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Australian U23 Men’s Coxed Four crowned World Champions

U23 Women’s Coxed Four win bronze at 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships

Australia’s U23 Men’s Coxed Four were crowned World Champions today at the 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships, meanwhile their female counterparts, the U23 Women’s Coxed Four claimed bronze in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA.

The U23 Lightweight Men’s and Women’s Pairs both finished in fourth place in their A-Finals at Nathan Benderson Park.

In calm conditions, the U23 Men’s Coxed Four of Ben Canham, Angus Dawson, Mitchell Hooper, Adam Bakker and Caitlin Hockings were crowned World Champions after leading their final from start to finish. The crew, coached by Nick Mitchell, won their heat earlier in the week and Hockings led her crew out firing in the final today in Florida.

The crew clocked a time of 6 minutes 10 seconds to claim victory, having to hold off a last minute sprint to the line from Great Britain, who took silver, and Italy who took bronze. There was only 0.09 of a second between the Australians and the British as the boats crossed the line, while the Italians were just 0.63 of a second behind the Australians.

All but one of the crew were on debut for Australia, with Adam Bakker the only member of the crew to have represented Australia on a world stage, at both Juniors and Under 23s.

Post-race, Queensland-born Bakker, who is an U23 World Champion in the Men’s Four from 2017, said, “We went in feeling confident after our performance in the heats. We executed our race plan well and held off the other crews.

“I thought that the British had gotten us in the end, but no, we’d take the gold which is awesome. Some of us will be ageing out of U23s next year, so we’ll be aiming for selection into the senior team.”

While Bakker, Canham, Dawson and Hockings can celebrate today’s victory, Hooper will be preparing for the U23 Men’s Eight A-Final, with the young Australian doubling up and racing both events in Sarasota.

The U23 Women’s Coxed Four of Alexandra Nothdurft, Jane Perrignon, Sarah Tisdall, Imogen Purcell and Pheobe Georgakas were drawn in Lane Four, taking on Canada, France, Italy and the USA. The crew, coached by Annabelle Eaton, took advantage of the calm conditions to deliver a measured race that saw them sat in third despite a push from Canada in the final 750 metres.

In a sprint to the line, Georgakas called on her crew to up the rating and as they surged ahead of Canada, the crew looked set to take down the French who had begun to slow. As they crossed the line it was Italy who took the win, with France in second and Australia crossing the line to take bronze, just 0.28 of a second behind the French.

Post-race, Nothdurft said the conditions had been great for their final, “The water was good today and we all stayed calm out there and aimed to stay strong. It’s been really exciting racing here in Florida as it was our first time racing internationally, but Annabelle prepared use really well for the event.”

The U23 Lightweight Women’s Pair of Lucy Theodore and Jilly Roberts fired out of the start in their A-Final with the young duo sitting in second place for the majority of the race. As they reached the 1500m mark, the Australians had a battle on their hands from a surging Germany and the USA, while Italy had the lead.

As the crews crossed the line, it was USA who had pushed past Germany, and while Roberts upped Australia’s stroke rate, it was Germany that snapped up the bronze medal.

The U23 Lightweight Men’s Pair of Patrick Boere and Rohan James worked their way from fourth at the start through to being sat in second place as they approached the 1500 metre marker. However, Germany and Hungary upped their rating in the final 500 metres to row down the young West Australian pairing, with Italy taking the win, followed by Germany and then Hungary. The Australians finished fourth overall.

The U23 Lightweight Men’s Double Scull of Nathan Kennedy and Mitchell Reinhard finished fourth in their semi-final and will therefore contest Sunday’s B-Final in Florida. Meanwhile, despite a valiant sprint for the line by Cormac Kennedy-Leverett in his semi-final, the Queenslander finished in fourth place and will also contest a B-Final.

In the B-Final of the Women’s Pair, Dyone Bettega and Tara Rigney finished in fourth place, meaning they wrap up their 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships ranked 10th overall in the world.

Australian Race Times for Sunday 28 July at 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships

U23 Women’s Four: B-Final at 22:40 AEST

U23 Men’s Four: B-Final at 22:45 AEST

U23 Men’s Single Scull: B-Final at 22:50 AEST

U23 Lightweight Women’s Single Scull: B-Final at 23:05 AEST

U23 Lightweight Men’s Double Scull: B-Final at 23:20 AEST

U23 Women’s Double Scull: A-Final at 00:05 AEST

U23 Men’s Eight: A-Final at 01.35 AEST

U23 Women’s Single Scull: A-Final at 02:05 AEST