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Gold and silver for Australian lightweights in Rotterdam

11 Olympic boat class A-Finals booked for Australian crews at World Rowing Cup 3

Australia’s Sean Murphy has won gold in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull at World Rowing Cup 3 in Rotterdam, while his female counterpart, Georgia Nesbitt claimed silver in the women’s event. The duo picked up their medals after strong performances in their heats, semi-finals and ultimately A-Finals in the Netherlands.

In addition to the results of Murphy and Nesbitt today, Australia secured a further seven A-Final berths based on the results of its semi-finals and repechages, adding to the four A-Finals secured on Friday. Australia will race in 11 A-Finals on Sunday, the Men’s and Women’s Pairs, Fours, Eights, Double Sculls, Quadruple Sculls and Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls.

Murphy and Nesbitt wore black armbands, in their finals, to honour the late Australian Olympic rowing coach, Nick Garratt, who died suddenly last week. The Australian Rowing Team crews will all wear black armbands in tomorrow’s finals (Sunday) to commemorate Garratt’s contribution to the sport.

Georgia Nesbitt and Sean Murphy (Copyright World Rowing)

While weather conditions were not as extreme as Friday, lanes were redrawn at the start of racing due to the variable winds. Crews with the higher seedings were drawn in Lanes 1 and 2, the more favourable of lanes, on the Willem-Alexanderbaan.

Murphy’s victory in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull came off the Australian having one of the best semi-finals. In the opening 500 metres, Murphy battled it out with Ireland’s Gary O’Donovan and Rajko Hrvat of Slovenia, but it was the Australian who picked up the pace at the 500 metres mark to pass his competition.

Murphy retained a high stroke rate throughout and while Hrvat overtook O’Donovan, Murphy could not be chased down, and rating 32, the Australian crossed the line to take his second gold medal of the World Rowing Cup season.

Sean Murphy (Copyright Rowing Australia)

“I had to be careful at the start but at 400 metres I locked eyes with Gary (O’Donovan) and pushed hard. This is all a bit unexpected, coming into the World Rowing Cups I would have been happy with just competing in the A Finals.”

In Nesbitt’s A-Final, it was Canada’s Ellen Gleadow who leapt out of the start, with Nesbitt in hot pursuit. The Tasmanian muscled her way into the lead at the middle of the race, with the Canadian slipping off the pace having been overtaken by Imogen Grant of Great Britain and Marie-Louise Draeger of Germany.

With 500 metres to go, Grant had Nesbitt, who was in the lead, in her sights and began to chase down the Australian with a sprint to the line. Grant went to 35 to sprint past Nesbitt, who upped her rating to 40, but couldn’t hold off the British charge. Grant took gold, Nesbitt silver and Dreager bronze.

Nesbitt, Grant and Draegar (Copyright RA)

Post-race, Nesbitt said, ““I was pretty shocked when I got up to the start and I saw how rough it was, but I kind of just swallowed that and focused on staying focused. I came in with no expectations, so it’s nice to walk away with a good result. Next, we’ll be heading back home and get working towards the World Rowing Championships.”

Earlier in the day, Australia’s Women’s Pair of Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre won their semi-final, beating race favourites, New Zealand, into second place. Meanwhile in the Men’s Pair A-Final, Spencer Turrin and Alexander Hill won their semi-final to progress to the A-Final on Sunday.

The Men’s Double Scull of Hamish Playfair and Campbell Watts had a strong semi-final, coming in third, from the unfavourable Lane 5, to progress to the A-Final on Sunday. The Lightweight Men’s Double Scull of Hamish Parry and Leon Chambers continued their strong World Rowing Cup form by progressing to the A-Final of their boat class after finishing in third in their semi-final.

There were three repechages today for Australian crews. The Women’s Quadruple Scull of Rowena Meredith, Katrina Bateman, Fiona Ewing and Cara Grzeskowiak led their race from start to finish to progress to the A-Final. Their male counterparts of Caleb Antill, Alexander Purnell, Cameron Girdlestone and David Watts also won their repechage to book an A-Final berth.

Australia’s Men’s Eight had a vigorous battle in its repechage to make the A-Final of the boat class. The Australians wrestled the lead back and forth with their Trans-Tasman counterparts, New Zealand, and were also challenged by Romania. Ultimately, the Australians finished in third place and booked a place in the A-Final on Sunday alongside Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Romania and the Netherlands.

In addition to the A-Finals schedule for tomorrow, Australia will competed in four B-Finals. Australia’s second Men’s and Women’s Pair crews, Men’s Single Scull and Lightweight Women’s Double Scull will all contest B-Finals tomorrow afternoon in the Netherlands.

Georgie Gotch and Lilly Tinapple (Women’s Pair 2) and Joshua Hicks and Sam Hardy (Men’s Pair 2) both finished in fourth in their semi-finals and thus will race B-Finals. B-Finals will also be raced by Sarah Pound and Alice Arch, who finished fifth in their Lightweight Women’s Double Scull semi-final, and Men’s Single sculler, David Bartholot, was fourth in his semi-final.

Race Times for World Rowing Cup 3 – Sunday 14 July

All races are live-streamed via www.worldrowing.com

B-Finals

Boat Class Crew Time (AEST)
Women’s Pair 2 Tinapple and Gotch 16:33
Men’s Pair 2 Hardy and Hicks 16:38
Lightweight Women’s Double Scull Pound and Arch 17:08
Men’s Single Scull Bartholot 17:33

A-Finals

Boat Class Crew Time (AEST)
Women’s Pair 1 Morrison and McIntyre 19:08
Men’s Pair 1 Turrin and Hill 19:22
Women’s Double Scull A Bateman and Horton 19:52
Men’s Double Scull Playfair and C Watts 20:06
Women’s Four Aldersey, Werry, Hawe and Stephan 20:20
Men’s Four Masters, N Purnell, Hargreaves and O’Brien 20:34
Lightweight Men’s Double Scull Parry and Chambers 21:03
Women’s Quadruple Scull Meredith, K Bateman, Ewing and Grzeskowiak 21:31
Men’s Quadruple Scull Antill, A Purnell, Girdlestone and D Watts 21:45
Men’s Eight Medway, Black, Donald, Keenan, Booth, Letcher, Moore, Widdicombe and Brodie 21:59
Women’s Eight Saunders, Edmunds, Cox, Rowe, Popa, Morrison, McIntyre, Goodman and Rook 22:43