Tight semifinals for under-23 rowers

27/07/2013 - 10:16:00

Knock-out racing at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships was the theme of the morning’s racing in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. In absolute calm and hot conditions, the rowers racing in today’s semifinals gave it their all to be in a top three position to get to go to the A-finals.

Knock-out racing at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships was the theme of the morning’s racing in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. In absolute calm and hot conditions, the rowers racing in today’s semifinals gave it their all to be in a top three position to get to go to the A-finals.

Often races saw one dominant boat with three crews giving it their all to get into the two remaining qualifying spots. This was particularly evident in the lightweight men’s single sculls when reigning under-23 champion, Spyridon Giannaros of Greece got knocked out of the final by just 0.10 of a second.

Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (BLW1x) – Semifinals
When you have Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus in your semifinal (Semifinal One), you know it’s going to be a tough race. Kryvasheyenka is the reigning Under-23 World Champion in this event, but Japan’s Aymai Oishi gave it her all to challenge the talented sculler. Just as she had done in the heats, Oishi got off to a flying start and led the way through the first half of the race. Kryvasheyenka seemed unconcerned, following closely in second. Then Oishi began to tire and the Belarusian took over in the lead. As Kryvasheyenka established herself out in front, and with the finish line in view, Kryvasheyenka was able to drop her stroke rate to a pedestrian 27.DSC_7650

Meanwhile Eveline Peleman of Belgium was storming through the field. Peleman had recorded the fastest qualifying time in the heats and, at 35 strokes per minute, she was now moving fast enough to overtake Oishi. Coming to the line Oishi did just enough to hold on to the third qualifying spot with Kryvasheyenka taking first. Peleman, in second, celebrated her qualification as she crossed the finish line.

The fastest qualifying time came in Semifinal Two when Aikaterini Nikolaidou of Greece led the way down the 2,000m course from start to finish. Nikolaidou is in her first season as a lightweight rower and she opened it by winning at the European Rowing Championships. Behind Nikolaidou Austria’s Anna Berger and Denise Walsh of Ireland went head to head for the second spot.

With the encouragement of the mainly-Austrian local crowd, Berger was having a great row and relentlessly stuck to Walsh. In the final sprint Nikolaidou kept the pressure on rating 33 while Ireland and Austria followed at a similar stroke rate. Berger, with the help of the crowd, managed to squeeze ahead of Walsh but still remained a distance behind Nikolaidou. These are the three qualifying crews.
Finalists: BLR, BEL, JPN, GRE, AUT, IRL

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Semifinals
Semifinal One opened with a very fast start by Zak Lee-Green of Great Britain. These fast first strokes gave Lee-Green the lead, but not for long. Last year’s senior World Championship medalist, Andrew Campbell of the United States, who had come out of the starting blocks at a rather sedate 38 stroke rate, then pushed into the lead. The powerful Campbell then left the rest of the field behind. Meanwhile Lee-Green found himself moving in a virtual line with the other five crews and going through the middle of the race he had dropped back into fourth with Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan now in second.

Lee-Green, however, had more to give. In third-500 burst of power the Brit pushed back into third and tried to catch up with O’Donovan. O’Donovan was ready. Rating 36 O’Donovan remained in second. Campbell, O’Donovan and Lee-Green had qualified for the final.

DSC_7722 The fastest qualifier from yesterday’s quarterfinals, Franciscus Goutier of the Netherlands lined up in Semifinal Two. Goutier was fourth in this event a year ago and this is his first international regatta of the 2013 season. Today 2012 under-23 champion, Spyridon Giannaros of Greece had the fastest start and the lead. But by the middle of the race Goutier had got into the lead. Giannaros tried to hold on with Enes Kusku of Turkey and Adam Ling of New Zealand both very much on the pace.

As the final sprint came into view Goutier still had the lead with barely a canvas separating Ling, Kusku and Giannaros. Behind Goutier the battle for the remaining two qualifying spots was all on. Ling hit a stroke rate of 43, while Giannaros was at 35. The higher rating Ling had done it with Kusku sneaking ahead of Giannaros to push the World Champion out of the final. Goutier’s time of 7:06 was the fastest qualifying time.
Finalists: USA, IRL, GBR, NED, NZL, TUR

Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Semifinals
Coming through from the heats Australia and South Africa looked to be the fastest crews. South Africa’s David Hunt and Vincent Breet finished second in this event last year and they featured in Semifinal One. Showing their racing pedigree Hunt and Breet broke away right from the start and didn’t look back. But Serbia’s Milos Vasic and Radoje Deric were not going to make it easy for the South Africans. Serbia had won their heat two days ago and by the middle of the race they were just a canvas down on Hunt and Breet._Q7T7739

As Vasic and Deric appeared to run out of steam, Greece’s Konstantinos Christomanos and Alexandros Dafnis began to move up. With Hunt and Breet still easily in front Vasic and Deric were using their last remaining energy to hold on. At the line Hunt and Breet were comfortably in first, the Greeks had grabbed second and Serbia held on to third with Hungary, despite a flying finish, just missing out on qualification.

Angus Moore and Alexander Hill of Australia recorded the fastest qualifying time in Semifinal Two without really being pushed. The Australians produced a solid start and then worked their way away from the rest of the field using long, strong strokes. This moved them clean away from the rest of the field and it soon looked as though no one would be able to catch Moore and Hill.

Meanwhile, The Netherlands, Azerbaijan and Germany were having to race like this was a final. As the final sprint came into view less than a second separated these three crews who were vying for the two remaining qualifying spots. Germany’s Daniel Walter and Finn Knueppel took their stroke rate to 38. The Netherlands’ Jasper Tissen and Reinier Spillenaar Bilgen hit 37 strokes per minute and Igor Lucic and Luka Dordevic of Azerbaijan were on 40 stroke per minute. The slightly lower rating Dutch had missed out by just 0.13 of a second. Australia, Germany and Azerbaijan had made the final.
Finalists: RSA, GRE, SRB, AUS, GER, AZE

Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Semifinals

In the last couple of years Lithuania has moved up in the world of rowing and at last year’s under-23 championships on their home course of Trakai their men’s double finished fifth in this event. Today they raced at DSC_7888the head of the field in Semifinal One. Dominykas Jancionis and Aurimas Adomavicius of Lithuania got out very quickly with Gergely Papp and Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar of Hungary chasing hard. Going through the middle of the race Lithuania had a small leading margin with the real battle going on for second between Denmark, Romania, Spain and Hungary. Lithuania knew to keep the power on despite being in the lead. They had been beaten in the heats by Spain and they must have been thinking that the race was not over until the final beep.  

In the final sprint Denmark had run out of steam leaving Romania, Spain and Hungary to fight it out for the two spots behind Lithuania. Spain and Hungary had the highest stroke rate and the best finish. Romania just didn’t quite have the same finishing push. Lithuania, Hungary and Spain’s Pau Franquet Monfort and Ruben Padilla Camara had qualified for the final.

Last year at the World Rowing Junior Championships Michal Plocek of the Czech Republic won the men’s single sculls. Today, teamed up with Jan Andrle, he raced as an under-23 rower. Plocek and Andrle came out of Semifinal Two at the start just behind Germany’s Setphan Riemekasten and Timo Piontek. Riemakasten raced in this event last year where he finished second. Germany and the Czech Republic moved together through the first half of the race leaving the rest of the field in their wake.

With three-quarters of the race rowed Germany still had a slight edge over Plocek and Andrle, but there was very little in it. Meanwhile Latvia and Bulgaria were charging for the line to try to earn the remaining qualifying spot. At the line Plocek and Andrle had got the better of Riemekasten and Piontek who looked content to just take second, with Bulgaria’s Kristian Vasilev and Romeo Angelov just holding off Latvia by 0.35 of a second to finish third.
Finalists: LTU, HUN, ESP, CZE, GER, BUL

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Semifinals
In the heats two days ago Australia and Great Britain recorded the fastest times. Today they met for the first time in Semifinal One and it was Great Britain’s Eleanor Piggott and Brianna Stubbs who jumped out to take an early lead. Chasing the British hard were Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol of Switzerland. Piggott and Stubbs then did a big push and moved clean away from Merz and Rol. Australia’s Georgia Miansarow and Georgia Nesbitt were now putting Switzerland’s position under threat.

With Great Britain now clearly in the lead, Australia and Switzerland went head to head into the final sprint. The Australians, using a 38 stroke rate and still managing to keep their length, had the better sprint. Not only did they close the gap on Great Britain, but they also pulled into second. Switzerland qualified from third
At the start of Semifinal Two there was no predicting the finish. Poland took off at a cracking pace but were then overtaken by Sophie MacKenzie and Lisa Owen of New Zealand and Fabienne Knoke and Leonie Pieper of Germany. Germany won this event last year but with two different rowers and they had come through to this semifinal from a solid race in the heats.
MacKenzie and Owen remained in first through the middle part of the race but the Germans were giving them absolutely no leeway. In the final sprint New Zealand and Germany were practically on top of each other with Romania’s Ionela-Livia Lehaci and Andreea Asoltanei now burning down their lane.

At the line the Romanians had overtaken both Germany and New Zealand and grabbed first in a time was identical to Great Britain in the previous heat. These were the three qualifying boats.
Finalists: GBR, AUS, SUI, ROU, NZL, GER

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Semifinals
Following the heats two days ago Germany’s Moritz Moos and Jason Osborne had the fastest qualifying time going into Semifinal One. Last year, with another duo, Germany finished third and it looked as if they may be stepping up the ranks this year. Moos and Osborne, who has also rowed for Great Britain, jumped out to an early lead. The Italians (Leone Barbaro and Simone Molteni) chased hard with Spain’s Jaime de Haz and Ander Zabala Artetxe also right on the pace.

Going through the middle of the race Moos and Osborne had worked their way to a small, but handy margin over Italy and Spain who were pacing each other stroke for stroke. Germany were then able to push away with Italy earning a slight edge over Spain.

But the race was far from over. Coming through from an eight second deficit, Poland were giving it their all in the final sprint. Moos and Osborne hung on. Barbaro and Molteni went to 41 strokes per minute to hold on to second and Spain also upped their stroke rate in desperation to get a qualifying spot. At the line Germany, Italy and Spain had pulled it off. Full credit to Poland; despite missing out, they had managed to get within half a second of qualifying.
The fastest qualifying time came in Semifinal Two when France’s Damien Piqueras and Pierre Houin got out in front and remained there. Piqueras and Houin had easily won their heat two days ago and they were looking fresh and ready today. The Hungarian’s, however, were not making it easy for the French. At the half-way point Daniel Matyasovszki and Bence Pozsar of Hungary were less than a second behind France with Denmark and the Netherlands also not far off the pace.

Four boats closely contended the final sprint. Who would miss out? In front, France rated 37 using aggressive catches to hold the lead. Hungary did just enough to remain in second with Bart Lukkes and Daan Klomp of the Netherlands getting the better of Denmark to take the third and final qualifying spot.
Finalists: GER, ITA, ESP, FRA, HUN, NED

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Semifinals
Winning their heat two days ago gave the Swiss crew of Roeoesli, Maillefer, Stahlberg and Delarze the confidence boost that they needed. Today they jumped out into the lead of Semifinal One and led from start to finish. Racing a very even-paced race, the Swiss kept their stroke rate high to hold the leading _Q7T7850margin.

This left the rest of the field to fight it out for the remaining two spots. It took until the third 500 for positions to be really sorted. Germany, with the talented Kai Fuhrmann and Ole Daberkow making up the stern pair, had managed to shake off the 2012 under-23 champions, Ukraine to take second. Ukraine held on to third to be the final qualifying crew. It is worth noting last year’s silver and bronze medallists, Italy and Australia missed out on qualifying after finishing fifth and fourth respectively.

New Zealand placed second to the Swiss two days ago in the heats putting them in Semifinal Two today. They left the starting blocks just behind fast-starters France and Great Britain. By the middle of the race Great Britain had pushed into the lead with France matching them stroke-for-stroke.

The final sprint saw three boats duking it out. New Zealand, rating 38, must have wanted the lead the most. Manson, Francis, Thomas and Morrison of New Zealand set the closing pace to finish in first. The British held on to second with France just a fraction behind Great Britain in third. In the British boat, Marcus Bowyer who had subbed in at the last minute had proved his worth.
Finalists: SUI, GER, UKR, NZL, GBR, FRA

Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Semifinals
Coming through from yesterday’s quarterfinals Petru Codau of Romania had proved that he was a force to be reckoned with. Codau is better known for crew boat rowing and last year he raced at the under-23s in the men’s eight. Today Codau had the lead in Semifinal One by the half-way point with the closest threats coming from Juan Carlos Cabrera of Mexico, Belgium’s Hannes Obreno and Benjamin Murphy of Canada.

Murphy then appeared to run out of steam leaving Cabrera and Obreno easily in the qualifying spots. Ukraine then did a big push to get in the top three, but then ran out of steam. This left Codau to take first, Obreno to do a huge 35 stroke rate sprint to take second and Cabrera to hold on to third.DSC_8278

The silver medallist from 2012, the statuesque Hubert Trzybinski of Germany raced at the head of Semifinal Two. But Rolandas Mascinskas of Lithuania was not making it easy for the German. Olympian Mascinskas has already got a silver medallist this season when he raced in the double at the European Rowing Championships. Also Francesco Gardaioli of Italy was very much on the pace. These three nations were unrelenting.  

At the line Trzybinski had finished first, Mascinskas was second and Cardaioli had taken third. Their times of 7:00, 7:01 and 7:02 were the three fastest qualifying times.
Finalists: ROU, BEL, MEX, GER, LTU, ITA

Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) – Semifinals
This is shaping up to be the year of Lisa Schmidla. The German single sculler race two days ago in the heats producing a scorching time and she lined up again today in Semifinal One. Schmidla raced at the senior level for Germany straight after taking gold in the single at the 2009 World Rowing Junior Championships. This season she has swapped in and out of their top women’s quad boat. Today Schmidla led her semifinal from start to finish leaving the rest of the field to fight it out for the remaining two qualifying spots.DSC_8335

At the line Schmidla’s time of 7:38 was the closest time of the morning’s racing to the under-23 World Best Time. Behind her Canada’s Carling Zeeman (third in 2012) raced a very solid race to take second. But the crowd really got going for third-placed Austrian sculler Lisa Farthofer. Farthofer is the under-23 World Champion from the double and despite spending much of the race at the back of the field, Farthofer took advantage of the home crowd support to pull through into second.

Semifinal Two was much less clear cut. Belgium’s Marine Lewuillon got out to an early lead with Olympic Champion from the quad, Nataliya Dovgodko of Ukraine following closely in second. As the field began to spread out going through the middle of the race, Latvia’s Elza Gulbe began to move up. Gulbe finished fifth in this event at last year’s under-23 championships and she came to these semifinals after finishing first in her heat two days ago.

By the third 500, Gulbe was in the lead with Dovgodko and Lewuillon battling it out for second. At the line Gulbe, rating 28, had remained in first. Dovgodko had pulled through into second and a very happy Lewuillon had qualified from third.
Finalists: GER, CAN, AUT, LAT, UKR, BEL