Who to Watch at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships
The most important event of the year for under-23 rowers, the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships is warming up in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, United States with nearly 700 athletes competing.
This is the chance for rowers to go after under-23 World Championship titles and 53 nations have turned up to do exactly this. The United States has entered boats in all of the 22 boat classes with Germany also sending a very large team.
Expect hot temperatures and hot racing at Nathan Benderson Park.
Women’s pair (BW2-)
There’s an impressive 14 entries and the favourites might be the pair from Greece; Maria Kyridou and Christina Bourmpou. The pair has been rowing together for several years, winning the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships and finishing fourth at the under-23 level.
They will have to contend with a strong pair from the host nation, the United States. The USA are reigning under-23 champions, but have a new line-up of Sarah Johanek and Hadley Irwin. Johanek was part of the 2018 bronze-medal winning coxed four and Irwin was in the silver-medal winning women’s eight. Keep an eye on Germany, too. Their new line-up has had quite some experience at the junior and under-23 level.
Men’s pair (BM2-)
South Africa is reigning under-23 world champions in this boat class. Charles Brittain was half of the pair that made it happen last year and he has now teamed up with Luc Daffarn. Daffarn finished fifth in the men’s pair at the under-23s back in 2017.
But they will have a big challenge from the Romanian pair. Florin-Sorin Lehaci and Domitru-Alexandru Ciobica have several years rowing together and are the 2018 under-23 silver medallists. They have also both competed at the senior level and medalled at the World Cup level. Keep an eye too on Germany and the United States. They typically put forward strong crews in this boat class.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (BLM2x)
There are 14 entries and it is a tough race to call. Spain is the reigning under-23 champions, but they have sent a new-look crew of two members from their lightweight men’s quadruple sculls. The 2018 silver medallists from Italy also have a new line-up of Giuseppe di Mare and Niels Torre. Both have medals at the senior level to their name with di Mare switching from sweeping to sculling. They might just be the crew to beat.
Watch out too for New Zealand. Isaac Everitt and Christopher Stockley finished sixth at the 2018 , but hunder-23 championships and have the advantage of one more year rowing together. This is unusual for athletes at the under-23 level.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (BLW2x)
There is quite a bit of experience sitting in the Swiss crew. Sofia Meakin finished fourth in the lightweight single at the 2019 European Rowing Championships. Her partner Eline Rol has a bronze medal from the 2017 junior championships and finished sixth in the lightweight double at the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
They will face a big challenge from the German duo of Luise Asmussen and Cosima Clotten. Asmussen finished third in the lightweight quadruple sculls at the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships and has teamed up with the young Clotten. And don’t forget about China. They have entered a new crew, but are often strong in this category.
Women’s quadruple sculls (BW4x)
The reigning under-23 champions are Romania. They have kept two of their 2018 crew and have added Tabita Maftei, who won the 2018 junior women’s single sculls and Larisa Elena Rosu, who won in the 2018 junior women’s quadruple sculls. With the added talent, this Romanian crew might be unstoppable.
But the 2018 under-23 silver medallists from the Netherlands are also back with one remaining member, Bente Paulis. The crew finished fifth at the senior World Rowing Cup II this year and will be going for gold at the under-23 level. Watch out too for Great Britain and Germany. They finished 3rd and 4th respectively in 2018 and are likely to have medal-contending crews again.
Men’s quadruple sculls (BM4x)
Great Britain has managed to retain three of their four gold medallists from the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. With the addition of the young George Bourne, this crew will certainly look to go for gold.
Italy finished second in 2018, but they have entered an entirely new line-up. And Germany was the bronze medal crew, but have retained only one member, Johannes Lotz, from 2018. The Hungarians might surprise. They have maintained three of the four crew members that finished 4th at last year’s under-23 championships and with another year of training, they might make the podium.
Men’s double sculls (BM2x)
This has 14 entries and Germany could be the crew to beat. They have entered Anton Finger and Henrik Runge, two of the silver-medal winning quadruple sculls from the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
They will have to contend with strong line-ups from New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy. The duo from New Zealand come out of the 2017 gold medal quadruple sculls, but were not entered in 2018. The Swiss and Italian crews both have several medals in the junior and under-23 categories in different boat classes. If they have had enough time rowing together, they will certainly challenge for the podium.
Women’s double sculls (BW2x)
There are quite a few new combinations of the 11 entries, but many of them with significant experience. Germany, Greece, Australia and the United States are among the potential A-finalists in this group.
Elizabeth Shares and Emily Delleman of the USA have medals from the junior and under-23 levels in women’s sculling events. The question is if they are able to row well together. The same is applicable to Anneta Kyridou and Dimitra-Sofia Tsamopoulou of Greece. The final of this race might be a question of who can row the best together.
Men’s single sculls (BM1x)
This boat class has the largest entry with 24 competing countries. The favourite may be 2018 silver medallist Marc Weber of Germany. Weber will go up against the 2018 junior silver medallist from Australia, Cormac Kennedy-Leverett, who is stepping up to the under-23 level.
Watch out too for Lucas Ferreira of Brazil. He finished sixth last year at the under-23 championships. And keep an eye on Mmbudzeni Masutha of South Africa. He finished third at the 2017 World Junior Championships, but was not entered in 2018.
Women’s single sculls (BW1x)
There is a return of 2018 silver and bronze medallists, Emily Kallfelz from the United States and Desislava Angelova from Bulgaria. These are two of the most experienced scullers in the field and are likely to fight for a medal.
Watch out too for Italy’s Clara Guerra. Guerra had an impressive run in the lightweight single sculls, finishing third at last year’s under-23 championships and snagging some senior-level medals along the way. She will now test herself in the open-weight category.
Women’s Four (BW4-)
There are 11 crews entered including many of the top women’s sweep nations entering crews. Russia won the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, but they have entered an entirely new-look crew.
The United States finished in the B-final last year and they have put together a new crew including medallists from their 2018 junior and under-23 eights. With their home country cheering them on, this crew might have a shot at the podium. Watch out too for China, they are historically strong in this category.
Men’s four (BM4-)
The reigning world under-23 champions from Romania are back. They have one returning member, Stefan-Constantin Berariu, who will be joined by three experienced sweep rowers from the Romanian junior and under-23 teams. This crew is likely to be fast.
Great Britain has retained two of their silver-medal winning crew from last year’s event and have completed the line-up with two out of their 2018 under-23 silver-medal men’s eight. Watch out too for New Zealand, Italy and the USA. They’ve regularly been in the A-final in this boat class.
Women’s eight (BW8+)
Canada won last year, but they have not entered a crew in Sarasota-Bradenton. That will leave the top of the podium for the taking and all eyes will be on the host-country, USA. Their women’s sweep programme is very well developed.
The 2018 silver medal crew from the Netherlands is returning with four members and will be looking to beat the home favourites. The rest of the field is completed with Romania, Germany and Great Britain. All three have impressive women’s sweep programmes are a likely to put up strong races.
Men’s eight (BM8+)
The defending champions are the United States. They recently raced at the World Rowing Cup III in Rotterdam and they now go to the under-23s with five members of the crew that won gold in 2018. The British took silver in 2018 and they return with four of the same crew.
Lightweight women’s single sculls (BLW1x)
This has an impressive 15 entries. Watch out for Great Britain’s Susannah Duncan. She finished third in the lightweight women’s double at last year’s under-23 championships. Watch out too for Johanna Reichard of Germany, she comes out of a top lightweight women’s quad.
Lightweight men’s single sculls (BLM1x)
This sees a world-wide entry, with 22 nations participating. The favourite might be 4th place finisher from 2018, Rainer Kepplinger from Austria. Keppligner will go up against 5th place A-finalist, Obbe Durk Tibben from the Netherlands. These two have gained another year of experience and will be going for gold.
Lightweight men’s quadruple sculls (BLM4x)
Italy has quite a tie on this boat class at the senior and under-23 level. They are the reigning under-23 champions and the crew to beat. They will face a big challenge from Ireland, who finished in second last year and will come back strong.
Lightweight women’s quadruple sculls (BLW4x)
The Italians are defending champions and have returned with two members. Watch out too for France and Germany, they regularly finish at the top of the podium.
Lightweight women’s pair (BLW2-)
This is a new category and the USA are reigning under-23 champions. Sarah Maietta returns this year with a new partner. They will go for gold again against tough competition from Germany and Italy.
Lightweight men’s pair (BLM2-)
This has an impressive entry list. Ireland is the reigning under-23 champions, but have not entered. Watch out for Greece and Italy. Both countries have solid line-ups and a history of success in this boat class.
Men’s coxed four (BM4+)
There are eight crews entered in the coxed men’s four with many of the top rowing nations taking part. On paper, the crew to beat might be New Zealand. They have two returning from their 2018 silver medal crew. But the Germans should put up a good fight as well. They have a new line-up, but the members of the crew have quite some experience.
Watch out too for the United States in this category. Three of the crew come from rowing at the University of Washington, one of the top men’s university rowing programmes in the country. This will have given them time to row together as well, which can make the difference in the four.
Women’s coxed four (BM4+)
There are five crews entered in this boat class meaning they will race a preliminary race to determine the lane positioning for the final. Italy and France have the most international experience in the field. Italy has two returning from their silver medal crew of last year. Four in the French crew finished ninth in the women’s eight at last year’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
However, the United States, Canada and Australia complete the field. All three countries have top women’s sweep programmes and are likely to put forward strong crews. The question will be if they have had enough time training together to be able to topple the Italian effort.