Italy has had a great regatta and they come into this final with the fastest qualifying time from the semifinals. Kiri Tontodonati and Aisha Rocek of Italy are a new combination and relatively untried. It was 53 strokes per minute at the start for the two 18-year-olds from Greece. Then Romania came through with Ailincai and Tivodariu of Romania the first to get to the 500m mark. They are from last year’s European Champ women’s eight. The Netherlands followed very closely in second. This order stayed the same going through the middle of the race with Spain trying to overtake the Dutch. The Spain combination is new for 2019 with Virginia Diaz Rivas joining Aina Cid who won bronze at last year’s World Rowing Championships.

Now Italy started to move in the third 500 and they had medals in their sights. With Romania just in front it was a practical line between Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. Italy upped their stroke rate and went after Romania. Romania tried to hold on, but Italy continued to charge. Now Spain went for it. What a fight! It was a line of three with the Dutch falling back. Spain had done it. Gold for Spain.


Virginia Diaz Rivas (s), Spain, Gold
“I think we surpassed our expectations today. We started rowing together at the beginning of the year and we’ve really improved since then. This is a great result for us.”

Maria Tivodariu (s), Romania, Silver
“We just wanted to go out there and do our best! Today was one of our best races of the regatta so we are so proud of what we accomplished today. Now we’re just focusing on continuing to work hard towards the World Championships.”

Aisha Rocek (s), Italy, Bronze
“This is our first race in the pair. We just wanted to gauge where we are at and this weekend the races just kept on getting better and better. We’re really happy with the result and hope to continue in the pair.”

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At 500m down just a couple of seconds separated the six boats. It was still tight with half the race gone with Oksana Golub and Olena Buryak of Ukraine in the lead. Buryak has spent most of her rowing career in sculling boats and has now moved to the pair with the experienced Golub. Buryak is also the fastest woman in the world on the indoor rowing machine. Ukraine held the lead until the end.