Women’s Pair (W2-) – Semifinals

The United States’ Felice Mueller and Eleanor Logan proved their power in Semifinal One. They took off at a cracking pace with Olympic Champion from the eight, Logan doing the calls from the bow. Once in front the US kept a 37 stroke rate pace to move away from South Africa’s Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Persse in second. Then Canada’s Jennifer Martins and Cristy Nurse really found their rhythm and overtook Smith and Persse. South Africa fought back as Canada, who will also race in the women’s eight, began to fade. Then Germany upped their stroke rate in the final sprint and using a 44 stroke rate, they went after the Canadians. It was too late. Germany will go to the B-final.

Great Britain’s World and Olympic Champions, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning love to lead from the start. They did this today in Semifinal Two, but not without a wary look over to the young New Zealand duo of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler. Prendergast and Gowler took the under-23 title in 2014 and this year have been chasing the British all season. By the middle of the race Stanning and Glover had managed to get a boat length lead over New Zealand, but Prendergast and Gowler were holding on. This battle moved the two leading crews clean away from the rest of the field.

Great Britain rated 35 to the line with New Zealand on 37. The order did not change with Denmark’s Hedvig Rasmussen and Anne Andersen coming through in third and earning that important Olympic qualifying spot. Stanning and Glover’s time of 7:06 was just a fraction faster than the Americans in Semifinal One.

Qualifiers: USA, RSA, CAN, GBR, NZL, DEN

Lightweight Men’s Pair (LM2-) – Semifinals

Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour of Great Britain sprinted out of the start in Semifinal One with Italy’s Petru Zaharia and Armando Dell-Aquila in hot pursuit. These two crews matched each other through the middle of the race with a second battle going on between Australia and the Czech Republic for the third and final qualifying spot for the A-final. The British got a bit of an edge over Italy and Australia got the edge over the Czechs. There was no major finishing sprint needed for these crews.

France got the best start in Semifinal Two. The duo of Augustin Mouterde and Theophile Onfroy of France have been having a good season and they finished fourth at World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne. Today they managed to get a small lead over the United States, Germany, Russia and Spain. This was going to be a race to the finish as the top five boats went through the middle of the race with a small two second spread.

Coming into the 1500m mark France managed to get nearly a boat length lead over the line forming behind them, now between Germany, the United States and Spain. Robin Prendes and Peter Gibson of the US were under threat as Spain’s Sergio Perez Moreno and Jose Gomez-Feria wound up their stroke rate to 42. Germany’s Jonas Kilthau and Mattias Arnold went to 44 with the US at 45. Spain had missed out. France had recorded the fastest overall qualifying time. What a finish!

Qualifiers: GBR, ITA, AUS, FRA, GER, USA

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – Semifinals

Jamie Kirkwood of Great Britain took off at 49 strokes per minute in the British regular style of leading from the start. Would this be enough to intimidate the rest of the field in Semifinal One? Obviously not. Adam Ling of New Zealand was slowly working his way up with Hungary’s Gabor Csepregi, Germany’s Konstantin Steinhuebel and Tim Brys of Belgium all within one second. The pressure must have been immense. Ling then got a fraction of a lead pushing Kirkwood into second. But nothing was clear. Four boats charged for the line. Steinhuebel was at 39, so was Ling. Kirkwood was holding on. No one could pick it. Kirkwood had taken first on the final stroke. Steinhuebel was second and Ling third – separated by just 0.08 of a second. Csepregi had missed out by less than a second.

Milos Stanojevic of Serbia has been having a great regatta and he continued his fine form today in Semifinal Two. Getting out the quickest at the start Stanojevic, who was the silver medallist at World Rowing Cup III, took the lead. But Stanojevic was up against the reigning World Champion, Marcello Miani of Italy and also Rajko Hrvat of Slovenia who took bronze at this year’s European Rowing Championships.

Coming into the last 500m Rajko got his nose in front with Miani winding it up. Stanojevic was holding on as he now saw the threat coming from Nicholas Trojan of the United States. Rating 39 Rajko held the lead as Trojan came flying through, also at 39. Serbia held on. The World Champion, Miani had missed out. Slovenia had won and in a time almost identical to Kirkwood. This means the spread of times for the final between the top six boats was less than two seconds. Phew!


Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) – Semifinals

Semifinal One had the under-23 champion from the lightweight double and the winner of the World Rowing Cup in the lightweight single, Zoe McBride of New Zealand. McBride showed her pedigree by getting out in front at the start with Fabiana Beltrame of Brazil following closely. Beltrame is the 2011 World Champion in this boat class and she has remained within the front runners over the last couple of years. At the half way point McBride had earned a small lead over Beltrame with Australia’s Georgia Nesbitt, who was rowing a very steady race, moving into second. In the final sprint McBride maintained a steady 34, Beltrame was at 33, with Giulia Pollini at 38 and attacking Nesbitt. It was tight, very tight. The judges calls Pollini. Nesbitt had missed out by just 0.14 of a second.

Kathleen Bertko of the United States has not been seen much this season, but she was third in 2014 and so people knew she was fast. Bertko had a rocket of a start in Semifinal Two. Great Britain’s Imogen Walsh was second out of the start. These two boats moved away from the rest of the field. Walsh is very accomplished in the single and has also had time in the British lightweight double. She comes to Aigubelette after taking silver at World Rowing Cup III in July and is the European Champion. Bertko used an aggressive higher stroke rate to keep Walsh at bay with Germany’s Judith Anlauf back in third. The order remained the same and Bertko’s time of 7:42 was the fastest overall qualifying time.

Qualifiers: NZL, BRA, ITA, USA, GBR, GER

Men’s Pair (M2-) – Semifinals

Semifinal One – Murray and Bond. Could anyone dent their dominating form? They won their quarterfinal yesterday and looked as though it was an easy race. Today the unbeaten New Zealanders got away the quickest with Serbia’s Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik in hot pursuit. Italy and the United States and South Africa were all within striking distance. Then Niccolo Mornati and Vincenzo Capelli put in pure heart and took their stroke rate to 38 to close on Serbia. The United States tried to hold on. But Italy had more to give. Mornati and Capelli changed gear again and went to 42 in the final sprint. The United States could not keep up. Italy will join Serbia and New Zealand in the final and also take an Olympic qualifying spot.

Former single sculler, Roel Braas and partner Mitchel Steenman of the Netherlands had the best start in Semifinal Two. The Dutch are usually known for being better in the second half of the race so it would be interesting to see if Braas and Steenman could maintain it. Then James Foad and Matt Langridge of Great Britain moved into the lead with under-23 silver medallists, Jack Hargreaves and Nicholas Wheatley of Australia moving with the British. Where were the Olympic medallist French?

With 500m left to go the Australians looked to be fading a bit, but were still holding the British at the front. Braas and Steenman held on to third as France’s Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette gave it their all to get into a qualifying position. The crowd egged them on. The French had left it too late.

Qualifiers: NZL, SRB, ITA, GBR, AUS, NED

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – Semifinals

What a stacked semi. In Semifinal One the silver and gold medallist from 2014 made up the two centre lanes. Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou of France had the 2015 World Cup title and the crowd with them. James Thompson and John Smith of South Africa had pure passion driving them on. Delayre and Azou got away just in front of Italy’s Andrea Micheletti and Pietro Ruta. The French are known to have a fast start and are known to love being in front for the entire race and it looked like that is what they were doing today. The South Africans were known for their blistering finish. Going through the middle of the race Azou and Delayre were still in front with Italy and South Africa well within striking distance. Switzerland tried to play catch up, but it looked like this race may be wrapped up.

Delayre and Azou went to a 39 stoke rate in anticipation of the charge from Thompson and Smith. Then Poland took their rate to 44 and attacked South Africa. They just held on. Poland just missed out. 

The British crew of William Fletcher and Richard Chambers had a great quarterfinal to get through to today’s Semifinal Two. So did Gary and Paul O’Donovan of Ireland. Could they repeat it today? There was also the 2013 World Champions and last year’s bronze medallists, Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway. Great Britain and Norway went neck-and-neck through the middle of the race, matching each other stroke for stroke at a 37 stroke rate. A virtual line had formed behind these two leaders with four boats all trying to be in that third and final qualifying spot.

Fletcher and Chambers then managed to break away a bit with Norway trying to hold on. Then the United States pushed, then Germany really wound it up. At 43, Moritz Moos and Jason Osborne of Germany outrated the United States to grab the final qualifying spot. Great Britain had recorded the fastest qualifying time overall, albeit by less than half a second.

Qualifiers: FRA, ITA, RSA, GBR, NOR, GER

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – Semifinals

In a very competitive Semifinal One, Germany’s Fini Sturm and Marie-Louise Draeger decided to do it at the start and they jumped out the quickest. Great Britain’s Charlotte Taylor and Katherine Copeland and World Champions, Sophie MacKenzie and Julia Edward of New Zealand followed very closely.

Coming through the middle of the race MacKenzie and Edward had grabbed the lead with Germany and Great Britain neck-and-neck for second. But it was oh so tight with Russia, Sweden and the United States remaining well within striking distance. New Zealand then managed to push away again as the US went to 37 strokes per minute to move on Copeland and Taylor. The race for second had just two seconds separating five boats. Copeland and Taylor went to 42. Germany held on.

Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler of South Africa took off oh so quickly in Semifinal Two. They looked in excellent form as they led the way over Ireland’s Claire Lambe and Sinead Jennings and Juliane Rasmussen and Anne Lolk Thomsen of Denmark. This was much more spread out that Semifinal One. But that was about to change. In an absolute flurry to the line, Canada’s Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee took their stroke rate to 43 and absolutely upset the status quo. You could see the desperation of the crews as they gave it their all to the line. Canada won and also recorded the fastest overall qualifying time. Ireland missed out by less than half a second.

Qualifiers: NZL, GBR, GER, CAN, RSA, DEN

Men’s Four (M4-) – Semifinals

Jumping out in Semifinal One was the new 2015 Italian crew of Di Costanzo, Castaldo, Lodo and Vicino. They used a frantically high stroke rate to stay ahead of a very close battle going on between Great Britain and Canada. The Canadians then moved up to take on the Italian leader and this helped move them away from Great Britain, In the final sprint Italy went to 41 with Great Britain and Canada all at that stroke rate. In second Canada looked great. Then a crab in their boat just 50m from the finish line caught them off guard. They recovered incredibly quickly, but it was enough for the British to get ahead. Canada held on to earn third.

Semifinal Two had the Netherlands bursting out at the start followed closely by the United States and Australia. The US had a crew change due to illness while the Australians had come through to this regatta having lost one teammate following a training bike ride about a month ago. By the middle of the race Australia’s Lockwood, Dunkley-Smith, Turrin and Hill had got their boat in front with the Dutch holding on. In the close of the race Australia and the Dutch got to watch a virtual line form behind them for third. Germany, the United States and Russia were all fighting for the final qualifying spot. Russia and the United States were the unlucky ones. The Netherlands, rating 41, had taken first, Australia held on for second and Germany took third.

Qualifiers: ITA, GBR, CAN, NED, AUS, GER

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – Semifinals

The World Champions, Ukraine had a great start in Semifinal One, but by the middle of the race Switzerland had squeezed through into the lead with Australia really showing their true colours by keeping on the pace. Then coming into the final sprint the field closed up. Four boats were going for three spots. Lithuania was on fire and Ukraine was making an amazing closing comeback. It was bow ball to bow ball with Lithuania’s Jancionis, Adomavicius, Dziaugys and Galisanskis giving it their all. Then with just three strokes to go Ukraine ran out of steam. The qualifying spots had been decided. The World Champions would have to contest the B-final.

After an initial early lead by Canada, a very polished looking Germany took over in the lead of Semifinal Two. Canada remained within striking distance while a line formed between Great Britain, New Zealand, Poland and Estonia for the third place spot.

As Germany remained in the lead it now became a five boat fight for two spots. Canada hit 42 strokes per minute. Estonia shortened up on 47 strokes per minute, New Zealand was at 46. Everyone held their breath. Estonia and Great Britain will join Germany in the A-final. New Zealand, Canada and Poland had all only just missed out.

Qualifiers: LTU, AUS, SUI, GER, EST, GBR

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Quarterfinals

The large number of entries in the men’s double sculls meant that these crews would have to go through quarterfinal racing. In Quarterfinal One it was no surprise to see the World Champions and World Best Time holders, Croatia in the lead. Everyone is impressed by Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia and they have proved to be unbeaten so far. Behind Croatia Slovenia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Cuba were incredibly tight. A great race by Eduardo Rubio Rodriguez and Adrian Oquendo Ibanez of Cuba gave them second and Aleksandar Aleksandrov and Boris Yotov of Azerbaijan came through in third.

Germany and New Zealand went neck-and-neck together through the first half of the race with Germany (Marcel Hacker and Stephen Krueger) underrating New Zealand’s Robert Manson and Chris Harris. Then Manson and Harris managed to pull just a bit ahead. In the final sprint Germany upped their stroke rate to close on New Zealand. They crossed the line almost equal. Bulgaria’s Georgi Bozhilov and Kristian Vasilev also qualified.

Lithuania so far are having a great regatta. Today their double raced in Quarterfinal Three with Rolandas Mascinskas and Saulius Ritter the Lithuanian boat. They led the way with Italy’s Giacomo Gentili and Romano Battisti moving with them. A great second half by Australia’s James McRae and Alexander Belonogoff saw them come past Italy to take second.

Quarterfinal Four opened with Denmark in the lead before Hugo Boucheron and Mattthieu Androdias of France got their nose in front with Great Britain’s John Collins and Jonathan Walton moving up. Then the 2013 World Champions from Norway, Hoff and Borch realised they had better do something and do it now. The As France crossed the line in first, Norway stormed through to second with the British taking third. Boucheron and Androdias has recorded the fastest qualifying time overall.