silver at this year’s World Rowing Cup III in the women’s double sculls. These two boats move away from the rest of the field and neither of them sprinted the finish. Germany’s Juliane Faralisch had the lead at the start of Heat Three and by the middle of the race Faralisch had a handy margin over the rest of the field. This left a close battle for second between Denmark’s Anne Larsen and Kateryna Dudchenko of Ukraine. With Faralisch cruising to the finish line, Larsen and Dudchenko gave it their all. Ukraine got there first.
Heat Four saw two boats going neck-and-neck at the start. This race at the head of the field was between Switzerland’s Pascale Walker and Emily Kallfelz of the United States. Walker finished ninth in this boat class last year and is the more experienced internationally of the two. Walker held a very small margin over Kallfelz through to the final 500m of the race. Who wanted first more? Rating one pip higher, Walker stayed ahead. Both boats had qualified for the semifinals.
Qualifiers: NOR, RUS, FRA, SWE, GER, UKR, SUI, USA
Men’s Eight (BM8+) – Heats
The two heats in this boat class saw rowers aiming for first as this was the only spot that would get them directly to Sunday’s final. In Heat One the reigning under-23 World Champions, the Netherlands were out in front. Behind them it was very close between the United States, Great Britain and Romania. But none of them could catch the Dutch. The Netherlands had claimed a new under-23 World Best Time. They set the standard at 5:23.75. This was half a second faster than the former time.
In Heat Two Germany had a slight edge. But it was a very tight race and at the first 500m marker only one second separated the entire field. Then Ukraine picked up the pace and got just a bit in front. Germany did their best to hold on, but Ukraine managed to break away and take their boat to the final.
Qualifiers: NED, UKR