The year that was – the lightweight double sculls
Lightweight double sculls always promises exciting racing. Crews cannot have a size advantage, so they must find ways to have technical and slight physical advantages. This year’s racing was no exception. From photo finishes, to surprises, here is a look back at the lightweight men’s and women’s doubles.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls
Biggest Surprise: Romania. It was a turbulent season for the Romanians. They had a couple line-up changes, struggled with injury and found themselves knocked off the podium at the European Championships. But their all-star performance at the World Championships landed Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc and Gianina-Elena Beleaga the world title.
Best performance: The Netherlands. The Dutch duo of Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis were arguably the favourites for the World Championship title. After winning the first World Rowing Cup, taking silver at the second and grabbing gold at the European Championships, they looked set for the world title. But they fell just short and managed to hang on to bronze. Their 2018 season overall makes them the top performers.
Fun Fact: The fastest A-final race of the season was at the first World Rowing Cup, when the Netherlands finished in 6:49.27, less than two seconds outside of the World Best Time. Even with fast course in Plovdiv, the winning time for Romania was 6:50.71.
Quote of the Year: “It was a fierce race! I think we did lightweight rowing proud with having it so close and I think we made our team proud after having a not-so-good race on Friday. We look forward to continuing in the double and are very happy with this start with a gold medal.” - Ilse Paulis, Netherlands, Gold, World Rowing Cup I, Belgrade, Serbia.
Must watch: The A-final at the World Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria here.
Lightweight Men’s double sculls
Biggest Surprise: The O’Donovan brothers’ 3.89-second lead at the World Rowing Championships. The Irish always had the possibility to win the World Champs. They finished on top at the third World Rowing Cup and second at the European Championships. But in lightweight rowing, their 3.89-second lead in the final of the World Championships was extraordinary.
Best performance: Poland, Italy, Ireland, Norway and Belgium. These five crews were consistently on the podium, although they rarely had the same colour medal. The fierce competition in this category certainly makes it thrilling to watch. There was no singular standout performance this year. A tip of the hat to all these crews.
Fun fact: The average distance between first and third place this year was 2.99 seconds.
Quote of the Year: “Our race went really well as we just stuck to our plan, which was to go hard in the first half and really hold onto it for the finish.” Alexander Modest (s), Denmark, bronze, World Rowing Cup III, Lucerne, Switzerland
Must watch: The final at World Rowing Cup I – Belgrade, Serbia here.