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Australia set to race in five A-Finals on Sunday

U23 Women’s Pair finish fifth in A-Final; U23 Men’s Coxed Four finish sixth overall

Australia secured four further A-Final berths and one B-Final on Saturday in Poland, after a strong morning racing in semi-finals. Sean Murphy in the U23 Lightweight Men’s Single Scull, Wallis Russell in the U23 Women’s Single Scull, Harriet Hudson and Ria Thompson in the U23 Women’s Double Scull and Verayna Zilm and Georgina Masters in the U23 Lightweight Women’s Double Scull will race A-Finals on Sunday, while Sam Marsh will race the B-Final of the U23 Men’s Single Scull.

Saturday afternoon saw the U23 Women’s Pair of Giorgia Patten and Bronwyn Cox race, the duo have wrapped up their U23 World Rowing Championships campaign ranked fifth in the world after racing in their A-Final. Meanwhile, Australia’s U23 Men’s Coxed Four finished in sixth in their A-Final and in the B-Final of the U23 Men’s Pair, Andrew Judge and Jack O’Brien, concluded their World Championships ranked seventh in the world after a convincing win.

Australia took the early lead in the U23 Women’s Pair A-Final, with Patten and Cox coming out fastest in from the blocks. The Australians were in second at the 500 metre mark but were pushed back into fourth by the middle thousand of the race as the USA and Great Britain began to show their pace.

Coming into the final 500 metres, the West Australians had pushed themselves into third place and as they started to sprint for the line they were overtaken by the 2017 World Champions in the boat class, the Abraham sisters of Chile, who snapped up the bronze medal, leaving Patten and Cox to cross the line in fifth.

The U23 Men’s Coxed Four of Fraser Pensini, Alexander Clarke, Kane Grant, Zac von Appen and Sarah Ben-David were one of the fastest out of the starting blocks alongside Italy. However, it was to be Italy, USA and Germany who took the early lead in the race, with the Australians sat back in sixth.

As the crews approached the final 500 metres, the USA had taken the lead, followed by Italy who were overtaken in the final 250 metres by New Zealand, while Australia crossed the line in sixth in a time of 6 minutes and 31 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Queenslander Wallis Russell opened proceedings for Australia on the penultimate day of this year’s World Rowing U23 Championships. Racing in a strong semi-final, Great Britain’s Imogen Grant took the lead early on, with Russell hot on her heels.

As the crews crossed into the final 500 metres, New Zealander Courtney Rennie attempted a push to overtake the Sydney University Boat Club athlete who was still in second, but to no avail, Russell held onto second place and booked her place in the A-Finals.

Sean Murphy found himself drawn in a semi-final alongside the reigning U23 World Champion in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull, Uncas Batista of Brazil, however it was Tunisia’s Mohamed Taieb who took the early lead. However, as the crews reached the halfway mark, Murphy had surged into the lead, with Batista finding his speed and chasing the Mosman Rowing Club member down the course.

Murphy saw the Brazilian coming and with a few hundred metres to go, upped his rating to 42 to hold of the challenge from the Brazilian and cross the line in first to book a place in the A-Final alongside Batista and Austria’s Rainer Kepplinger.

The Under 23 Australian Women’s Double of Harriet Hudson and Ria Thompson were amongst the top crews at the halfway mark of their semi-final, with Greece in the lead followed by Germany. Keeping pace with the pack, the Sydney Rowing Club and Mercantile Rowing Club combo staved off an attack from the Lithuanians to maintain their third place position as they crossed the line and thus secured a spot in the A-Final.

Verayna Zilm and Georgina Masters showed their mettle in their semi-final of the U23 Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, sat back in fourth in the first 500 metres, the duo crossed the line in second. An impressive middle thousand saw the Adelaide Rowing Club and UTS Rowing Club combination row over both Ireland and Greece, finishing just behind eventual winners, Italy’s Stefania Buttignon and Silvia Crosio.

West Australian Sam Marsh found himself in the U23 Men’s Single Scull semi-final alongside the reigning U23 World Champion in the boat class, Canada’s Trevor Jones, along with an in form Boris Yotov of Bulgaria. The Swan River Rowing Club athlete was back in fourth at the halfway mark, and putting pressure on Brazil’s Lucas Ferreira as Jones and Yotov took the lead.

As the crews moved into the final 500 metres, Marsh upped his rating in a bid to take on the Brazilian for the final qualification spot but Ferreira had pulled too far ahead for the West Australian who finished in fourth and will contest Sunday’s B-Final.

Race times for Australian crews on Sunday 29 July at 2018 World Rowing U23 Championships

U23 Men’s Single Scull (Marsh): B-Final 18:00 AEST (10:00 local time)
U23 Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (Russell): A-Final 18:45 AEST (10:45 local time)
U23 Lightweight Men’s Single Scull (Murphy): A-Final 18:55 AEST (10:55 local time)
U23 Women’s Double Scull (Hudson and Thompson): A-Final 19:10 AEST (11:10 local time)
U23 Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (Zilm and Masters): A-Final 20:10 AEST (12:10 local time)
U23 Women’s Eight (Franetic, Pozzi, Parker, Rowan, Pearce, Bettega, Brown, Stalph and Harrisson): A-Final 20:55 AEST (12:55 local time)