The juniors are off. World Rowing Junior Championships begin
Galve Lake in Trakai, Lithuania became the home of over 700 under-19 rowers as they got ready to compete in the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships. The conditions on the lake made for good rowing with nearly flat water and warm conditions. Earlier in the afternoon a rain storm had passed through cooling the day, but all was now calm.
Junior Men’s Double Sculls (JM2x) – Heats
This boat class had five heats lining up with the aim for these rowers to finish in a top four position. This would get them directly into the quarterfinals. In Heat One Azerbaijan opened with a very fast start before the Dutch crew got into the lead. Then Australia picked up the pace and were in front through the middle of the race. Cormac Kennedy-Leverett and Fergus Hamilton of Australia are at their first international race and they looked well prepared as they held a 36 stroke rate to stay in front. The Australians had recorded the fastest overall time.
Heat Two saw Belarus take a fast start. The Belarusians medalled earlier this season at the European Rowing Junior Championships and they were being challenged by Greece for the lead. Artsem Laputsin and Yauheni Zalaty of Belarus kept their boat in front. Coming into the final sprint Laputsin and Zalaty started to go crooked, but they looked to have enough of a lead that they could still remain in front. Belgium led the way in Heat Three. Marlon Colpaert and Tristan Vandenbussche of Belgium remained in the lead through the middle of the race. They had won silver at the European Rowing Junior Championships earlier this season and must have been favourites coming into this boat class. Ukraine, who raced last year in their country’s eight, followed in second with a big gap back to Austria in third. Belgium did not sprint the finish and crossed the line just ahead of a sprinting Ukraine.
Moldovia got away very quickly in Heat Four and led over France. Alexandru Masnic and Ivan Corsunov of Moldovia raced together at last year’s junior Championships in their country’s quad. They continued to stay in front of France through the middle of the race with Zimbabwe and Latvia challenging each other for third. Masnic and Corsunov rated 32 to stay in front. In the final sprint Bulgaria challenged to get into a qualifying spot. But fell short and will return for the repechage. In Heat Five the favourites must have been Jan Berend and Simon Schlott of Germany. They took gold earlier this season at the European Rowing Junior Championships and won silver last year at the junior championships in the quad. Berend and Schlott moved away to an open water lead over Serbia with Uzbekistan and Poland neck-and-neck. Serbia then broke away from the bunch and closed on Germany. Serbia went to 42 strokes per minute in the final sprint, but Germany did enough to hold them off.
Qualifiers: AUS, ITA, ESP, DEN, BLR, GRE, LTU, SVK, BEL, UKR, AUT, USA, MDA, FRA, ZIM, LAT, GER, SRB, POL, UZB
Junior Women’s Double Sculls (JW2x) – Heats
The top four in each heat would get to go directly to the quarterfinals. They were divided into five heats and in Heat One South Africa had the best pace. Caitlin Bentley and Jessica Schoonbee of South Africa was rating lower than the rest of the field but still managed to stay in front. Chile followed in second and Austria and the United States battled it out for third. Bentley and Schoonbee raced last year at the juniors in their country’s eight and they used this experience as they continued to hold a handy margin coming into the final sprint. South Africa did not sprint the finish dropping their stroke rate to 30. Meanwhile Chile went to 38 and Austria went to 40. Chile’s Yoselyn Carcamo Ponce and Magdalena Bravo Alvez finished first.
Germany had the fastest start in Heat Two, but they were soon overhauled by Great Britain who got into the lead and started to work their way to an open water lead. Ireland, Ukraine and Belarus had a tussle for third through the middle of the race before Ireland was able to break away into third. Great Britain’s Holly Duford and Zoe Adamson continued to lead, but in the final sprint the field closed on the British, especially Ukraine who hit 38 in their sprint to the line. Duford and Adamson had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall by a large margin.
Heat Three was led by Greece in the opening of the race. But then Japan took on Greece and they went neck-and-neck through the middle of the race and that moved these two boats away from the rest of the field. Then Ilse Feenstra and Femke van de Vliet of the Netherlands did a huge piece in the third 500 and moved ahead of the entire field. The duo rated just 30 to 31 in the first half of the race, but then picked it up to take the lead and remained there until the end.
Heat Four opened with Italy having a fast start and out in front. Behind them France, New Zealand and Norway moved together. Silvia Grosio and Giuila Mignemi of Italy remained in front through the middle of the race. This duo raced last year together in the women’s quad and they looked like they had rowed together for a long time. France now got into second with New Zealand in third. Italy now had a huge open water lead and rating 33 they did not have to sprint the finish.
Canada got away first in Heat Five. The duo of Grace Vandenbroek and Kieanna Stephens are some of the tallest athletes here measuring 185cm and 190cm. Canada remained out in front with Australia comfortably in second and Denmark and Sweden battling it out for third. With Canada still out in front Sweden, including 154cm tall Annie Nyman, then moved ahead of Denmark. The Danes fought back and got back into third. Australia remained in second.
Qualifiers: CHI, RSA, USA, AUT, GBR, GER, IRL, UKR, NED, GRE, JPN, LTU, ITA, FRA, NZL, NOR, CAN, AUS, DEN, SWE
Junior Men’s Single Sculls (JM1x) – Heats
This boat class had received the most entries of the regatta with 37 nations lining up. They were divided into eight heats with the top two boats in each heat going directly to the quarterfinals. All others would have to race in the repechage. It was tight at the start of Heat One with Mmbudzeni Masutha of South Africa in the lead followed by Germany’s Moritz Wolff. Then Clark Dean of the United States took over in the lead. Dean, Wolff and Masutha moved together at the front of the field before Masutha dropped off the pace. In the final sprint Masutha, at 36, tried to get back into a qualifying spot. Wolff and Dean reacted back and also upped their rating. Masutha had missed out.
Uzbekistan was in front in Heat Two at the start before Fabian Baranski of Poland took over in the lead. Jasurbek Mavlanov of Uzbekistan fought back and the two went neck-and-neck together through the middle of the race, both rating 32. These two scullers moved clean away from the rest of the field. Baranski now earned a slight margin. Mavlanov held on and these two boats qualified for the quarterfinals. Heat Three had Norway’s Jonas Juel out in front with a very fast starting pace. Benjamin de Catelle of Belgium then pushed into the lead and using 30 strokes per minute, de Catelle remained there. Denmark then tried to get into a qualifying spot and pushed his rating up. It worked as Bastian Secher of Denmark got into second ahead of Norway. Then Secher got ahead of de Catelle who had decided not to sprint.
It was a great start for Russia’s Aleksandr Matveev in Heat Four. Matveev had the lead at the start with Moldova following closely. Matveev remained comfortably in the lead as New Zealand moved up on Moldova. Then in the final sprint Bradley Leydon of New Zealand went to a 36 stroke rate and got in front. Bulat of Moldova joined the sprint and so did Matveev who was at 38 strokes per minute. Matveev got the lead back and qualified along with Leydon.
Sri Lanka was late to the start for Heat Five which delayed the race slightly. They got under way with Slovenia’s Filip-Matej Pfeifer out in front. Croatia’s Karlo Habuda was the closest challenger in second and these two scullers moved clean away from the rest of the field. Both Pfeifer and Habuda are at their first international race and they moved together through the middle of the race. Pfeifer went to 35 in the last 250m but Habuda now had the lead and was at a 30 stroke rate and remaining in front. These two scullers are the qualifiers. Portugal’s Tiago Figueiredo Silva was dominating Heat Six. Figueiredo went through the middle of the race way out of front with Filip Zima of the Czech Republic slotting into second but being challenged by Latvia. Zima managed to hold off Latvia and earn the second qualifying spot. Figueriredo in the lead had recorded the fastest qualifying time.
All scullers left the blocks together in Heat Seven. Then Turkey’s Naim Talha Gunes managed to get a slight margin in the lead. Now Switzerland and Serbia were neck-and-neck through the middle of the race. Then Jan Schaeuble of Switzerland pushed into the lead leaving Gunes to be challenged by Serbia. Gunes came back and rating 39 in the final sprint took the lead back. At 40 strokes per minute Gunes crossed the line first. Heat Eight had Belarus’s Kiryl Tsikhanovich in the lead. Azerbaijan’s Javidan Shirinov doing his best to stay ahead of Hideo Toyama of Japan. Azerbaijan and Japan remained locked together through the middle of the race as Tsikhanovich remained in front. Then Shirinov ran out of steam giving Toyama the qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: USA, GER, POL, UZB, DEN, BEL, RUS, NZL, CRO, SLO, POR, CZE, TUR, SUI, BLR, JPN
Junior Women’s Single Sculls (JW1x) – Heats
This boat class had five heats with the goal of these scullers to be in a top four position for a direct path to the quarterfinals. In Heat One Georgia shot out at a 52 stroke rate, but it was Austria who had gotten into the lead. Then Esther Briz Zamorano of Spain got into the lead. Behind Briz, Austria and Ukraine were the closest to the leader’s pace. Briz then moved clean away from the rest of the field with Johanna Kristof of Austria settling for second. The race was now a procession with Morocco overtaking Ukraine to earn a qualifying spot. Briz rated 27 strokes per minute in the final sprint as she was under no pressure.
Heat Two had Estonia’s Greta Jaanson in the lead. Jaanson is the daughter of Estonia’s most medalled Olympic rower, Jueri Jaanson. She remained in front through to the middle of the race when the Netherlands began to push into the lead. Isabel van Opzeeland of the Netherlands came into the final sprint ahead of Jaanson with Belgium now challenging Jaanson. Jaanson took her stroke rate up with van Opzeeland doing the same to stay in front. Germany was the first to show in Heat Three. Lisa Gutfleisch of Germany remained just ahead of Megan Hancock of South Africa and these two scullers moved away from the rest of the field. Hancock then got the better of Gutfleisch, but only just as these two scullers raced to a wider open water lead. Hancock felt happy to rate 28 in the close of the race to stay in front.
On paper Margaux Baileul of France had the best record. She finished fourth in this boat class last year and won silver at this year’s European Rowing Junior Championships. Baileul raced in the lead of Heat Four. Behind Baileul was Sweden’s Alice Ekros and Mexico’s Mildred Mercado Palacios. Baileul then moved to a small open water lead with Ekros holding on to second. Baileul did not need to sprint at the end although Mercado did a burst at the end to catch up to Ekros. Heat Five was a very tight field through the first 500m with China and Croatia chopping and changing at the head of the field. Peixin Zhang of China was neck-and-neck with Aria Cvitanovic of Croatia. Zhang had the lower stroke rate but was looking to have the edge. Cvitanovic then let Zhang get away and move to an open water lead. Cvitanovic then took her stroke rate up in the final sprint and she closed on Zhang using a 37 stroke rate sprint. But Zhang was in control and remained in the lead.
Qualifiers: ESP, AUT, MAR, UKR, NED, EST, BEL, SUI, RSA, GER, USA, LTU, FRA, SWE, MEX, POR, CHN, CRO, ZIM, UZB