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Positive start at World Rowing Cup for Australian Crews

Four Australian crews win their heats in Poznan, Poland

On a wet and windy day in Poland, Australia’s crews took to the water for World Rowing Cup 3. With racing scheduled for 9:30 in the morning, this was promptly pushed back due to severe thunderstorms over Lake Malta making it unsafe for racing.

When racing began at 11:35, there was a reshuffle of races, with the Women’s Double Sculls the first of Australia’s crews to take to the water. Sally Kehoe and Genevieve Horton had finished World Rowing Cup 2 in Lucerne in a silver medal position after some strong racing and they no doubt wished to continue their good form in Poland.

Drawn in a heat with reigning World Champions New Zealand, two crews from Belarus as well as Denmark and Germany, a first place finish would book them a spot in Sunday’s final. The crew, coached by Rhett Ayliffe, led their race from start to finish and according to race course commentary ‘fiercely dominated’ the heat and won in a time of 6.59.

Next up for Australia was the Men’s Four, with Alex Hill returned to the crew, joining Joshua Booth, Joshua Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood who needed a first place finish to avoid the repechage.

The Australians fired out of the start, looking to prove a point against fellow favourites, Great Britain, as well as Romania and Germany. The race was ultimately between the Australians and the British and at the halfway it was Australia in the lead. At the 1500m mark the British began to make their push, but Australia stayed with them. However, in the final 50 metres, the British pushed ahead to take the automatic qualification spot for the A-Final, while Australia will race the repechage on Saturday.

The Men’s Quadruple Sculls, who won gold at World Rowing Cup 2 in Lucerne, were drawn in a heat with Poland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. A first place finish would see them into Sunday’s A-Finals, and the crew coached by John Driessen, led the race from start to finish. Showing good technique and a calm demeanour, the Australians were not challenged through the race and booked a place in the A-Final in a time of 5.59.

The two Men’s Pair crews had a later start, due the rescheduling, and it was James Medway and Joshua Hicks up first for Australia. The crew were drawn in Lane 4, facing off competition from Romania, Italy and two crews from Great Britain. Top three would book the duo a place in the semi-finals, but for Medway and Hicks it was a fourth place finish which means Australia’s sweep reserives will compete in the repechage later today.

Australia’s other Men’s Pair crew entered for this event, Alexander Lloyd and Spencer Turrin were drawn alongside Romania, Hungary and Germany. The New South Welshmen led their heat from start to finish and were smooth in their performance, showing their power in the boat. The crew crossed the line in a time of 6.34 and booked a place in the semi-finals.

The Men’s Double Sculls of David Watts and Chris Morgan were drawn in Lane 1 and needed a top three finish to book a place in the semi-finals and avoid the repechage. The crew, coached by Rhett Ayliffe, took on crews from France, Germany, Poland and China. Starting out in fourth, the crew paced themselves through the race, making their move into third place as they pushed past the 1500m mark. While the win was taken by Germany, and France in second, it was third for Australia who secured a semi-final spot over hosts Poland who will face the repechage.

Australia had two women’s single scullers entered at World Rowing Cup 3, with reserve Olympia Aldersey competing in Heat 1, while in Heat 2, the reigning World Champion Kim Brennan was drawn. Both needed first place finishes to book a place directly in the semi-finals, while anything less would face the repechage in the late afternoon.

Aldersey was first up and facing competition from an inform Magdalena Lobnig from Austria as well as Denmark’s Fie Udby Erichsen as well as New Zealand’s Lucy Spoors and Yeji Kim of Korea. The battle upfront was between Lobnig and Erichsen, while Aldersey and her Trans-Tasman rival duked it out for third and fourth place.

At the halfway the South Australia was in fourth, but made her move as they approached the 1500m mark and maintained her third place position through to the finish. Lobnig had booked the semi-final spot with the win, while Erichsen, Aldersey, Spoors and Kim were headed to the repechage later in the day.

Kim Brennan was drawn in Lane 6 of her heat which she needed to win to book a place in the semi-finals and avoid the repechage. Joining Brennan in her heat, Sweden, Bermuda, Ukraine, Norway and the Czech Republic all looking to take on the dual Olympic medallist. However, Brennan led the race from start to finish, rating 29 as she crossed the line in a time of 7.44.

The three crews who took on the repechages late in the afternoon in Poznan faced troublesome conditions after poor weather struck again. James Medway and Joshua Hicks finished third in their repechage and therefore booked a place in the semi-finals of the Men’s Pair. Meanwhile, Olympia Aldersey raced well in extremely challenging conditions in the Women’s Single Sculls repechage to finish third and therefore just missing out in in a semi-final spot. The women’s sculling reserve will now contest the C-Final on Saturday.

Due to the adverse weather conditions, FISA cancelled the repechage of the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Sculls. The decision was made by the Event Committee to progress the top three from each heat to the A-Final, therefore, by virtue of finishing second in his heat, Erik Horrie progresses to today’s A-Final.

Race Schedule for Saturday 18 June 2016:

Time AEST (Local Time in Brackets) Boat Class  Crew Competition in race Type of Race Progression
18:05 AEST (10:05 CEST) W1x Aldersey SWE, NED 2, GER, AUT 2, NOR 2 C Final N/A
20:05 AEST (12:05 CEST) ASM1x Horrie ITA, UKR 1 & 2, GBR, BRA A Final N/A
20:13 AEST (12:13 CEST) TAMix2x Bellis and Ross POL, BRA, FRA, NED, UKR 1 A Final N/A
22:25 AEST (14:25 CEST) M2- Lloyd and Turrin ROU 2, SRB, GBR 2, HUN, GER 1 Semi-Final Top 3 to A-Final; Rest to B-Final
22:30 AEST (14:30 CEST) M2- Hicks and Medway ITA 1, GBR 1, NZL 1 & 2, GER 2 Semi-Final Top 3 to A-Final; Rest to B-Final
22:50 AEST (14:50 CEST) M2x Watts and Morgan FRA, NZL, GBR, CUB, NED Semi-Final Top 3 to A-Final; Rest to B-Final
22:55 AEST (14:55 CEST) M4- Hill, Booth, Dunkley-Smith and Lockwood GER, ROU, BLR 1, FRA Repechage Top four to A-Final
23:00 AEST (15:00 CEST) W1x Brennan NZL 2, NED 1, AUT 1, BLR, CZE Semi-Final Top 3 to A-Final; Rest to B-Final
23:45 AEST (15:45) W4x Hall, Hore, Cleary and Edmunds GER, POL and NED Preliminary Race All to A-Final