Who to Watch: Samsung World Rowing Cup II
The Samsung World Rowing Cup II at Eton Dorney, Great Britain is expecting cool summer weather. But competition will undoubtedly be hot with 40 nations lining up to go after World Cup medals and points for their country. Read on to find out how the different boat classes will stack up
Women’s Pair (W2-)
Stability and reliability may pay off for Germany’s Kerstin Hartmann and Marlene Sinnig. They can declare themselves to be the most stable crew in the women’s pair. In their fifth year together Hartmann and Sinnig come to Eton Dorney after finishing second earlier this month at the European Rowing Championships.
But the big threat to a German gold will come from Great Britain. Olympic Champion Helen Glover has paired up with the young, dynamic Polly Swann and in their debut international race – the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney – they won convincingly.
Watch out too for New Zealand’s new duo of Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt. Scown finished third at the London 2012 Olympic Games and rumour has it that this new partnership has come together remarkably well.
Men’s Pair (M2-)
Murray and Bond: a partnership that has become as well-known as Cop and Spik or Redgrave and Pinsent. The last time Eric Murray and Hamish Bond of New Zealand raced internationally was 3 August 2012 in the Olympic A-final on this very same regatta course. Their gold medal finish was a culmination of a four-year winning streak. Can the duo come back just as strong in 2013? Under new coach Noel Donaldson, Murray and Bond will show what form they are in at Eton Dorney.
Judging by the relative inexperience of their competition, the New Zealanders may have an easy time of it. Perhaps the strongest challenge will come from European Championship silver medallists Wojciech Gutorski and Jaroslaw Godek of Poland. Prior to the Seville regatta Gutorski and Godek raced in the B-final at the London Olympics.
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x)
This boat class is a classic example of a post-Olympic year. A gathering of new athletes, some racing for the first time internationally, are lining up, including three entries from China. Dongxiang Xu is sitting in one of the Chinese boats. Xu has been racing as a lightweight in previous years, winning Olympic silver last year in the lightweight women’s double sculls and World Championship gold in 2006 on this same regatta course.
Only two crews have already raced together in their new partnership this season – Great Britain and Germany. Frances Houghton and Victoria Meyer-Laker of Great Britain finished third at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney while Lisa Schmidla and Mareike Adams of Germany were at the European Rowing Championships earlier this month.
Four-time Olympian Houghton has the experience and Meyer-Laker has been rising through the ranks on the British team. In contrast, the German duo has built up success at the under-23 and junior levels. These two crews are the front runners with the British likely to have the upper hand if the home crowd delivers the ‘Dorney Roar’.
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x)
In a similar vein to the women’s double, the men’s double has attracted a number of new combinations. Great Britain’s crew of Bill Lucas and Matt Langridge are likely podium contenders, especially on their home course. Lucas finished fifth in this event at the London 2012 Games while Langridge won bronze at last year’s Olympics in the men’s eight. They will be racing in this combination for the first time internationally.
Coming into the mix will be New Zealand’s new duo of Michael Arms and Robert Manson. New Zealand is the reigning Olympic Champions in this event, but Arms and Manson are a new line-up. They raced together in the men’s quadruple sculls at the London Olympics and then through the recent New Zealand domestic season they secured their spots in the double. Arms and Manson finished first at the first stage of the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup in March indicating that they may be the crew to watch out for at Eton Dorney.
Keep an eye out too for the new and young crew from Azerbaijan which includes Aleksandar
Aleksandrov. Aleksandrov finished fifth at the London Games in the single and also won the World Rowing Under-23 Championships last year in the single. Aleksandrov is teamed up with the young Boris Yotov.
But the crew with the longest track record must go to Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger of Germany. They were the World Champions in 2009 and have been together since with a variety of results. At the European Rowing Championships earlier this month they finished fourth
Men’s Four (M4-)
At the first stage of the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup held in Sydney in March, Australian crews finished first and second in this boat class with New Zealand finishing third and Great Britain fourth.
Following further team testing, Australia is boating a combination of the two Sydney crews at Eton Dorney. London Olympic silver medallists William Lockwood and Joshua Dunkley-Smith take up two of the spots and 2012 under-23 rowers Alexander Lloyd and Spencer Turrin fill in the remaining spots.
New Zealand and Great Britain have retained their Sydney crews intact. New Zealand will have less than a week to acclimatise to the Northern Hemisphere before they race while Great Britain will surely take advantage of racing on home waters.
Another crew to watch out for is Romania. After taking silver in Seville at the European Rowing Championships earlier this month, the Romanians will race at Eton Dorney with two changes to their line-up.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x)
The frontrunners for gold in the lightweight women’s double sculls are likely to be Germany’s Lena Mueller and Anja Noske. They were their nation’s Olympic double last year, finishing sixth at the London Olmypics and they have survived internal trials to remain as a combination. At the Seville European Championships three weeks ago Mueller and Noske won silver.
Third at the 2013 European Rowing Championships was the Polish duo of Katarzyna Welna and Weronika Deresz. They are back again at Eton Dorney along with fourth and fifth-place getters from Seville, Denmark and Sweden respectively.
Eton may turn into a repeat of Seville except added to the mix is the British crew of Kathryn Twyman and Imogen Walsh. Twyman and Walsh raced two months ago at the Sydney World Cup taking bronze. They will relish the expansion of competition at Eton Dorney.
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x)
New names are coming up into the top ranks of the lightweight men’s double sculls. Make sure to take note of the Norwegian duo of Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli. They have been rowing together since 2008 and they seemed to hit their stride last year when they made their first A-final. At the European Rowing Championships earlier this month in Seville, Brun and Strandli took their first international medal.
Then there are the Sieber brothers from Austria. They joined together last year taking gold at the under-23 level and they have stepped up to senior racing by finishing fifth at the Seville European Championships.
Also racing in Seville were the Dutch Muda twins who have moved from the lightweight men’s four into the double and were ninth in their double debut in Seville. Poland’s Artur Mikolajczewski and Milosz Jankowski won the B-final in Seville and will also be a crew to watch out for.
But the big surprise might well come from the uniting of Richard and Peter Chambers of Great Britain in the lightweight double. The brothers both raced to silver at the London Olympics in the lightweight men’s four. At the Sydney World Cup older brother Richard finished first in the lightweight double (with another partner) while Peter took silver in the lightweight four. Together they will no doubt be a powerful combination.
Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-)
It is not unusual to see Denmark as the frontrunners in this boat class. They started off their 2013 season strongly by winning at the European Rowing Championships. The crew includes three members of the bronze medal London Olympic boat and at the European Champs they showed their customary high-rating style.
The Danes, however, will have some tougher competition at Eton. Winners of the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney, New Zealand have turned up in Europe. This new 2013 crew of James Lassche, James Hunter, Peter Taylor and Curtis Rapley look like they mean business and will be ready to take on the world.
Strong competition is likely to also come from Great Britain. Despite being a new line-up, Great Britain has established themselves as regular medallists in this event. They raced in Sydney against New Zealand and finished second. Since the March race, the crew has been reshuffled with two new members swapping into the boat. Stroke, Chris Bartley is the only remaining member of the London Olympic silver medal crew and one of two members of the Sydney crew.
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x)
Together since 2012, the German women’s quad has become a force that is hard to beat. At the London Olympics they won silver and now, returning to Eton Dorney, the line-up has remained identical – seat for seat. This regatta comes on the back of a win at the European Rowing Championships earlier this month.
But watch out for the Australians. The 2012 World Under-23 Champions jumped to the senior level earlier this year when they raced into the gold medal spot at the World Cup in Sydney. Rebekah Hooper, Jessica Hall, Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey will meet the formidable Germans for the first time at Eton Dorney.
Poland may have a chance at the lesser medals in this small field as they finished a credible fifth at this year’s European Rowing Championships. Two members of the Polish crew have changed since Seville: Magdalena Fularczyk, an Olympic bronze medallist and World Champion in the women’s double sculls and Natalia Madaj have come in to replace Agnieszka Kobus and Maria Springwald. Fularczyk and Madaj won silver in the women’s double sculls at the European Rowing Championships.
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x)
It will be very hard to look past Germany. They are the reigning Olympic Champions and there has been just one crew member change since London. The crew won gold at the European Rowing Championships earlier this month indicating their 2013 boat speed.
Meanwhile 2012 Olympic silver medallists, Croatia finished an uncharacteristic sixth at the Europeans. But it is likely that this can be counted as a slight blimp in their racing profile and that they will come back stronger than before.
Impressing the crowd at Seville was the new-look Polish crew. Their boat has been built around Beijing Olympic Champion Konrad Wasielewski and it looks like the new line-up are worthy medal contenders.
Watch out too for Great Britain and New Zealand. These two countries finished first and second respectively at the Sydney World Cup in March. Since then the Kiwi crew has kept the same members but in a different order while the British crew retain three members of the Sydney crew with Peter Lambert swapping into stroke seat.
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x)
This event has attracted a number of the single scullers that raced at the 2013 European Rowing Championships earlier this month in Seville. Amongst the Eton Dorney entries Magdalena Lobnig of Austria achieved the highest standing at the European Championships, finishing second to 2012 Olympic Champion Mirka Knapkova (CZE).
Knapkova is not racing in Eton, giving Lobnig a chance to aim for the top spot. Just behind Lobnig in Seville, finishing in fourth place, was single sculling stalwart Frida Svensson of
Sweden. Never discount Svensson; when she has a good race she can be the best in the world.
Appearing at her first international race this season is Olympic fourth-placed single sculler, Emma Twigg of New Zealand. Watch out too for Eleanor Logan of the United States. Logan is best known for her Olympic Champion status from the women’s eight but has raced successfully in the single at the World Cup in Sydney, where she secured a bronze medal.
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x)
It will be nearly impossible to look past Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic. Synek is the London Olympic silver medallist and when he raced at the European Rowing Championships earlier this month Synek showed that he had lost none of his Olympic speed or tactics. Synek finished first at the Europeans followed by Germany’s Marcel Hacker in second and Roel Braas of the Netherlands in third. All three of these scullers are racing at Eton.
Hacker’s European silver medal also showed that he has 2013 form with Braas building on his new-found talent in the single. Braas did most of his recent international racing in the men’s eight with a fifth-place at the London Olympic Games. Before that Braas was a regular in the single.
But the big challenge for Synek may come from Alan Campbell of Great Britain. The last time Campbell raced internationally was on these Eton Dorney waters in the Olympic Games A-final when he took the bronze medal. Campbell is back and has been posting good results in British singles trials.
Watch out too for Joseph Sullivan from New Zealand. Sullivan, like Campbell, had his last international race at Eton Dorney when he became the Olympic Champion in the men’s double sculls. In the absence of Olympic Champion in the single Mahe Drysdale, Sullivan will be giving it his best.
Men’s Eight (M8+)
Great Britain has entered two boats with the top boat including six members of the crew that won at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney. In this boat and leading the charge to go after gold will be Olympic Champions from the men’s four Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed in stroke and seven seats.This British number one boat will be a hard one to beat but it is likely that Poland will give it a good shot.
This very stable Polish crew finished second behind Germany at the European Rowing Championships and it looks like they have renewed confidence coming into the 2013 season after finishing seventh at the London Olympics.
Keep an eye out too for France. This new 2013 crew finished fourth at the European Rowing
Championships and put in a very strong effort in the process.