Who to watch at World Rowing Cup III, Lucerne
The third and final World Rowing Cup for the 2018 season is nearly upon us. As has become a regular occurrence, Lucerne, Switzerland plays host to this third World Cup and it won’t just be about winning medals.
As well as the medals, some nations are using this regatta to help select their final team for the 2018 World Rowing Championships to take place this September. Standing out is the men’s single sculls. New Zealand scullers Robbie Manson and Mahe Drysdale will be racing for their spot on the World Championship team. In the same boat class, so will Germany’s Tim Ole Naske and Oliver Zeidler.
Also keep an eye out for Australia. They have the biggest team here as their under-23 team are using this regatta to prepare for the World Rowing Under 23 Championships due to take place later this month in Poland. Can the under-23’s beat their senior counterparts?
This final World Cup means an overall country winner will be named at the end of the regatta. Currently … is leading the points table…
Have a look through World Rowing’s predictions of Who will be the ones to watch in Lucerne.
Women’s pair (W2-)
In the women’s pair, Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast of New Zealand are in a league of their own. They are not only World Champions and World Best Time holders, but at their first event of the season in Linz-Ottensheim (World Rowing Cup II), they won with a seven second lead over the rest of the field.
Gowler and Prendergast are likely to be challenged by the Canadian crew of Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens. Filmer and Janssens won gold at the first World Cup but haven’t had a chance to race the Kiwis yet this season. Lucerne will be the first opportunity for these crews to race head-to-head.
Spain had early season success, winning silver in Belgrade at World Rowing Cup I. They are entered again in Lucerne and will be looking for a medal. The world bronze medallists, Christina Johansen and Hedvig Rasmussen from Denmark struggled to find their rhythm in Belgrade, but are definitely challengers in this event. Watch out too for the United States. They’ve entered two new crews and typically have strong women’s sweep rowers.
Men’s pair (M2-)
The men’s pair is heating up. After many years of domination by the Kiwis, the top spot on the podium has been claimed by many different crews. At the second World Cup, the Czech pair of Jakob Podrazil and Lukas Helesic rowed an excellent race to take the gold medal ahead of Olympic Champions in the men’s double, Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia. Both the Czechs and the Croatians are entered in Lucerne and it is anyone’s guess who will come out on top.
The French have entered two pairs again, including bronze medallists from Linz-Ottensheim, the Onfroy brothers. This pair has been climbing the ranks in the last few years and are likely contenders for a medal. The Irish have entered their gold medal lightweight men’s pair, who have decided to give it a go in the openweight category. If the conditions are right, these two might just be on the podium.
Watch out too for Great Britain. Their second crew finished fifth in Linz-Ottensheim and with some more time together, they might have gained extra speed.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
The two leaders from the second World Cup, Italy and Norway are not entered in Lucerne, which means medals are up for grabs. Belgium snagged silver in Belgrade in a tight race to the line and managed bronze in Linz-Ottensheim. They are favourites to be on the podium again.
The Olympic silver medallists from Ireland, the O’Donovan brothers are back after taking bronze behind Belgium in Belgrade. They are known for their sprint finishes, but they will have to start quickly to keep up with the pace. France has entered their new combination of Pierre Houin and Thomas Baroukh. This duo hasn’t had much time together but they still managed to finish fourth in Linz-Ottensheim.
Watch out too for Poland. They finished first in Belgrade and then were tossed off the podium in Linz-Ottensheim, finishing fifth. Germany, Switzerland and Canada have all had A-final finishes so far this season and could also be in the mix for medals.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
Italy dominated the lightweight categories in Linz-Ottensheim but the nation is not entered at the third World Cup in Lucerne. Also absent are the Dutch duo of Ilse Paulis and Marieke Keijser. That means eyes will turn to bronze medallists from Belgrade; South Africa. The new combination of Kirsten McCann, World Champion in the lightweight women’s single, and partner Nicole van Wyk is moving well.
Watch out too for Switzerland’s Frederique Rol and Patricia Mertz. They finished fourth in a very tight race in Linz-Ottensheim and will be racing in front of a home crowd in Lucerne. Competition will come from New Zealand, who are world silver medallists, but finished fifth at Linz-Ottensheim last month. Also watch for Poland who dominated the 2017 season and were in the A-final in Linz-Ottensheim.
Women’s Four (W4-)
The crew to beat is Australia. They have the World Championship title and won gold at their first event of the season in Linz-Ottensheim. Early-season medallists from Great Britain and the Netherlands have not entered crews in Lucerne, leaving some room on the podium.
China finished third at the second World Cup in Linz-Ottensheim and are in a good position to win a medal in Lucerne. China is developing their women’s sweep programme and we’re likely to see more medals from them in the coming years.
Watch out too for the United States and Canada. They both have strong eights and are likely to be in a good position in the women’s fours.
Men’s four (M4-)
The World Champions, Australia, looked incredible smooth racing at the second World Rowing Cup in Linz-Ottensheim. This boat seems to have found a great rhythm and it will be hard to stop them. Australia’s closest competition in Linz-Ottensheim came from Romania, who are not entered in Lucerne.
Instead Australia will have to watch out for fast crews from Germany and Great Britain.
Germany settled on their new line-up in Linz-Ottensheim and the crew was able to finish with a bronze medal. Great Britain entered two crews in Linz-Ottensheim and the “second” crew beat the first to the line. They have again entered two crews and might be using Lucerne as an internal selection. The British seem to be keeping their big names in the men’s eight.
Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x)
Germany came out on top at the second World Rowing Cup with a three-second margin ahead of China. They have entered two crews in Lucerne and are definitely favourites for a medal. China will be looking to improve on their second-place finish and have entered the same line-up.
Australia has entered two crews, including their bronze medal crew from the second World Cup where they finished just half a second behind China. The crew is relatively young, but includes the experienced Olympia Aldersey, who earned a bronze medal in the women’s double at the 2017 World Championships.
Watch out too for the Dutch. They have gone back to their first line-up of the season, with Karolien Florijn in the boat. That crew won gold at the first world cup of the season ahead of Poland and Germany. And don’t forget Poland. They finished second at the first world cup and were A-finalists in Linz-Ottensheim.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
The A-final in Linz-Ottensheim was scorching. All six boats finished within six seconds of each other with the medals being determined by fractions of seconds. Italy finished first but have not entered here in Lucerne. Then it was the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Poland.
The Dutch are back with the same line-up, which looks to be their fastest combination. Germany has also entered the same line-up, which includes Hans Gruhne, the only remaining member from the German Olympic Champion quad. Gruhne took a year out of racing in 2017 and he is now back in the mix and helping to propel the German quad to success.
Linz-Ottensheim was the first event for both Australia and New Zealand and they are likely to have gone back to work after finishing outside the medals. Lucerne will be the last big test for these crews before the World Championships in September.
Don’t forget about Lithuania. This is the first time we’ve seen their World Champion quad this season and they are likely to be fast. The men’s quad will certainly be a great race to watch in Lucerne.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
It was a surprise when reigning World Champions John Storey and Christopher Harris of New Zealand were dethroned in Linz-Ottensheim. Instead the British crew of Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom claimed the gold medal. Beaumont and Groom, however, won’t be racing in Lucerne, leaving medals door open.
Germany came second in Linz-Ottensheim, with their line-up of Lars Hartig and Timo Piontek. Hartig was a lightweight rower and seems to have successfully transitioned to the openweight category.
In third place was the Swiss combination of Nico Stahlberg and Roman Roeoesli. Both have had success in various line-ups over the last few years and seem to have found speed together. They will have the home-advantage in Lucerne and are definitely medal contenders. Watch out too for the French duo Matthieu Androdias and Hugo Bucheron. They finished fifth in Linz-Ottensheim but were only a couple seconds off the pace.
Women’s double sculls (W2x)
It was no surprise to see the New Zealand combination of Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe top the podium in Linz-Ottensheim. They are the reigning World Champions and have maintained their status of ‘the crew to beat’.
Right on their tail was the Dutch double with Karolien Florijn and Roos de Jong. With Florijn back in the women’s quad, Lisa Scheenaard is in the double with de Jong. This duo has already proved their speed by winning gold at the first event of the season in Belgrade.
The Dutch will likely be challenged by the Lithuanian crew of Milda Valciukaite and Ieva Adomaviciute. Valciukaite is a World Champion from 2013 and Olympic medallist from Rio and has now paired up with Adomaviciute. They finished with a bronze medal in Belgrade.
Germany has been on the podium at both World Cups so far this season, but they have not entered a double in Lucerne, instead focusing on two women’s quads. Keep an eye on Switzerland as well. The Swiss finished fifth in Linz-Ottensheim but will have home crowds cheering them on in Lucerne.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
New Zealand and Germany have an enviable problem: two very fast scullers each. New Zealand has once again entered both Robbie Manson and Mahe Drysdale. Drysdale is a double Olympic Champion who took a year off racing in 2017. Manson is the World Best Time holder from 2017 and he also won his first event of the season in Linz-Ottensheim when Drysdale had to withdraw due to illness. The race between the two in Lucerne is rumoured to determine who will represent New Zealand at the World Rowing Championships later this year in Plovdiv.
Germany earned two medals at the World Cup in Linz-Ottensheim when both Tim Ole Naske and Oliver Zeidler were on the podium. Naske has been on the rowing scene for several years, working his way up the ranks through juniors and under-23s. Zeidler is new to rowing, coming from a competitive swimming background. He has impressive physique but has not had much racing experience. Naske finished ahead in Linz-Ottensheim. Both are entered again in Lucerne so it appears the testing will continue.
Then throw in Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic. He’s the reigning World Champion and recent Holland Beker winner. And there’s also Olympic silver medallist from Croatia Damir Martin in the mix. What a line-up! Don’t miss it.
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
Jeannine Gmelin and Magdalena Lobnig had an excellent race at the second World Rowing Cup in Linz-Ottensheim. Lobnig lead for the first half, attempting to pull off a win in front of her home crowd. But Gmelin proved to have more power and got her bow in front to win gold. At this point, no one has been able to match Gmelin’s speed and endurance. Don’t be surprised to see both of them on the podium in Lucerne.
It was Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark who grabbed the bronze medal in Linz-Ottensheim. Erichsen is Olympic silver medallist from London 2012, but she has had a couple seasons off in the meantime and has been working her way back to top form.
Watch out too for Germany’s Annekatrin Thiele. Thiele was part of the German quad that won Olympic gold but switched to the single in 2017. She has yet to be on the podium this season although she recently won the Ladies’ Trophy at the Holland Beker in the Netherlands.
Men’s eight (M8+)
With eleven crews entered in the men’s eight, the racing will be intense. Of course, the hot favourite is the crew from Germany. They are not only reigning World Champions but have proven their speed by winning both the first and second world cups this season.
At the second World Rowing Cup in Linz-Ottensheim, Great Britain was the closest challenger. Surprisingly, they have not entered a crew in Lucerne. That makes the next most-likely contender the Netherlands. They have entered two crews again. In Linz-Ottensheim, their first crew beat their second crew by just 0.3 seconds.
The United States and Canada have also entered crews for the first time this season. They have both historically had fast men’s eights. It will be interesting to see where they sit at this point in the season. Watch out too for Australia who were sixth in Linz-Ottensheim.
Women’s eight (W8+)
The Dutch surprised the field in Linz-Ottensheim by cruising to a gold medal. They have entered almost the same line-up for Lucerne and will be gunning for gold again. New Zealand was their closest competitor in Linz-Ottensheim. New Zealand is known for their fast third quarter of the race and if they can find a bit more speed off the start, they might just get the better of the Dutch.
Lucerne will also have new competition from the United States and Canada. Canada won an impressive silver medal at last year’s World Championships, ahead of New Zealand. Watch out too for the United States. They had an 11-year winning streak at the World Championship and Olympic level and despite finishing fourth last year, they have a strong women’s sweep rowing programme and are likely to be back with a good crew.