Who to watch in rowing at the European Championships
The 2018 European Championships in Glasgow will see rowing being raced at the Strathclyde venue with top rowers like the Sinkovic brothers from Croatia and Jeannine Gmelin from Switzerland lining up to race for the title of European Champion. Here’s who to watch.
Women’s pair (W2-)
The European Championships will see 11 crews compete in the women’s pair, but as many of the top international crews hail from outside Europe, the podium will be open for the taking in Glasgow. The Netherlands has entered their bronze medal crew from World Rowing Cup I and they are likely to be leading the pack.
The Dutch will have to watch out for the challenge coming from Romania. Romania has entered a new line-up of Madalina Bares and Maria Tivodariu. Beres has several medals in the women’s pair with her former partner Laura Oprea. She has teamed up with Tivodariu who won the pair at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships.
Other contenders are likely to be Italy’s line-up of Sara Bertolasi and Alessandra Patelli. This duo finished second behind New Zealand at the second World Cup of the season, closely followed by Great Britain’s second crew of Rowan McKellar and Harriet Taylor. These two seem to have won selection and are entered again in Glasgow.
Men’s pair (M2-)
The 2018 season has been a thriller for the men’s pair. Three different crews have seen the top of the podium at the three World Cups. In Belgrade, it was the Sinkovic brothers from Croatia. In Linz, it was the Czech pair of Jakob Podrazil and Lukas Helesic. And in Lucerne, it was the New Zealanders.
In Glasgow, the crew to watch is Martin and Valent Sinkovic. But the Sinkovic’s will not have an easy time of it. France has entered their all-star crew of Theophile and Valentin Onfroy. They were silver medallists at the 2017 European Championships and they finished in the same position at the third stage of the World Cup. Italy has entered a new line-up of Domenico Montrone and Matteo Lodo. Lodo is reigning European and World Champion in the men’s pair.
Watch out too for Serbia. They finished with a bronze medal at last year’s European Championships and have had a-final finishes at the World Cups so far this year.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
This is always hotly contested and the 19 boats entered in Glasgow are no exception. All eyes will be on the World Rowing Cup III winners from Lucerne, the O’Donovan brothers. The O’Donovan’s typically race from behind and pull out a sprint in the last 500 metres. But in Lucerne, they raced from the front earning a large lead.
Gary and Paul O’Donovan will be watching the Belgian crew of Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe. Belgium was on the podium at all three World Cups this season. Italy is also likely to be in hot contention for a medal. The Italians won the second stage of the World Cup season, the only one in which they were entered.
Don’t forget about Norway either, they are medallists from the Rio Olympics. One question mark is the French crew. They are reigning European and World Champions, but with Jeremie Azou’s retirement, Pierre Houin has been joined by Thomas Baroukh. The crew hasn’t found the podium yet, but perhaps they will in Glasgow.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
The Dutch crew of Ilse Paulis and Marieke Keijser won the World Cup series, “from the couch” as they posted on their Instagram account. They won the first two stages of the event and, despite not rowing at the third stage, they still had enough points to take the title. They are the crew to beat in Glasgow.
Poland won the 2017 European Rowing Championships with Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak racing. Now Deresz is paired up with Joanna Dorociak. Will Glasgow work for this new duo?
Switzerland has entered their bronze medal winning crew from Lucerne, Frederique Rol and Patricia Mertz. If this duo is able to maintain their speed, they are likely to be in contention for a medal again in Glasgow. Watch out too for Great Britain. They took some time to make their final selection, but the support from the home crowd might just put them into contention.
Men’s four (M4-)
Reigning European Champions Italy has entered almost the same line-up as last year, putting Vincenzo Abbagnale in for Domenico Montrone and they may be the crew to beat.
A big challenge will come from the Netherlands. The Dutch took some time to settle on a line-up during the World Cup series, but the final combination scored silver at World Rowing Cup III and the same line-up is entered in Glasgow.
Watch out too for Romania. They have had medal finishes already this season and despite some inconsistent performances, they could finish in the medals. Don’t forget Germany. Their men’s four is typically a feeder boat for the men’s eight, but this line-up has seen success so far this season.
Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x)
The 2017 European title went to Germany, just ahead of the Netherlands. Germany has completely changed their line-up for 2018 and they have been climbing the ranks over the World Cup season. The Germans finished on top of the podium twice. But there will be a lot at play in the boat class.
The Netherlands has been trying different line-ups this season. They won gold at the first World Cup and bronze at World Rowing Cup III, before settling with the current combination.
Great Britain has also seen recent success in the women’s quad. They were bronze medallists from the 2017 European Championships. Don’t forget about Poland either. They have had several podium finishes and are definite contenders to finish with a medal.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
The men’s quadruple sculls regularly sees close finishes. On any given day, the order in which they cross the line can change. Great Britain managed to win at the last World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, showing they are definitely on-form this season.
Reigning European Champions, Lithuania finished sixth, but only a few seconds behind Great Britain. Lithuania has made a key change in their line-up by putting the experienced Rolandas Mascinskas back in. There are now three of the four members that won at last year’s event. The Netherlands won silver in Lucerne and are definitely medal contenders for Glasgow. They’ve kept the same line-up.
Watch out too for Germany and Poland. Poland finished with a bronze medal in Lucerne and have seen quite some success in this boat class. Germany has been working to find medal success again, after having an historically successful men’s quad. Their line-up seems to be going well so far this season.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
The men’s double sculls saw an incredible sprint finish at the final stage of World Rowing Cup III last month. Poland first, Germany second and Switzerland third. Poland’s crew of Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup are not strangers to the podium. They were silver medallists at the 2017 European Championships and have picked up a host of medals along the way.
Switzerland has also changed their line-up from the last regatta, World Rowing Cup III. Barnable Delarze is now paired with Nico Stahlberg putting Roman Roeoesli back into the single. These three rowers have all seen success in various line-ups and it looks like it must be hart to pick the crew.
Germany has entered a new combination of Max Appel and Stephan Riemekasten. We will have to see how they perform.
Watch out too for Great Britain. They won the second stage of the World Cup series and although they didn’t race in Lucerne, they should be medal contenders in Glasgow.
Women’s double sculls (W2x)
The early-season leaders of Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard of the Netherlands are back in the double together and looking for a top performance in Glasgow. Scheenaard claimed a silver medal at the 2017 European Championships with then-partner Marloes Oldenburg. Scheenaard and de Jong have been racing well together so far this season and look to be the crew to beat.
Lithuania has entered their combination of Ieva Adomaviciute and Milda Valciukaite. This duo has seen scattered podium success and they are regularly in the final. The 2017 European Champions in this boat class was the Czech Republic. Lenka Antosova and Kristyna Fleissnerova had an outstanding performance in front of home crowds. They have not been able to repeat their gold medal, but they will be looking to do so in Glasgow.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
The Olympic silver medallist, Damir Martin of Croatia has had some ups and downs since his Olympic glory, but he will be hoping to be back on form in Glasgow. Watch out too for Switzerland’s Roman Roeoesli. He recently won bronze in the men’s double sculls but has gone back to the single for this event.
Other top names include Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis. He is an experienced sculler with several medals to his name. Norway’s Kjetil Borch won Olympic bronze in the men’s double and is mounting his 2018 campaign in the single. And Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, who had quite a bit of success at the under-23 level and is stepping up to the senior level.
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
All eyes will be on Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland. After her rise to the top in 2017 and World Champion status, she hasn’t lost an international race. The closest it came to Gmelin being beaten was at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne. Sanita Puspure, the 36-year-old from Ireland, pushed Gmelin right to the line.
Puspure has regularly finished in the final and really seems to be coming into her own. Her speed in Lucerne shows that she might have what it takes to be on top of the podium.
Watch out too for Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. Lobnig finished second at the second World Cup in Linz-Ottensheim and has a European Championship title from 2016. She will definitely be in medal contention. And don’t forget reigning European Champion Victoria Thornley of Great Britain. She was not able to find early-season speed, but Thornley is likely to be pushed on by the home crowd.
Men’s eight (M8+)
The men’s eight is always exciting. With 54 people on the water at the same time, the noise, speed and intensity are extremely high. Germany is leading the field, having won all three World Cup regattas this season. They are also reigning World and European Champions and back with the same rowers.
Right on the Germans tails will be the Dutch and the British. The Dutch finished a close third (behind Australia) at the third World Cup of the season and have settled on their top line-up for the European Championships. The British have also stacked their eight with some of their top names. Olympic Champion Mohamed Sbihi will surely be driving it from five seat.
Women’s eight (W8+)
The Dutch, the Romanians and the British will be battling it out for places on the podium in the women’s eight. The Romanians are the reigning World Champions, but so far this season, they haven’t managed to find the same speed.
The Dutch had an impressive performance at the first World Cup of the season, taking home the gold medal, but they’ve had some changes to their line-up. The British have had several solid performances but are also still shaking up their line-up.
Women’s Four (W4-)
The women’s four is the new Olympic boat class and it has sparked great interest around the world. Great Britain and the Netherlands have posted successful line-ups so far this season, although line-ups seem to be changing.
The Dutch crew who won gold at the first World Cup of the season has been broken apart and replaced by a new line-up. The British crew that won silver at the second World Cup has also changed. And so has the Danish line-up that won silver at the third World Cup. Keep an eye on Romania. They have a strong women’s sweep programme and will look for a podium finish in Glasgow.
Lightweight Women’s Single (LW1x)
The 2017 European Champion in the lightweight women’s single was Emma Fredh of Sweden. Fredh is entered again this year and will definitely seek a repeat performance. She raced to a fifth-place finish earlier this year, so she’ll have some work to do to beat the rest of the pack.
Belarus’ Alena Furman won gold at the first two world cups of the season. Her recent success might just make her the crew to beat in Glasgow. Italy’s Clara Guerra has also had medal success so far this year as has Poland’s Kataryzna Welna. Expect close finishes.
Lightweight Men’s Single (LM1x)
It was Switzerland’s Michael Schmid who bested the field at the final stage of the World Cup in Lucerne. Schmid has been on the podium at every World Cup this season and is the reigning European Champion. He looks to be on track for another gold in Glasgow.
Schmid will face competition from Italy’s Martino Goretti, who won bronze at World Rowing Cup II. Germany has entered Lars Wichert who has recorded a third and fourth-place finish this year so far.
Watch out too for Hungary’s Peter Galambos. He came second at the 2017 European Championships and has various medals under his belt.