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Australia strikes gold on day three of World Rowing Cup II

Erik Horrie, Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis win golds in the para-rowing events

Nine A-Finals today (Sunday) for Australian crews; Live Stream available on www.worldrowing.com

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The Australian Rowing Team struck gold yesterday at World Rowing Cup II in Varese, Italy when Erik Horrie, Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis claimed victories in the para-rowing events.

The current World Champion in the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Scull, Horrie, cruised to victory in his A-Final with a time of 4:41:74, followed by Russia Alexey Chuvashev and Great Britain’s Tom Aggar.

After the 1000m race, Horrie said: “I raced in the toughest conditions in years and it was incredible to see the times we all did, which is great for the sport and the category. It is an honour to win this second World Rowing Cup

“It’s good opportunity to see what level I am at and to target my training. I head back to Australia this week to continue. Rio is still 12 months away and every single person will be training as hard as me so I’m sure the times will be much faster come the World Rowing Championships and Paralympic qualification in September.”

Team-mates and current World Champions, Ross and Bellis, continued their winning ways as they claimed victory in the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double Scull. In the first 500m there was little between the crews competing but by the halfway point the Australians had a lead over Brazil, France and Ukraine and ultimately pulled away and proved their World Championships status to cross the line first.

Post-race, Ross said: “The conditions were the most challenging we’ve had in a while. We tried to stay relaxed and not let it bother us. It was a fabulous race by all the crews.

“Races like these are all great preparation to see where we are ahead of Paralympic qualification and hopefully Rio de Janeiro next year.”

It was a busy day for the rest of the Australian Rowing Team as they bid to gain places in the remaining A-Finals that take place tonight (Sunday) in Italy.

The Women’s and Men’s Pairs were first up for Australia in the semi-finals stakes, with Molly Goodman and Gen Horton in the Women’s Pair taking to the lake first.

Goodman and Horton had a tough semi-final which featured the current World and Olympic Champions from Great Britain, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, as well as the 2014 U23 Champions from New Zealand, Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast. The young crew, coached by Bill Tait, needed a top three finish but were pushed out of contention by New Zealand and USA to take fourth and a place in the B-Final.

Meanwhile, the Men’s Pair of Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley, continued their good form with a second place finish in their semi-final to make today’s A-Final. The U23 athletes, who will compete at the U23 World Rowing Championships next month, kept up a good pace on The Netherlands, who led the race and ultimately won it, to qualify ahead of Great Britain who will also join them in the A-Final today.

In the Lightweight Men’s Four, the crew of Darryn Purcell, Nick Silcox, Perry Ward and Tim McDonnell had a tough semi-final were they finished in sixth place and didn’t make today’s A-Final in the boat class.

The 2014 World Rowing Championships bronze medallists in the Men’s Double Scull, Australia’s Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae, took the lead in their semi-final but at the half-way point of the race a battle ensued between Great Britain, Argentina, Italy and Australia.

There was a frantic sprint for the line in a race that was described by some as ‘crazy’, with virtually nothing between the top four boats, but with only three spots in the A-Final up for grabs it was Argentina first by a bow ball, followed by Italy and Australia in third, beating Great Britain by 0.05 of a second to take the final qualifying spot.

Following Belonogoff and McRae, the Women’s Double Scull of Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey took to the water to compete in their semi-final where they needed a top three finish to make the A-Final. The lead was originally taken by European Champions Poland, followed by Kehoe and Aldersey who were being matched stroke for stroke by New Zealand.

In the final sprint for the line it was New Zealand, the current World Champions, who claimed the victory, followed by Poland and then Australia to all make the A-Final later today.

In the second of two repechages for the Men’s Four A-Final, Australia’s crew of Will Lockwood, Alex Hill, Spencer Turrin and Alex Lloyd needed a top two finish to take a place in today’s A-Final. The crew, coached by Simon Cox, did that leading the race from start to finish in a time of 5:53:28.

Shortly after the Men’s Four won their repechage, so did the Women’s Quadruple Scull when they finished in a time of 6:16:63. The crew of Jess Hall, Jennifer Cleary, Kerry Hore and Madeleine Edmunds, led the race from start to finish to be followed over the line by New Zealand who qualified alongside them for the A-Final today.

The new look Men’s Quadruple Scull of David Crawshay, Karsten Forsterling, Cameron Girdlestone and David Watts competed in a nail-biting race that saw John Driessen’s crew come from third place to snatch victory and a place in the A-Final today.

Sitting in third at both the 500m and halfway mark, the quad crept through to second by the 1500m point and when push came to shove made a sprint for the line to take the win over Switzerland who finished 0.40 seconds behind the Australians, with both crews making the A-Final.

In the Women’s Single Scull semi-final it was Kim Crow’s race once again, with the 2013 World Champion finishing in a winning time of 7:21:41. Crow led the race from start to finish and when comparing the times of her fellow qualifiers in the semi-finals, Crow was some 3.23 seconds ahead of her rivals in her qualifying time for today’s A-Final.

The Women’s Eight repechage saw the Australian Women’s Eight crew do a fantastic job to make the A-Final. With USA and Canada already qualified, the crew needed to finish in the top four to make the A-Final. Up against Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand and China the crew, coxed by Sarah Banting, sat in third for the majority of the race only to make the final push in the last 500 metres to finish second behind Great Britain in a time of 6:01:60.

Today sees plenty of action with the viewing times listed below – a live video stream is available via www.worldrowing.com

Race times for Australian Crews at World Rowing Cup II, Varese, Italy

Women’s Pair, Molly Goodman and Genevieve Horton – B-Final, 17:40 AEST

Lightweight Men’s Four, Darryn Purcell, Nick Silcox, Perry Ward and Tim McDonnel – B-Final 18:15 AEST

Women’s Four – A-Final, 19:00 AEST

AUS 1 – Lucy Stephan, Hannah Vermeersch, Meaghan Volker and Rosemary Popa

AUS 2 – Renee Chatterton, Charlotte Sutherland, Alexandra Hagan and Katrina Bateman

Men’s Pair, Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley – A Final, 19:58 AEST

Men’s Four, William Lockwood, Alexander Hill, Spencer Turrin and Alexander Lloyd – A-Final 20:43 AEST

Women’s Quadruple Scull, Jessica Hall, Jennifer Cleary, Kerry Hore and Madeleine Edmunds – A-Final 20:58 AEST

Men’s Quadruple Scull, David Crawshay, Karsten Forsterling, Cameron Girdlestone and David Watts – A-Final 21:13 AEST

Men’s Double Scull, James McRae and Alexander Belonogoff – A-Final 21:43 AEST

Women’s Double Scull, Olympia Aldersey and Sally Kehoe – A-Final 21:58 AEST

Women’s Coxed Eight, Lucy Stephan, Hannah Vermeersch, Renee Chatterton, Rosemary Popa, Meaghan Volker, Charlotte Sutherland, Alexandra Hagan, Katrina Bateman, Coxswain Sarah Banting – A-Final 22:13 AEST

Women’s Single Scull, Kimberley Crow – A-Final 22:43