An obvious tail wind breeze made for ripples on the rowing course and good times as rowers enjoyed a sunny, warm day that then cooled as the wind dropped. 

Para PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1M1x)- Heats

Three heats were formed out of the time trial with the top three in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals. In Heat One Paralympic Champion from Rio Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine was the highest stroke rater and with power to match. He kept his page very steady through the race. Following Polianskyi was Jaroslaw Kailing, 55, of Poland. Kailing finished eighth at last year’s World Rowing Championships. At the line Polianskyi had set a new World Best Time of 9:33.12 – six seconds faster than the former time set in 2017 by Australia’s Erik Horrie.

Alexey Chuvashev of Russia led the times in Heat Two. Chuvashev has been racing internationally since 2010. Last year he won bronze at the World Rowing Championships. A better second half by Fabrizio Caselli of Italy put him through to a faster time than Chuvashev. But the times were close with only two seconds separating the two scullers.

Great Britain’s Andrew Houghton got to leave the starting blocks first in Heat Three. Houghton took silver earlier this month at World Rowing Cup I. Houghton had a slightly faster starting time than Rene Pereira of Brazil but managed to pick up the pace to have a handy margin by the half way point. Houghton continued to build a larger margin and crossed the line in first. Pereira took second with a 34 stroke rate sprint to the line. Two French scullers finished 0.10 of a second apart with Julien Hardi having the better time.

Qualifiers: UKR, POL, AUT1, ITA, RUS, LTU, GBR, BRA, FRA2

Women’s Pair (W2-) – Heats

Sorted into three heats, each grouping had the goal of being in the top three for a direct path to the semifinals. In the first heat the World Champions, New Zealand made their 2018 season debut. Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand had a burner of a start which gave them a handy margin as they raced the clock to the finish line. At the half way point Gowler and Prendergast had a seven second advantage with Italy’s Patelli and Bertolasi following in second. Towards the end of the race, the water started to get rougher and, despite their fast first 1000m, Gowler and Prendergast were not able to break the World Best Time. But they did record the fastest qualifying time.

Heat Two saw Rowan McKellar and Harriet Taylor of Great Britain Two record the fastest time to the first 500m mark and they held the fastest pace through to the middle of the race. McKellar and Taylor raced in the women’s eight at the first World Cup earlier this month and now in the pair they looked good. Ukraine (Golub and Kontseva) had the second fastest time with the final sprint going to determine who would finish first. McKellar and Taylor had the fastest time.

Leaving the blocks first in Heat Three was Anastasia Merlot Chitty and Rebecca Girling of Great Britain One and they also scored the fastest time to the 500m mark and the half way point. Girling and Chitty finished fourth in this boat class at World Rowing Cup I earlier this month and they must have been the favourites of these five boats. Serbia was the second fastest through the first 1000m and they held this position with a 34 stroke rate sprint in the last section of the race.

Qualifiers: NZL, ITA1, ROU2, GBR2, UKR, ITA2, GBR1, SRB, CHN1

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Heats

There was enough boats to make up four heats and Heat One included the winner of World Rowing Cup I and Olympic Champion from the men’s double, Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia. They created a burning pace that saw them cross the finish line in a fast 6:17.58. This was just over a second outside of the World Cup Best Time. Only the first boat would get a direct path to the semifinals and it was Croatia.

Heat Two had the Czech Republic crew of Lukas Helesic and Jakub Podrazil get to the half way point with the fastest time. Helesic and Podrazil got silver at World Rowing Cup I at the start of June. Their finishing time was just two seconds slower than the Sinkovic’s from Heat One and no one else in the field was even close to them.

Fastest at the start of Heat Three was Ukraine One, but it was Great Britain Two of Matthew Rossiter and Oliver Cook that had the best time at the half way point. Ukraine seemed to slip back as the race went on with Rossiter and Cook crossing the line first. This is the first international race of the season for this duo who last raced at the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

Germany One had the fastest start of this Heat Four. But it was very close with France One of Valetin and Theophile Onfroy. The Onfroy twins had a much faster second half and that put them way out in front of Heat Four and gave them a direct path to the Saturday semifinals.

Qualifiers: CRO, CZE, GBR2, FRA1

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Heats

The Netherlands have had a crew reshuffle since World Rowing Cup I and Karolien Florijn and Roos de Jong lined up in Heat One of two heats. The goal here was to be first for a direct path to Sunday’s final. At the start Germany set a cracking pace and they crossed the middle of the race at the best speed. But the second half was owned by Florijn and de Jong who crossed the line in first.

Heat Two had the World Champions, Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe of New Zealand leading the time trial. This is their debut international race for 2018 and they made the best of it by crossing the line easily with the fastest time and also the fastest time overall – 6:48.72.

Qualifiers: NED, NZL

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Heats

This boat class had been divided into three heats with the top three boats in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinals on Saturday. The World Champion boat of John Storey and Christopher Harris of New Zealand was the first to get away in Heat One. But it was the third boat to leave, Italy One that had a really good start. By the 1000m mark though, Storey and Harris had got the speed lead. Italy One of Romano Battisti and Simone Venier held onto the New Zealanders pace, but Harris and Story had the faster time with Battisti and Venier coming in second.

Heat Two saw the Dutch forming a fast starting pace. But by the middle of the race Lars Hartig and Timo Piontek of Germany had taken the lead. Hartig has moved from lightweight to heavyweight rowing and looks to be doing well. Piontek and Hartig got the bronze medal earlier this month at World Rowing Cup I. Germany crossed the line with the fastest time with the Netherlands recording the next time.

Heat Three was a very evenly-matched four-boat race with Italy Two of Andrea Cattaneo and Emanuele Fiume having just a slightly faster pace. But Great Britain got to the half way point just a bow ball faster. Great Britain’s Angus Groom and Jack Beaumont finished second at the Belgrade World Rowing Cup in early June and they may have thought they would be favourites for this heat. Times were incredibly close at the 1500m mark and Italy was at a 39 stroke rate. Groom and Beaumont had recorded the fastest time overall and won the race. The other three crews were separated by just 0.12 of a second.

Qualifiers: NZL, ITA1, ARG, GER, NED, POL, GBR, ITA2, FRA

Women’s Four (W4-) – Heats

This boat class had two heats with the top boat only getting to go directly to Sunday’s final. In Heat One Great Britain had a steamer of a start and they still held the lead at the 1000m mark. This lead was four seconds over Germany. Great Britain finished fourth in this boat class at World Rowing Cup I earlier this month and their first 1000m indicated that they would be the winning boat. Germany remained in second at the 1500m mark. From a slow start that saw them leave with the slowest time, New Zealand came through for third. But only first qualified.

The Australian World Champions lined up as the first to leave in Heat Two and they held the fastest splints at every point of the race. Stephan, Popa, Hawe and Goodman of Australia had not only won their heat, they had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall, at this, their first international outing for 2018.

Qualifiers: GBR, AUS

Men’s Four (M4-) – Heats

There were enough boats for four heats in this time trial and in each heat the top three boats would get to go to the semifinals. In Heat One Germany had a fast start with Italy on their pace. At the 1000m mark it was very tight between the top four boats as only just over a second separated the times. But then Romania showed their style and at the 1500m mark Romania’s Tiganeescu, Pascari, Berariu and Hic had a small lead over Germany. Italy and Austria were still very much on the pace. At the line only one and a half seconds separated the top four boats with Romania, who stroked 41 at the end, recording the fastest time.

Belarus got away quickly in Heat Two and they still had the lead at the half way point. The Netherlands followed closely in second with Great Britain One very much on the pace as well. Belarus gained bronze at World Rowing Cup I with the Netherlands taking silver. Coming into the final 500m there was less than half a second between Belarus and the Netherlands. It came to a tie at the line with both boats recording 6:00.71. They would meet again in the semifinals on Saturday.

In Heat Three the World Champions, Australia were able to leave the blocks first. Not only did they leave first, but they also got away at the fastest pace. This is the first international race for Australia for 2018 and the crew of Joshua Hicks, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alexander Hill went up to 40 strokes per minute to get to the finish line first. Australia recorded the fastest qualifying time overall – a time of 5:54.81. Poland did a great 38 stroke rate sprint to overtake Great Britain’s time and come in second.

Qualifiers: ROU, GER, ITA, NED, BLR, GBR1, AUS, POL, GBR2

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Heats

This field was divided into three heats and the goal here was to be in a top three position for a direct path to tomorrow’s semifinals. Leaving the blocks first for Heat One was the World Champion, Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland. Gmelin raced at the World Rowing Cup in Belgrade earlier this month and came first, extending her winning streak into the 2018 season. Gmelin had the fastest start, but only just over Denmark’s 2012 Olympic medallist, Fie Udby Erichsen. Gmelin got a slight lead over Erichsen at the half way point with Ukraine in third. Gmelin just got better as the race continued and by the finish line she had a five second lead over Erichsen.

Home favourite, Magdalena Lobnig of Austria raced in Heat Two. Lobnig is the top Austrian rower at present and with the 2019 World Rowing Championships at Linz-Ottensheim, there are a lot of expectations on her shoulders. Lobnig did not disappoint today. She got away the fastest and still had the best pace at the half way point.

Victoria Thornley was the quickest at the start of Heat Three with Annekatrin Thiele of Germany right on the pace. Thiele is the Olympic Champion in the women’s quadruple sculls while Thornley medalled in the women’s double at Rio. Coming into the final 500m, Thornley was still a little ahead of Thiele and she recorded the fastest time of this heat. Thiele took third after Italy’s Kiri Tontodonati slipped into second.

Qualifiers: SUI, DEN, UKR, AUT1, NZL, AUS, GBR1, ITA, GER

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Heats

As the wind calmed down and the water flattened out, the six heats of the men’s single got going. The goal here was to be in a top four position to get to go to the quarterfinals. In Heat One Germany's Tim Ole Naske was moving his boat the quickest. Italy One of Simone Martini pulled into second by the middle of the race with Russia's Vladislav Ryabcev chasing hard. In the final sprint Naske remained in the lead.

Heat Two had Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba pulling out a great race. The Cuban led at the start with only Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen able to hold the pace. Australia’s Campbell Watts was also moving well. Watts comes to this event from the men’s eight which must be quite a change. Watts moved into second with just 500m left to row and then pulled out a huge sprint to get into first.

At the start of Heat Three, Robert Manson of New Zealand had the fastest starting time. Manson is the World Best Time holder in this boat class, earned in 2017. France’s Thibaut Verhoeven pulled into second but the speed of Manson moved him further into the lead. At the finish Manson had recorded 6:50 – the fastest overall qualifying time.

Heat Four featured the return to international racing by Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand. Drysdale took a year off after recording his Olympic win and he has been training hard with competition facing him locally by Robert Manson. Sweden’s Anders Backeus had the fastest start and managed to maintain a lead through the middle of the race. But then Drysdale showed his skill in the second half of the race and finished first.

Norway’s Olympic medallist from the double, Kjetil Borch got away very quickly in Heat Five. This gave him a faster time than Olympic silver medallist from the single, Damir Martin of Croatia. Coming through the 1500m mark Borch had a five second lead over Martin. Borch kept the pace on and crossed the line in a very quick 6:52. Harry Leask of Great Britain snuck through to take second with Martin in third.

Heat Six had four boats lining up so only the top three would go to the quarterfinals. It opened with Dzianis Mihal of Belarus in the lead. But there were two boats moving at a fast pace and in a challenging position of Mihal. Then Mihal broke away to a decent lead as Argentina’s Brian Rosso slotted into second. At the line Mihal had the fastest time with Germany’s new rowing sensation, Oliver Zeidler in second and Rosso in third.

Qualifiers: GER2, ITA1, RUS1, HUN1, AUS, CUB, DEN, BRA, NZL, FRA, CRO2, POL, NZL2, FIN, SUI, SWE, NOR, GBR, CRO1, AUT, BLR, GER1, ARG

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Heats

This boat class had three heats and the winner of World Rowing Cup I, the Netherlands left first to be part of Heat One. The goal here was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals.  This heat one was led at the start by Great Britain One which included Eleanor Piggott and a replacement for her usual partner, Fran Rawlins coming in for Emily Craig. The British still were the fastest at the half way point with Australia Two chasing hard. No one could catch Rawlins and Piggott, not even Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis of the Netherlands. Australia Two of Amy James and Alice Arch came through to take second.

Italy had the quickest start in Heat Two with Poland making up a close second. Then by the half way point Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle of New Zealand had moved into the lead with Italy and Poland battling it out for second. Poland’s Weronika Deresz and Katarzyna Welna went to a 39 stroke rate sprint and grabbed second. Kiddle and McBride had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

The current World Champions, Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc and Gianina-Elena Beleaga of Romania raced first in Heat Three. But they were not the fastest at the start. That went to China One of Fang Chen and Dandan Pan. By the 1000m mark Cozmiuc and Beleagu had moved into the lead with Chen and Pan holding on to second. Then Switzerland moved up and overtook China One and held that position til the end.

Qualifiers: GBR1, AUS2, NZL, POL, ROU, SUI

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Heats

This boat class had four heats with the breeze continuing to ease as Heat One came down the time trial course. The goal here was to be in first as that would give a direct path to Saturday’s semifinals. Leaving first were Olympic medallists, Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway. The Norwegians had the fastest start and were way out in the lead before the half way mark. Italy Two of Alfonso Scalzone and Gabriel Soares followed in second but it would take a big push to catch up to Brun and Strandli. A number of boats seemed to wind it down leaving the one spot to Norway.

Germany charged away in Heat Two with Poland very much holding their pace. By the 1000m mark Poland’s Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski had taken ownership of this race and once in front they went after China who had left 30 seconds before the Poles. After overtaking China, Kowalski and Jankowski kept the pace on and finished easily in first.

France took gold in this boat class at the Rio Olympics. Then Jeremie Azou announced his retirement after becoming the World Champion at last year’s World Rowing Championships. Now Azou’s partner Pierre Houin has a new partner in Thomas Baroukh and together this is their first international race. They got into the lead  of Heat Three and never looked back. Austria One tried to challenge, but they did not have the speed of the French. Houin and Baroukh finished in a quick time of 6:21.96.

Heat Four had Italy One of Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta moving the quickest. This is their first appearance internationally for 2018 after taking silver at last year’s World Rowing Championships. Belgium’s Brys and van Zandweghe were the only crew close enough to challenge the Italians. But Oppo and Ruta had too much speed and crossed the line in a time of 6:17.63 giving them the fastest qualifying time overall.

Qualifiers: NOR, POL, FRA1, ITA1

Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (LW1x) - Heats 

Three heats lined up in this boat class and the goal was to be in a top three position to make it directly to the semifinals. In Heat One Russia’s Anastasia Lebedeva got away very quickly. Lebedeva was the only sculler in this race that was in the A-final at World Rowing Cup I earlier this month. By the middle of the race Lebedeva had a nice lead over Sweden One of Emma Fredh who sat in second.

The United States One sculler of Emily Schmieg got to leave first from the starting blocks in Heat Two. Schmieg had the fastest start and by the middle of the race she had a handy leave over her fellow country rower, Christine Cavallo of United States Two. Cavallo held a 29 stroke rate pace and was holding on to second. Italy’s Clara Guerra had the better sprint and pulled into second leaving Cavallo in third.

Heat Three saw the return of Marie-Louise Draeger of Germany Two to the international scene. Draeger last raced at the Olympic Games in Rio and she’s been racing internationally for over two decades. At the start it was Joanna Dorociak of Poland who was the fastest and by the 1000m mark Doroiak had two seconds over Belarus’s Alena Furman in second. Doroaik crossed the line with the quickest time and also the fastest qualifying time overall – 7:39.

Qualifiers: RUS, SWE1, GER1, USA1, ITA, USA2, POL, BLR, GER2

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Heats

Three heats made up this boat class with the top three boats in each heat going directly to Saturday’s semifinals. Heat One saw two Swiss crews line up with Switzerland Two of Florin Rueedi having the fastest starting time with Switzerland One of Michael Schmid in second. By the middle of the race the margins remained tight between the entire field and Norway’s Ask Jari Tjoem had moved into second. In the final sprint the question was, could Tjoem catch Rueedi? The answer was no, Tjoem finished in second.

The second heat had Jonathan Rommelmann of Germany Two in the lead. He raced at World Rowing Cup I at the start of the month and finished first. Pulling through into second was China’s Zhiyuan Zhang with James Lassche of New Zealand chasing hard. Lassche raced at the Rio Olympics as a lightweight, then moved to New Zealand’s men’s eight for 2017 and he’s now back racing lightweight. Lassche then overtook Zhang as did Brazil’s Uncas Batista with Rommelmann remaining in first.

Germany One of Jason Osborne had the lead in Heat Three. Osborne took gold at the Belgrade World Rowing Cup at the start of this month and he still had the lead with 1500m rowed. Behind Osborne Italy’s Martino Goretti chased from second with Austria One of Paul Sieber in third. Osborne remained in the lead at the end and recorded the fastest qualifying time overall. Sieber pushed through into second and Goretti was in third.

Qualifiers: SUI2, NOR, SUI1, GER2, BRA, NZL, GER1, AUT1, ITA

Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Heats

Two heats in this boat class required the scullers to finish first if they wanted a direct path to Sunday’s final. In Heat One the Netherlands led at the start but with Germany in hot pursuit. The Dutch crew of Scheenaard, van Rooijen, Souwer and Beukers remained in front going through the middle of the race and as they pushed on China, then Germany challenged for the lead. The Dutch held on to the win by just 0.14 of a second over Germany who had to settle for second.

The World silver medallists, Poland was beaten at the start by Ukraine in Heat Two. Ukraine still had the lead at the half way point with Poland holding the pace. Ukraine took gold at the London Olympics and then finished fourth at the Rio Olympics. This seems to be their priority women’s boat. At the line Ukraine’s crew of Verkhogliad, Buryak, Kozhenkova and Nimchenko were first and had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.  

Qualifiers: NED, UKR

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Heats

Italy shot away quickly in the first of three heats. The Italian’s are known to rate high and they were at 36 for quite a bit of the race. By the half way point in Heat One, Italy was still in front with Poland the closest threat. As it was the top three boats that would go through to the semifinals, the pressure was different than that for the women’s quad race. Italy remained in front coming into the final sprint with Poland in second and Australia coming through in third.

Heat Two was incredibly tight with just 0.16 of a second separating the entire field at the first 500m mark. Then the winners from World Rowing Cup I, Great Britain, got a slight advantage and moved into the lead. But the margins remained tight and at the 1000m mark just one second separated the field. Great Britain then managed to break away a little and the field spread out as Russia seemed to run out of steam. At the line The British were first with New Zealand in second and the United States in third. Great Britain had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

Germany was first at the 500m mark in Heat Three. The Germans took silver at the World Rowing Cup I earlier this month. But then the Netherlands jumped into the lead at the half way mark. Germany was still very much on the pace as this race turned into a German-Dutch tussle. There was nothing between these two crews coming into the final sprint. At the line Germany had stayed ahead of the Netherlands.

Qualifiers: ITA, POL, AUS, GBR, NZL, USA, GER, NED, FRA

Men’s Eight (M8+) – Heats

Two heats lined up for the men’s eight with the top boat only in each heat going directly to the final on Sunday. In Heat One the Netherlands One boat got out the quickest and they still had the lead at the half way point. But there was very little in it with just one second separating the times of the entire field. This was going to come down to who had the better second 1000m and the better stamina. The Netherlands One and Great Britain went into the last 500m with identical times. In that final sprint the Dutch boat had won.

The reigning World Champions, Germany was in the lead in Heat Two. Germany also won at World Rowing Cup I at the start of the month getting off to the 2018 season well. At the half way point Germany was still in front with Australia following closely in second. Then Australia, at their first international outing for 2018, moved into the lead and went into the final sprint taking their stroke rate to 42. At the line Australia had won and recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.

Qualifiers: NED1, AUS