Under grey skies and calm, flat conditions with temperatures a pleasant 23 degrees Celsius, the women’s and men’s eights really got to enjoy the conditions.

Junior Women’s Eight (JW8+) – Heats
There were two heats with the goal in each heat to finish first. This would guarantee a direct path to Sunday’s final. Last year’s fourth place finishers, Germany got away the fastest in Heat One. But then Romania started to pick off German seats. Romania finished first at this year’s European Junior Championships and they are also the reigning World Champions in this event with three of those winners back in the boat this year. Despite under-rating the Germans, Romania continued to make gains.

Just before the 1000m mark Romania got the lead and once in front their boat really took off leaving Germany, and the rest of the field, in their wake. Romania crossed the line with the fastest qualifying time of the two heats.  The second place crew from the European Junior Championships, Italy, got the better of Germany to come in second but they will have to race the repechage tomorrow.

Silver me

Lauren Barnard (b), Alia Shafi, Meghan Galloway, Julia Burgess, Claire Collins, Carolina Ratcliff, Melissa Curtis, Liliane Lindsay (s) and cox Amanda Rutherford of the United States of America race in the junior women’s eight heat at the 2013 World Rowing Junior Championships in Trakai, Lithuania.

dallists from 2012, the United States took off in the lead and completely dominated Heat Two. Australia gave it their best to hold on at the start but then decided it really was not worth it. Hungary and China had also come to the same conclusion. The United States, rating a steady 34 strokes per minute, kept their pace going and crossed the line easily in front. The last time the United States won this event was in 2009 and they will now meet Romania in the final on Sunday.
Qualifiers: ROU, USA

Junior Men’s Eight (JM8+) – Heats
A solid field of three heats lined up with the top three boats in each heat earning a direct path to Saturaday’s semifinals. All other boats would get a second chance through the repechage.

In Heat One reigning World Champions, Italy had the fastest start. But there was very little in it between the Italians and the Romanians through the first half of the race. Last year Romania finished fourth and they must be looking to step up into the medals. Italy kept the pressure on and managed to get a half-length lead over Romania coming into the final sprint. Then the Italians really sprinted. Romania, at a lower rating, seemed less concerned about the sprint.

At the line Romania nearly got caught by the Dutch, but it was all academic with three qualifying spots available. Italy, Romania and the Netherlands had qualified. A large Italian crowd contingent made sure their crew heard their support at the finish as the crew moves on to the semifinals.

Heat Two had 2012’s silver medallists, Germany in the centre lane who are here to go one better and take gold in Trakai. They lived up to expectations by taking off in the lead? With seven seat Theo Kessner the only remaining member of the 2012 boat, Germany really did not know their chances. Had they gone out too hard?

By the middle of the race Germany still had the lead with Great Britain following rather closely in second. Just after the 1200m mark the United States made a move and a huge push propelled them closer to the British and Germans. The race was far from over as margins remained tight coming into the final sprint. The British then really moved taking their stroke rate to the low 40s. The Germans had to react. And they did. Germany got to the line first. Great Britain took second and, with huge crowd support, the United States qualified from third.

The Chinese Legs, Trunk and Arms Mixed Coxed Four win the Final at the Olympia Regattastrecke during the 2008 Rowing World Cup in Munich, Germany.

Heat Three had Serbia taking the lead at the start. Serbia raced in the B-final a year ago and they looked to have stepped up a peg this year. Using a higher rating of around 36, the Serbians remained in front with Australia giving it their all to try and overtake the Serbs. Serbia won the 2013 European Junior Championships giving them a proven track record already this season. Serbia kept the pressure on right to the line to hold off Australia, whose final spint was cut short by one of the crew catching a crab. Serbia wrapped up this race. Australia took second and Lithuania qualified from third.

Denmark, at the back of the field, had stopped rowing in the opening 100m. The first 100m breakage rule no longer exists and perhaps Denmark had not realised this.