Synek and Karsten complete clean runs at Lucerne Rowing World Cup
The third and final Rowing World Cup for 2010 wrapped up in Lucerne, Switzerland, with the four Blue Riband events.
In the eights last year’s World Champions showed that they still had the goods: the United States won for the women and Germany were the best of the men. Ekaterina Karsten-Khodovtich of Belarus showed she still had it by winning the single from a slow start and Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic completed an unbeaten Rowing World Cup round with his third gold this season.
Women’s Eight (W8+) - Final
The Canadians were back home training and missed the international race season up to this point, so it wasn’t surprising when they burst out of the start with all of their pent-up training energy. Coxed by the amazing 51-year-old Lesley Thompson-Willie, the Canadians led over Great Britain through the first half of the race. Where were the World Champions, the United States? Coming back from a slow start, the USA, who have members who doubled up in the four or pair, started to really move and in no time at all they had overtaken the British.
Canada remained in the lead but the Americans were closing fast. Thompson-Willie must have been pulling out all of her tricks to motivate the crew into the finishing sprint. The United States at 36, continued to close the gap on Canada who were up at 39 but with shorter strokes. Great Britain had absolutely no answer and were struggling to find the sprinting gear. As the finish line approached there was nothing in it between Canada and the United States. It took until the last couple of strokes for the World Champion Americans to do it. The United States wins by not much more than a bow ball. Meanwhile, a good few seconds back, the Dutch, Germans and China made their own race at the back of the field.
Results: USA, CAN, GBR, NED, CHN, GER
World Cup Winner: Great Britain (19 points)
Esther Lofgren (USA) – Gold
“We had a race plan and just stuck to it. We had a really good piece and coming into the finish our cox was fantastic. Some of the girls were in the pair and the four, and because they had all medalled it really fired us up to make sure we made the podium too.”
Andreanne Morin (CAN) - Silver
“Our coach is John Keogh. We have been rowing together since one month. The best thing about being coxed by Leslie Thompson-Willie is that at the start line I am 100% confident that no one has a more experienced cox than I do. Winning Henley was great. It was a great preparation for Lucerne and gave us an idea of what it is like to race against the Brits and Dutch. Now we are going back to Canada and will start preparing for the World Rowing Championships.”
Emma Darling (CAN) – Silver
“I’m happy about the race. We had a very quick start. At the end we had to stick together to keep through. Winning Henley gave us power. We trained on speed before the racing and we will go on with that to make it perfect. It’s my first time in Lucerne. It’s also a good place for my family who came with me.”
Jessica Eddie (GBR) – Bronze
“That was a tough race especially with the heat at the moment! Overall I’d say we were happily with the frontrunners during the first half of the race, but then lost pace in the second half. Suffices to say we’ve got some work to do, but it’s a great day, particularly because the women’s eight have never won a medal at Lucerne before!”
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) - Final
Can anyone outfox Belarus? Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch of Belarus has not lost a race in the last six years apart from the two Olympic Games. She can race from the front or from behind and she always seems to win. She can up the power and over a matter of a few strokes change the course of the race. Today was Karsten toying? Karsten came out at the start in absolute last and was down on the field by a good two seconds with Great Britain’s Debbie Flood in the lead. Surprisingly Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic was also hanging back. But in the second 500m this all changed.
In a matter of a few strokes Karsten changed her pace, passed the entire field and moved into the lead. Knapkova followed this move almost identically and stayed with Karsten and in a view rarely seen in the women’s single, the entire six boat field crossed the half-way point all overlapping and with less than a second and a half between the entire field. But that was the end of that situation. In the second half of the race Great Britain and Russia slipped right off the pace with Lithuania barely hanging in there. That left it up to Knapkova and Sweden’s Frida Svensson to take on the Belarusian.
Karsten was too strong. Taking her stroke rate to 35, Karsten moved ahead of Knapkova, now on 34 with Svensson falling back. Karsten wins again, Knapkova gets silver again and Svensson gets her first World Cup medal since 2007.
Results: BLR, CZE, SWE, LTU, GBR, RUS
World Cup Winner: Belarus (24 points)
Frida Svensson (SWE) – Bronze
“That was a great race, and I’m very happy with the result!”
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) - Final
Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic has been winning all season, but this has been in the absence of World Champion Mahe Drysdale, absent because of injury. They met yesterday in the semifinal where Synek won. In the six-man final today, all of these rowers knew each other well with the exception of Malcolm Howard of Canada who is in his first year in the single. So tactics are very important. Today Alan Campbell of Great Britain chose the tactic of getting out fast at the start. So did Synek. By the half-way point Synek had moved in front with Campbell now back in second.
Meanwhile, back in third, Drysdale had shaken off Howard and was trying his best to close the gap on Campbell. Synek, in the lead, was relishing his leading position and started to sprint for the line, taking his stroke rate to 35. Campbell was at 34, but Synek was moving away. Drysdale hung on. Synek finishes the Rowing World Cup season unbeaten.
Results: CZE, GBR1, NZL1, CAN, NOR, SWE
World Cup Winner: Czech Republic (24 points)
Ondrej Synek (CZE) – Gold
“This was a horrible race – I hate it when it gets above 20 degrees. Alan was on great form today, but I was expecting more of a challenge from Mahe (Drysdale). After this I will take five days holidays, I’m going on a motorbike trip with my friends. Who knows for the World Rowing Championships – I could win or I could be in the B Final, it’s four months from now.”
Alan Campell (GBR) – Silver
“It was really a last-minute decision to come and race Lucerne. I had troubles with my back before Munich. On Thursday we checked whether there was any danger of injuring my back if I would race but as the test came out ok we decided that I should race. Bill Berry (Coach) really made the right call. I have had great support here. It was fantastic to see the rest of the guys do so well and my fiancée is here to support me. (We will get married next year). The support has made a huge difference for me. Now I am determined to get rid of my back problems and nobody is safe from me. A race is not over until it is over. “
Mahe Drysdale (NZL) – Bronze
“That was quite a shock to come out racing again! I didn’t stand a chance, as I was playing catch up on the leaders from the very beginning. I’m very pleased to find myself on the podium again. It’s going to be a mission to get back on form again for the World Rowing Championships, but I’ve got three months, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get there. As to them taking place in New Zealand it’s a unique opportunity which I believe the whole country is going to benefit from!”
Men’s Eight (M8+) - Final
At the finish of this race the word around the course was how strong and clean the Australians were looking. This Australian line-up is racing internationally for the first time after their stern four won the men’s four last month at the Munich Rowing World Cup. Today they started out at the back of the field looking a little off the pace. Leading the race was Canada with Great Britain and current World Champions Germany keeping the Canadians well in check.
By the half-way point Canada and Germany were pacing each other at the front of the field, rating 37 each and staying just ahead of Great Britain. Then coming into the third 500m Germany made a move. The move took them past Canada and pushed Great Britain and Australia back. With 200m left to row Germany turned on the sprint. But Australia had already changed gears and were really moving. All crews got to 40 strokes per minute, the margins between Germany and Great Britain and Australia closed. Canada started to fade. Germany had pulled off their second win of the season and Australia strike silver in their first international outing as an eight.
Results: GER, AUS, GBR, CAN, POL, USA
World Cup Winner: Great Britain (18 points)
Maximilian Reinelt (GER) – Gold
“We had a great race, but we have got a lot more work to do before the World Championships. I love Lucerne, but it was so hot today, we really felt like we had been smacked down.”
Martin Sauer (GER) - Gold
“We are very happy, we were a bit under pressure being the race leaders. We’re going straight back into training for the World Championships, there may be some crew changes.”
Joshua Dunkley–Smith (AUS) – Silver
“Until the end of the race we fought and gave all we could. Last year Great Britain was in front of us. This year it’s the other way round. So that is good. We hope to stay in the same combination.”
Mohamed Sbihi (GBR) – Bronze
“It was a good race today, especially given how hot it is at the moment. However, after having trained all winter it’s quite nice to race under the sun! We’ve slowly been putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and are forming a great team. Now all we have to do is put some miles on the clock and we’ll be ready for the World Rowing Championships! It’s been an honour and a privilege to row for Britain, and one which I’ve enjoyed massively.”
Tom Wilkinson (GBR) – Bronze
“Today was very hot, but the last-minute changes that we implemented yesterday paid off, so we kept them again today. There’s still some work to be done before New Zealand, but I’m optimistic about our chances.”