Who will you be watching at the final World Rowing Cup?
It is that time of the season when rowers at the final World Rowing Cup takes to the waters of Lucerne’s Rotsee in Switzerland. This is the last chance for national team members from around the world to prove themselves before the all-important 2017 World Rowing Championships.
The field is large with nearly 700 athletes from 54 nations and at present Great Britain leads the medals table with Poland and the Netherlands follow in second and third. Check out who will be there.
Women’s pair (W2-)
New Zealand’s Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler stunned the world of rowing when they set a new World Best Time at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, clocking 06:49.08. They will be the top crew to look out for in this event in Lucerne.
Gowler and Prendergast will be up against Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser from the United States. They won silver behind New Zealand in Poznan and will be racing again in Lucerne. However, they will have to prove themselves against a second United States crew consisting of Victoria Opitz and Emily Regan. Both have won medals in the famed US women’s eight with Regan a 2016 Olympic Champion from the eight.
Great Britain’s Holly Norton and Karen Bennett won bronze at the European Rowing Championships and gold at World Rowing Cup I. In Poznan, another British crew finished sixth. In Lucerne, Norton and Bennett will race again and will also be facing a second British boat.
Look out too for Denmark. Hedvig Rasmussen won Olympic bronze in Rio and this year is partnered with Christina Johansen. The duo won European silver this year and will be racing again in Lucerne.
Men’s pair (M2-)
After winning the title at the European Rowing Championships, Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino from Italy are back. These Italians were both part of the men’s four that won Olympic bronze last year in Rio and are expected to perform strongly again in Lucerne.
They will once again face the Onfroy brothers from France. At the European Rowing Championships, Valentin and Theophile Onfroy won silver behind the Italians and then went on to win gold at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan. They also finished first at the Henley Royal Regatta.
But all eyes will be on the Croatians. The 2016 Olympic Champions in the men’s double sculls, brothers Valent and Martin Sinkovic are racing for the first time this season having switched to the men’s pair. Injury kept them away from earlier regattas and added to the anticipation.
Keep an eye out too for Dirk Uittenbogaard and Bo Wullings of the Netherlands. The duo were fourth last month at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan. Uittenbogaard is a bronze medallist from the Rio Olympic men’s eight.
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x)
New Zealand won gold at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan with Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe. They will attempt to repeat their performance in Lucerne after winning last weekend at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Lithuania’s Milda Valciukaite who won Olympic bronze in Rio will be making her first appearance this season in Lucerne. She is now partnered with Ieva Adomaviciute, a two-time under-23 World Champion in the single and two-time junior World Champion in the double. They will be one of the top crews to look out for.
Australia’s Olympia Aldersey and Madeleine Edmunds took bronze in Poznan at their first regatta of the season and will line up again in Lucerne. Look out too for this year’s European Champions Lenka Antosova and Kristyna Fleissnerova from the Czech Republic. And do not discount the Netherlands who will be sending Lisa Scheenaard and Marloes Oldenburg, silver medallists at the European Championships.
Men’s double sculls (M2x)
New Zealand’s new combination of John Storey and Christopher Harris dominated the field at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan winning gold ahead of rowing’s royalty, Norway’s Kjetil Borch and Olaf Tufte, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallists. They will face off again in Lucerne but with an extended field of competition.
The Italian duo of Luca Rambaldi and Filippo Mondelli are the 2017 European Champions. Lucerne will be their second regatta of the season and they will aim to again be one of the top boats in the field. Look out too for the Swiss duo of Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeoesli who took silver at World Rowing Cup I and bronze at the European Rowing Championships.
Poland has demonstrated consistency in the men’s double sculls this season, albeit with different crew combinations. They won bronze at both World Rowing Cups so far with Dominik Czaja and Adam Wicenciak. Then at the European Rowing Championships they took silver with Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup, the athletes that have been entered for Lucerne. Will they manage to win a fourth consecutive medal this season for their nation in this event?
Women’s single sculls (W1x)
At World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig won gold and set a new World Cup Best Time at the same time. She also has bronze from Belgrade and will aiming to be among the top boats once again.
But season consistency goes to Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley. She has made a fabulous start to her first season in the single medalling at all three regattas she competed in, taking silver in Belgrade, then winning the European title and most recently earning silver again in Poznan. Olympic medallist from the women’s double, Thornley will race again in Lucerne.
Watch out too for Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin who won gold in Belgrade. Lucerne will be her first regatta since that win.
Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus is back. The 45-year-old, who is one of the most medalled female athletes in rowing history, has proved that she still has what it takes. Karsten won silver at the European Rowing Championships and will be aiming to prove her ongoing strength in Lucerne.
Men’s single sculls (M1x)
Two single sculling newcomers have made their mark in the men’s single this season: New Zealander Robert Manson and Swiss sculler Nico Stahlberg. At World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Manson impressed the world of rowing at his first regatta of the season when he showcased his boat speed by setting a new World Best Time at 06:30.74. The previous time had been set eight years earlier by his fellow countryman in the single, the Olympic and World Champion Mahe Drysdale.
Stahlberg has reached the podium twice already this season, beating Damir Martin from Croatia, the 2016 Olympic silver medallist by winning gold at World Rowing Cup I and bronze at World Rowing Cup II.
At the European Rowing Championships, multi World and Olympic medallist from the Czech Republic Ondrej Synek won yet another European title. Lucerne will be his first World Rowing Cup participation in 2017 and he comes to it after winning at Amsterdam’s Holland Beker regatta.
Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez will also be racing again, after having won silver in Poznan behind Manson. Competition is expected to be brutal in this boat class with most top contenders present in Lucerne.
Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x)
The Polish duo of Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak medalled at all three regattas they entered this season, winning gold at World Rowing Cup I and then at the European Rowing Championships. At World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, took silver behind China. Deresz and Mikolajczak will be back without the Chinese competition.
Instead they will face a new 2017 New Zealand crew. Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride did not get to race at Poznan due to McBride being unable to race. But they are signed up for Lucerne. McBride is a multi-World Champion and World Best Time holder in the lightweight women’s single while Kiddle is the 2015 under-23 World Champion in this boat class and in Poznan Kiddle raced to gold in the lightweight single.
Keep an eye out for Great Britain. The Olympic Champion from 2012, Katherine Copeland, medalled twice this year with two different partners. At World Rowing Cup I she won silver with Charlotte Booth and at the European Rowing Championships she earned bronze with Emily Craig. At World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, she and Craig finished fourth. In Lucerne, Copeland will again be partnering with Craig.
Lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x)
The most consistent crews this year have been France, Ireland and Poland. All three crews medalled twice so far. The Olympic Champions from France, Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin, began their season at the European Rowing Championships, where they won the title. The French scullers then went on to win gold again at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland.
After initially finishing fourth at World Rowing Cup I, the O’Donovan brothers Gary and Paul from Ireland went on to finish behind the French in silver at the European Champs and at the third stage of the World Rowing Cup, as they did in Rio last year when they won Olympic silver behind the French combination.
The Polish duo of Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski have earned two bronze medals so far this year, at World Rowing Cup I and at World Rowing Cup II and will be in for a medal chance at Lucerne. As will be the Italians and the Belgians. Italy took bronze at the European Rowing Championships while Belgium’s Tim Brys and Niels van Zandweghe are back together after missing Rio Olympic qualification selection.
Lightweight men’s four (LM4-)
Two of the crews that medalled at the European Rowing Championships will race each other again in Lucerne. Russia became the European Champions while Italy took silver. But the Italians have retained only one of the crew from the Euros. Just Piero Sfiligoi remains in the boat. It was recently decided by the International Olympic Committee that this would no longer be an Olympic boat class, so the emphasis of this race has changed.
Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x)
At World Rowing Cup II in Poznan last month, Great Britain’s sole gold medal came in the men’s quadruple sculls. This same line-up of Jack Beaumont, Jonathan Walton, John Collins and Peter Lambert will compete again in Lucerne.
The Netherlands finished behind the British in Poznan and they will send three of the same athletes to Lucerne. The Norwegian bronze medallists at World Rowing Cup II will also be racing again with 2013 World Champion from the men’s double, Nils Jakob Hoff in the boat.
But the one to beat is likely to be Lithuania. They were absent in Poznan, but are this year’s European Champions and also won gold at World Rowing Cup I. Poland also has the potential to do well, as they medalled at the Europeans and also in Belgrade, with some changes in the line-up.
Men’s four (M4-)
After winning gold at World Rowing Cup I, Great Britain’s flagship boat, the men’s four, missed out on the podium at the European Rowing Championships and then took silver behind Australia in Poznan. The British team will line two boats up in Lucerne.
The Australians led the field from start to finish in Poznan, their first regatta of the season, and will aim for the top spot again in Lucerne. They will also be lining up against a second Australian boat, three athletes of which competed in the men’s eight at World Rowing Cup II.
Watch out for the Italians. They have raced once so far this season, at the European Rowing Championships, and claimed the title. Olympic bronze medallists in this boat class in 2016, they have retained two of the same athletes that competed in Rio: Domenico Montrone and Matteo Castaldo. Joining them are Giovanni Abagnale and Marco Di Costanzo, also Olympic bronze medallists from last year, but in the men’s pair.
Look out too for the Romanians and Russians who took silver and bronze respectively at the European Rowing Championships, albeit with changes in the line-up.
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x)
Germany is the reigning Olympic Champions and this year they are looking for the perfect new line-up following post-Olympic retirements. They became European Champions in Racice this year and with two changes in their line-up finished outside the medals in Poznan. At World Rowing Cup III, the European Champion crew will be back in its entirety to race.
Poland has won two gold medals this season, at World Rowing Cup I and II and they will race again in Lucerne with two crew members who are Olympic bronze medallists from Rio: Maria Springwald and Agnieszka Kobus.
Look out too for Australia, the Netherlands and Great Britain. Australia won silver in Poznan and they have retained the same line-up along with adding a second Australian boat. The Netherlands have two silvers from this season (World Rowing Cup I and the European Rowing Championships) with just one change to the line-up for Lucerne - Lisa Scheenaard will replace Inge Janssen. Great Britain has two bronze medals so far this season and in Lucerne there will be one change to their line-up with Alice Baatz replacing Jess Leyden.
Women’s eight (W8+)
New Zealand won gold at their first international appearance for the 2017 season, World Rowing Cup II in Poznan. Great Britain finished second and these two crews will race each other again for the top spots in Lucerne.
There is also the 2017 European Champions, Romania back on the scene adding to the list of medal hopefuls. Lucerne will be Romania’s second international race of the season and they are competing with half of the crew that took bronze at the Rio Olympics.
Men’s eight (M8+)
Germany not only won the two regattas that they have entered so far (the European Rowing Championships and World Rowing Cup II) , beating reigning Olympic Champions Great Britain in the process, they also set a new World Best Time in Poznan. The previous best time had been set in 2012 in Lucerne and it now stands at 5:18.68.
Great Britain has made changes in its line-up from regatta to regatta and now in Lucerne, two athletes have been replaced compared to Poznan. At World Rowing Cup I, the British earned silver behind the Netherlands. At the European Champs they missed the podium but in Poznan were back in the medals with bronze.
New Zealand made its appearance for the first time this season at World Rowing Cup II and won silver with a crew that included half of their Rio Olympic boat. They could well be in for a chance of a medal along with the Netherlands who will be boating two crews in Lucerne. They won gold at World Rowing Cup I and bronze at the European Rowing Championships with two almost entirely different line-ups.