Stephansen and Taupe-Traer show how to row the single
After yesterday’s storm the sun peaked out at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea. Today’s finals were raced on the Tangeum International Rowing Regatta course in slight head wind, balmy conditions with temperatures reaching into the high 20s degrees Celsius.
Times were comparatively slow, even in the much-anticipated lightweight men’s single where Henrik Stephansen of Denmark successfully defended his title. Meanwhile in the lightweight women’s single 38 year old Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria took her first World Championship title.
Women’s Four – Final
Earlier in the week a preliminary race went on with the United States proving to be the standout crew. The US won this event two years ago and as it was not raced in 2012 the United States remain the reigning World Champions. Today Canada decided to do all that they could to bring down the Americans. Canada shot out very quickly and took the early lead. The United States, however, soon closed on Canada and, with relative ease pressed into the lead. Huelskamp, Coffey, Gobbo and Mueller of the United States then proceeded to move away from the rest of the field.
At the line the US had won by an open water margin with a rather frazzled looking Canada doing their best to hold off Australia. At the line the United States had become the gold medallists. Canada held on to take silver and Australia earned bronze.
Results: USA, CAN, AUS, GER, ITA, KOR
Emily Heulskamp – Gold
“We had a rough start but everything else went to plan. We trusted one another and we trusted our fitness.”
Sarah Black – Silver
“It was a real gutsy race – we pushed hard at the start and kept pushing. The heat wasn’t a factor as we’ve been training here for 2 weeks so it felt natural. Tomorrow we won’t get a day off it’s straight to the eight for us.”
Charlotte Sutherland - Bronze
“We really went out on our race plan, it’s exactly what we wanted. It was a massive step up from the heat. We were going for the podium. We wanted to get something out of the race, which we did.”
Men’s Coxed Pair – Final
Twenty-five years ago at the Seoul Olympics on a nearby rowing regatta course the Italians won the men’s coxed pair. Today, sitting in the grandstand was that coxswain – Giuseppe Di Capua. Di Capua had returned to rowing and two days ago he coxed the Italian Para-rowing boat on this World Championship course. The crew medalled and Di Capua says that it was one of his proudest moments.
On the water today Italy’s Luca Parlato, Vincenzo Abbagnale and coxswain Enrico D’Aniello led from start to finish completing a full Korean circle. Italy had given a sign that they were going to do well when they won the preliminary race two days ago – and won it rather handily. Germany gave it a good shot to catch the Italians, but they could not maintain the pace in the second half of the race. Italy remained in front to the line.
Results: ITA, GER, FRA, USA
Vincenzo Abbagnale - Gold
“We hoped for a better technical race, but we are still happy.”
Jonas Wiesen - Silver
“The French were really strong and they attacked us from the start. We thought we could keep up with the Italians a bit better, but I’m really happy with the result.”
Benjamin Manceau –Bronze
“During the first 1,000m we didn’t try to attack very aggressively, but we tried to move in the 3rd 500 because the Americans were moving. We are satisfied with the result.”
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Final
On Monday in the heats Switzerland clocked the fastest qualifying time, but it was only slightly faster than Italy and Great Britain. These three crews met today all together for the first time at this regatta. At the start Germany had the edge with Italy in hot pursuit. The Italian boat, which featured multi-Olympian from the lightweight men’s double Elia Luini and new partner Martino Goretti, then took over in the lead. Meanwhile Simon Niepmann and Lucas Tramer of Switzerland were working their way up through the field. Switzerland’s Olympic four has split up this season and Niepmann and Tramer are two of the 2012 members.
Coming through the third 500m, Switzerland had found the lead as they showed the rest of the field that, despite their lower stroke rate, they had more power. Niepmann and Tramer were able to rate 36 and still stay in front with Luini and Goretti rating 38 then 40 as they felt Great Britain closing on them.
Sam Scrimgeour and Mark Aldred of Great Britain finished first at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne and that secured their spot on the British national team for Chungju. Despite the sprint by Scrimgeour and Aldred, Italy were able to hold them off. Switzerland had won gold, Italy taken silver and Great Britain earned bronze.
Results: SUI, ITA, GBR, CAN, GER, AUT
Between Japan and the United States there was barely a bow ball difference as these two countries fought it out for the entire 2000m. Unfortunately for the crowd, Korea were back in third. Japan and the United States had raced each other already in the heats with Japan’s Hakaru Endo and Kosuke Mitsuoka having the upper hand. Rating 39 into the finish Japan had their nose in the lead to finish first.
Results: JAP, USA, KOR
Simon Niepmann – Gold
“It was different. Normally we’re really fast off the start, this time we were calm and confident off the start and then it came together during the race.”
Elia Luini – Silver
“We weren’t really together at the start, but we found our rhythm, which gave us confidence. It was a good race. We’ve only been together for two months and Martino was only 60 kg 4 weeks ago because of surgery.”
Mark Aldred – Bronze
“All in all it was a good race. We had a good season at Dorney and Lucerne, we aimed for gold, but at my first World Champs I am happy with a medal.”
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Final
Touted as potentially the most exciting final of this regatta, these rowers have gone through heats, quarterfinals and semifinals to get to today’s race. All six of these scullers had a shot at the medals. At the start Jeremie Azou of France had a flyer of a start rating an unthinkable 59 strokes per minute. Azou normally rows in the double but his partner is injured leaving him to row in the single.
Azou held the lead with two-time World Champion of this event, Henrik Stephansen of Denmark now closing. Stephansen rowed at the Olympic Games in the open single and is back to defend his title this year as a lightweight. Stephansen then did a big push and got his nose ahead of Azou with Hungary’s Peter Galambos and World Cup series winner Pedro Fraga of Portugal holding a humdinger of a battle for third.
This race, as expected, was going to be decided in the final sprint. Rating 41, Stephansen still had the edge. Azou, also at 41 held on to second while Galambos conducted the sprint of this regatta as Fraga looked like he had run out of gas.
As Stephansen crossed the line in first, Azou, Galambos and Fraga all had run out of gas, resigned to their positions and letting their boats run across the finish line. There’s no doubt that all three medallists can be very proud of their 2013 placing. This was one tough race.
Results: DEN, FRA, HUN, POR, GER, SUI
In Thursday’s semifinal Andrew Campbell of the United States and Great Britain’s Jamie Kirkwood had just missed out on making the final. Today under-23 champion, Campbell led the way over Kirkwood with these two scullers dominating the race. Campbell looked comfortable coming into the finish at a 33 – 34 stroke rate with Kirkwood giving it his all at 39. Campbell finished first and seventh overall. Last year Campbell took bronze in this event showing the increase in standard this year.
Results: USA, GBR, CAN, MEX, BUL, ITA
Henrik Stephansen - Gold
“It’s getting better and better, maybe it’s because the pressure is rising. Not being the underdog feels tougher and tougher.”
Jeremie Azou - Silver
“Being in a single wasn’t the plan for the season. Because of the (Delayre’s) accident I ended up in the single and it was a real challenge. This medal was a dream, I really wanted to beat Stephansen but it wasn’t my day today, he was quicker.”
Peter Galambos - Bronze
“I am very happy with the result. All the others in the race were very strong, so it was a very special final. I was at my maximum and I couldn’t have caught Azou. I am currently looking for a partner to row the double at the Rio Olympics in 2016”.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Final
It has been a great season for Michaela Taupe-Traer of Austria but could she pull of the World Championship title for the first time in her lengthy career today? Taupe-Traer came out of the start just behind Ruth Walczak of Great Britain and by the middle of the race had drawn through into the lead. But only one second separated the top four boats and, realising this, Taupe-Traer was keeping her stroke rate at a high 34.
Meanwhile, under-23 champion, Aikaterini Nikolaidou of Greece was having the race of her career. Pulling into second Nikolaidou was taking Taupe-Traer on, head on. When Taupe-Traer was starting her international career Nikolaidou had not even been born. Such is the beauty of rowing – a sport for life. Then Nikolaidou showed absolutely no respect and took the lead. Taupe-Traer, however, was not going to let this one go.
The 38 year old from Klagenfurt had done it. Taupe-Traer was the World Champion in her 22nd year of international rowing. Nikolaidou took silver and Walczak finished off a cracker of a season to take third.
Results: AUT, GRE, GBR, BRA, RSA, BLR
Michelle Sechser of the United States had a big battle with New Zealand’s Louise Ayling for this 2,000m race. Sechser raced in the lightweight quad last year while Ayling’s career has been a mixture of the lightweight single and lightweight double. Through the semifinals at this regatta Sechser had only just missed out on qualifying for the A-final with Ayling a bit off the pace. Today Sechser held off Ayling to the line with these two scullers finishing seventh and eighth overall.
Results: USA, NZL, CAN, GER, AUS, HKG
Michaela Taupe-Traer - Gold
“I just won the World Championships! I can’t believe it, it’s the most fantastic experience and there is nothing I can compare it to. I fought so long for it and it will be the first time I hear my national anthem on the podium. It’s like a dream and I hope I won’t wake up.”
Aikaterini Nikolaidou - Silver
“That was the toughest race of my life. I went hard from the beginning to the end. I am happier with this silver than the under-23 gold because it was definitely a harder race. I want to go to the Olympics, but I need a double partner. The single is my favourite boat type and for now I don’t have a partner so I’ll stay in the single.”
Ruth Walczak - Bronze
“After a season of fourth, fourth, fourth, finally a medal!”
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (LM4x) – Final
In the heats earlier in the week Italy looked like the crew to beat as they clocked the fastest qualifying time. But Italy were yet to meet Greece who had won the other heat. Today was a fresh new race and at the start Germany, who had come to this final through the repechage, took the lead. Germany had finished fifth in this event a year ago with Italy in fourth and Greece in second.
Germany’s Moos, Peschel, Schuetzeberg and Osborne still held the lead through the middle of the race as Greece chased hard. Greece (Giannaros, Magdanis and the Konsolas brothers) looked to be timing their race slightly better and with 600m left to row, the Greeks had pulled into the lead. After that there was no stopping them. The Greeks were flying and leaving the rest of the field in their wake.
For 2013 Greece had stepped up from silver to gold. Germany came through in second and Italy held on to third. What a beautifully executed race by Greece.
Results: GRE, GER, ITA, DEN, AUS, HKG
From the repechage two days ago the United States had been unlucky not to make the A-final. Today they set out in second with India leading the way. Going through the middle of the race India had built up nearly a boat length lead. Then the US started to come back and for the rest of the race they recorded negative splits as they really found their rhythm. Madden, Smith, Ethridge and Quinn of the United States finished first with an open water margin.
Results: USA, IND, URU, KOR
Panagiotis Magdanis – Gold
“It was difficult because of the head wind. But it was very, very good for us in the last metres.”
Jason Osborne – Silver
“In the first 1,000m we raced really aggressively and it went really well but we had nothing left so in the end the Greeks were better. The World Championships are much bigger than anything else I’ve been to. It has a great atmosphere and it’s great to have experience on this level. Me and Moritz (Moos) are still under-23 so we want to win next at the 2014 under-23 champs and maybe race in the lightweight quad at the senior level. The end goal is to end up in the lightweight double in Rio 2016.”
Francesco Rigon - Bronze
“We didn’t have a good start. There was a head wind which made it difficult for us to execute our plan. We wanted to show that we were the fastest crew, we gave it everything, so we’re happy with the results.”
Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls (LW4x) – Final
Earlier in the week the Netherlands had recorded the fastest time in the heats. With four days rest the Dutch raced again. At the start Italy had the lead. The Italians had finished third a year ago and must have been hoping to step up this year. By the half-way point the United States had pulled into the lead with the margin between the top three crews just half a second. The US finished fourth in this event last year and they have retained one member of that crew.
Then the Dutch crew of Kraaijkamp, Head, Sigmond and Frenken really got into their rhythm and not only pulled into the lead but started to pull away from the rest of the field. This is Maaike Head’s fourth race of the week as she is one of the few athletes here who is racing in two events.
In the race to the finishing line the Netherlands were rating 34 and in control. The United States, at 36 were holding off the Italians. The finishing order was set.
Results: NED, USA, ITA, RUS, AUS, KOR
Vietnam raced a very controlled race to lead from start to finish. It did not take the Vietnamese very long to establish their dominance and once in front there was nothing that India or China could do to catch up. Last year China finished sixth but they have come this year with a junior crew to gain experience.
Results: VIE, IND, CHN
Rianne Sigmond - Gold
“It was a long wait to race (heats were four days ago). We were a bit nervous for the final so we weren’t as controlled as we wanted to be in the first half, but we made a decisive push at the 1000m and got the gold.”
Helen Tompkins - Silver
“I am really happy. There was a bit of shift in the wind after the thousand (metre mark) so we struggled with the rhythm. But it was our best race so far and we have the silver!”
Eleonora Trivella - Bronze
“It was a very hard race because the others were very strong, especially the Dutch. We had a good start and managed to stay with the others for the first thousand. Then they were stronger, but we are very happy with bronze.”
Lightweight Men’s Eight (LM8+) – Final
The preliminary race had indicated that Italy was the crew to beat with the crew getting very close to a World Best Time. The Italians took silver in 2012 and they have always been strong in this boat class. With that Italy, coxed by Enrico D’Aniello jumped out into the lead earning a slight margin over Australia.
Then the race turned into a show of strength by Italy who managed to nudge away from the rest of the field with every stroke that they took. This last race of the day turned into a procession with the order remaining at Italy in first, Australia in second and the United States in third.
Results: ITA, AUS, USA
Leone Barbaro – Gold
“We are very happy because it’s the first time for us at the World Champs. Seven of us are under 23, so it’s a very young crew. There was so much emotion at the finish line!”
John (Jack) Price – Silver
“We wanted to go out for a smooth row, but it was a bit frantic at the start. All credit goes to the Italians for their race. I am really happy to even be in the boat and now I have a silver medal. We’re aiming for gold next year.”
Tobin McGee – Bronze
“We really focused on the start and we were moving on Australia, but we couldn’t match their pace. We had a good race.”