Over the next few weeks World Rowing reviews the year and looks towards more to come in 2019.

A lot has changed in the men’s and women’s pair in recent years. In the years leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics it was almost a sure bet who the winner would be. The iconic Kiwi Pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond dominated the men’s side.  The formidable force of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning from Great Britain ruled the women’s pair. They were untouchable. But since their retirement in 2016, the categories have opened up and allowed for brilliant new competition.

Medal ceremony, women's pair, NZL, CAN, ESP, 2018 World Rowing Championships © Detlev Seyb

 

Women’s Pair

Best performance:  This has to go hands down to the World Champions, Hillary Janssens and Caileigh Filmer from Canada. They have both individually been on the international scene for several years. Janssens was part of the 2017 Canadian eight that won silver at the World Championships. She also won an under-23 title in the women’s pair back in 2016. Filmer worked her way up through the system, competing twice at the junior championships and twice at the under-23 level. The pair came together in 2018 and kicked it off with a bang, winning gold at the first World Rowing Cup. Their 2018 campaign resulted in unseating the reigning World Champions from New Zealand.

Quote of the Year: “It just felt really close the whole way with the New Zealand boat. It was great to race them and we can see why they’re the World Best Time holders and World Champions. It’ll be fun to continue racing them and see where the season takes us.” Hillary Janssens (s), Canada, silver, World Rowing Cup III, Lucerne, Switzerland

That oh-so-close finish: Going neck-and-neck for 2000m the 2017 World Champions, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand crossed the line just 0.43 of a second ahead of Filmer and Janssens. This battle saw New Zealand and Canada move ten seconds ahead of the United States in third.

Biggest Surprise: Aina Cid and Anna Boada Peiro of Spain. They took bronze at the World Championships and also medalled at World Rowing Cup I. Maybe not a complete surprise as they have been climbing the ranks in recent years with an A-final finish at the Rio Olympics. Spain’s rising stars.  

Must watch:  The women’s pair A-final at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne: https://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#AXJTGJ68AR

Martin Sinkovic (b), Valent Sinkovic (s), Croatia, gold, Men's Pair, 2018 World Rowing Cup I, Belgrade, Serbia © FISA Igor Meijer

 

Men’s pair

Best performance: It’s not always the World Championship race that is the best performance.  The tipping point this season was the European Rowing Championships. Martin and Valent Sinkovic from Croatia struggled with injury and after winning the first World Rowing Cup, they did not manage to top the podium at the second or third. Their race at the European Championships, beating the French and the Romanians by just a second, solidified their confidence going into the World Championships where they became World Champions for the first time in this boat class.

Notable Outcome: The Sinkovic brothers are now World Champions in three boat classes – men’s quadruple sculls, men’s double sculls and men’s pair.

Quote of the Year: “This feels like winning for the first time. The race felt perfect and at the 1000 meters I felt we could get the gold.” - Valent Sinkovic (s), Croatia, gold, World Rowing Cup I, Belgrade, Serbia

Biggest Surprise: The surprise performance this year has to be from the young Romanian pair. Ciprian Tudosa and Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc started the season with a fourth-place finish at the first World Rowing Cup. They turned it into bronze at the European Championships and then made it silver at the World Championships. Both of them came out of the Romanian men’s eight that finished 5th at the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

Must watch: The men’s pair A-final at the European Championships: https://www.eurovisionsports.tv/fisa/#AA71O3YNQ1