Under-23 championships see hotly contested heats at Trakai
Day two at the 2012 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Trakai, Lithuania saw the majority of the heats being raced with 12 events squaring off.
The men’s single sculls had the biggest showing as scullers filled up six heats including last year’s winner, Hubert Trzybinski of Germany. The women’s single sculls saw two scullers who recently tried to qualify for the London Olympic Games meet again. Rachel Gamble-Flint (GBR) and Tale Gjoertz (NOR) both recorded finishing times that will put them in good stead as they progress towards the finals on Sunday. The men’s eight was hotly contested with Germany and the United States proving to be the top two crews at this early stage of racing.
Today at Trakai temperatures were cooler but still pleasant with a slight head wind whispering down the course. The water was almost flat and overall conditions remained ideal. A forecasted storm saw rain fall for a couple of raced and then move on. It did not affect the racing programme.
Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (BLW1x) - Heats
This event had attracted 22 countries to Trakai. Divided into four heats, it was up to these single scullers to finish first if they wanted a direct path to Friday’s semifinal. France’s Chloe Poumailloux jumped out to take an early lead in Heat One followed by Emma Fred of Sweden. Settling into a 31-32 stroke rate Poumailloux remained in first. Then, just after the half-way point Fred took her stroke rate to 34 and attacked. Poumailloux had no answer as Fred moved to a full boat-length lead. In May, Fred tried to qualify for the Olympics in the lightweight double but missed out. Now she is making the best of the season by racing here as she earned a spot in the semifinal.
Heat Two had Germany’s Katrin Thoma in the lead early on. But the lead didn’t last long with Kate Johnstone of South Africa taking over out in front. Settling into a steady 29 stroke rate pace, Johnstone, who was 11th in the single last year, remained in front. Having now built up a decent lead, Johnstone did not need to sprint to the line to earn the only semifinal qualifying position.
Heat Three had Cyprus’s Anna Ioannou leading for the first half of the race. But Ioannou was rating a couple of pips higher than Claire Lambe of Ireland in a close second. Could Ioannou hold her more aggressive pace to the end? Ioannou has spent this season racing at the senior level at the World Cups as well as trying to qualify for the Olympic Games in the open-weight women’s single. A push by Lambe going through the 1250m mark was effective and the Irish sculler took the lead. Coming into the final sprint Ioannou fought back and in the final sprint she managed to earn back the lead. Lambe tried to hold on but looked to be getting tired. Ioannou earned the one qualifying spot.
Heat Four featured Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus who took silver in this event last year and won the event in 2010. Kryvasheyenka took the lead at the start and by the half-way point she had an open water lead. Settling into a comfortable 27 stroke rate Kryvasheyenka was out-classing the rest of her heat. Kryvasheyenka was part of her country’s lightweight double that tried to qualify for the Olympics in May. She was not successful, but showed her talent today in the single. Kryvasheyenka continued to increase her leading gap and taking her stroke rate right down, she finished first easily to qualify for the semifinal and also recorded the fastest qualifying time. It looks like Kryvasheyenka will be the one to beat in this category.
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Heats
Divided into three heats, the lightweight men’s single sculls required these scullers to finish in a top two position for a direct path to the semifinals. Leaping out at the start the fastest in Heat One was Igor Khmara of Ukraine. By the middle of the race Khmara had gained a full boat length lead with Great Britain’s Michael Mottram pushing his way into second. Khmara had a stint rowing for Azerbaijan but is now back with Ukraine and doing very well. Coming into the line Khmara remained in front to take the first qualifying spot with Mottram remaining in second to also qualify.
Out in the lead in Heat Two was Konstantin Steinhuebel of Germany. Steinhuebel has raced and medalled twice in the lightweight quad and he is now going solo in the single. Rating a steady 32 stroke rate, Steinhuebel held off Bulgaria and the Netherlands who were having a stroke-for-stroke battle. Nedelcho Vasilev of Bulgaria then managed to get the edge over Franciscus Goutier of the Netherlands and move into the all-important second spot. Goutier then looked to give the race away with Steinhuebel and Vasilev earning the two qualifying spots, Steinhuebel comfortably in front.
Heat Three was very tight and aggressive at the start. By the middle of the race Switzerland’s Luca Fabian had managed to spread the field out a bit and led the way over tight battle between Greece and Slovakia. Spyridon Giannaros of Greece then broke away from Slovakia and moved up on Fabian. Giannaros, despite now clearly being in a qualifying position, continued on aggressively. Rating 35 Giannaros attacked Fabian. Fabian, realising what was going on took his stroke rate up to 34, but Giannaros had more push and crossed the line in first with the fastest qualifying time. Fabian also earned a spot in Saturday’s semifinal by finishing second with the second fastest qualifying time.
Men’s Pair (BM2-) – Heats
Three heats lined up in the men’s pair with the aim being to finish first or second if crews wanted to take a direct path to the semifinal. In Heat One it was Germany who got off the line the quickest and they held the leading position through the first half of the race, but only just. The United States were right on top of the Germans and a big push in the third 500 gave Dariush Aghai and Austin Hack of the United States the lead. Paul Heinrich and Hannes Ocik of Germany held on. The sprint to the line was unrelenting and with the push by Heinrich and Ocik proving to be more effective. This German duo raced last month at the World Rowing Cup and finished in the B-final. Today Heinrich and Ocik finished first in this heat with the fastest qualifying time and the United States qualify for the semifinal from second.
Out in front in Heat Two were South Africa. But their lead didn’t last long as Great Britain’s Kieren Emery and Matthew Tarrant took over in front. Emery is a World Champion from the under-23 lightweight pair and he looks to be doing absolutely fine in this open-weight division. Now in the lead, Emery and Tarrant confidently pushed away from the rest of the field rating a confident 35 stroke rate. South Africa’s David Hunt and Vincent Breet held on to second with the remainder of the field now way back. Hunt finished second in this event last year. At the finish Emery and Tarrant had an open water lead to take first place over the line with South Africa qualifying for the semifinal from their second place spot.
The six boats lining up in Heat Three got out from the start with two boats showing very early on that they were the ones to beat. In first was Yauhen Alakhnovich and Ihar Pashevich of Belarus with Turkey’s Onat Kazakli and Ogeday Girisken right with them in second. This scenario remained unchanged through the middle of the race with Belarus and Turkey pacing each other. Kazakli and Girisken then did a third 500 push and got their bow ball in front of Belarus. But Belarus were not giving up. Both boats rated 36 into the final sprint. Alakhnovich and Pashevich proved to have a much better sprint. Belarus finished first with Turkey in second. These are the two qualifying boats.
Women’s Double Sculls (BW2x) – Heats
Divided into three heats the women’s double required crews to be in the top three if they wanted a direct path to Saturday’s semifinal. In Heat One the top three crews – Belarus, Lithuania and Germany – were extremely close with only Latvia and the United States slightly off the pace. Katsiaryna Shliupskaya and Tatsiana Kukhta of Belarus then managed to get their bow ball in front with last year’s Junior Champions, Lithuania in second. This order remained the same through the body of the race as the United States decided to stage a huge comeback. The US challenge meant that these boats would have to sprint for the finish if they wanted a top three spot. Belarus, who tried to qualify earlier this season for the Olympic eight, now clearly out in front, were able to watch the fight for the remaining two spots. Lithuania took their stroke rate to 34 with Germany on 35. The United States continued to fight. At the line the second and third spots went to Lithuania and the United States respectively. What a great race.
Heat Two had four boats so the aim was not to finish last. Russia’s Ekaternia Potapova and Maria Krasilnkova made sure of this by getting out in front. Greece and Switzerland followed in second and third with Italy the boat that was off the pace. Potopova and Krasilnkova raced earlier this season at the senior level in the quad and the duo finished seventh in this event last year. Despite the qualifying positions becoming academic now Italy had dropped off the pace, the leading three crews pushed it to the line. In the final sprint Greece got in front with Russia accepting second and Switzerland taking third.
Heat Three opened with Austria in the lead, but only just over Ireland and France. Pushing on, Magdalena Lobnig and Lisa Farthofer of Austria remained in front. This experienced double was third last year and they also raced at the senior World Rowing Championships last year. Ireland contained Holly Nixon who medalled last year in the single at the World Rowing Junior Championships. For this season she has partnered with Laura D’Urso. The order remained the same coming into the final stages of the race – Austria in first, Ireland in second and France in third. Austria still powered it to the end at a 34 stroke rate finishing a boat length in front of France overtaking Ireland to finish second. Ireland qualified from third.
Men’s Double Sculls (BM2x) – Heats
The men’s double attracted 18 nations and they were divided over three heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to go to directly to Saturday’s finals. Using their home advantage Lithuania jumped out to an early lead in Heat One. But New Zealand’s Nathan Flannery and Hayden Cohen had different ideas. Going into the middle of the race Flannery and Cohen managed to push into the lead. And they didn’t stop there. Flannery and Cohen (younger brother of World Champion Nathan Cohen) moved to an open water lead.
The New Zealander’s kept their stroke rate high at a 37 stroke rate with Lithuania’s Dominykas Jancionis and Aurimas Adomavicius remaining in second. At the line these were the two qualifying crews.
Heat Two had the Netherlands in the lead early on in the piece very closely followed by Hagen Rothe and Stephan Riemekasten of Germany. Rothe was second in this event last year and while Riemekasten was the 2011 Junior Champion in the single. Holding their own battle at the head of the field the Netherlands (Dirk Uittenbogaard and Freek Robbers) and Germany moved away from the rest of the field. Uittenbogaard and Robbers were A-finalists in this event last year and they have earned a very respective 10th place finish at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne this year.
Rothe and Riemekasten then did a push that got them ahead of the Netherlands. But Uittenbogaard and Robbers were not giving up. In a big sprint to the line Uittenbogaard and Robbers out-did the Germans to take first. The Dutch and the Germans now get to go directly to the semifinal.
At the start of the race, Slovenia looked to be the fastest in Heat Three. But their lead was very narrow over Italy and Russia. As Italy’s Francesco Cardaioli and Giuseppe Vicino continued to rate high, they managed to push ahead of Slovenia. The aggressive stroke rated worked a treat and Cardiaoli and Vicino managed to push into the lead. There was, however, very little in it with Ales Zupan and Grega Domanjko of Slovenia rating lower but holding on to the Italian’s pace. The Italians then managed to break free. Taking their boat to the line, Cardiaoli and Vicino finished with more than a boat length lead over Slovenia in second. These are the two qualifying boats. Italy had recorded the fastest qualifying time by a fraction over the Netherlands in heat two.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (BLW2x) – Heats
Four heats lined up with the progression being a top two finish was needed for a direct path to the semifinal on Saturday. In Heat One three boats jumped off the line together – Switzerland, France and New Zealand. By the half-way mark New Zealand’s Georgia Hammond and Sophie MacKenzie had manage to get just in front with Switzerland a bit back but almost level. This is MacKenzie’s international debut and has the knowledge that last year New Zealand took the bronze in this event.
As the race progressed, MacKenzie and Hammond proved to have a great rhythm and they were able to push away from the Swiss. Switzerland’s Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol decided to challenge but they did not seem to be able to close on New Zealand’s pace. At the line, MacKenzie and Hammond remained in front to qualify for the semifinal and they will be joined by Merz and Rol.
Heat Two had a delayed start as Poland had a broken rigger and it was decided reschedule the race. Over an hour later the crews of Australia, Japan, Hungary, Germany and Poland lined up again. It is always a bit nerve-wracking when crews have to cope with a change and in this race Poland made the best of the restart by getting out in second with Germany in first. Germany’s Wiebke Hein and Nora Wessel remained in front going through the middle of the race although Poland were hanging on tightly. This all changed in the second half of the race. Poland looked to run out of steam and Germany were able to takeHeat Two had a delayed start as Poland had a broken rigger and it was decided reschedule the race. Over an hour later the crews of Australia, Japan, Hungary, Germany and Poland lined up again. It is always a bit nerve-wracking when crews have to cope with a change and in this race Poland made the best of the restart by getting out in second with Germany in first. Germany’s Wiebke Hein and Nora Wessel remained in front going through the middle of the race although Poland were hanging on tightly. This all changed in the second half of the race. Poland looked to run out of steam and Germany were able to take a huge five second lead. But with two boats qualifying, Poland still was in a qualifying spot. At the line Germany and Poland became the two boats that would get to go directly to the semifinal.
Heat Three then took to the waters of Lake Trakai with Spain just in the lead. Veronica Garcia Mulet and Laura Terradas of Spain were second last year and must be the favourites going into this event. Garcia and Terradas also raced in 2010 when they finished seventh. The Netherlands followed the Spanish as the field closed on Spain. The Dutch then got ahead and never looked back. Elisabeth Woerner and Lieve Leijssen of the Netherlands raced in 2009 at the under-23 level and finished fourth and today they were truly on form. An aggressive third 500 by Great Britain got them ahead of Spain and into a qualifying position. The Spanish had no answer. The Netherlands and Great Britain earn spots in the semifinal on Saturday.
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (BLM2x) – Heats
This event had attracted a large field of 20 countries spread over four heats. The goal here was to be in a top two position to get to go directly to the semifinal. Heat One opened with Greece in the lead but this did not last long as the United States went charging past. Christopher Meyer and Nicholas Trojan of the United States continued to hold the lead and they did not give it up right to the end. Greece’s Georgios Konsolas and Nikolaos Afentoulis held on to second and the United States and Greece become the two qualifying boats.
Despite a relatively slow start in Heat Two, Poland’s Artur Mikolasjczewski and Milosz Jankowski get into the lead by the half-way point. Fast starters Canada thus had to settle for second and it looked like there was not much they could do against the speedy Poles. This order did not change coming into the line with Poland and Canada taking out the two qualifying spots.
In Heat Three it must have been Germany’s Julius Peschel and Matthias Arnold that felt the pressure. Arnold was the Under-23 World Champion in this event last year and he must have wanted to match this in 2012. By the half-way point Germany managed to push out to a couple of seconds over Italy. Then Great Britain, in the third 500, did a huge push and got into second. Italy was out of a qualifying spot. But the race was not over. In the final sprint Hungary’s Daniel Matyasovszki and Bence Pozsar came flying down the outside. With just a few strokes left to row, Matyasovszki and Pozsar managed to get ahead of Great Britain and qualified for the semifinal along with Germany who remained in first and scored the fastest qualifying time.
Heat Four saw Austria with the most powerful start. The Austrians (Paul Sieber and Bernhard Sieber) tried to qualify for the London Olympics earlier this season but just missed out. Today they showed their speed by remaining in the lead with Spain following in second. The Spanish kept the pressure on as they could see Denmark and Belgium not far back. Both Austria and Spain pulled out a 36 stroke rate sprint to hold their positions. Their work had been successful. Austria and Spain earn a direct path to the semifinal.
Lightweight Men’s Four (BLM4-) – Heats
The lightweight men’s four had three heats lining up and the formula for a direct route to the semifinal on Saturday was to finish in a top three position. Heat One began with Australia in the lead. The Australians are the Word Champions at the senior level but at the under-23 level they finished in the B-final last year. Today Australia continued in the lead through the middle of the race, but only by a fraction with Poland, New Zealand and Canada still all very much on the pace and overlapping. Then Poland, who were sixth last year and have retained three members from that crew, leapt into the lead. Australia tried to hold on as Canada and New Zealand slipped back.
Now in the lead Poland did not slow down and they began to open up a gap. Australia, meanwhile, had to deal with the pressure of a New Zealand attack. They were able to counter-attack and Australia crossed the line ahead of New Zealand with both crews getting to qualify for the semifinal along with Poland.
Heat Two saw Italy leading at the start. They are the reigning Under-23 Champions and by the half-way point Italy had managed to work their way to a three second lead over Spain who were now in second, but only just over Germany. Coming through the third quarter of the race the stroke rates remained high with Italy on an amazing 41 strokes per minute. As the final sprint came into view Italy still had a small lead with Spain closing on the Italians as Germany began to slip. France then attacked. At the line Italy were first, Spain second and France had come through to take third. These are the three qualifying crews.
There was a delay in Heat Three due to problems with the Hungarian boat. Racing 15 minutes later than originally scheduled, it was Denmark that handled the wait the best and they took off at a good pace. Denmark remained in the lead at the half way point, but only just. Hungary had closed the gap and looked like they had what it would take to overtake the Danes. Meanwhile Japan and Chinese Taipei had dropped off the pace. Despite both Denmark and Hungary being easily in the two qualifying spots neither crew was willing to relent and in the final sprint Hungary took their stroke rate to 42 with Denmark at 39 as both boats remained level. In a photo finish Hungary had taken first on the line by 13/100th of a second. Both Hungary and Denmark, along with Japan earn spots in the semifinal.
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (BM4x) – Heats
The four heats that lined up in the men’s quadruple sculls had the task of being in the top two positions if they wanted to go directly to the semifinal on Saturday. In Heat One all crews got away well with Ukraine having a slight advantage. Ukraine are the reigning Under-23 Champions in this event and they also do very well at senior level in the quad. Ukraine then settled into the race, rating 34 with New Zealand right on top of them. Then the United States and Switzerland followed just behind, matching each other stroke-for-stroke.
New Zealand (Thomas, Francis, Wright, Manson) then got their nose in front of Ukraine going through the middle of the race. Both Ukraine and New Zealand looked relaxed compared to the hum-dinger of a battle taking place behind them between Switzerland and the United States. Norway then did a huge piece and came back into the race. It was effective and got them into third, but New Zealand and Ukraine remain the qualifying boats.
Great Britain had the lead in the early stages of Heat Two but it was very, very tight with only two seconds separating the entire field. The tightness gave Australia the chance they were looking for and Ditmarsch, Morley, Bleonogoff and Edwards of Australia got their nose in front of the British with Poland and Belarus fighting it out for third. As the race progressed Australia’s confidence grew and they managed to get a couple of seconds over Great Britain. Now it was Great Britain under threat from Belarus who had managed to move away from Poland. At the line Australia was still in first with Great Britain pulling out a great sprint to hold off Belarus and hold on to the second qualifying spot.
Heat Three had to wait a few minutes due to a small change in the race schedule but it did not seem to deter the Czech Republic or Estonia. By the middle of the race the Czech’s, who were silver medalists last year in this event, had got into the lead. Estonia, however, were not giving up and they hung relentlessly on to the Czech’s. The Czech Republic (Buzrla, Sterbak, Basl and Andrle) had more stamina and they managed to cross the line a good three seconds ahead of Estonia. The Czech Republic and Estonia are the two qualifying boats.
Heat Four saw Italy, who was fifth in 2011 and have kept three members of that crew this year, in the lead. France and Russia followed very closely. As Russia began to slow France took it to task to be the boat to take on the Italians. Both France and Italy rated 36 through the body of the race and both boats were practically on top of each other. It was going to be a sprint to the line if first place was the priority. For Italy it was as they took their rating to 38 and remained in the lead. Italy and France become the two qualifying boats. They will race again in the semifinal on Saturday with the knowledge that they have the top two qualifying times.
Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Heats
The men’s single sculls is often the biggest event of the regatta and this year was no exception. Twenty-seven countries had entered and these scullers were divided into six heats. To advance directly to the quarterfinals scullers would have to finish in the top four spots for heats 1 to 3 and a top three spot in heats 4 to 6 plus the next fastest time.
In Heat One it was all about being in the top four and with Aleksandar Aleksandrov of Azerbaijan who led from start to finish. Aleksandrov aimed to qualify for the Olympics earlier this season in the men’s double but just missed out so he continued his 2012 season by racing in Trakai. Norway’s Bjoern-Jostein Singstad followed Aleksandrov down the course and nothing much changed in the order with Bulgaria slotting into third and New Zealand in fourth. These are the qualifying boats. Aleksandrov recorded the fastest qualifying time, but as wind and rain changed the water conditions starting in heat three, it is hard to judge time across the heats.
Heat Two featured Nicolas Silvestro of Argentina out in the lead. Silverstro has spent the last couple of seasons competing at the senior level in sweep boats but he is obviously talented in the single too. By the half-way point Silvestro had built up a decent margin with Hungary’s Peter Csanko the only boat within range of launching an attack. Nothing changed in the order and Silvestro and Csanko both earn spots in the quarterfinals along with Finland and Lithuania, from third and fourth respectively.
Last year’s Under-23 World Champion Hubert Trzybinski of Germany was out in the lead in Heat Three as the sky darkened and the rain began to fall. Trzybinski did not see any reason to extend himself as he went through the boat of the race rating around 27 strokes per minute. Meanwhile Switzerland and the Czech Republic had a close battle for second. At the line Michal Humpolicek of the Czech Republic had got the advantage over David Aregger of Switzerland. Both of these boats go directly to the quarterfinals along with Trzybinski in first and Ukraine in fourth.
Rain continued for Heat Four which had four boats with the top three boats getting to go to the quarterfinals. Latvia’s Martins Labis had the lead at the start. But the lead did not last long as Camillo Franek of Austria took over in the front. Now that Franek was out ahead he settled into his rhythm and remained there. Labis held on to second with France’s Damien Gallet in third. These are the quarterfinal qualifiers.
At the start of Heat Five Israel’s Oleg Gonorovski got out in front. Gonorovski tried to qualify earlier this season for the Olympics in the men’s double sculls. He missed out so is back in the single. Gonorovski’s early speed proved to be unsustainable and Dionysios Angelopoulos of Greece took over out in front with Gonorovski dropping to the back of the field. Belgium’s Hannes Obreno followed closely behind Greece in definite attacking position. Obreno then managed to push in front of Angelopoulos as the two boats continued to go head to head with Russia in third. At the line Obreno crossed first, Angelopoulos was second and Russia’s Kondratyev was third.
As the rain abated and the cloud lessened, Heat Six came down the Trakai regatta course. This event included Kazakhstan’s Vladislav Yakovlev who has qualified for the London Olympics through the Asian Olympic Qualification Regatta. But it was Andre Redr of Slovakia that led the way. But the race was not all about Redr, instead it was turning out to be relatively tight between Redr and Juan Carlos Cabrera of Mexico. Cabrera is Mexico’s second best sculler with their top sculler off to the London Olympics. A big sprint to the line by Cabrera closed the gap on Redr, but Redr held him off. The finishing order was Slovakia, Mexico, Slovenia and Kazakhstan with all four boats qualifying for the quarterfinals due to the finishing time of Yakovlev.
Women’s Single Sculls (BW1x) – Heats
This event had four heats with the top two boats in each heat getting to go directly to the semifinal on Saturday. Heat One opened with Rikke Quist of Denmark out in front. She was hotly pursued by Daphne Socha of France. But at the half-way point Quist had built up more than a boat length lead with Socha now battling it out with Lisa Dilleen of Ireland. Quist continued to lead rating 30 – 31 through the body of the race. Coming into the final sprint Socha looked to be running out of steam allowing Dilleen to break away. But now Dilleen found herself under pressure from the United States. The high rating American had left it too late. Quist and Dilleen become the two qualifiers for the semifinal.
Heat Two had the Netherlands in the lead at the start. Nicole Beukers of the Netherlands raced last month in the World Rowing Cup and finished a respectable ninth. Last year she was fifth at the under-23 level. Going through the middle of the race Beukers had worked her way up to a handy lead with Bulgaria, Luiza-Mariya Rusinova, about five seconds back. The order remained the same and Beukers and Rusinova earn the two qualifying spots.
Julia Lier of Germany led the way in Heat Three. Lier was first in the quad last year and now solo she was looking very good. In second was Canada’s Carling Zeeman who was racing internationally for the first time. Going through the half-way point Leir remained ahead of Zeeman, but only by a second with Poland and Latvia holding their own battle. Coming into the line Lier remained ahead of Zeeman and these two boats became the qualifiers for the semifinal.
Heat Four had Great Britain’s Rachel Gamble-Flint in the lead from the start. Gamble-Flint tried to qualify for the Olympics earlier this season in the only event that the British have not qualified in, the women’s single. She did not qualify but she is making the most of the season by racing here in Trakai. But Gamble-Flint came under pressure from Tale Gjoertz of Norway who also tried to qualify for London earlier this season. The pressure meant that coming into the final sprint Gjoertz had grabbed the lead. Gamble-Flint fought back and made it to the line first. Gamble-Flint and Gjoertz both qualify for the semifinals on Saturday.
Men’s Eight (BM8+) – Heats
This event had 10 countries lining up divided into two heats. This meant that 90 athletes would charge down the course in the next 14 minutes and their aim was to be in a top two position for a direct path to the finals on Sunday.
In Heat One Germany took off as the fastest crew. But margins were incredibly tight and less than two seconds separated the entire field with a quarter of the race rowed. It had only spread out fractionally at the half way point with Germany still in the lead. Then two boats took off. Germany and Poland found themselves going head to head at the front of the field. Coming into the final sprint Germany took their stroke rate to 39 to try and remain ahead of the Poles. The Germans managed it. Germany and Poland head to the final, Germany with the fastest qualifying time.
Heat Two had the United States, the reigning Under-23 Champions, in the lead with Romania and Australia matching each other stroke for stroke just behind the Americans. As Romania began to drop back, Australia went on the attack and closed on the Americans. But Australia looked to be finding the power of the United States too much and the Americans were able to pull away to an impressive four second lead. Spain, rating high, now tried to close on Australia, but the Australian’s had built up enough of a margin that they were never under too much of a threat.
Coming into the line the United States remained in front with Australia closing fast and in the process leaving Spain out of qualifying contention. The US and Australia become the two boats that qualify directly for Sunday’s final.