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Update from World Rowing Cup III, Lucerne

Australia’s crews began their World Rowing Cup III campaign today in Lucerne, Switzerland with five crews qualifying through their heats to their respective semi-finals/finals.

Kim Crow secured a victory in her heat to go straight into her semi-final as did the Men’s Four. While second place finishes for the Men’s and Women’s Double Sculls saw those two crews progress directly into the semi-finals tomorrow.

The Men’s Quad claimed victory in their heat to automatically qualify for their A-Final on Sunday, while the female equivalent crew will compete in a race for lanes tomorrow (Saturday).

For up to the minute information from World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, go to www.worldrowing.com

The Women’s Pair of Molly Goodman and Genevieve Horton were first up on a beautiful day in Lucerne and needed a top two finish in their heat to automatically make the semi-finals. The duo, coached by Bill Tait, got out of the blocks well and, while New Zealand led the race from start to finish, the Australians sat comfortably in second place for the first 1500 metres before the Polish pair of Anna and Maria Wierzbowska made a dash for it and pipped the Australians at the post to send them into the repechage.

The repechage required Goodman and Horton needing a top three finish to make tomorrow’s semi-final. That they did with the young crew winning their race in a time of  7:10:64. At the first 500m the crew were in second but slowly built momentum to take the win followed by Great Britain 2 and Croatia. They will race in the semi-finals today (Saturday).

The Men’s Pair who finished with a bronze medal at World Rowing Cup II in Varese were up next and taking on Switzerland, Finland, Czech Republic and Great Britain in their heat. Needing a top place finish to avoid the repechages and go straight to the semi-finals, Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley came out quick and pushed hard to challenge the Great Britain crew of James Foad and Matt Langridge. However, the British crew pulled ahead in the final 500 metres to take the automatic qualifying spot, leaving the Sydney University crew to face the repechages in the afternoon.

Mark Prater’s crew took on its repechage facing crews from Croatia, Italy and The Netherlands needing a top two finish to guarantee a place in today’s semi-finals. (Saturday). Spurred on by their female counterparts victory, Hargreaves and Wheatley led the race from start to finish to qualify for today’s semi-final in a time of 6:32.31.

The Men’s Four of Will Lockwood, Alex Hill, Spencer Turrin and Alex Lloyd were placed in Lane One of the third heat of the event. Needing a top three finish to make the semi-final Australia were up against crews from Serbia, South Africa and The Netherlands. The crew went out hard, with Hill in the stroke seat, and led the race from start to finish qualifying for Saturday’s semi-finals, where they will need a top three finish to make Sunday’s finals.

Making the 2015 international season debut, Ella Flecker and Alice McNamara took the water in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls. The duo, who are coached by Mark Fangen-Hall, were ruled out of World Rowing Cup II but took to the water in Lucerne to battle it out for a top two finish in their heat to automatically make Saturday’s semi-final. Facing stiff competition from an inform South Africa and Ireland, the duo finished fourth and thus will race the repechage this afternoon.

McNamara and Flecker needed a top two finish in their repechage yesterday afternoon, which they secured in a time of 6:59:66, finishing second to the USA and booking a place in today’s semi-finals (Saturday).

In the Men’s Double Sculls it was a Trans-Tasman battle between Australia’s Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae and New Zealand’s crew of Robert Manson and Chris Harris. The silver medallists in Varese, Belonogoff and McRae held off an attack from the Serbian crew to finish second and take a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey were up against Germany, Denmark, Italy, France and Bulgaria in the Women’s Double Sculls heat which needed them to finish top two in order to automatically qualify for the semi-final. The South Australian-based duo crossed the 500 metre mark in third but slowly built up their pace to challenge leaders Germany by the halfway mark. By the end of the race there were just behind the Germans and finished in second a mere 0.76 seconds behind Germany’s Julia Lier and Marelke Adams, both teams qualifying for the semi-finals tomorrow.

In the Lightweight Men’s Coxless Four were up against hometown favourites Switzerland, along with Spain, Greece and Indonesia. The Swiss were the ultimate victors in the race leading from start to finish on their home course, with Spain coming in second and Australia’s Darryn Purcell, Nick Silcox, Perry Ward and Tim McDonnell in third.

The Australians contested the repechage at 17:20 local time (01:25 AEST) yesterday and required a top two finish t make the semi-finals. The crew, coached by Brett Crowe, finished second their race in a time of 6:01:86 to qualify alongside Germany for the semi-finals today.

In the Women’s Single Scull Kim Crow and Fiona Albert featured in Heats 1 and 2 of the racing. The 2013 World Rowing Champion was up against competitors from New Zealand, Israel, Denmark, Ireland and Qatar but nobody could keep up with the Victorian who showed her mettle and cruised to victory and a place in tomorrow’s semi-final with a time of 7:30:62.

Meanwhile, Fiona Albert, racing in Lane Five, was up against some stiff competition with 2012 Olympic Champion Mirka Knapkova, Germany’s Julia Richter and Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland. The race was ultimately won by Knapkova in a time of 7:28: 62, who progressed to the semi-final, while Albert finished in sixth and will race in the repechage this afternoon.

The single sculler’s repechage last night didn’t see the young Victorian qualify for the semi-final and thus she will race the D-Final today in Lucerne (Saturday).

Cameron Girdlestone, David Crawshay, Karsten Forsterling and David Watts in the Men’s Quadruple Scull required a top two finish to make their A-Final otherwise it would be a place in the repechage for John Driessen’s crew.

The Australians timed their race beautifully, keeping their composure throughout especially with Estonia nipping at their heels. The crew, featuring two Olympic medallists in Crawshay and Forsterling, began their ascension into the lead from the halfway mark and held of challenges from Estonia and Italy to take the win in a time of 5:38:60 and a place in the A-Final on Sunday to boot.

In the Women’s Coxed Eight, the crew coxed by Sarah Banting, were up against New Zealand, The Netherlands and Romania in their heat. Needing a top place finish it wasn’t to be for the Australians who finished in fourth, 10.14 seconds behind victors New Zealand. The crew will contest the repechage tomorrow alongside The Netherlands, Romania, Germany and Great Britain with the top four making Sunday’s final.

The Men’s Coxed Eight made their debut on the 2015 international season in a tough race against Olympic Champions Germany, as well as U23 World Champions New Zealand and The Netherlands. The crew, coxed by David Webster, drew the outside lane and for the majority of the race sat in third place but as the final 500m approached the crew began to up the ante on the New Zealanders who were in second.

The crew, coached by Tim McLaren, pulled ahead of their Trans-Tasman rivals to claim second and were just 1.62 seconds behind the victors, Germany. The crew will take Lane 4 tomorrow in the repechage against The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, France and Italy, a top four finish will see them make the A-Final.