Australia bids to win its first Men’s Four World Championship title in 26 years
Australia’s Men’s Four are within touching distance of a World Rowing Championship title after winning their semi-final today (28 September) at the 2017 World Rowing Championships here in Florida. The crew of Joshua Hicks, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alex Hill qualified fastest for Saturday’s final after a convincing win at Nathan Bederson Park.
The Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull finished sixth in their semi-final and will now contest the B-Final tomorrow, while the young Men’s Eight finished fourth in their repechage after a valiant race to make the A-Final. The Men’s Eight will now race a B-Final on Sunday.
The Men’s Four needed a top three finish in their semi-final to progress to Saturday’s A-Final. The Australians were drawn in Lane 4, alongside Denmark, with both crews marked as favourites to progress to the A-Final. While Germany had the fastest start, it was Australia that took the early lead as the boats crossed the 500-metre marker.
Hill, Hargreaves, Turrin and Hicks then pulled clean away from the rest of the field and by the 1000 metre point had a clear water advantage. The Australians continued to surge ahead of the pack and crossed the line in first, in a time of 5 minutes 55 seconds, with Denmark second and Germany third.
The crew will now contest Saturday’s final, in a bid to win Australia’s first Men’s Four World Championship title in 26 years. Australia were last crowned World Champions in the Men’s Four at the 1991 World Rowing Championships in Vienna, when Nick Green, Andrew Cooper, Mike McKay and James Tomkins won gold.
Joshua Hicks, who was born in April of 1991, said post-race that the crew were full focused on the final: “We’re very process orientated and focused on doing what our coach [Ian Wright] tells us and executing his vision and plan.
“It’s been different for me this year as in 2015 and 2016 I fulfilled the role of a reserve, where you learn a lot about the importance of adapting your individual aspirations to fit in the team’s needs. To now be on the other side, in a crew, has been unusual for me, but the people in four are experienced and good to work with, I’m enjoying it.”
Hicks, a graduate of Harvard University in 2013, is enjoying being back in Sarasota, where he competed when in college. “The facilities are outstanding here, the way they’ve responded to the adverse weather events earlier in the month is remarkable and the hospitality has been second to none. This was my first time rowing on this course, when I was here it was still under construction, and it’s been great,” said the West Australian.
As temperatures reached 32 degrees, the Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull took to the placid waters of Nathan Bederson Park. Drawn in Lane 1, Cameron Fowler, Redmond Matthews, James Kerr and Hamish Parry need a top three finish to qualify for the A-Final.
The young crew flew out of the start and tussled with the field, however it was France who took an early lead and Australia were left to fight it out with Germany and Austria further down the pack. The young crew, who are aged between 23 and 25, ultimately finished in sixth place to now contest the B-Final tomorrow morning.
The Men’s Eight repechage saw Australia’s crew in Lane 2, in a race that required them to finish top two to ensure they made it into A-Final. It was the USA and New Zealand who showed their hand first, with Australia’s young coxswain, James Rook, calling on his crew to dig deep and chase them down as the big boats surged for the halfway point.
Australia’s Eight began to push on the Polish crew that sat in third as they cross the 1500-metre marker, but the Poles pushed ahead nipping at the New Zealand and USA boats. As the crews crossed the line, it was USA and New Zealand that finished first and second, qualifying for the A-Final, with the Australians finishing in fourth in a time of 5 minutes 40 seconds.
Having finished in fifth place in the Men’s Double Scull repechage yesterday, David Watts and Luke Letcher contested the C/D semi-final today in Florida. The young duo finished second in the race and progress to Friday’s C final.
Australian Rowing Team race times for Friday 29 September
B-Final – Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull – 09:15 local time (23:15 AEST)
A/B Semi-Final – PR1 Men’s Single Scull – 09:55 local time (23:55 AEST)
A/B Semi-Final – Women’s Double Scull – 10:35 local time (00:35 AEST – 30 September)
A-Final – Men’s Coxed Pair – 11:45 local time (01:45 AEST – 30 September)
A-Final – Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull – 13:00 local time (03:00 AEST – 30 September)
C-Final – Men’s Double Scull – 14:15 local time (04:15 AEST – 30 September)