Women's Double Sculls (W2x) - Final
New Zealand has had one crew change from the boat that became the World Champions in 2014 and this was their first international regatta of the season. Eve MacFarlane and Zoe Stevenson of New Zealand won their semifinal yesterday. But the United States, winners of other semifinal recorded a faster qualifying time. Today they lined up against each other.
At the start Great Britain sprinted away to an early lead. The British crew sees a 2015 comeback by London Olympic Champion Katherine Grainger and she has been partnered up with Victoria Thornley. Settling into 36 strokes per minute, Grainger and Thornley continued to lead with Germany in second. Meanwhile the United States and New Zealand sat at the back of the field.
At the half way point, Australia had a slight lead but there was only one and a half seconds separating all six boats. This was looking like the tightest race of the day. Then the United States of Meghan O'Leary and Ellen Tomek began to move, pulling into second. Coming into the final sprint the field was still incredibly tight. New Zealand and the United States then showed their true colours and broke away from the pack. Going neck and neck to the line MacFarlane and Stevenson got there in first.
Results: NZL, USA, GBR, POL, AUS, GER
Eve MacFarlane (bow) – NZL – gold
“To be honest we were focused on our own boat, so we realised we won only after we crossed the line. The win gives us confidence. It was close all the way down the course, which shows how it’s going to be at the World Championships.
Ellen Tomek (stroke) – USA – silver
“It was a tight race, we were down just after the start, but we knew it. We started the sprint a bit early and we got caught in the last 10 strokes. We want to work out to get cleaner and faster at the catch."
Katherine Grainger (bow) - GBR – bronze
“We expected the race to be close, but frankly it’s an honour to race in this kind of event where everyone is really fast and everyone could possibly win. Until Lucerne we’re going to work on getting faster."
Belarus' Yuliya Bichyk and Ekaterina Karsten were unlucky not to make it through to the A-final from yesterday's semifinal and so they showed their vast pedigree today by leading from start to finish. Behind Bichyk and Karsten a close battle between Denmark and Italy meant that Belarus could never feel completely comfortable. And then in the final sprint the whole field closed up. Belarus still managed to hold off the challengers.
Results: BLR, DEN, ITA, CHN1, FRA, CAN