Para PR2 Mixed Double Sculls (PR2 Mix2x) – Heats
A full field of 14 countries lined up with the goal of coming in a top three position of these three heats. This would give them a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One sitting in lane one was the unbeaten crew of Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning of the Netherlands. It must have been intimidating for all other crews in this heat to know they were essentially racing for second. And the Dutch did not disappoint. They underrated the other crews and still managed to pull out to an open water lead. Brazil’s Josiane Loma and Michel Gomes Pessanha moved into second with China in third. The race was a procession through to the end.  

Heat Two was a close battle between France and Ukraine. Ukraine’s crew of Svitlana Bohuslavaska and Iaroslav Koida had a very small edge. But France’s more experienced crew of Perle Bouge and Christophe Lavigne then got their nose in front to win the race in an identical time to the Dutch in heat one.

Great Britain’s Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley got away at a quick pace in Heat Three and by the middle of the race they had a very handy lead. Behind them the United States and Poland stayed in touch with each other to try and hold the remaining qualifying spots. Despite being in front Rowles and Whiteley kept the pressure on, rating 36 to move further away from the rest of the field. It paid off for them as at the end they had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

Qualifiers: NED, BRA, CHN, FRA, UKR, RUS, GBR, POL, GER

Para PR3 Mixed Coxed Four (PR3 Mix4+) – Heats
The 18 countries that lined up in these three heats had the goal of finishing in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. Heat One saw Great Britain dominate from the start. This left an incredibly close battle between Germany and Ukraine. With only two qualifying spots this was the battle to make the semifinals and at the finish Ukraine had won the battle – but just by a fraction.

In Heat Two the United States had the fastest speed at the start. But it was far from clear cut. Israel was having a great race and was up with the more experienced Americans. Then the US managed to break away just a little with Israel now under threat from France. These two boats were now neck-and-neck and both had to sprint the finish. France had the faster sprint to grab the qualifying spot.

At the start of Heat Three it was very, very tight. Russia, Australia and Italy were going for it and none was giving an inch. Then Australia got their nose in front with Russia holding on tightly. Australia proved to have the better stamina and managed to get an edge over Russia. Russia tried to hold on but Australia remained unrelenting to cross the line in first. Italy then did an awesome sprint to get the better of Russia who will now have to race in the repechage.

Qualifiers: GBR, UKR, USA, ISR, AUS, ITA

Women’s Pair (W2-) – Heats
This boat class had a huge entry with 25 nations entered. They were divided into five heats and the goal was a top four position for a direct path to the quarterfinals. In Heat One it was the return of the Canadian World Champion crew of Filmer and Janssens. Racing for the first time together internationally this season, Canada got out in front at the start and held the lead through to the finish. They used 35 strokes per minute to remain out in front. Italy put up a good battle, but had to settle for second. Canada had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

It was a race to not be last in Heat Two with four boats qualifying. Australia led the way over Ukraine. The Australian crew of Morrison and McIntyre are having a great season with World Cup medals already in their pockets. In the Ukraine boat sat World Record holder on the indoor rowing machine, Olena Buryak. They tried to hold the Australian pace but instead had to watch out for Germany who came through in third.

Romania and Spain were vying for the lead in Heat Three. Spain are the European Champions and the crew of Ania Cid and Virginia Diaz Rivas really know how to race. Coming into the second half of the race Spain had found the lead. Cristina-Georgiana Popescu and Amalia Beres of Romania fought back and there was nothing in it at the finish line with Spain finishing just in front. Heat Four was very tight at the start between Ireland, Chile and South Africa all on top of each other. It remained tight through the middle of the race with Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser of the United States now up with the pack. Eisser and Kalmoe then showed their superior stamina to move into the lead. Ireland attacked, but the US held them off.

Heat Five had the 2018 silver medallists in the lead at the start and by the middle of the race Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand had moved to an open water lead. Prendergast and Gowler have picked up World Cup medals this season and have remained in Europe training in the lead up to this regatta. Behind them it was very tight between Greece and China with France not far off.

Qualifiers: CAN, ITA, POL, NOR, AUS, UKR, GER, RUS, ESP, ROU, GBR, HUN, USA, IRL, CHI, RSA, NZL, GRE, CHN, FRA

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Heats

Five heats lined up with the aim of being in a top four position. This would give a direct path to the quarterfinals for these 28 nations racing. Heat One had the World Champions Croatia leading the way. The Croatian Sinkovic brothers have had an up and down season with recovery from back injury keeping them out of the boat for some of the season. They were back with power leading from start to finish. Australia slotted into second with Denmark and Brazil fighting it out for third. Brazil then had to deal with a flying finish by the United States. The US got to the line in first denying Brazil of a qualifying spot. At the end of the heats Croatia had qualified with the fastest time.

Heat Two was very tight at the start but Lukas Helesic and Jakub Podrazil of the Czech Republic had managed to get into the lead. Then Turkey’s Selahattin gursoy and Besim Sahinoglu picked up the pace, challenged the Czech’s and moved into the lead. The Czechs looked like they’d run out of speed. Poland now went after the leaders. Turkey wound it up for the finish with the Czechs coming back. Turkey had won by a fraction.

At the start of Heat Three it was Italy that had the lead. Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino of Italy held it through the middle of the race. New Zealand followed in second with France going with the Kiwis in third. Then in the final sprint France took the rating up and went after second. New Zealand fought back and the Italians saw them coming. Italy went to 48 to win the race. It was China in the lead of Heat Four. They had a small margin over Canada. But the field was very tightly packed and everyone still had a shot of taking the lead. This is exactly what Canada did. Kai Langerfeld and Conlin McCabe of Canada then moved out in front with Spain now overtaking China. In the final sprint Spain went after Canada.  Spain had won the race.

Heat Five saw Romania jump out into the lead but South Africa was going with them and in going into the middle of the race South Africa’s John Smith and Lawrence Brittain had found the lead. Smith has an Olympic gold medal from the 2012 Olympics where he raced as a lightweight. Now in the open boat class, Smith is proving his worth. The South Africans remained in the lead through to the end with Serbia overtaking Romania to come in at second.

Qualifiers: CRO, AUS, DEN, USA, TUR, GBR, CZE, POL, ITA, NZL, FRA, GRE, ESP, CAN, BLR, CHN, RSA, SRB, ROU, ARG

Lightweight Men’s Double sculls (LM2x) – Heats

A huge field lined up divided into six heats. This competitive boat class required crews to finish in a top three position to get a chance to go directly to the quarterfinals. Heat One was all about Italy. The Italian crew of Steffano Oppo and Pietro Ruta held off pressure from France and Ukraine to stay in front. Olympic Champions, France remained in second and managed to keep ahead of Ukraine.

China was out in front of Heat Two, but not by much. At the first 500m mark only a second separated the top four boats. The pressure got even tighter with half the race rowed. Only half a second now separated the top four. Part of this bunch was the Czech Republic and in the third 500 they moved into the lead.  Simanek and Vrastil of the Czech Republic kept the pace on to the end to finish first. Spain got the better of China to take second.

Heat Three had Ireland’s new line up of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan take off and in the lead. Switzerland followed closely behind with Denmark on the pace. Then the Irish managed to get a small margin. They now had nearly a boat length over Switzerland. The order did not change in the final sprint despite some enthusiastic cow bells being rung. For Heat Four it was a bit more spread out at the start. Canada had the lead with Belgium and Austria fighting it out for second. Patrick Keane and Maxwell Lattimer of Canada continued to lead through the middle of the race. This crew came 4th at World Cup II this season but that’s the only time we’ve seen this race in 2019. The margins tightened up going through the middle of the race with Slovakia getting in on the action. Then Belgium really began to move. Tim Brys (World Rowing Athlete of the Month) and Niels van Zandweghe of Belgium then got into the lead. They held it to the end.

Germany had the edge in Heat Five. Jason Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann of Germany have won all of their races this season and they must be favourites for the gold here. Pressuring the Germans was Andrew Campbell and Nicholas Trojan of the United States with Portugal and Poland up with the leading pace. Germany held the lead, but not without a huge finishing challenge from Portugal’s Pedro Franga Afonso Coasta. Portugal took second. Germany had rec

New Zealand led the way in Heat Six. But it was very tight and at the half way point New Zealand, Great Britain and Australia formed a line with nothing separating them. This remained the same with the margins oh so tight.

Qualifiers: ITA, FRA, UKR, CZE, ESP, CHN, IRL, SUI, DEN, BEL, CAN, AUT, GER, POR, POL, NZL, AUS, GBR

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Heat
There were five heats for the lightweight women’s double sculls and in each heat the goal was to be in a top four position to earn a direct path to the quarterfinals. Heat One opened with Italy in the lead. Rodini and Cesarini of Italy had a small margin over the United States with Canada and Australia right on the leading pace. Coming into the final sprint there was nothing between Italy, Canada and the United States. The sprint was on for the line. The crowd support sounded right behind Canada and they now had the best boat speed. Italy reacted back and with the highest rating they crossed the line in first.

The leading edge was in the hands of New Zealand in Heat Two. The crew of Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle of New Zealand remained in the lead going through the middle of the race and had broken away to open water over Great Britain. This race looked like it was turning into a procession as Japan was back in third and under very little threat for their qualifying spot. McBride and Kiddle were at 33 and under no pressure as they crossed the finish line. Romania was the first out of the blocks in Heat Three. They are the reigning World Champions but have had an up and down season. The Netherlands chased hard and these two crews moved away from the field. In the second half of the race the Dutch got the better of Romania with Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis of the Netherlands winning the race.

France led the way in Heat Four with South Africa chasing hard. Thee two boats then moved away from the rest of the field with only China looking like they could hold the leading pace. Coming into the final sprint South Africa and France were equal. A better sprint by Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove of France gave them the win. Heat Five had Belarus jump out into the lead over Switzerland. By the middle of the race Anastasiia Ianina and Alena Furman of Belarus had a boat length lead over Switzerland and they looked unstoppable. Belarus led the field home.

Qualifiers: ITA, CAN, USA, AUS, NZL, GBR, JPN, ESP, NED, ROU, POL, PHI, FRA, RSA, CHN, IRL, BLR, SUI, GER, AUT

Men’s Four (M4-) – Heats
This boat class had four heats with the goal in each heat to be in the first position. This would give a direct path to the semifinals. Heat One had Great Britain take control at the start with Germany the closest challengers. Then the British broke away with New Zealand pressuring Germany for second. In the final sprint France, from fourth, was giving it their all to get into a qualifying spot. It was too late. The British grabbed the only spot.

Italy used their signature high rating to take the lead at the start of Heat Two. But the margins were tight with Russia and Austria and the United States all within a second on the leader. Italy remained at 41 strokes per minute and they managed to break away just a little from the chasing fleet. It was now the United States, Austria and Russia all neck and neck and going after Italy. The Italians held them off and crossed the line with the fastest overall qualifying time.

Australia looked confident and together as they led the way in Heat Three. The Australian’s are the reigning World Champions and have been going through this season trying different combinations in the boat. Belarus and the Netherlands followed very closely. Then Australia began to move away from the field with the real battle going on between the Netherlands and Belarus. The full-on battle had no impact on Australia who continued to hold a comfortable lead.

In Heat Four Romania had the fastest start with South Africa coming out in second. But then Poland did a huge push and they got into first by the half way point. They didn’t stop there. Poland then moved half a length ahead of Romania. Poland had more to give and then moved clean away from the rest of the field for an easy win.

Qualifiers: GBR, ITA, AUS, POL

Women’s Four (W4-) – Heats
This boat class had 16 countries entered. They were divided into three heats and the aim was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. Australia took the early lead in Heat One and did not slow down. But right behind them were the World Champion crew from the United states. The US crew has retained two members of the World Champion crew and they were trying their best to keep up with Australia. But the Australians were having none of it and had moved to an open water lead. Meanwhile the US had to keep an eye on Ireland. Australia held them off to take the win and record the fastest overall qualifying time. .

Heat Two had the Netherlands in the lead at the start. But margins were close and Denmark was right on their tail with the rest of the field all within striking distance. Denmark continued to chase the Dutch but the Netherlands looked to be ready for any challenge that came their way. Then Great Britain tried to move up on the leaders and Denmark found themselves under threat for the second qualifying spot. The order remained the same at the line. The Netherlands and Denmark had qualified.

China had the lead in Heat Three and they watched a virtual line form behind them. But then the line began to close on the Chinese. Romania had come up to attack China with Canada following suit. China saw them coming and picked up the pace. But Poland was now coming and they had overtaken Canada and Romania. Poland could sniff the finish line and they were flying. So was Romania. China had missed out on qualifying.

Qualifiers: AUS, USA, NED, DEN, ROU, POL

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Heats
Three heats were entered in this boat class and each heat the aim was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One the fastest pace at the start went to Germany. They were the first to cross the 500m mark. It was all very tight though still and just a second separated the top five boats. The quad has proved to be very close racing in recent years and this season there looks to be no clear leader. Then Australia picked up the pace and was level with Germany. Once in the lead Australia held it to the line. In the closing strokes Germany, who had been overtaken by Norway, came back to take second.

Poland had the lead at the start of Heat Two with China chasing hard. The Chinese continued to hold on to Poland’s pace. But Poland, who had kept their rating at 38 strokes per minute, continued to power on and China now had to watch out for Russia. In the sprint to the line, Russia got the better of China to grab the qualifying spot on the final stroke. For Heat Three it was Italy that had the best start. But it was tight and soon the Netherlands did a push that gave them the lead. The Dutch were at 38 with Italy at 36. Italy is the reigning World Champions and they were under pressure. The Netherlands have made this boat their flagship crew and have been trying different combinations through the season. The Dutch now moved clean away from the rest of the field. Italy held on to second. The Netherlands had qualified with the fastest overall time.

Qualifiers: AUS, GER, POL, RUS, NED, ITA

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Heats
Six heats lined up with the first three boats in each heat getting to go directly to the quarterfinals. Peter Galambos of Hungary opened the racing in Heat One and took a flying start with only Turkey anywhere close. Galambos continued to lead the way as the rest of the field closed on Turkey. New Zealand’s Benjamin van Dalen then moved into second. But there was no catching Galambos who had an open water lead.

It was Samuel Mottram of Great Britain that led the way in Heat Two. Mottram had a great start, much faster than any of his rivals. But then Slovenia’s Rajko Hrvat started to close on Mottram with Croatia’s Luka Radonic also on the case. These are very well known names in the world of lightweight singles. But Mottram, at 34 strokes per minute, remained out in front. In the final sprint Hrvat went to 39 with Radonic also rating high. Mottram got to the line first. Heat Three had China’s Wiechun Chen in the lead. But then from the very back of the field, Sean Murphy came flying. Murphy took bronze at last year’s under-23 championships and then took gold this year at the World Cup. Also flying was Mexico. Alexis Lopez Garcia of Mexico had overtaken China with Murphy chasing hard. Lopez had won with Poland’s Jankowski grabbing second.

Slovakia was quick out of the blocks in Heat Four. But it didn’t last long. Switzerland’s Jan Schaeuble then took over in the lead with Serbia’s Milos Stanojevic there as well. At the half way point only two seconds separated the entire field. Then Ireland’s Gary O’Donovan stopped rowing. Schaeuble had now found the lead and was going for it. Schaeuble had won. Heat Five opened with Aaron Lattimer of Canada leading the way. Lattimer then began to move away of the field with Rainer Kepplinger of Austria just behind in second and being challenged by Ask Jari Tjoem of Norway. Tjoem then began to fall back with Lattimer still in the lead. Tjoem realised he had to give more and went to 42 strokes per minute in the final sprint. Tjoem eased off before the finish, nothing more to give.

Italy’s Martino Goretti was the leader in Heat Six. This was no surprise as Goretti has quite the pedigree in lightweight rowing. Goretti’s international racing goes all the way back to 2003. Spain followed in second with Japan very much on the pace. Then Germany came flying through and overtook both Japan and Spain. Goretti had won and qualified with the fastest time overall.

Qualifiers: HUN, NZL, HKG, GBR, SLO, CRO, MEX, POL, AUS, SUI, USA, SRB, CAN, AUT, GRE, ITA, GER, JPN

Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Heats
This boat class had three heats and the goal for these scullers was to finish in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. In Heat One it was South Africa that had the early lead. Italy and Norway followed closely. Then the United States sculler of Emily Schmieg started to steadily work her way through the field. But Nicola van Wyk of South Africa continued to lead and now with open water. Then Norway’s Maia Lund started to sprint. Lund closed on Schmeig. The sprint was on. Lund and Schmeig were both at 37. South Africa had won with Schmeig taking second on the line.

Heat Two had Germany’s Marie-Louise Draeger leading at the start. Ireland’s Lydia Heaphy followed in second. But by the middle of the race Draeger had an open water lead. Draeger has four World Champion titles to her name and has been rowing internationally for 20 years. The German continued to lead as the Netherlands came flying down the outside. Martine Veldhuis of the Netherlands had the best closing sprint and had grabbed second.

Japan’s Chiaki Tomita was the first to lead in Heat Three with Canada chasing hard. Then Australia started to move and got ahead of Canada. But more was to come. Madeleine Aarlett of Great Britain was having a great second half and had moved into second and up on Tomita. These two scullers charged for the line. Canada’s Ellen Gleadow joined in. Tomita had won and in the fastest overall qualifying time.

Qualifiers: RSA, USA, GER, NED, JPN, GBR

Para PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1 M1x) – Heats
Never before have these numbers been seen in this boat class. Twenty-four nations were lining up and they were divided into four heats with the top boat only from each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals. In Heat One the World Champion, Erik Horrie of Australia jumped out quickly and led the way. Before the race Horrie, the most experienced athlete in this race, paid tribute to Dzmitry Ryshkevich of Belalrus, the single sculler that died during training last week. By the half way point Horrie was way out in front of the rest of the field totally outclassing his competitors. Israel was in second but way back. Horrie cruised home to an impressive win and the fastest qualifying time.

Heat Two opened with Rene Pereira of Brazil in the lead. Throughout the race Pereira increased his lead over Blake Haxton of the United States who was following in second. Haxton, however was too far back to challenge Pereira and the Brazilian won the race.

Heat Three had Lithuania jump out quickly ahead of Paralympic Champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine. But it wasn’t long until Polianskyi had got into the lead and move out to an open water lead over the rest of the field. Thailand had to withdraw from Heat Four leaving a five-boat field. Great Britain’s Benjamin Pritchard made the most of it and got into the lead. But the more experienced Alexey Chuvashev of Russia was having none of it and the two boats went head-to-head through the middle of the race. Then Pritchard went to 36 and broke away from Chuvashev.

Qualifiers: AUS, BRA, UKR, GBR

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Heats
With six heats lining up this boat class was one competitive class. The 30 countries entered were divided up into heats and the goal was to be in a top three position for a direct path to the quarterfinals. In Heat One it was Ireland’s Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne in the lead. Then Australia’s David Bartholot and Caleb Antill came up to take over. Ireland let the Aussies hold the lead for a while before upping their stroke rate and getting back in the lead. Then Belarus and the United States came flying both going for the remaining qualifying spot. Belarus got a bit in front but just before the line caught a crab. Bow man Stanislau Shcharbachenia stopped rowing. Their momentum was enough to get third.

Poland had the lead in Heat Two and was just ahead of New Zealand. These two boats moved away from the rest of the field with Cuba and Argentina going neck-and-neck for third. Poland continued to lead with New Zealand taking their rating up to 39 to challenge the Polish lead. Poland reacted back and moved away from the Kiwis. Argentina got the better of Cuba to take the final qualifying spot. The fastest starter in Heat Three was Lithuania’s Dovydas Nemeravicius and Saulius Ritter with Germany chasing hard. These two boats then went head to head through the middle of the race which took them away from the rest of the field. Then coming through the third 500 Canada found another gear and came up on Germany. The Germans hold them off as Lithuania sprinted through to first.

The Netherland’s crew of Amos Keijser and Nicolas van Sprang was the first to show in Heat Four. Romania followed in second and these two boats managed to break away by the middle of the race. Japan, back in third, was keeping an eye on Bulgaria. Then Keijser and van Sprang broke away from Romania and this race looked like it was turning into a procession. Nothing changed in the order with the Netherlands recording the fastest qualifying time at the end.

Heat Five opened with reigning World Champions France in the lead. Boucheron and Androdias of France were then overtaken by Great Britain’s Collins and Thomas. France fought back and stayed in touch with the British who had definitely found their stride. Italy, meanwhile, was back in third. France looked like they were happy to be in second and the order did not change through to the end despite Slovenia doing a gallant sprint to come up on Italy.

It was China in the lead of Heat Six. Liang Zhang and Zhiyu Liu for China had a flying start and got a boat length over the rest of the field. But then Switzerland’s Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeoesli started to move and got up level with China. The Chinese saw the Swiss coming and moved away again by increasing their stroke rate. These two boats were now far ahead of the rest of the field. China, at 34 strokes per minute, came through to the end with the Swiss looking content to be in second. South Africa took third.

Qualifiers: IRL, AUS, BLR, POL, NZL, ARG, LTU, GER, CAN, NED, ROU, JPN, GBR, FRA, ITA, CHN, SUI, RSA

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Heats
This boat class had attracted 37 nations and they were divided into eight heats with the first two boats in each heat getting to go directly to the quarterfinals. At the start of Heat One it was local favourite Magdalena Lobnig of Austria in the lead. By the middle of the race last year’s bronze medallist, Lobnig had a very handy lead over Maike Diekmann of Namibia. These two rowers then moved away from the rest of the field with Lobnig doing just enough to stay ahead of Diekmann. There was no sprinting into the finish.

Heat Two had Kara Kohler of the United States in the lead at the start. Kohler was followed by Ukraine and Slovakia who were tussling very closely. Kohler has a long rowing history which includes an Olympic medal in the quad from the 2012 Olympic Games. Kohler then moved away from the rest of the field with Ukraine’s Diana Dymchenko looking content on being in second. Kohler did not have to sprint the finish. In Heat Three exchanging the lead was Victoria Thornley of Great Britain and Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark. This very tight tussle continued through the middle of the race with the lead changing then changing again. Then Thornley proved to have the better stamina and she moved into the lead.

Vietnam got away the quickest in Heat Four before Carling Zeeman of Canada took over in the lead. Zeeman is known to start slowly and build throughout the race and she was doing just that today. France took up chase and these two boats moved easily away from the rest of the field. Zeeman took the win with Marie Jacquet of France taking second.

Winner of both World Cups that she entered this season, Emma Twigg of New Zealand led the way in Heat Five. Sweden slotted into second. At the front of the field nothing changed with Twigg spending the majority of the race at a rather sedate 29 stroke rate. The 2017 World Champion, Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland led the way in Heat Six. Gmelin had a bit of pressure at the start and through the middle of the race from Jan Jiang of China, but then she pushed away and there was no finishing sprint necessary.

The seventh heat was very tight at the start with AnneKatrin Thiele of Germany just ahead of Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic. Both of these scullers are Olympic Champions; Knapkova from the 2012 Olympics in the single and Thiele from the 2016 Olympics in the quad. The two scullers went neck and neck through the middle of the race which moved them away from the rest of the field. Knapkova then got ahead of Thiele and Thiele looked content to be in second. There was no finishing sprint. 

Heat Eight had the World Champion Sanita Puspure of Ireland led the way. The Netherlands sculler of Laila Youssifou (in her first international race in the single) was the closest challenger but Puspure was pure class and used the race to move further and further away from the competition.

Qualifiers: AUT, NAM, USA, UKR, GBR, DEN, CAN, FRA, NZL, SWE, SUI, CHN, CZE, GER, IRL, NED

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Heats
A huge field of eight heats lined up with the goal of being in a top two position for a direct path to the quarterfinals in each heat. Perhaps the most experienced in Heat One was Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba. But at the start it was Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece in the lead. Ntouskos remained out in front through the middle of the race with Thomas Barras of Great Britain the closest challenger. This order did not change through to the line.

Heat Two had Spain the fastest starter. Then Stef Broenink of the Netherlands took over in the lead with Spain slipping to the back of the field. Italy’s Simone Martini had now slotted into second with Bulgaria in hot pursuit. This looked like a real race. Broenink remained out in front with Martini firmly establishing himself in second. The order stayed the same through to the line. In Heat Three the World Champion, Kjetil Borch of Norway led the way. Borch has had an up and down season as he recovered from injury, but it looks like he’s timed his season well and he led over Nico Stahlberg of Switzerland. Borch wasn’t dominating but had a very handy lead over Stahlberg and these two scullers led the fleet home with open water behind them. At the end of the races Borch had the fastest qualifying time.

Leading the way in Heat Four was Serbia’s Aleksandar Filipovic with Finland’s Robert Ven chasing hard. These two scullers went through the middle of the race together with Pilip Pavukou of Belarus within striking distance. In the third 500 Pavukou attacked and overtook Ven. Ven tried to attach back, but Pavukou was ready and crossed the line just ahead of Ven. Filipovic had won.

The two leading scullers in Heat Five, Robert Manson of New Zealand and Oliver Zeidler of Germany, were both at 39 strokes per minute. This is Manson’s style to rate high but not so much Zeidler’s. The two have done some training together and they must have picked up on each other’s styles. Zeidler held a slight lead over Manson as these two move clean away from the rest of the field. Zeidler then broke away from Manson. Coming into the final sprint neither of them pushed it.

Heat Six opened with Dani Fridman of Israel in the lead. It didn’t last long. Croatia’s Damir Martin then went into the lead. But that didn’t last long. Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk got out in front and led the way home. Martin did not sprint the finish. For Heat Seven, and the 71st race of the regatta, Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen led the way. Nielsen is having a great season, picking up gold at World Rowing Cup III and he was still in the lead at the half way point. Sweden’s Anders Backeus followed in second and was way ahead of Slovakia in third. The race was now a procession and it was unlikely the order would change before the finish line. There was no finishing sprint.

He’s probably the most experienced sculler of the entire field. Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic led the way in Heat Eight. Synek is heading towards his fifth Olympic Games. Egypt’s Abdel Khalek Elbana followed in second with Mindaugas Griskonis of Lithuania right on his tail. Griskonis then got ahead of Elbana and moved up on Synek. Neither Synek of Griskonis sprinted the finish.

Qualifiers: GRE, GBR, NED, ITA, NOR, SUI, SRB, BLR, GER, NZL, POL, CRO, DEN, SWE, CZE, LTU