Who to watch at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan
The World Rowing season moves on to World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland with the numbers of countries increasing and an expectation of some rain at the Malta Lake regatta course.
Australia, New Zealand and China will reveal their post-Olympic team for the first time this season and will be joined by a number of South American nations also coming to their first World Rowing regatta for 2017.
Women’s pair (W2-)
Great Britain medalled twice this season in the women’s pair with the new combination of Holly Norton and Karen Bennett, but a last minute call-up into the British eight for Bennett means this pair will not be able to race at Poznan. Instead it will be a different boat with Anastasia Chitty and Rebecca Girling, two new athletes at the senior level.
New Zealand, the 2016 Olympic silver medallists, will be sending two crews to Poznan, albeit different from the one that raced in Rio. Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler are the more experienced crew, having medalled internationally in the women’s eight and women’s pair including silver in both of these boat classes from the 2015 World Rowing Championships.
This is a prime boat class for the United States and they have entered two boats. One of them includes multi-Olympian Megan Kalmoe and new pair partner Tracy Eisser. Both raced at the 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s quadruple sculls.
Men’s pair (M2-)
The European Championship silver medallists from France, brothers Valentin and Theophile Onfroy will be challenging the field once again, as will the Serbian duo of Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik who took silver at World Rowing Cup I and bronze at the European Rowing Championships.
Keep looking out for the Czech crew of Jakub Podrazil and Lukas Helesic who won bronze at World Rowing Cup I and finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships.
New Zealand is sending two new-look crews in this boat class. The first crew includes Olympian from the men’s eight, Thomas Murray and Olympian from the lightweight men’s four, James Hunter. Great Britain has removed two crews due to illness.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
The Polish combination of Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak are leading the way so far this season. They competed at World Rowing Cup I and the European Rowing Championships, winning gold at both regattas. Will they manage a third consecutive win at World Rowing Cup II?
Great Britain will be turning up with two crews including the duo of Katherine Copeland and Emily Craig who won bronze at the European Rowing Championships. Copeland also won silver at World Rowing Cup I with another partner, Charlotte Booth.
Watch out for the new-look Kiwi crew. The multi World Champion and World Best Time holder in the lightweight women’s single sculls Zoe McBride will race in the lightweight double in Poznan with Jackie Kiddle, the 2015 under-23 World Champion in this event.
Two Chinese crews will be racing, one of which includes the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in this event, Feihong Pan.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
The 2017 European Rowing Champions and reigning Olympic Champions must be the crew to beat. They are the French duo of Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin. A win in Poznan will extend their now lengthy winning streak.
The O’Donovan brothers from Ireland, Gary and Paul, won silver at this year’s European Rowing Championships after finishing fourth at World Rowing Cup I. They are also the Olympic silver medallists from Rio and their confidence continues to grow along with the confidence of rowing in the whole of Ireland.
Keep an eye out too for the Poles. Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski took bronze at World Rowing Cup I and finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships. Winners of World Rowing Cup I, Great Britain have had to withdraw at the last minute.
Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x)
Despite Germany’s dominance in this boat class, the recent European Rowing Championships showed that the Netherlands, Great Britain and Poland are very ready to challenge to Germans. Germany won at the European Championships, but by a small margin. So for Poznan, Germany has made two changes to their line-up. With Daniela Schultze and Frieda Haemmerling racing in the double, Carlotta Nwajde and Julia Leiding have now joined the quad.
Poland won gold in Belgrade and then finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships. They will race with the same crew in Poznan and with the home crowd advantage, they will create a formidable challenge. Two of the Polish athletes are Olympic bronze medallists from Rio – Maria Springwald and Agnieszka Kobus.
Great Britain will send the same boat that raced in Belgrade and in Racice and won bronze twice. Their two medals will certainly have boosted their confidence.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
Two of the crews that raced at the first World Rowing Cup and the European Rowing Championships, Poland and Great Britain will be racing again.
Poland won silver at World Rowing Cup I and at the European Rowing Championships where they had two new athletes in the boat. In Poznan the same line-up as at World Rowing Cup I will be racing – this time, however, with the home crowd advantage.
Great Britain has tried a variety of combinations up until now and after finishing fourth at the European Rowing Championships, will once again send two crews as they did to World Rowing Cup I. Two of the athletes that won bronze at World Rowing Cup I and finished fourth at the Europeans will be racing together again in the same boat – Jack Beaumont and Jonathan Walton.
Look out too for the Netherlands who were A-finalists at the European Rowing Championships. The Germans and Australians won gold and silver respectively at the 2016 Olympic Games and will be sending new combinations to Poznan.
Men’s four (M4-)
After winning gold at World Rowing Cup I, Great Britain finished in fifth position at the European Rowing Championships. They come to Poznan with one change to their boat – Matthew Rossiter replaces Callum McBrierty. Rossiter competed in the men’s pair at World Rowing Cup I where he won gold and also at the European Rowing Championships where he finished fifth.
Australia will be racing for the first time this season. In stroke seat will be Alexander Hill who wasd part of the silver medal crew at the 2016 Olympic Games. Then there’s local favourites, Poland who has entered two boats. Nearly all of the athletes, except one, hail from their men’s eight that raced to silver at the European Rowing Championships.
Do not discount the French. The same crew that finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships will again line up in Poznan.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
The 2016 Olympic bronze medallists are back. Making their first appearance of the season, Kjetil Borch and Olaf Tuft of Norway are expected to put on a fine show.
The Polish double of Dominik Czaja and Adam Wicenciak won bronze at World Rowing Cup I. At the European Rowing Championships Poland they took silver, but with a different line-up. In Poznan, it will again be Czaja and Wicenciak competing.
No other crews that medalled at the first two World Rowing regattas of the season will be lining up in Poznan and in this post-Olympic season the fresh combinations will add to the unpredictability and excitement of the racing.
Women’s double sculls (W2x)
The Czech duo of Lenka Antosova and Kristyna Fleissnerova medalled twice so far this season in this boat class; Gold at the European Rowing Championships and bronze at World Rowing Cup I. They will line up again in the hopes of adding yet another medal to their 2017 collection.
Germany will send a new line-up to Poznan which includes two athletes from the women’s quadruple sculls that won gold at the European Rowing Championships - Daniela Schultze and Frieda Haemmerling. Look out too for Australia. Olympia Aldersey medalled in the double last year with another partner and will look to reach the podium yet again.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
The one to look out for is surely Damir Martin. The Croatian has won silver twice so far this season at World Rowing Cup I and at the European Rowing Championships. He is the 2016 Olympic silver medallist and in the absence of European Rowing Championship gold medallist, Ondrej Synek (CZE), Martin will be the one to beat. But watch out for Robert Manson from New Zealand. Manson has switched to the single in the absence of New Zealand’s Olympic Champion, Mahe Drysdale and Manson has been making waves domestically.
Watch out too for Cuba’s Olympian Angel Fournier Rodriguez who will make his first appearance this season. Fournier has regularly made the podium internationally in recent years and is expected to be one of the top contenders in this field.
Stanislau Shcharbachenia from Belarus won bronze at the European Rowing Championships and will be fighting for the medals once again. Keep an eye out too for last year’s under-23 World Champion in this event Tim Ole Naske from Germany as well as Switzerland’s Nico Stahlberg who won gold at World Rowing Cup I.
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley has medalled twice this season so far, winning silver at World Rowing Cup I and gold at the European Rowing Championships. She will be racing again in Poznan.
In Poznan, Thornley will face a new challenge for the season, The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Jingli Duan from China is racing and is known for her consistent results. Also do not discount Magdalena Lobnig from Austria who took bronze at World Rowing Cup I but then finished in the B-final at the Europeans. And the long-shot may be Lauren Schmetterling of the United States. Schmetterling is an Olympic Champion from the legendary US women’s eight and must know how to perform.
Women’s eight (W8+)
In Poznan, the legendary United States women’s eight, who have not lost a race since 2006, will be racing for the first time this season. The line-up is entirely new compared to the 2016 Olympic Champion boat and the world of rowing will be waiting to see how this crew compares to the ones from previous years.
Great Britain will send nearly the same eight that finished fourth at the European Rowing Championships while New Zealand will send a line-up that includes four athletes from the one that finished fourth at the Rio Olympics. Look out too for China who will be sending two different line-ups to Poznan.
Men’s eight (M8+)
What has regularly been a British vs Germany battle took a turn at last month’s European Rowing Championships when Germany took first and Great Britain finished back in fifth. There is little doubt that Great Britain will do their best to change this result in Poznan. Germany and Great Britain will meet again with the British replacing three of their athletes, while Germany will keep the same crew.
Poland finished second at the European Championships last month and will be back to make the most of their home course. Meanwhile arriving on the international scene for the first time this season will be Australia and New Zealand. Australia is rebuilding after missing last year’s Olympic Games while New Zealand continues to build on their former under-23 championship crew that finished sixth at the Rio Olympics.
The Paralympic Champion in the para PR1 men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x) Roman Polianskyi from Ukraine will be in the starting blocks in Poznan and will notably face one other Paralympic finalist from Rio – Brazil’s Rene Pereira who finished sixth. Two B-finalists from the Paralympic Rowing Regatta, the Lithuanian Augustus Navickas and the German Johannes Schmidt, will also race.
Israel’s 2016 Paralympic bronze medallist Moran Samuel has entered the para PR1 women’s single sculls (PR1 W1x). Samuel will again be facing Birgit Skarstein from Norway, the 2014 World Champion who finished fourth in Rio. Look out too for Paralympian Krisztina Lorincz from Hungary.
In the para PR3 mixed double sculls (PR3 Mix2x), a number of teams that raced in the Paralympic final last year will line up again. Paralympic Champions from Great Britain, Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley will notably be up against the Netherlands, who crossed the line fourth in Rio. Dutch rower Corne De Koning now has a new partner, Annika Van Der Meer. Also racing in Poznan will be the same combinations from Ukraine and Poland who finished fifth and sixth respectively at the 2016 Paralympic Rowing Regatta.
Three crews will race in the para PR3 mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+), with Ukraine sending the same line-up as the one that finished ninth at the Paralympic Games. France is sending a combination that includes two athletes that raced in Rio – Anne-Laure Frappart as well as coxswain Robin Le Barreau. Israel will also be racing with a new-look crew including one athlete, Shay-Lee Shulmit Mizrachi, who raced at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.