Under 23 rowers power into the heats at Linz
The 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, opened with heats on day one of this five day regatta with rowers enjoying calm waters and temperatures heading into the high 20’s Celsius.
The Linz-Ottensheim regatta course experienced flooding a month ago and a huge effort to remove the mud build-up meant a fully operative course greeted the rowers. High summer temperatures forecasted to increase throughout the week had today’s competitors being acutely aware of their fluid intake. It also meant that in many races, competitors did just enough to qualify, rather than race hard. There were, however, a few exceptions like the men’s four where Turkey stormed past the Germans to beat the reigning World Champions.
Women’s Four (BW4-) – Heats
It was only the first finishing boat that would get to go directly to the final in these two heats. Heat One saw Australia get out to an aggressive start and seize the race sending a strong message to their fellow competitors. By the middle of the race the Australians looked relaxed and in control. Australia was second in 2012 and stroke seat Lucy Stephan remains in the boat for this year. This crew raced earlier in the month at the Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne (SUI) where they finished second in this event. Behind the Australians an incredibly tight line formed with Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States all vying for second. All of these crews will have to return for Thursday’s repechage.
Heat Two saw Russia dominate from start to finish. Russia finished third in 2012 and they have retained the entire crew through to this year. The crew also raced in their country’s women’s eight at the European Rowing Championships earlier this season where they finished third. With this pedigree, Russia led from start to finish but still had to sprint the finish as a very tight battle was going on not far behind between Romania, Poland and Netherlands. Romania got there first but will have to through tomorrow’s repechage to secure a place in the final.
Qualifiers: AUS, RUS
Men’s Coxed Four (BM4+) – Heats
The top two boats in these two heats would get to go directly to the final on Saturday and in Heat One it was a fight right to the line between three boats. Italy had the upper edge at the start and by the middle of the race they had built up nearly a boat length lead. Behind them Australia and Germany were going head to head with Germany having a very slight advantage. Last year Australia finished fifth and Germany was sixth, opening up the potential for a full-on rivalry at Linz-Ottensheim.
Coming into the final sprint the gap had closed on the Italians as stroke rates rose. Italy, coxed by 14-year-old Andrea Kiraz, were at 40 strokes per minute. Australia were at 41 and Germany at 40. The Italians had secured first and a hesitation by the finish line judges followed with Australia being declared in second to also qualify. Italy’s time of 6:13.92 turned out to be the fastest qualifying time of both heats.
The pace was slightly more sedate in Heat Two with New Zealand jumping out into the lead with France and Canada slotting into second and third respectively. A year ago New Zealand finished third in this event and they look to have matured with junior World Champion, Sam Bosworth, in control in the coxswain’s seat. New Zealand kept the pressure on through to the finish with France proving to have the better stamina to take second over Canada.
Qualifiers: ITA, AUS, NZL, FRA
Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls (BLW4x) – Heats
This event has increased the number of entries on a year ago when it was raced as a straight final. For 2013 two heats lined up and the top boat from each heat would get to go directly to the final. Great Britain led the way in Heat One with Italy and Russia pressing the British hard. But Great Britain looked smooth and in control and were able to pull clean away from Italy who had now slotted into second.
In a procession to the line Great Britain, who kept the pressure on right to the end, crossed easily in front to earn the sole qualifying spot. Italy, in second, would have to return for tomorrow’s repechage.
By a huge margin, Germany recorded the fastest qualifying time when they led from start to finish in Heat Two. The Germans are the reigning World Champions and they showed that they are the dominant boat after this race. Germany looked very comfortable as they came into the final sprint only taking their stroke rate to a relatively pedestrian 33 strokes per minute to cross the line in first.
Qualifiers: GBR, GER
Lightweight Men’s Pair (BLM2-) – Heats
The lightweight men’s pair had attracted 17 nations which were divided into three heats with the top two boats in each heat going directly to Friday’s semifinals. The first heat was fast and furious as Belarus jumped out to an early start with Germany chasing hard. Coming into the third 500 Germany’s Lasse Werder and Jonas Briese got their nose ahead of Belarus as Hungary’s Istavan Bodrogi and Peter Vermes gave it their all. Belarus’ qualifying spot was now under threat.
In a flurry of big blades Germany crossed the line in first and an extremely happy Hungary took second. Belarus would have to return for the repechage tomorrow.
Heat Two featured the return of the reigning World Champions, Francesco Schisano and Vincenzo Serpico of Italy. Schisano and Serpico took no chances and leapt out at the start to send a signal to their competition right from the first stroke. The duo used the Lucerne World Rowing Cup earlier this month to warm up for the Under 23 Championships where they made the A-Final. Settling into an incredible 41 stroke rate, Serpico and Schisano had more than a boat length lead by the middle of the race. The Czech Republic followed in second with no other crew even close to challenging.
Having done all of their hard work early on, Schisano and Serpico were able to take their stroke rate down and still cross the line with the fastest qualifying time. Jan Hajek and Michael Humpolec of the Czech Republic grabbed the other qualifying spot.
After an initial lead by Australia, Great Britain’s Matthew Bedford and Wilf Kimberley took over at the lead of the field and never looked back. Bedford and Kimberley raced earlier this season at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney where they finished an impressive second. As Australia paid heavily for their early fast speed, Canada’s Maxwell Lattimer and Evan Cheng proved that they had paced themselves admirably. With Bedford and Kimberley crossing the line at a sedate 28 stroke rate, Lattimer and Cheng came storming through to grab the second qualifying spot.
Qualifiers: GER, HUN, ITA, CZE, GBR, CAN
Women’s Pair (BW2-) – Heats
This event had two heats which meant the top boat only in each heat would get to go directly to Saturday’s final. Heat One started with Ukraine in the lead with France and Germany following closely. Neither France nor Ukraine competed in this event last year, while Germany was third. By the middle of the race the German twins of Sara and Miriam Davids had moved up on Ukraine and pushed France into third. As Ukraine and France began to tire, the Davids twins pushed into first and held this position to the line. Germany become the sole direct qualifiers for the final.
Australia’s Jessie Allen and Genevieve Horton shot out to a clear water lead early on in Heat Two breaking the field into a procession. By the half-way point Allan and Horton had a huge five second lead over Romania’s Mihaela Petrila and Madalina Beres who were in second. The results looked all but set. Allen and Horton came into the last 500m of the race still looking comfortable. But then Petrila and Beres unleashed their pent-up power. From nearly a five second deficit, Petrila and Beres were gaining on Allen and Horton with every stroke. At the line Allen and Horton had been pushed out of the qualifying spot with an overjoyed Petrila and Beres taking first. All crews will now be aware of the awesome sprinting abilities of the Romanian duo.
Qualifiers: GER, ROU
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (BW4x) – Heats
The two heats in this event meant that the top two crews would get to advance directly to Saturday’s final. In Heat One last year’s silver medallists, Germany led the way at the start. But margins were close with the United States and the Netherlands pacing the Germans. Going through the middle of the race less than two seconds separated the top three boats with Germany still in the lead.
The Germans, however, were showing signs of tiredness. The United States took advantage of this and pushed into the lead. Germany desperately tried to hold on as the Netherlands now came storming through. At the line the United States, rating 40, had won with the Netherlands taking second. After racing the Dutch boat came in under the qualified weight pushing them into last place. This meant that Germany became the qualifying boat.
Despite the fight that went on in the first heat, Heat Two recorded the fastest qualifying time when four crews fought it out for two places. Poland had the lead at the start, but their lead was miniscule with New Zealand barely a bow ball behind them. This incredibly tight margin remained through the middle of the race as Italy moved up and in on the leading action. The Italians then got their nose in front as New Zealand began to slip back. It was now a fight between Italy and Poland with both boats giving it their all to the line. Just 0.12 seconds separated Italy and Poland with a very happy Poland gaining the finishing edge. Poland and Italy were the two qualifying boats with Poland’s time of 6:36 the fastest of the two heats.
Qualifiers: USA, GER, POL, ITA
Men’s Four (BM4-) – Heats
The men’s four had attracted two heats with the top boat only from each heat able to go directly to Saturday’s final. This event was won by Germany in 2012 and they led at the start and right through the middle of Heat One. But Turkey, who had held on to Germany’s pace from the start were inching up with every stroke and showed no signs of slowing down. Despite Germany giving it their all in the final sprint, Turkey performed one of the biggest upsets of the day. At a 40 stroke rate pace, Turkey’s Onat Kazakli, Ogeday Girisken, Muhammed Cansi and Selahattin Gursoy crossed the line in first. The Turkish crew celebrated heartily while Germany rowed away, contemplating the unusual position of having to row in a repechage. Turkey had also recorded the fastest qualifying time.
In comparison Heat Two went rather sedately. Romania got out strongly at the start and remained in the lead, building up a bigger and bigger margin as the race progressed. Australia, in second, decided soon after the half-way point that it wasn’t worth pushing it to the end and it looked like the rest of the field had come to the same conclusion. Romania crossed the line easily in front.
Qualifiers: TUR, ROU
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (BLM1x) – Heats
Along with the men’s single, this event had attracted the most number of entries. A total of 27 countries lined up with the top four boats in each of the five heats getting to go to the quarterfinals on Friday. Heat One proved to be the fastest with Andrew Campbell of the United States setting the standard. Campbell medalled at last year’s World Rowing Championships in the lightweight single and took third the year before at the under-23 level. Today, Campbell led from start to finish with no need to sprint the finish. Turkey followed in second with the Netherlands and Italy also qualifying for the quarterfinals.
Denmark had a very fast start in Heat Two, but it proved to be unsustainable as Switzerland’s Luca Fabian pushed into the lead. Fabian was third last year and he showed his experience by keeping a very even pace through to the finish in first place. Vedran Radonic of Croatia performed a well-timed negative split race to come through from the back of the field to a second place finish. The remaining two qualifiers were Chile and the Czech Republic.
Heat Three opened with Spain’s Adria Mitjavila in the lead. This didn’t last long as Zak Lee-Green of Great Britain got his nose in front with Sean Lake of Australia right on the leader’s pace. The race then turned into a procession to the line with Lee-Green, Lake, Mitjavila and Mihkel Pari of Estonia qualifying for the quarterfinals.
After an initial lead by Slovakia, Paul O’Donovan of Ireland got out in front of Heat Four. O’Donovan raced at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Eton Dorney last month where he finished a respectable sixth. O’Donovan, just one year out of juniors, remained in front until the end of the race with New Zealand qualifying from second and Germany and Slovakia also qualifying.
The first half of Heat Five set the stage for the second half of the race. Yoshihiro Otsuka of Japan had a very fast opening pace to take the lead. Then Spyridon Giannaros of Greece, the defending champion, got out in front and made easy work of staying in the lead. The stage was now set for the qualifying boats with no one feeling the need sprint. Greece, Hungary, Japan and France all make it through to the quarterfinals.
Men’s Single Sculls (BM1x) – Heats
The 27 nations in this event were split into five heats and the top four boats in each heat got to advance to the quarterfinals due to be raced on Friday. No boat went under the magic seven minute mark as the scullers chose to pace themselves in these warm, early evening conditions at the Linz-Ottensheim regatta course.
Heat One had Petru Codau of Romania leading from start to finish and notching up the fastest qualifying time in the process. Codau has spent this season so far racing in his country’s senior quad. Last year Codau raced at the under-23s in the eight. This switch to the single is a new experience internationally for him. Behind Codau, France, Japan and Hungary all qualified.
Italy’s Francesco Cardaioli was the top boat in Heat Two. Cardaioli was third last year at the under-23s in the double and he raced earlier this season at the European Rowing Championships in the single. Cardaioli had no need to sprint to the line, but behind him four boats fought it out for the three remaining qualifying spots. Canada, Switzerland and the United States made it through. Australia’s Max McQueeney was the unlucky one. McQueeney stopped just before the finish line and it was just 0.11 of a second that saw him not qualify.
The fastest qualifying time was recorded by Rolandas Mascinskas of Lithuania in Heat Three. Mascinskas has a long list of rowing accomplishments including some at the senior level and he sprinted at a 34 stroke rate to cross the line in first in a time of 7:05. Behind Mascinskas, Belgium, Mexico and Ukraine all qualified.
Last year’s bronze medallist, Dionysios Angelopoulos of Greece is back again and his long, smooth rhythm propelled him into the lead of Heat Four. Angelopoulos held a very steady pace crossing the line easily in front. Also qualifying from this heat was Norway, Kazakstan and Zimbabwe.
Heat Five featured last year’s silver medallist, Hubert Trzybinski of Germany. Trzybinski used his immense power to get off the line in the lead and he held it there right through to the finish. Trzybinski was able to drop his stroke rate to a leisurely 23 strokes per minute to cross the line in first. Behind Trzybinski, Andre Redr of Slovakia was second with Monaco and Ireland also qualifying.