Who to Watch at World Rowing Cup III Rotterdam
The trailers full of boats have been pulling into Rotterdam all week as rowers set themselves up ready for the third and final World Rowing Cup of the season. This is the last chance for crews to test themselves before the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
Racing goes from 12-14 July on Rotterdam’s international regatta course, the Willem Alexanderbaan and includes the historic Dutch Holland Beker Regatta. More that 700 athletes from 42 nations are competing with the overall World Cup winner for 2019 decided at the end of the regatta.
Women’s pair (W2-)
This boat class has an impressive 20 entries. The Kiwi pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler were back on top at their first race of the season, the World Rowing Cup in Poznan. They then went on to win at the Henley Royal Regatta last weekend. In the absence of the 2018 World Champion crew from Canada, the New Zealanders may have an easy time of making the podium.
Prendergast and Gowler, however, will face a tough race from the Australian pair of Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre. This duo recently finished just a few seconds behind the Kiwis at Poznan. With a bit more time training together, they might challenge for the top of the podium.
The Oceania crews will face the 2019 European Champions from Spain, Aina Cid and Virginia Diaz Rivas, for the first time this season. They’ll also expect a challenge from two top Romanian pairs. The European silver medallist line-up from Romania has not been entered, but with two new combinations, Romania is likely to show speed. Watch out too for the Netherlands, they won the first World Rowing Cup this season.
Men’s pair (M2-)
The World and European Champions, the Sinkovic brothers, did not race at the second World Rowing Cup due to injury, but are back for this World Cup. Instead at the second World Cup, the crews from Australia and New Zealand stepped up to the podium.
For Rotterdam, Australia has entered two new crews, both with top sweep rowers. Alexander Hill and Spencer Turrin are Australia 1 with Joshua Hicks and Sam Hardy rowing as Australia 2. Three of these rowers are World Champions from the men’s four. New Zealand has returned with Thomas Murray and Michael Brake who were second at World Rowing Cup II. Watch out too for the European silver medallists from Romania, Ciprian Tudosa and Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc, as well as top crews from Great Britain and the Czech Republic.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
There are 24 entries in this boat class and all eyes will be on the new German sensations, Jason Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann. Osborne and Rommelmann have already proved themselves this season by becoming European Champions and winning at the second World Rowing Cup.
Australia’s crew of Hamish Parry and Leon Chambers finished third at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan and will certainly have a podium chance in Rotterdam. They’ll also have steep competition from Belgium’s Tim Brys and Niels van Zandeweghe. The Belgians won the first World Rowing Cup and have a stack of medals to their names.
Watch out too for Norway. Are Strandli and Kristoffer Brun haven’t competed together since the 2018 World Rowing Championships where they finished 5th. But they are regulars on the podium and are likely to challenge for a medal. And keep an eye on a new Irish combination of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy. Nobody will know what to expect from them.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
The home crowd will be cheering for the poster women of the World Rowing Cup in Rotterdam, Ilse Paulis and Marieke Keijser. Their image has been plastered on a huge building in the middle of the city. This is their first international race together for 2019 as Keijser has been side-lined due to injury, but did manage to race the lightweight single to a bronze medal at the European Championshps. The duo won bronze at last year’s World Rowing Championships.
Paulis and Keijser will go up against the New Zealand combination of Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride. After struggling in the 2018 season, Kiddle and McBride look to be back on form, having won the second World Rowing Cup ahead of Italy and China. Italy is not entered in Rotterdam, but China will certainly challenge for the medals. The crew of Dandan Pan and Wenyi Huang line up for a second time this season with Pan also in the boat that won at World Rowing Cup I.
Watch out too for Frederique Rol and Patricia Mertz of Switzerland. They finished third at the European Rowing Championships, but were relegated to the B-final at the second World Rowing Cup after a tough semifinal.
Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x)
This will be a tough race to call. China won the first two World Rowing Cups. but is not entered in Rotterdam. That will make room for a battle between Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.
Germany won the European Rowing Championships and then took bronze at the second World Rowing Cup in Poznan. Poland, who are the reigning World Champions, got the better of them by just a fraction of a second to finish with the silver medal behind China. But Poland finished fourth a few weeks earlier at the European Rowing Championships.
The Netherlands won silver at the European Rowing Championships and sent an under-23 crew to the World Rowing Cup in Poznan, where they finished in fifth. The silver medal crew is back to race in front of their home crowd.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
Poland won the first and second World Rowing Cups of the season. They are one of the 11 crews set to compete in Rotterdam and are one of the favourites to take home a medal. They will, however, go up against the Dutch for the first time this season.
The Netherlands crew recorded a convincing win at the European Rowing Championships, ahead of Italy and Great Britain In Rotterdam, the Dutch will have the encouragement of the home crowd to help with their speed.
Both Poland and the Netherlands will have to fend off the crews from Oceania though. Australia finished second at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan with New Zealand taking third. Both crews look to be on form this season. And don’t forget about Great Britain and Germany. They have been at the edge of the podium a couple times this season and historically are fast in this boat class.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
The Swiss combination of Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeoesli are having a great season so far. They finished with a silver medal at the European Rowing Championships before winning gold at the second World Rowing Cup. They might be the crew to beat in Rotterdam. But it won’t be easy.
Poland has had mixed results so far this season. Fabian Baranski and Miroslaw Zietarski of Poland became European Champions ahead of the Swiss, but they changed their line-up for the second World Rowing Cup and finished fourth. Zietarski will race with Mateusz Biskup in Rotterdam and it is anyone’s guess where they will finish.
Watch out too for Great Britain and Germany. The British crew of Thomas Graeme and John Collins won silver at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan and also won last weekend at the Henley Royal Regatta. The new German combination of Tim Ole Naske and Stephan Krueger took bronze in Poznan. They will also challenge for the medals in Rotterdam.
Women’s double sculls (W2x)
There are 14 crews entered and in the absence of World Rowing Cup II winners, New Zealand there are a number of crews that have the ability to step up.
Australia’s crew of Amanda Bateman and Genevieve Horton finished third at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan and are likely to compete for the medals again. They will be challenged by Ellen Tomek and Meghan O’Leary of the United States who finished fourth in Poznan and have a heap of experience to their names.
Watch out too for the European Champions from Germany, Leonie Menzel and Carlotta Nwajide. They have had mixed results, finishing in the B-final at the second World Rowing Cup. But if they find their European Championship magic, they are likely to find the podium as well. And don’t count out Romania. They are silver medallists from the European Championships.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
This boat class has really had a shake-up. Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen has been working his way up the ranks and finished first at World Rowing Cup II. Neilsen might just be the one to beat if he manages to maintain his speed.
Croatia’s Damir Martin has had mixed results, finishing first at World Rowing Cup I, but falling to fifth at the European Championships. If Martin’s on form, he is likely to challenge for the medals. It’s a similar story for the reigning World Champion, Kjetil Borch of Norway. Borch has been struggling with injury and is working his way back to full-form. He finished sixth at World Rowing Cup II, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him faster in Rotterdam.
Don’t count out Robert Manson of New Zealand either. Manson beat out two-time Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale for the New Zealand team spot in the men’s single, but he finished in the B-final at his first international appearance. Oliver Zeidler of Germany and Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic are both also likely to put up good races. Zeidler recently won at the Henley Royal Regatta and Synek is a three-time Olympic medallist.
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
Reigning World and European Champion Sanita Puspure of Ireland is a late withdrawl leaving the field open for a big clash between 2017 World Champion, Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland and World Rowing Cup II winner Emma Twigg of New Zealand.
Twigg is making her comeback for the 2020 Olympic Games and is spending the season in Europe. She won last weekend at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Watch out too for Miroslava Topinkova Knapkova. The Czech Olympic Champion from 2012 has been rising in the ranks. She finished with a bronze medal at the European Championships, just behind Puspure and Gmelin. Keep an eye out too for Lisa Scheenaard of the Netherlands. Scheenaard has a handful of medals to her name and will be encouraged by her home crowd.
Women’s Four (W4-)
There are 14 crews entered, with several nations entering multiple line-ups. The Danish crew showed they are on-form by winning at the second World Rowing Cup in Poznan, ahead of China and Australia. The Australians have had more training time in Europe and could well step up. They won silver at the 2018 World Rowing Championships and are a known quantity.
Don’t forget about the Netherlands. They are the 2019 European Champions and have entered the same line-up for Rotterdam. Watch out too for Romania and Poland. They have already been on the podium this year and will be medal contenders in Rotterdam.
Men’s four (M4-)
Australia is reigning World Champions. With nearly a new line-up at World Rowing Cup II, they won gold, beating fast crews from Italy, Poland and Great Britain. Italy is not entered in Rotterdam, which opens the doors for Poland and Great Britain to challenge for the podium. Great Britain won gold at the European Rowing Championships and with more time rowing together, it is likely that they have found even more speed.
Poland has settled on a line-up and the crew seems to be gelling well together. Watch out too for Germany. They have some big names in the boat and they won a bronze medal at the European Championships.
Women’s eight (W8+)
Australia surprised the field by taking gold at their first international race this season, the World Rowing Cup in Poznan. They beat the reigning World Champions from the United States as well as world silver medallists from Canada.
The United States is not entered in Rotterdam, leaving the door open for medal challenges from Great Britain and New Zealand. Great Britain finished third at World Rowing Cup II, just ahead of New Zealand. Then New Zealand beat the British last weekend at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Watch out too for Romania. They won the European Championships but did not race in Poznan. They have had mixed results over the last two years and must be looking for crew stability.
Men’s eight (M8+)
The Germans maintained their winning streak at the second World Rowing Cup and come to Rotterdam as favourites. The British, however, have come close twice this year with two silver medals. season. Will they be able to beat Germany?
The United States has entered a crew for the first time this year. They will be looking to see where they measure up before the Olympic qualification at the World Rowing Championships. Watch out too for the Netherlands. They finished third at the European Rowing Championships. And don’t count out the New Zealanders. They have Hamish Bond and Mahe Drysdale on board and finished fourth at the second World Rowing Cup then went on to beat the British at the Henley Royal Regatta.
International boat classes
The lightweight women’s single sculls has an impressive 18 entries. Australia’s Georgia Nesbitt could be the one to beat. She finished third at the World Rowing Cup a few weeks ago. New Zealand’s Sophie MacKenzie is making a comeback, racing for the first time since the 2016 Rio Olympics. Watch out too for Great Britain’s Imogen Grant.
The favourite in the lightweight men’s single sculls might be Australia’s Sean Murphy. Murphy won at the second World Rowing Cup a few weeks ago ahead of Hungary and Poland. In the absence of these two, challenges are likely to come from Germany’s Lucas Schaefer and Croatia’s Luka Radonic.
In the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls the crew to beat might be the Netherlands. They finished second at the European Rowing Championships. They will face tough competition from Germany and China.
It will be a close race in the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls. The Netherlands, Germany and China are all top countries in lightweight rowing and they have entered quick crews.
In the lightweight men’s pair, the crew to beat is probably the Czech Republic. Jiri Kopac and Jan Hajek have switched between sculling and sweeping and have a handful of medals to their name.
Para-rowing boat classes
This is the second World Rowing Cup for the para-rowing disciplines and in the para PR1 men’s single sculls there is no doubt about the favourite. Ukraine’s Roman Polianksyi has shown his form this year by winning the FISA International Para-Rowing Regatta and the second World Rowing Cup ahead of Australia’s Erik Horrie. Horrie is not racing in Rotterdam, leaving a spot open on the podium. Watch out for Lithuania’s Augustus Navickas who finished fifth in Poznan and Brazil’s Rene Pereira who was an A-finalist at last year’s World Rowing Championships.
The favourite in the para PR1 women’s single sculls has to be Birgit Skarstein of Norway. Skarstein has dominated this boat class for the last two years and is likely to remain there. But watch out for Israel’s Moran Samuel. She is the silver medallist from last year’s World Rowing Championships. And keep an eye on Ukraine’s Anna Shermet. Shermete finished third at the World Rowing Cup II.
Annika van der Meer and Corne de Koning from the Netherlands seem to be unstoppable in the para PR2 mixed double sculls. They are reigning World Champions and recently won the World Rowing Cup in Poznan. They will go up against Ukraine.
The top four finishing crews from the second World Rowing Cup in the para PR3 mixed coxed four have not entered, leaving the podium spots open. The Netherlands finished fifth in Poznan, meaning they might have a medal opportunity in front of their home crowd. They are likely to be challenged by the crew from Ukraine.