Women’s Eight (W8+) – Heats

Two heats raced with the top boat only getting to go directly to Sunday’s final. These races opened with Heat One and the phenomenal United States eight. The US has dominated for a full 11 years and although this is a relatively young crew the expectations must have been pushing them on. Great Britain came out the quickest with New Zealand and the United States right on the pace. Then New Zealand pulled ahead of Great Britain with the United States taking chase. There was nothing between them as New Zealand and USA moved away from Great Britain. The sprint to the line saw New Zealand rate higher and hold the advantage. At 43, New Zealand outsprinted the US at 38. New Zealand goes directly to the final.

Romania dominated this boat class before the Americans took over. But starting last season, it looks like a resurgence is going on in Romanian women’s eights rowing. In Heat Two Romania took off in the lead over the powerful Canadians. Canada tried to stick with Romania and they moved with them through the middle of the race. The Netherlands was also very much on the pace. Then Romania did a huge third 500m push and broke away from Canada. At 38 then 39 coming into the final sprint, Romania continued to wind. Canada had no answer and were now having to keep an eye on the charging Netherlands. The order didn’t change and Romania go directly to the final with the fastest overall qualifying time.

Qualifiers: NZL, ROU

Men’s Eight (M8+) – Heats

Twelve countries lined up with a total of 108 athletes and coxswains. They were divided into two heats and the goal was to finish first for a direct path to the final. Italy was the first to show in Heat One and by the first 500m mark they had a handy margin. This pushed the Olympic Champions, Great Britain into second. Going through the middle of the race the Italians continued to move away from Great Britain with the British now having to keep an eye on three charging crews who were neck and neck – Russia, the Netherlands and Australia. With 200m left to row Italy still had a good lead and now Australia was coming after Great Britain. Rating 42, Australia was charging. But they’d left it too late. Italy had qualified and the British had held on to second.

The 2012 Olympic Champions, Germany came through the first 500m mark in first with the United States and Romania right on their pace in Heat Two. The United States has not raced internationally this season and are a relatively unknown factor. But with a tradition of good eights, the US is definitely a crew to watch. Germany had set a new World Best Time earlier this season and they continued to lead, but the US was unrelenting and there was only half a second in it going through the middle of the race. The sprint to the line saw Romania go to 43 with Germany at 39 and the US at 41. Germany looked smooth, together and still in front as they hit the line just a fraction ahead of the US. Germany had recorded the fastest qualifying time.

Qualifiers: ITA, GER