Plovdiv weather is likely to be in the high 20s Celsius and fast times are expected due to the warm waters of the regatta course.
The largest team attending is the United States with entries in all 20 boat classes – 13 junior events and seven international events. Germany has entered 19 events with a total of 69 athletes and Italy is the next biggest contingent with 59 athletes taking part in 15 events.
To follow is a preview of the senior events at Plovdiv:
Men’s Coxed Pair (M2+)
This event was won by Italy in 2011 and they have retained their coxswain, Niccolo Fanchi to steer the way in Plovdiv. Fanchi will be joined by Paolo Perino and Andrea Tranquilli. Tranquilli competed earlier this season in Italy’s men’s four. Perino medalled in the coxed pair at the 2010 World Rowing Championships. The Canadians are regularly strong in this boat class with a bronze medal from 2011.
This year’s crew is brand new with Peter McClelland and Kai Langerfeld in their first year on the Canadian national team. The Canadians may surprise.
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x)
Last year Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil made history by becoming the first Brazilian to win a World Champion title in rowing. Beltrame will aim to defend her title in Plovdiv and she comes to these World Rowing Championships hot off the waters of Eton Dorney where she raced at the London Olympic Games in the lightweight women’s double sculls.
But the competition in this event will be intense. Also coming directly from the London Olympics is 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist from the lightweight women’s double sculls, Alexandra Tsiavou of Greece. Tsiavou has a successful background in single scull racing on top of her success in the double.
Then there is Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus. Kryvasheyenka won this year’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships in the lightweight single and now moves to Plovdiv to race at the senior level.
Watch out too for rowing stalwarts and regular medallists in this event, Austria’s Michaela Taupe-Traer and Pamela Weisshaupt of Switzerland. Weisshaupt was the silver medallist last year and raced to gold at the Samsung World Rowing Cup III in Munich earlier this season. Taupe-Traer is also on form with two golds and a bronze from the three Samsung World Rowing Cups that she raced this season.
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x)
This event features three athletes that raced at the London Olympics – Henrik Stephansen of Denmark and Victor Aspillaga Alayza of Peru in the men’s single sculls and Pietro Ruta of Italy in the lightweight men’s double sculls. Of this group Stephansen is the stand-out performer and is the reigning World Champion in this event but Ruta has been having a great season in the single. Ruta won both Samsung World Rowing Cups that he entered and was second last year at the World Rowing Championships.
A challenger for the medals is likely to be Andrew Campbell of the United States. Campbell just missed out on qualifying for the London Olympics in the lightweight double and comes to Plovdiv having finished fourth at the World Rowing Championships last year as well as third at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in 2011.
The talent continues with Peter Galambos of Hungary a solid medal prospect. Galambos has raced twice this year internationally in the lightweight single and took silver both times.
Lightweight Men’s Eight (LM8+)
At the 2011 World Rowing Championships Australia outsprinted Italy to the line to take gold. Australia and Italy will meet again at Plovdiv in what is bound to be a very close race. Italy has returned with four of the crew from 2011 plus coxswain Gianluca Barattolo while Australia has retained three of their 2011 and coxswain David Webster.
These two crews had better watch out for Germany who has entered a boat that is full of talent. For a start their coxswain is the Olympic Champion men’s eight coxswain, Martin Sauer. Sauer has not lost a race since 2008. He will be joined by the crew that raced at the London Olympics in the lightweight men’s four. The Schoemann-Finck brothers are there as well and are World Champions from the lightweight four in 2009. In bow is Christian Hochbruck who is the reigning Under-23 Champion from the lightweight men’s double sculls.
This event has attracted nine countries and could well turn into the highlight of these World Championships with fast racing expected.
Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-)
Italy has retained their 2011 silver medal crew of Luca De Maria and Armando Dell’Aquilia and in the absence of last year’s World Champions, Great Britain, the Italians must come into this race as hot favourites.
De Maria and Dell’Aquilia must keep an eye out for Fabien Tilliet and Jean-Christophe Bette of France. This very accomplished French duo are the 2009 and 2010 World Champions in the lightweight men’s pair. It remains to be seen, however, what Tilliet and Bette’s form is like this season.
There are a number of new combinations that could surprise including New Zealand with Armin Svoboda who medalled last year at the under-23 championships and his partner, Alistair Bond who is first time on the New Zealand team but must have high expectations as the brother of Olympic Champion, Hamish Bond.
The Netherlands crew are likely to have a chance to be in the medals mix. Arnoud Greidanus and Joris Pijs of the Netherlands have been racing together this season and already have a Samsung World Rowing Cup gold and silver medal to their credit.
Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls (LW4x)
This event sees a whole new mix of athletes compared to those that raced at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. The most experienced name must be Italy’s Erika Bello. Stroking the boat for her country, Bello raced at the 1996 Olympic Games but then took a break from international rowing for a decade returning in 2006. The Italian crew finished third at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Munich in June.
Ahead of Italy at Munich was first placed Poland and second placed Denmark. These two crews have remained intact for Plovdiv and the race may turn into a repeat performance of the World Cup race.
Keep an eye out for Australia and the United States. Although these two crews have come together just this year, they may show some fast times.
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls (LM4x)
The Italian winning record in this event is undeniable and it looks as though Italy has no intention of losing it in 2012. Italy’s boat is loaded with three London Olympians and a 2012 under-23 champion. Names like Elia Luini and Marcello Miani are very well known on the international scene as well as Daniele Danesin who already has three World Champion titles from this boat class.
The strongest challenge to the Italians may come from Austria. At the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Munich in June, the Austrians finished first. Also medalling in Munich was Denmark who finished in third but they were less than two seconds down on Austria.
Keep an eye out too for Germany. This is a new crew but Germany regularly pull together a tough line up.