Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Semifinals

The reigning under-23 World Champion, Marieke Keijser of the Netherlands lined up in Semifinal One. She was up against last year’s silver medallist, Nicole Van Wyk of South Africa. Coming through from the heats it looked like Keijser would have the edge. She set a new under-23 World Best Time earlier in the week. Keijser and Van Wyk moved away together before Keijser took a small edge and squeezed into the lead. Going through the middle of the race both Annie Svensson of Sweden and New Zealand’s Courtney Rennie were in striking distance of Van Wyk. Coming into the third 500 Rennie pulled level with Van Wyk as Keijser continued to lead stroking a rather comfortable 32 stroke rate.

Then Japan came storming through to challenge for a qualifying spot. Svensson took her rating to the high 30s, Rennie held on at 33 with Van Wyk outrating Rennie. Van Wyk had held the second spot with Svensson grabbing the remaining qualifying spot.

Germany’s Sophia Krause had an absolute flying start in Semifinal Two. Krause came third last year in the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls and has successfully transferred into the single and in the heats she finished second to under-23 World Champion, Keijser. Italy’s Clara Guerra and France’s Claire Bove followed in a tight battle for second. Guerra is the junior World Champion, while Bove raced in the double last year as a junior. Guerra then put the squeeze on and overtook Krause who also got swallowed up by Bove in the closing strokes of the race.

Qualifiers: NED, RSA, SWE, ITA, FRA, GER

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Semifinals

Semifinal One turned into a South American showdown with Mexico’s Alexis Lopez Garcia and Uncas Batista of Brazil tusseling it out at the head of the field.  Lopez is the bronze medallist from last year, but Batista set a new under-23 World Best Time yesterday in the quarterfinals. But it was Tunisia’s Mohamed Taieb who had the fastest start. Then Lopez took over in the lead with Batista moving with him. In the final sprint Lopez went to 36 to make sure he was in front. Then there must have been a mutual decision between these two scullers as they both took off the pace in the closing 20m. They will meet again in the final tomorrow.

Semifinal Two opened with Lorenzo Galano of Italy in front. Galano won silver last year in the under-23 lightweight men’s double sculls and he got the second fastest time in yesterday’s quarterfinals. Then Jan Cincibuch of the Czech Republic picked up the pace and not only got his nose in front, Cincibuch managed to push away from Galano. It was now Ninos Nikolaidis of Greece’s turn to pick up the pace and he overtook Galano. Cincibuch saw Nikolaidis coming and reacted back. It was a full on sprint to the line as Slovakia had joined in the fight for the qualifying spots. Cincibuch got to the line first, Galano was second and Nikolaidis third. Slovakia missed out by just 0.43 of a second.

Qualifiers: MEX, BRA, TUN, CZE, ITA, GRE

Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Semifinals

France’s identical twins, Thibaud and Guillaume Turlan set a new under-23 World Best Time earlier in the week and they must have been the crew to beat in Semifinal One. But they were up against the 2016 under-23 World Champions, Viktor Pivac and Martin Mackovic of Serbia. The Turlan’s took the lead at the start with Pivac and Mackovic in hot pursuit. These two crews then moved clean away from the rest of the field with Turlan holding the advantage. Then in the third 500 South Africa’s Luc Daffarn and Sandro Torrente did a huge piece and came up to challenge Serbia. The Turlan’s went to 36 with Serbia at 42 and South Africa at 36 in the final sprint. These became the three qualifying boats with Serbia and South Africa recording the same finishing times.

Semifinal Two had Romania’s Mihaita-Vasile Tiganescu and Cosmin Pascari in the lead at the start. Romania finished second in their heat to the French two days ago and they raced to fourth at the senior World Rowing Cup earlier this month. Romania got away quickly with Alexander Richards and Liam Corrigan of the United States pacing them through the middle of the race. Then Romania managed to break away with Great Britain coming up to challenge the Americans. In a flying finish the US hit a 39 stroke rate with the British on 37 and Romania at 36. Romania had won and recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

Qualifiers: FRA, SRB, RSA, ROU, USA, GBR

Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Semifinals

Damage to the Japanese boat in launching for Semifinal One meant that this race was delaying until the end of this morning’s racing. The race got underway with Belarus taking the lead. Belarus’s Tatsiana Klimovich and Krystina Staraselets had recorded the fastest qualifying time in the heats and they are the 2016 silver medallists. Greece and New Zealand followed closely in second and third respectively. Klimovich and Staraselets have been together for three seasons and they were showing this advantage today as they continued to lead. Greece’s Anneta Kyridou and Dimitra-Sofia Tsamopoulous now got an edge over New Zealand and closed on Belarus. In the sprint to the line Norway came storming through. New Zealand’s Nicola Baker and Ella Toa went to 39 to hold them off. Belarus had won.

Semifinal Two got away with Germany’s Laura Kampmann and Melanie Goeldner moving the quickest. Germany came through to this race through the repechage with Italy the fastest qualifiers from the heats. Italy’s Valentina Iseppi and Stefania Gobbi then got in front. Gobbi raced at the senior World Rowing Cup earlier this month finishing seventh with another partner. Then the United States crew of Elizabeth Sharis and Cicely Madden picked up the pace and caught up to Italy with Croatia following in third. Iseppi and Gobbi reacted to the American push and came into the final 500m with a one boat length lead. Sharis and Madden came back rating 35 in the final sprint. Croatia was failing and rating high but being overtaken by Hungary’s Vivien Preil and Kitti Horvath. Italy held on to first, the US took second and Hungary was third.

Qualifiers: ITA, USA, HUN, BLR, GRE, NZL

Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Semifinals

In Semifinal One, Great Britain had the fastest qualifying time of these boats coming through from the heats and, along with Belgium, they did not have to race the repechage. Indonesia (11th in 2016) was the first to show before Sebastian Devereux and Samuel Meijer of Great Britain took over in the lead with Belgium’s Pierre De Loof and Ruben Claeys following closely. This led Croatia and Italy to have a close tussle for third with Indonesia still on the pace. The British came home first with Belgium and Croatia getting enough of an edge that they did not need to push in the closing 30m.

Semifinal Two featured Lithuania who set a new under-23 World Best Time in the heats two days ago. Lithuania’s Dovydas Nemeravicius and Armandas Kelmelis recorded the fastest time of the heats and they were the crew to beat in this race. At the start France’s Bastien Quiqueret and Maxime Ducret moved away the quickest with Lithuania following closely. By the middle of the race Nemeravicius and Kelmelis had the lead with the Dutch trying to move up on the French.  

Ducret and Quiqueret then moved up on Lithuania and in the final sprint they had drawn level. These two boats matched each other through the last 500m rating 35. France looked tidier but the Lithuanian’s got to the line first and had recorded the fastest qualifying time. The Netherlands crew of Luuk Adema and Melvin Twellaar got the third and final qualifying spot.

Qualifiers: GBR, BEL, CRO, LTU, FRA, NED

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Semifinals

Italy was the first to show in Semifinal One. They had won their heat two days ago, but today Allegra Francalacci and Federica Cesarini of Italy were up against the fast Spanish crew of Maria Lao Sanchez and Estel Boix. Going into the body of the race Francalacci and Cesarini not only remained in the lead, but they had broken away from the pack. This left Spain and Greece to go neck-and-neck for the second place. Greece’s Thomais Emmanouilidou and Maria Pergouli got a small edge over Spain with these three countries seemingly under no threat for the qualifying spots. Italy remained at 32 strokes per minute to finish with clear water.

Romania’s Ioneia-Livia Lehaci and Gianina-Elena Beleaga had the fastest qualifying time from the heats and they raced in Semifinal Two at the front of the field. Canada’s Larissa Werbicki and Jennifer Casson followed closely in second. Then Lehaci and Beleaga started to stride away turning this race into a bit of a procession. Germany’s Kathrin Morbe and Caroline Meyer slotted into third and stayed well in touch with Canada. No other boat looked like they could challenge for a qualifying spot. Germany went to 37 in the final sprint. Canada was at 33 and had a bit of a wobble in the last 30m, but still managed to hold on to second.

Qualifiers: ITA, GRE, ESP, ROU, CAN, GER

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Semifinals

In Semifinal One, Italy had the fastest qualifying spot and along with Portugal, they were the only crews that did not go through a repechage. After an early lead by Germany, Denmark (Christian Hagemann and Alexander Modest) took over in the lead with Italy’s Antonio Vicino and Gabriel Soares moving into second. Denmark was at 40 strokes per minute and Italy as at 38 as they led this fleet through the third 500.

Germany was in third coming into the final sprint with Chile putting them under pressure. This pressure caused both crews to move up on Italy. Italy went to 43. Denmark won using 41 strokes per minute. Germany held off Chile.

Spain was in the lead of Semifinal Two. Spain’s Jordi Rodriguez and Rodrigo Conde Romero had come to this semifinal from the repechage and they were still in front going through the middle of the race. Canada was in second and Great Britain was third with South Africa in striking distance of a qualifying spot. Canada’s Patrick Keane and Aaron Lattimer then got their nose ahead of Spain as these boats came through to the final sprint. The power came on the ratings began to rise. Canada was pushing home at 38, Spain was also at 38 and South Africa, at 37, was flying past Great Britain to grab the final qualifying position.

Qualifiers: DEN, ITA, GER, CAN, ESP, RSA

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Semifinals

New Zealand won their heat two days ago and they were at the head of the field in Semifinal One. Using a high rating 39-40 through the body of the race, New Zealand was able to pull through to an open water lead. Behind them Italy and Poland was neck-and-neck with no other boat looking close enough to challenge. Then Poland overtook Italy, then Italy overtook Poland. But neither boat could catch New Zealand, the 2016 silver medallists. At the line New Zealand had clocked a very fast  5:41. Poland had taken second and Canada third.

Russia was the fastest boat from the heats and they raced in Semifinal Two. But it was Great Britain who had a small lead at the start of the race. Russia and Hungary followed very closely. Then Russia’s crew of Potapkin, Vyazovkin, Pimenov and Sorin picked up the pace and pushed into the lead. Once there they managed to get a small edge over Great Britain as these two boats led the race home. There was still more water to come and Hungary tried their best to close on the two leaders. It was too little too late, but Hungary had still qualified.

Qualifiers: NZL, POL, CAN, RUS, GBR, HUN

Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Semifinals

South Africa’s Kyle Schoonbee won his quarterfinal yesterday and he raced today in the middle lane of Semifinal One. At the start it was Marian-Florian Enache of Romania who had the lead. Enache also won his quarterfinal but with a time slower that Schoonbee’s. Enache now moved away to an open water lead with Schoonbee in second and Australia’s Caleb Antill pacing the South African in third. Schoonbee then really let loose and coming through the third 500 he piled on the pace and overtook Enache. With three scullers now ahead of the rest of the field they must have made a pact not to sprint. Antill got ahead of an unconcerned Enache as these three scullers earned a spot in the final.

Poland’s 2016 silver medallist, Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk had the fastest start in Semifinal Two before Canada’s Trevor Jones pushed into the lead. Jones finished second to Schoonbee in yesterday’s quarterfinals and he was looking on fire today. Once out in front Jones pushed away from the rest of the field with Poland now feeling the pressure from Bulgaria’s Boris Yotov. Wegrzycki-Szymczyk looked like he was just holding on as Yotov gave it his all coming into the line. Local hero Yotov had secured a spot in the final. Jones was first, Wegrzycki-Szymczyk was second and Yotov third.

Qualifiers: RSA, AUS, ROU, CAN, POL, BUL 

Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) – Semifinals

France and Norway both won their heats earlier in the week to give them a direct path to today’s semifinal and at the start it was France’s Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino in the lead of Semifinal One. Emily Kallfelz of the United States followed in second with Thea Helseth of Norway in third. This order remained the same through the middle of the race. Then Kallfelz attacked in the third 500 and tried to overtake Ravera-Scaramozzino. The French sculler and Olympian was ready. Both Ravera-Scaramozzino and Kallfelz rated 32 in the close of the race. But a real sprint was not needed.

Semifinal Two opened with Pascale Walker of Switzerland in the lead. Walker finished ninth in this boat class last year and she not only won her heat earlier in the week, but she also recorded the fastest qualifying time. Sweden’s Lovisa Claesson followed closely in second with Juliane Faralisch of Germany following very closely. Claesson, who was second last year in the single, then got ahead of Walker. But Walker wasn’t giving up and she held on to Claesson and challenged back. These two boats went neck-and-neck through the middle of the race and they were still matching strokes coming into the final sprint. This tussle had not got the better of Faralisch who was right with them. Then Russia’s Ekaterina Pitirimova went to 39 to try and get into a qualifying spot. It was too little too late. The qualifiers had been decided.

Qualifiers: FRA, USA, NOR, SUI, SWE, GER