France’s new lightweight men’s double took gold, the men’s quadruple sculls for Croatia continued to impress and the United States women’s eight nearly lost their six-year winning streak when Canada challenged to the end. This was just some of the excitement that made finals day on the calm, flat, no-wind conditions of Lucerne’s Rotsee regatta course.

Women’s Pair (W2-) Final
The first upset of the day saw World Champions, New Zealand (Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown) out of first place when Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning conducted a well-timed, well-paced race. Glover and Stanning lost to New Zealand at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in the last stroke of the race and they met Haigh and Scown for the first time this season today, on the waters of the Rotsee.

Behind Great Britain, the United States crew of Erin Cafaro and Eleanor Logan managed to get their nose ahead of Haigh and Scown to find second. Cafaro and Logan won Olympic gold in Beijing in the women’s eight and they are part of the incredibly accomplished American women’s sweep squad. Behind Great Britain, the United States and New Zealand a huge gap opened up to the rest of the field.

Coming into the final 500m the order had stayed the same at the head of the field and it looked like the medal order was already a fait accompli. With Great Britain rating 36, the United States remained in second on a 43 stroke rate and New Zealand back a fit on 40. Great Britain takes their second gold for the 2012 season.
Results: GBR, USA1, NZL, AUS, ARG, RSA

Gold – Heather Stanning (GBR)
“It was a very good race for us.  The US crew was very fast.  Yesterday was a rather reactive race for us, but today we were able to take the initiative a bit more and control the race. ”

Silver – Eleanor Logan (USA)
“It was a hard race. Our final national selection for the pair is still open. We will have more racing in a couple more weeks and after that it will be decided who will go to the Olympics in the pair.“

Bronze – Juliette Haigh ( NZL)
“For us this was a great starting point. We really did enjoy it and it’s a great motivation. We are happy with the way we rowed today.  There are things we are still working on and we are refining the small things. We’ve got a good base fitness and it’s nice to get on the podium.  We’ve got some tough competition out there, but we are very positive. ”

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics Yulan Gao of China took silver in this event. She came back in 2011 and qualified the boat for the London Olympics. Now with a new partner, Yage Zhang, Gao is trying to work her way back to Olympic success. Today Zhang and Gao held off a strong challenge from Canada to finish seventh overall at this regatta. The tight finish also included Great Britain’s second crew.

Results: CHN1, CAN1, GBR2, ITA, GER, CHN2

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Final
In a regatta that saw many reigning World Champions struggle, New Zealand’s Eric Murray and Hamish Bond countered this trend. Bond and Murray came together in the pair in 2009 after a disappointing Beijing Olympic result when they were in the four. Since then the duo has remained unbeaten.

Today Bond and Murray came out of the start behind Canadian Beijing silver medallists, Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen. Calder and Frandsen were fifth at last year’s World Rowing Championships and they were very keen to test their 2012 strength against the New Zealanders.

A push by Bond and Murray around the 1200m mark gave them a slight leading margin over Calder and Frandsen and with that the New Zealanders said ‘ciao’ to the rest of the field. Coming into the final 200m of the race Canada rated 40 with New Zealand on 38 still moving away from Canada.

Meanwhile a tight finishing race had developed between Great Britain, Germany and Greece. The Gkountoulas brothers from Greece got to the line first to snatch the bronze medal. This gives the very accomplished Gkountoulas brothers their first medal on the Rotsee in their fourth time racing here.
Results: NZL, CAN, GRE1, GER, GBR1, ITA

Gold –  Hamish Bond (NZL)
“The Canadians came out in the lead at the start, but we were able to stay in touch.  We had a good rhythm throughout the race.  This year the field is very strong and it’s a little bit of a wake-up call for us. We’ll need a few weeks to sharpen up and get back to the level we had in New Zealand.  ”

Silver – Scott Frandsen( CAN )
“We are the contenders and we think we are on a good way for the Olympics. Everyone expects New Zealand to win, but we think we can be at the top for the Olympics. “

Bronze – Apostolos Gkountoulas (GRE)
“We are very happy and didn’t expect it. We have been to Lucerne four times and after coming fourth three times, we have finally won a medal. This will be our last international race before the Olympics because we will prepare in Greece until then.”

The Great Britain2 duo of Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell and Cameron Nichol gave the large contingent of British supporters something to cheer about as they led this B-final from start to finish. Reilly-O’Donnell and Nichol both raced in their country’s men’s eight last year but competing in the pair means they have not made it into the higher-prioritised eight. Reilly-O’Donnell and Nichol made the best of this race holding off the talented James Marburg and Brodie Buckland of Australia in the final sprint.

Results: GBR2, AUS1, NED1, CAN2, ARG, GRE2

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x) – Final
Would Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain be able to continue their unbroken winning streak? Grainger is Great Britain’s most medalled female rower with three Olympic silver medals. For her, this season is all about winning gold at the Olympic Games. Today Grainger was one step closer to that gold.
Grainger and Watkins got out into the lead at the start and by the half-way point they had built up nearly one and a half seconds over Britta Oppelt and Annekatrin Thiele of Germany1. Oppelt and Thiele have come together this season after Thiele spent last year in the single while Oppelt was in the World Championship winning quad.

The power of the British continued to show as they inched away from the Germans with Oppelt and Thiele now under threat from 2009 World Champions, Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska of Poland.

Grainger and Watkins, rating 37, looked solid and comfortable coming to the line in first leaving Poland and Germany to fight it out for second. It took until the last 40m for Fularczyk and Michalska to get their nose in front of Oppelt and Thiele. Poland take silver. Oppelt and Thiele earn the bronze. The Germans will now go back into trials to decide if they will stay in this boat for the London Olympics. The pressure for these athletes continues.

Results: GBR, POL, GER1, CZE, NZL1, CHN2

Gold  –  Anna Watkins (GBR)
“Today was a very challenging race. There are several crews out there who are performing very well.  We are happy to have such good quality international races.  In Belgrade we got some opposition and did not perform that well.  We had wanted to do better after that race.”

Silver  – Julia Michalska (POL)
“The main thing for us is the gap to the British.  Last year this was 9 seconds, now it was only 2 seconds.  We know how to prepare to get better for the Olympics. Today was not our day, after a hard race yesterday.  But we are happy with the result.”

Bronze –  Britta Oppelt (GER)
“Races are always hard and especially so in the lead up to the Olympics. It will only get tougher from here.  We did what we could today.  But there are still nine weeks of solid training ahead of us and we think we can still lift it. We’ll just have to wait and see what the final decisions on the crew combinations will be. ”

China’s Min Wang and Weiwei Zhu shook off the challenge coming from Anna Kravchenko and Olena Buryak of Ukraine to finish first. Both of these boats qualified last year for the London Olympic Games but both with different crews. It is likely they will be the boats that we will see again in London.

Results: CHN1, UKR, CHN3

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Final
Canada’s Douglas Vandor and Morgan Jarvis have made tongues wag around the Rotsee boat park over the last couple of days when they posted very good results through the heats and semifinals. Vandor and Jarvis finished eleventh last year. With that Vandor and Jarvis shot out at the start and took the lead over Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou of France.

Delayre and Azou, along with the Canadians, have been having a great regatta. This quite a surprise as it is their first time together on the international scene. At the Belgrade World Rowing Cup Azou and Delayre raced the lightweight single finishing third and fourth respectively.  Behind the French, World silver medallists, Storm Uru and Peter Taylor of New Zealand were very much on the pace along with Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark. The other big surprise of this race was seeing the World Champions, Great Britain at the back of the field.

Coming through the third 500, Vandor and Jarvis still had the lead, but with Delayre and Azou gaining all of the time. The sprint to the line saw Canada giving it their all on a 43 stroke rate. France, rating 39, looked like they still had some juice left. New Zealand, on 38, were looking strong and together. At the line Denmark, New Zealand and France had all caught the Canadians.

An elated Delayre and Azou celebrated their debut gold medal together and there is little doubt that this result will cement Delayre and Azou’s position in the French Olympic boat.

Gold –  Stany Delayre (FRA)
“We take what we get. We had three wins out of three races, which has been great.  Moving forward, we’ll have to wait and see. The Italians were not here and the Kiwis only arrived a week ago, but we are confident for London.”

Silver –  Peter Taylor (NZL)
“It’s been a tough week just coming from New Zealand. We just got off the plane seven days ago.  In New Zealand we had a very good lead up and did lots of long distance work.  Overall we had a good race today – the French gave us an especially  good race.  We have to look at the positives and get on with it.  We were a bit slow to the first 500, but we are looking to improve that. “

Bronze –  Rasmus Quist (DEN)
“It was a tough race and we struggled with the rhythm.  We have been training in Sarnen to get the rhythm back as it was in 2007.  We will be in Munich next and we’ll then go to Austria for a training camp. From there we’ll go to the Olympics. ”

After medalling at the Belgrade World Rowing Cup earlier this month, Eleftherios Konsolas and Panagiotis Magdanis of Greece found themselves in the B-final at this regatta. Magdanis and Konsolas held the lead for the first half of the race before being gobbled up by Svein Urban Ringstad and Are Strandli of Norway. Greece and Norway qualified for the London Olympics at last year’s World Rowing Championships when they finished eighth and ninth respectively. All of the boats in this B-final will be racing in London.


Men’s Four (M4-) – Final
This race turned into a real crowd-pleaser as Australia and Great Britain met for the first time since last year’s World Rowing Championships. The line up from 2011 has changed for Great Britain with their two strongest sweep rowers coming into the boat with Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge joining Alex Gregory and Tom James. Australia has also changed two rowers as James Chapman and William Lockwood now join Drew Ginn and Joshua Dunkley-Smith.
Taking off like a rocket, Australia got out extremely quickly at the start. Only the British could match their pace. This is how the order remained through the middle of the race with Australia keeping just a canvas ahead of the British. Meanwhile the remaining four boats seemed content to leave the two leading boats to it, not able to match the pace.

Coming into the closing sprint Australia still had a slight margin as Great Britain took their stroke rate to 42 and then 43. Australia, sitting on 40, then 39, were being overtaken. Great Britain had won. Australia had to be content with silver and the gutsy Greeks held off Belarus to take third.
Results: GBR, AUS, GRE, BLR, GER1, NZL

Gold – Pete Reed (GBR)
“This race reminded me a lot of the Olympic final in Beijing.  The last 500m tested our ability to stay away from the other crews.  Overall I have the feeling we have massively improved and I’m please to get one up.”

Silver  –  Will Lockwood (AUS)
“We had a good start and had our nose in front at the250m gone mark. We kept working effectively, but the British managed to slide up on us. This was only our second proper race and with a bit more time, more practice and racing we’ll only get better. This race shows that our training has been working, which is great. Really happy with this and we are confident moving forward.  A couple of weeks training in Italy will be next and then it’s Munich.”

Bronze  –  Ioannis Christou (GRE)
“It was a tough race but a good test.  We did not feel physically prepared for this race. But until London we will go back to Greece and train, train, train…. ”

This event had fewer than normal entries at Lucerne indicating that countries are focusing on Olympic boats in this 2012 London Olympic year. The Netherlands and Canada finished sixth and seventh respectively last year. Today the Dutch got the better of Canada to win the B-final.

Results: CAN, GER2, NED

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Final
Out in front at the start were China’s Dongxiang Xu and Wenyi Huang. This meant that they were leading the World Champions, Greece and also leading the New Zealanders who had set the new World Best Time in this event two days ago during the heats. Olympian Xu raced in this event to fifth in 2008 and she has a new partner in Huang, 21, who began her international career in 2010.

China remained in the lead through the middle of the race with Louise Ayling and Julia Edward of New Zealand fighting to hold on to second over the United States. Meanwhile Alexandra Tsiavou and Christina Giazitzidou of Greece were completely at the back of the field and more than three seconds off the pace.

As the line came into view China, on 37, were still holding the lead while New Zealand kept the pressure on with a 40 stroke rate. The Greeks, however, were not done. They took their boat up a gear and came flying after the leaders. Tsiavou and Giazitzidou overtook Denmark, then Great Britain then the United States to snatch a medal.

China, New Zealand and Greece all looked happy at the medals presentation. But perhaps the happiest crew was fourth-placed United States. Kristin Hedstrom and Julie Nichols of the United States needed to finish fourth to secure their rights to being the Olympic crew. They had not managed to do it in Belgrade, but they did it today on the waters of the Rotsee. “We’re so excited,” said Nichols, an alternate at the 2008 Olympic Games and USRowing’s 2011 Female Athlete of the Year. “It is a dream for both or us. We’re looking forward to getting back to California and getting back to training and ramping up for the next race of the season.”
Results: CHN1, NZL, GRE, USA, GBR, DEN

Gold  –   Dongxiang Xu (CHN)
“We enjoyed the race very much.  We are looking forward to London.”

Silver   –  Julia Edward (NZL)
“This week-end has been a really good test for us, so we know where we are.  It’s our first race together internationally and we are just building some confidence.  We are training with the best in the New Zealand team.  Anything is possible for London.“

Bronze  –  Alexandar Tsiavou (GRE)
“We felt fresh for the race, but it didn’t work out as we thought it would, so we are happy with the result.  We only planned up to Lucerne for now as this was an important race in the lead up to London and we’ll decide now if there will be more races or just training in the lead up to the Olympics. ”

Canada finished second in 2011. Australia was fifth. Today on the Rotsee both crews had one different person in the boat and both crews found themselves back in the B-final. For Canada, Lindsay Jennerich has teamed up with 2010 World Champion partner, Tracy Cameron while Australia’s Hannah Every-Hall is now rowing with Bronwen Watson who has come back to international racing after a three year hiatus.

It was, however, China’s number two crew of Jing Liu and Feihong Pan that led from start to finish. Australia and Canada battled it out for second finishing at a mid-40s stroke rate. Canada were just ahead of Australia.

Results: CHN2, CAN, AUS, BRA, JPN, ARG

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Final
When Croatia gets a medal in this event, no matter what colour, they always look happy. As a relatively new nation this Croatian crew continues to set firsts for their country. Today, on the waters of the Rotsee, Croatia put themselves one step closer to Olympic medal success which will be another first for their country. This is how the race panned out.

Russia’s Ryabcev, Svirin, Morgachev and Fedorovtsev jumped off the line first at a cracking 1:22 pace. Russia set a new World Best Time in this event during the heats two days ago and as 2004 Olympic Champions, they are a boat to watch. Going through the middle of the race last year’s silver medallists, Germany stuck tightly to the Russians with Croatia back a bit in third. The Germans and Croatians then did a big piece going past the Rotsee boat park and closed the gap on Russia. But there was still a good bit of rowing to go. Could the Russians hold the pace?

As the finishing line came into view Croatia really started to wind. Rating 40 strokes per minute, David Sain, Damir Martin and Martin and Valent Sinkovic were flying. As Russia struggled to wind, it looked like only Germany had some left-over energy to catch the Croatians.

At the line Croatia had won gold, a very happy Germany took silver and Russia held on to third although they nearly lost it to a powerful finish by Estonia. This is a great effort for Estonia who raced at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta earlier this week.

Gold – David Sain (CRO)
“The race went really well, we feel very strong.  It’s good to beat the Russians, they were first to the 500m mark but we had great speed in the latter part of the race. The plan for the Olympics is that we have to keep working to get faster and faster.”

Silver – Philipp Wende (GER)
“This race gives us a lot of confidence for the Olympics. We were able to follow our race plan in this race.  But there is still potential to improve."

Bronze – Sergey Fedorovtsev (RUS)
“It was a good week. We are very tired but happy. We’ll go back to Russia. We will race no more races but just train up to the Olympics.”

The 2011 World Champions, Australia raced in this B-final. They have had to bring spare, Jared Bidwell, into the boat to replace an injured Daniel Noonan. All four crews in this B-final made a true race of it always less than two seconds separating the tightly packed field. Great Britain, who finished seventh at last year’s World Rowing Championships, held on to a small lead throughout the race. All four boats conducted a full-on final sprint with Australia hitting 42 with less than a second and a half separating the four boats at the line.

Results: GBR, UKR, AUS, SUI

Lightweight Men’s Four (LM4-) – Final
Rarely does this event not throw up some surprises and today was no exception. All boats in this final had a chance of winning as the talent across the board was undeniable; the only crew that was somewhat of an unknown was South Africa. But the South Africans had shown some new 2012 boat-speed during the heats and semifinals.

It was the 2010 World Champions, Great Britain, that led the way out of the starting blocks with the entire field all very much on the pace. By the half-way point the field had spread out with China putting Great Britain’s lead under huge amounts of pressure and Denmark were also right up there with the leaders. Stroke for Denmark, Olympic Champion Eskild Ebbesen was celebrating his 40th birthday today and a win here was what he wanted.

As crews went through the vital third 500, China’s Chenggang Yu, Zhe Huang, Guolin Zhang and Tiexin Wang got the nose of their boat in the lead. This crew had finished third at the Belgrade World Rowing Cup and the other crews knew the potential of the Chinese speed.

This sprint to the line had begun. Great Britain hit 44 strokes per minute to China’s 43. But the biggest speed impact was coming from South Africans. Stroke Lawrence Ndlovu was on fire and the South Africans not only looked strong, but they were also keeping it together in the tension of the finish. At the line China had only just held on to first. South Africa took second and Great Britain had to accept third. Great Britain now wait for final Olympic selection which will be announced on 6 June 2012.

Results: CHN, RSA, GBR, DEN, FRA1, SUI

Silver –  Matthew Brittain (RSA)
“It all worked out well.  We kept getting faster and faster and rowed through Denmark and England.  It was a tough field.  We will go home now for training, see family and freshen up for the Olympics.”

Bronze –  Chris Bartley (GBR)
“We had a good start and were strong over the first 500.  We’ll see what happens next as our next Olympic selection is on 6 June so we’ll see whether I will still be in the boat then.”

World Champions Australia debuted their 2012 season at this regatta but with an injury in the boat, they seemed to be struggling to find their top speed. Today they raced at the head of the field, finishing first in the B-final. Behind them Germany held a tight battle with the Czech Republic.

Results: AUS, GER1, CZE, GER2, POL, JPN

Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – Final
Ukraine finished sixth in this event at last year’s World Rowing Championships. They went away over winter, decided to make this the priority boat, reshuffled the crew and came back at the World Rowing Cup in Belgrade to finish first. On the Rotsee there was one change to the crew with Nataliya Dovgodko coming into the boat.

Today Ukraine showed the most dominating display of racing of the day. With just 500m gone the Ukrainians already had more than a boat-length lead and they proceeded to increase that for the rest of the race. The only thing reigning World Champions, Germany, could do was slot into second and try and hold that spot.

Meanwhile the United States were working on coming back from a very slow start. As the finish line came into view Ukraine did not have to do any more than a comfortable 32 stroke rate while Germany sprinted at 38 and the United States hit 40. Ukraine cheered as they crossed the line in first. Germany came through in second and the United States got into third.

Germany will now continue internal selection for their Olympic boat line up, as will the United States who will not know their Olympic line up until the announcement is made on 22 June 2012.
Results: UKR, GER1, USA1, NZL, GBR, AUS

Gold –  Yana Dementieva (UKR)
“We didn’t realise we were that far in front and just rowed and rowed. It was a good race. Munich will be next and want to do the same again to get confidence for London.”

Silver – Tina Manker (GER)
“After only two week-ends training together we rowed world best time in the heat, which was very surprising for us.  We are very happy with this race and we know we still have reserves.  We don’t know yet what will happen with the boat for the Olympics.

Bronze – Stesha Carle (USA)
“Considering this was the first time we raced in this line-up we are excited about the results. We’ve only been together for one week. Our game plan was to go a bit faster every 500 and we really stuck at it as a team. In the USA there’s a lot of competition for a seat in the quad so we’ll be racing for a seat when we get back home. Final selection will be June 22nd. ”

The B-final saw United States2 holding a close battle with Germany2. Ahead of these two boats was China. The Chinese are the current Olympic Champions and last year they finished fifth to qualify for the London Olympics. Three of the Olympic Championship winning crew are back in the boat and they kept their boat out in front to finish seventh overall at this regatta. The United States got the better of Germany for an eighth place overall.

Results: CHN, USA2, GER2

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Final
Coming through the heats and semifinals it was clear that this race would be tight. Lining up was a slew of experience including 2000 Olympic Champions, Luka Spik and Iztok Cop of Slovenia, 2008 Olympic Champions, David Crawshay and Scott Brennan of Australia, 2009 World Champions Eric Knittel and Stephan Krueger of Germany and Olympic medallists from the quad Cedric Berrest and Julien Bahain of France.

Lithuania shot out at the start taking Australia with them but it was France that had the lead by the half-way point. As Berrest and Bahain held on to the lead, Knittel and Krueger started to really move and overtake some crews.

The scullers on the water then must have been able to hear the crowd gathered at the finish line as Slovenia, France, Australia and Germany gave it their all to get to the line first. Knittel and Krueger had done it. The Germans take the gold over Australia and France. Less than a second separated these three crews.

Results: GER, AUS1, FRA, SLO, LTU, GBR

Gold –  Stephan Krüger ( GER )
“I didn’t see anything of the race – I just focused on our own boat. I didn’t see much of what the other crews were doing, but I did notice that we were able to pass the French half way.  That was a great boost for us because they are the gold favourites.  Next for us is Munich to see where we are at.  The goal for the Olympics is to do some really good rowing, have fun and the results will speak for themselves!”

Silver – Scott Brennan ( AUS )
“We are still a long way from our best and of course we always like to win. But we feel that there is room to move.  The field is consistently fast.  The Germans were amazing today, and so were the French. It was a great race and we just had a lot of fun being out there. “

Bronze –  Cedric Berrest (  FRA )
“We are very happy. We are in a good place technically. It was a very close race.  Over the first 1500m we were very strong and I think we can improve on the last 500 for the next few races. Next for us is Munich (World Rowing Cup III)”

When the World Champions find themselves in a B-final, you know that either something is not working for them or the competition is really, really tough. For the New Zealand World Champions it looked like it was a combination of both. Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan of New Zealand remained at the back of this race right to the finish looking short through the water. Instead it was Ariel Suarez and Cristian Rosso of Argentina who got into the lead. Suarez and Rosso qualified for the London Olympic Games last year when they finished ninth. They brought their boat home at a 38 stroke rate pace ahead of Norway who were eighth last year.


Women’s Eight (W8+) – Final
A six-year winning streak nearly came to an end today on the Rotsee when Canada pushed the United States right to the line. The United States has absolutely dominated this event since winning the World Rowing Championships in 2006. At last year’s World Rowing Championships, Canada showed that they may be the country to finally steal that mantle, but the they had to settle for second. Today the United States retained their winning streak by just 3/100th of a second.

The Netherlands got out to a fast start and had a slight edge going through the first 500m mark. Then the United States took over in the lead with Canada chasing in second as the Dutch began to slip back. The Netherlands finished first at the first Samsung World Rowing Cup earlier in May. The crew is still waiting for the return of injured Nienke Kingma to the boat.

With the United States in the lead, Canada, under the guidance of experienced coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie, gave it their all in the final sprint. Canada hit a 40 stroke rate with the United States holding on by the skin of their teeth at a 38. The rest is history. These two crews had pushed the race to just five seconds outside of a World Best Time – the most impressive time of the day.

Canada and the United States will meet again at the final Samsung World Rowing Cup in Munich, Germany in June. Canada will stay training in Europe while the United States will return to their home country before returning to Europe.

Gold – Amanada Polk (USA)
“We expected it to be a tough race. We truly believe in ourselves and we were ready for the fight. The plan now is to go back to New Jersey for some more training before the third World Cup. ”

Silver – Krista Guloien (CAN)
“We came a long way and did a lot of training.  We had a better race today, but of course we are disappointed that we didn’t win. We will stay in Europe now for training up to Munich and then go back to Canada.  We currently have nine rowers for the boat so there is still a chance of a minor change.”

Bronze – Carline Bouw (NED)
“This race was good practice for the Olympics.  We are using these races as a learning experience on our way to London and that’s what we are focusing on.  We are fighting for every bit that we are worth.”

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x) – Final
It took a big effort to get through to today’s final. All of these crews had to race twice yesterday in the quarterfinals and then again in the semifinals. In the semis Alan Campbell of Great Britain and Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand fought it out to the line in their semi. Did these two have the energy to do it all again today?

Campbell got off the start line first with 2010 World Champion, Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic also showing very quick early speed. By the half-way point Synek had a very slight advantage with Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez almost level and Drysdale and Campbell right on the pace. Only half a second separated these four scullers.

Drysdale then pushed ahead of Synek as these two tremendous scullers fought it out to the line. As Campbell began to fade Rodriguez took advantage of the situation and got his boat into the bronze medal spot. Both Synek and Drysdale continued to sprint for the line; Drysdale at 38 and Synek hitting 40 strokes per minute. Synek had the better sprint winning Samsung World Rowing Cup II for 2012. Drysdale took silver and Rodriguez literally paddled to the end of the race.
Results: CZE, NZL, CUB, GBR1, GER1, CHN

Gold – Ondrej Synek (CZE)
“I’m very happy. Everybody was here, so this race was very good practice.  I hope to have a lot of fun in London.  My wife and I are expecting our (second) baby five days after the rowing finals and I hope we’ll have a golden boy.”

Silver –  Mahe Drysdale ( NZL )
“It’s always a tough race when you have only arrived in the country a week before.  But I’m happy to know I’m on pace.  I was pushing for the lead the whole way.  For me it’s a good result to start the season.  I could have improved in some places in the race, so that’s something to work on. “

Bronze – Angel Fournier Rodrigues (CUB)
“I’m happy. I will go to Munich next.”

Two of the world’s best scullers, Olaf Tufte of Norway and Lassi Karonen of Sweden withdrew from the B-final for medical reasons leaving four rowers to fight it out. Lithuania’s Mindaugas Griskonis managed to shake off a very fine effort by Peter Lambert of South Africa to finish first. Lambert, 25, will be a rower to watch in the future. Olympian Kenneth Jurkowski of South Africa took third.

Results: LTU1, RSA, USA, GER3

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x) – Final
Who is Kim Crow? Australia’s best single sculler is usually found in a team boat and for the last two World Championships she picked up silver medals in the double. Crow is also an Olympian from Beijing where she raced in the women’s pair. Earlier this week Crow won the single at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta which she raced as a contingency plan as her Olympic doubles partner is injured.

Today Crow came into this final after a full week of racing. She led the very talented field by using a dominant start and a solid middle 500. Only Nataliya Mustafayeva of Azerbaijan was anywhere close to Crow.

Crow came into the close of the race in the lead but then must have suffered a mixture of tiredness and single sculling nerves. She caught a crab. Crow quickly recovered but winner of the Belgrade World Rowing Cup, Xiuyun Zhang of China, took advantage of the situation and at a 37 stroke rate Zhang sprinted to the line. World Champion Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic also was coming on strong.

At the line Zhang took first to retain the World Cup leaders’ jersey, Crow held on to second and Knapkova managed to just overtake Mustafayeva to get the bronze medal.
Results: CHN, AUS, CZE, AZE, NZL1, RUS

Gold – Xiuyun Zhang (CHN)  
“It was a very close race and got very hard at the end. But I’m very happy to finish in first place. I’m going home now and then I will go to Greece for training.”

Silver –  Kim Crow (AUS)
“This was great fun, probably just 250m too far.  It really reminded me of how our lightweight double always chases me in training.  I got a bronze at the World Cup in Munich in 2010, now a silver, hopefully next time will be another step.  But I think I’ll go back into the double now.  My partner Brooke has been going really well.  It’s been very exciting to race through the Olympic qualifying and the World Cup and I have learned a lot in the single.  It’s all transferable, same two oars in the hands, but I will a friend with me on the start line (in the double).”

Bronze – Mirka Knapkova (CZE)
“It’s really good to row in a competitive field.  I love good races because it makes me perform better.  In the beginning I could only see China and New Zealand.  When I looked over I was surprised how far ahead the others were.  I had to push very hard for the last 750m.”

Donata Vistartaite of Lithuania qualified for the London Olympics at last year’s World Rowing Championships when she finished ninth and she looks like she is stepping up this year. Vistartaite led the B-final from start to finish and had enough of a lead at the end that she did not need to sprint.

Results: LTU1, NZL3, BRA, ZIM, JPN

Men’s Eight (M8+) – Final
Coming through to this Final the race looked to be a showdown between Canada and Germany. Two days ago Canada had set a new World Best Time when they won their heat. Germany had won the other heat.

At the start Germany got off the line the quickest with Great Britain and Canada sticking tightly to the German’s pace. With half the race gone Great Britain, who finished second in yesterday’s repechage, were the main contenders to challenge the Germans. Germany has remained unbeaten since 2009 and they take this event very, very seriously.

Going through the third 500 Great Britain remained overlapping with the Germans and in a very good position to get into first. The Germans had other ideas. Rating 39 Germany pushed on. Great Britain, at 41, were running out of push with Canada now moving up. The leading two boats were not caught. Germany continued their unbroken winning streak, Great Britain took second and Canada crossed the line in third.

Gold – Andreas Kuffner (GER )
“This was a fantastic team effort.  It was an awesome race and we had a lot of fun.  We had expected a hard race, but it all went well.  We pushed at the right spots and kept moving in front.  We were a bit tense before the final with the Canadians setting a world best time in the heat and our time being a bit slower.  It was important for us to continue our winning streak.  It’s strong field and for London the British will have the home advantage as well, so you cannot underestimate anyone. ”

Silver – Phelan Hill (GBR)
“If I’m honest, I think we did a good job today. We had a disappointing time in the heat so this was a good step on. We were building through the regatta and executed a good race in the final. The last 500m was not right and that’s why the Germans got us. All credit to Marcus Bateman for stepping in to the boat. This has been a good step in the right direction and there is more to come.”

Bronze – Rob Gibson (CAN)
“It was a good regatta but we have to do more training (to increase) speed and power.  We want to do another World Best time. ”