The Netherlands scored the fastest qualifying time in the heats two days ago and with a one day rest under their belt, they were back to go after the European Championship title. The Netherlands finished second at the Rio Olympics in this boat class and today they lined up against Olympic bronze medallists, Poland.

At the start Olivia van Rooijen, Inge Janssen, Sophie Souwer and Nicole Beukers of the Netherlands gained a small lead. The Dutch don’t always go out quickly at the start and by the first 500m mark the Olympic Champions, Germany had squeezed into the lead. Germany had to come to this final through yesterday’s repechage and they have a new crew from the Olympic Champion boat.

The German crew kept the pace on and remained just ahead of the Netherlands going through the middle of the race with Great Britain now moving up and into third. The British then did a push and closed on the Netherlands. Then in the final 500m sprint, the Netherlands made a concerted effort to catch the Germans. Could they do it in the close of the race? Great Britain stuck with the Dutch as they chased Germany. The Germans had done it. The 2016 European Champions had retained the title. The Netherlands held on to second and Great Britain took third.

Results: GER, NED, GBR, POL, FRA, BLR

Charlotte Reinhardt, Germany, gold

“We were dreaming about a medal, but I can’t realize that we got the gold! We made a good start. We felt we could trust each other and when we saw the other crews attacking we were able to push hard enough.”

Nicole Beukers (s), Netherlands, silver
“We wanted to go for gold and felt it was possible. We had a very good race, we fought hard. Today was good for silver, but we would really want a gold. One day we will get it.”

Holly Nixon (s), Great Britain, bronze

“During the race we were really trying to focus in our boat. We changed the order around and just committed to this race. Katherine Grainger sat in our boat for a bit and we learned a lot of that. We took a lot of confidence from that coming into this race.”

B-final

The Romanians finished just a second down in yesterday’s repechage to miss out on the A-final and they must have been the favourite to take this race. But 2012 Olympic Champions, Ukraine had other ideas. They also took bronze at last year’s European Rowing Championships and they must have wanted to show they still had speed as they got out ahead of Romania. Coming through the third 500, Romania pushed ahead and held off Ukraine until the line.

Results: ROU, RUS, UKR