Race report: Single scullers step through Under-23 semifinals
The Willem-Alexander Baan Rowing Regatta course saw a fleet of single scullers as the under-23 men’s and women’s single sculls and the lightweight men’s single sculls raced in their last chance to make it to the final. The combined 2016 World Rowing Senior, Under 23 & Junior World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands saw an afternoon of racing in temperatures in the high 20s and a steady, but small tail wind.
Under-23 Women’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Semifinals
Semifinal One had Lithuania’s Ieva Adomaviciute in the lead. Adomaviciute is the reigning under-23 World Champion and she must have been a favourite coming into this race. But then Cicely Madden of the United States, who had come out of the blocks in second, pushed ahead of Adomaviciute with Cara Grzeskowiak of Australia also managing to get ahead of the Lithuanian. Adomaviciute must have realised that third was not the position she wanted and she overtook Grzeskowiak and went after Madden. At the line Adomaviciute was back in the lead and had recorded the fastest qualifying time – an impressive 7:33.
In Semifinal Two Lovisa Claesson of Sweden had a great start and led the way through the middle of the race. Claesson won her quarterfinal yesterday in relatively easy style. Today Lucie Zabova of the Czech Republic tracked Claesson very closely in the middle 1000m. But then Claesson was able to break away and coming into the final sprint Claesson had a rather handy gap over her competition. But Germany’s Carlotta Nwajide was now flying towards the finish. Zabova’s second place was under threat. Claesson held on to first with Nwajide coming through to take second.
Qualifiers: LTU, USA, AUS, SWE, GER, CZE
Under-23 Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Semifinals
Jumping out at the start was Michal Plocek of the Czech Republic. Racing in the shadows of Olympic medallist Ondrej Synek, Plocek is establishing himself as a top single sculler. Russia’s Andrey Potapkin followed in second but did not have enough push to get up to Plocek. Meanwhile Norway and Sweden were going head to head for the third and final qualifying spot. Norway had the advantage for most of the race, but a better sprint by Emil Freudenthal of Sweden gave him the third place.
It was not a surprise to see Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk of Poland in the lead in Semifinal One. But margins at the beginning were small with Germany and Great Britain holding the pace of the Pole. Then Wegrzycki-Szymczyk did a push and managed to put a bit of water between himself and Thomas Barras of Great Britain who was now in second. Tim Ole Naske of Germany held on to the pace of Barras through the middle of the race and these three scullers went into the final sprint with nothing much between them. At the line Wegrzycki-Szymczyk had held on to first and recorded the fastest qualifying time.
Qualifiers: CZE, RUS, SWE, POL, GBR, GER
Under-23 Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Semifinals
It was great to see Brazil and Iraq in this semifinal. Iraq’s Mohammed Al-Khafaji comes to Rotterdam directly from Rio, while Uncas Batista of Brazil raced earlier this season in the World Rowing Cup series. But it was Italy’s Federico Gherzi that had an early lead. Gherzi was still in front at the half way point and he had a handy margin over Belgium’s Niels van Zandweghe who was sitting in second. Then van Zandweghe started to sprint. Taking his stroke rate to 38, van Zandweghe overtook Gherzi and charged for the finish line. Gherzi held on to second with Norway’s Ask Jarl Tjoem holding on to third. Van Zandweghe recorded the fastest qualifying time.
At the start of Semifinal Two it was Jonathan Rommelmann of Germany out in front. Rommelmann had finished second in his quarterfinal yesterday and this was a great effort from the German. In the middle of the race Rommelmann had a handy lead with Mexico’s Alexis Lopez Garcia sitting just ahead of Great Britain in second. Then Lopez closed on Rommelmann in the final sprint. Rating 37, Lopez had closed the gap. Rommelmann could not hold the Mexican. Lopez had won. Samuel Mottram of Great Britain earned third.
Qualifiers: BEL, ITA, NOR, MEX, GER, GBR