Crow, Horrie, Ross and Bellis strike gold in Varese, Italy
The Australian Rowing Team concluded its World Rowing Cup II campaign last night with three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze.
Gold medals came in the form of Kim Crow in the Women’s Single Scull, Erik Horrie in the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Scull and from Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis in the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double Scull.
Meanwhile, Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae snapped up a silver in the Men’s Double Scull, while Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley took a bronze in the Men’s Pair. In the non-Olympic boat class of the Women’s Four the crew of Renee Chatterton, Alexandra Hagan, Charlotte Sutherland and Katrina Bateman claimed a silver medal.
Throughout the regatta Kim Crow had proved herself to be the athlete to beat in the Women’s Single Scull and in the A-Final of the event she was sublime in claiming her first international title of 2015.
In a show of complete dominance, the Victorian moved clean away from the rest of the field building a margin of more than five seconds between her and her closest competitor by the halfway mark. Crow continued to dominate, opening up a huge gap between herself and the second-placed Genevra Stone of the USA who ultimately finished some nine seconds behind Crow.
Post-race, Crow said: “My last big international race was the 2014 World Rowing Championships, even though I had a couple of races in Australia. I was focused on my rowing and it felt really good out there. There are still a lot of things to work on and I’m looking forward to training here in Varese for the next few months based at the AIS ETC, so I feel almost at home when I race here.”
The current Para-Rowing World Champion in the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Scull, Horrie, cruised to victory in his A-Final on Saturday evening 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 Para-Rowing 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.”
The young partnership Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley scored their first World Cup 2 medal of the season with a strong performance in the Men’s Pair Final. The U23 athletes, who will race at the U23 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv next month, were up against Dutch duo Roel Braas and Mitchel Steenman as well as local favourites the Italian Abbagnale brothers.
The Dutch were very much in control of the race while the young Australians kept a steady rate to ensure that in the last 500m they pushed past the second Italian crew as well as Great Britain. Upon collecting his bronze medal, Hargreaves said: “We knew there were lots of strong boats, but we executed our race plan. We stayed calm and are happy with the bronze medal.”
The Men’s Double partnership of James McRae and Alexander Belonogoff were in a tough A-Final with World Champions the Croatian Sinkovic brothers. By the middle of the race, Croatia had moved to an open water lead with the privilege of having a view over the virtual line following behind them. Just two seconds separated Norway, Poland, Argentina, Italy and Australia.
As Croatia continued to stride away, Argentina had a nose of a lead in second, but there was nothing in it with the rest of the field. In the final sprint last year’s bronze medallists, McRae and Belonogoff showed their worth, as the Sinkovic brothers took the win, the Australian crew pulled into second ahead of Italy’s Romano Battisti and Francesco Fossi who took bronze.
“It was a good race considering we are still nine weeks away from the World Rowing Championships. It is good to see where we are and what we can work on for Lucerne and the World Rowing Championships and how to take the next steps,” said Belonogoff.
In the non-Olympic boat class of the Women’s Four, Australia entered two crews, taken from the Women’s Eight that would race later in the day.
The Australia 1 crew made up of Chatterton, Hagan, Sutherland and Bateman were quick out the blocks in a bid to chase down the USA Four who would ultimately win the race, but the crew held it’s pace and nerve to take the silver, while fellow team-mates Lucy Stephan, Hannah Vermeersch, Rosie Popa and Meaghan Volker finished just outside the medals in fourth.
Post-race, Western Australian Hagan said: “The Eight was broken into two fours to give us some extra race practice, but the ultimate goal is to be in the Eight and to qualify it for Rio by finishing in the top five at the World Rowing Championships in September.
“We are glad to have had this opportunity to see where we are at this point in the season, these are all stepping stones to the end goal to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.”
Elsewhere, the Men’s Four finished in fourth place in their final that was ultimately won by USA, while the Men’s Quadruple Scull had a tough race that saw them finish in fifth overall.
In the Women’s Double Scull, Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey led their race from the halfway mark but were overtaken by World Champions New Zealand, followed by USA and Great Britain to finish in fourth place.
Jessica Hall, Jennifer Cleary, Kerry Hore and Madeleine Edmunds battled hard in a strong field in the Women’s Quadruple Scull, finishing fifth in a race won by current World Cup holders, Germany.
The Women’s Eight up against World and Olympic Champions USA, along with Canada, Germany and Great Britain had to dig deep to take on the powerhouses of women’s eight rowing. The young crew came out battling but struggled to get infront and finished sixth overall.
The Women’s Pair finished third in their B-Final, while the Lightweight Men’s Four finished sixth their B-Final.