The Netz Cup, an approved FISA event, is a 12.7km head race on the Kiel Canal in northern Germany and every year they invite a number of men’s eights to compete against the German men’s eight. This year included Olympic bronze medallists, the Netherlands as well as Olympic finallists Poland and the United States.

The German eight finished second at the Rio Olympic Games, while the United States and Poland finished fourth and fifth respectively at the Rio Olympics. This is the 16th year of the United States competing in the Cup. 

Germany clashed oars with the United States in the first minute of the race when both crew coxswains tried to take the favoured line on the Kiel Canal course. German coxswain Martin Sauer said after the race that no one was at fault. He said both boats were trying to keep their line and neither would move over.

This gave Poland and the Netherlands a chance to get in front.  Germany came back to overtake all of the crews, including the Netherlands who had been leading. They won by 30 seconds, in a time of 38:08.5. The United States finished third and Poland was fourth.

The water was flat with a slight cross wind along the long straight.

Race organiser Florian Berndt commented that this was the first time in the history of the event that all of the athletes competing in Rendsburg had been part of the Olympics. Germany and Poland both raced with their Olympic line-up while the United States used a combination of their sweep boats and the Netherlands substituted in some of their men’s four. The German crew had been back in training for a week leading up to this event after a post-Olympics time off.

The German men's eight after winning the 2016 SH Netz Cup. © Maren Darlien/


As part of the three-day festival of rowing, the crews also competed in a 500m indoor rowing competition where the crew times were averaged. Poland finished first with an average split of 1:20.5, Germany was second at 1:21.0, the Netherlands third with 1:21.7 and the United States fourth with 1:22.5.

There was also a 400m sprint on the water which saw the United States and Germany racing each other in the final. The sprint was won by Germany.

The Netz Cup was watched by 100,000 spectators with a television audience of 2.7 million on German ARD television.