World Rowing Championships update: Day 4

Kicking off the repecharges and semi finals in good conditions – a light tail wind that shifted round to head later on during racing.

Women’s double sculls: repecharge.  The first repecharge was a “Race of sisters” with the Czech Antosovas versus the Danish Jakobsens… won by the Americans in 7:03 from the Czechs second – both go to the A final and every one else to the B final.  The second rep was comfortably won by the Australians in 7:01 with the German crew who won gold at the Europeans coming second.  New Zealand’s fans were disappointed to see their crew come third.  The first home crew not to progress to A finals.

Lightweight women’s single sculls: Repecharge.  One race to select two athletes for the A final.  An impressive Brazilian, Fabiana Beltrame led from start to finish having around three lengths lead at one point completing the course in 8:01.  She was untroubled by the race for seconod between Sheryl Preston for Canada and Julie Nicholas for USA.  Preston’s sprint from third place put enormous pressure on Nicholas but the Canadian lost out by centimetres – she started her sprint one stroke too late.

Men’s lightweight single sculls: Repecharge.  Three crews to choose for semi final places.  Again the Brazilian took the early initiative leading the race to half way but he was then overtaken by the long-stroking Dane, Henrik Stephansen whose impressive technique enabled him to stretch to one length clear water on the line winning in 7:31 from Austria and Brazil who also qualify.

Men’s lightweight eight: race for lanes.  Five starters in this event who race off in order to decide lanes in the final – this happens for any event with fewer than seven entries.  The tussle from the front was Italy who are defending champions and Australia with Australia winning out and China and USA coming in behind.  The German crew raced to 500m and then paddled home as half the crew are doubling up in L4-.

Men’s double sculls: repecharge.  Another chance for the Australians Nick Hudson and Jared Bidwell as they won comfortably from Swiss Andre Vonarburg and Florian Stoffer in 6:36 with Argentina third.  All three progress to the semi finals.

Women’s pair: repecharge.  Six crews race and two go to the A final.  Canada and Australia progress after a good race clearly ahead of the others in 7:35.  Romania, Croatia, Netherlands and China go to the B final.

Lightwweight women’s double scull: semi finals. Two races with six crews progressing to the A finals.   A headwind sprung up just as the race started.  The winners were Britain whose dilligent technique and deep focus enabled them to lead almost from the start of the race.  Behind them Greece, New Zealand and USA   raced in a pack led by the defending title holders, Greece.  New Zealand started to sprint with 750m to go urged on by their home crowd and closed on the USA while Greece closed on the Britons.  The kiwis overhauled USA in the sprint for the line.  Winning time 7:34 and fourth place was 7:39.

The second semi final was mainly contested by teh Canadians who lead the whole way with clear water over Germany and Australia.  These two closed on the leaders as they approached the finish but all three were well clear of Belgium, Spain nand Austria who trailed some distance behind and were not a threat.  Winning time 7:40.

Given the winning times of each semi-final the draw seems very biassed.  Last year’s winners, Greece having both the favoured challengers (USA and Britain) on the same side of the draw and the fourth placed crew got a time that would have won the other semi.

Men’s lightweight double sculls: semi final.  Two races with six crews progressing to the A finals.  A cracking line up with New Zealand the defending title holders sat n ext to Britain the Olympic champions.  Off the start both crews rated 39 – 40 strokes per minute and the Brits quietly pulled out in front of the kiwis.  Both settled to 38 strokes dropping to 35 through the middle portion of th erace.  By 1500m Purchase and Hunter had 4.18 seconds lead and held this to finish rating 31 with New Zealand’s Uru and Taylor rating 38 but failing to close the gap.  the rest of the crews trailed in their wake with Portugal beating Greece (U23 champions), Germany and Norway to the third qualifying place. Winning time 6:55.

The second semi final started with the Canadians leading Italy and China to half way when the French pushed back to within half a length hof the Canadians who had started to fade.  The Chinese overtook Canada with ease and Italy also closed up as the French challenge faded back leaving China to win in 6:54 with Italy second and Canada third.  Slovenia, USA and France go to the B Final.

Again the draw seems to have favoured the stronger crews on one side – it felt like we were watching the final for both the lightweight men’s and women’s doubles races… surely this should not be in the design of the draw system?

Men’s four: repecharge.  Two crews go to the A final from each rep.  Greece led the first race from Australia until mid-race when Francebegan to push back.  The French sprinted from 500m to go and overhaluled the Australians convincingly to get second behind Greece.  Spain and the Netherlands go to the B final.  Winning time 6:16.  The other race was led early on by the USA but Italy who were 4th at 1000m started to close and overhauled Germany and China to get second place half a second behind the winning USA team in 6:15.

Women’s quadruple sculls: repecharge.  Two races with two crews progressing to the A finals from each.   A strong and nicely co-ordinated USA crew stood out as the class act in the first rep – by 1500m they were a length ahead of Germany winning in 6:42.  Canada, Switzerland and Russia go to the B final.  The second race was a progression with Australia leading from the first and by 1500m were a length clear of New Zealand finishing in 6:41.  China and  Romania go to the B final.  The Romanian and New Zealand crews are both entirely U23 athletes.

Men’s quadruple sculls: repecharge.  Two crews go to the A final.  The italian crew had nipped three quarters of a length ahead of New Zealand and Britain by 1500m.  This left these two crews in a chase for second place.  GB started to sprint early and pulled away from the kiwis who left their charge too late and despite rating 39 failed to catch the poms.  Italy won in 6:01 by half a length.

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