The year that was ... the four
The men’s and women’s fours have often seen a small group of countries dominate. The 2018 was no exception but there were still twists and turns among the top boats.
With the inclusion of the women’s four in the Olympic programme, the boat class has seen tremendous growth and increasing competition. Australia dominated the last few seasons, only to be toppled at the World Championships by a young crew from the United States.
In the men’s four, the Australians retained their winning streak, claiming the World Championship title for the second year in a row. We are anxiously waiting for the next season, but in the meantime, here is a look back.
Best performance: Australia. The Australians came up short at the World Championships, but looking across the season, they showed impressive consistency. Lucy Stephan, Katrina Werry, Sarah Hawe and Molly Goodman earned gold at the second and third World Rowing Cups and rowed a courageous race in the final at the World Championships to finish with silver.
Fun Fact: The World Best Time in the women’s four is 6:14.36. It was set by New Zealand at the 2014 World Rowing Championships, before the women’s four was an Olympic boat class.
Quote of the Year: “Our race was alright but it wasn’t the best. We always say we want our worst to be better than everyone’s best, so we managed to do that today.” Lucy Stephan, Australia, gold, World Rowing Cup II, Linz-Ottensheim, Austria
Biggest Surprise: The United States. The United States has been extremely strong in women’s sweep rowing historically. However, getting pushed off the podium in the women’s eight in 2017 seemed to shake things up. Their 2018 campaign saw several different line-ups in the women’s eight and women’s fours. After finishing in 3rd and 4th with their two women’s fours at the third World Rowing Cup, they went back to work and got it right, clinching gold at the World Championships with the crew of Madelein Wanamaker, Erin Boxberger, Molly Bruggeman and Erin Reelick.
Must watch: The A-final of the women’s four at the World Rowing Cup III – Lucerne, Switzerland
Best performance: Australia. The 2017 World Champions did it again. The Aussies cruised through the season, finishing on top of the podium at World Rowing Cups two and three. Spencer Turrin, Joshua Hicks, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill put the cherry on top by winning another World Championship title in Plovdiv and then went on to be named World Rowing Men's Crew of the Year.
Fun fact: The men’s four was first raced at the Olympics in 1904. Since then, there has only been ten countries winning gold (USA, GBR, GER, ITA, YUG, CAN, DEN, RDA, NZL, AUS). Great Britain has won gold the most – nine times.
Quote of the Year: “We tried everything we could to stay with the others. We are Italian and we row with our heart. In the final you have nothing to lose so you just empty the tank.” Bruno Rosetti, Italy, silver, Word Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Biggest Surprise: Italy. The 2017 silver medallists from Italy had a tough season. The crew was disbanded following their silver last year and the federation was not able to mount a comparably fast boat. That was until the World Rowing Championships. Italy had finished far from the medals throughout the season, but in Plovdiv Matteo Castaldo, Bruno Rosetti, Matteo Lodo and Marco Di Costanzo were just 0.16 of a second behind Australia to take silver.
Must watch: The A-final of the men’s four at the World Rowing Championships – Plovdiv, Bulgaria