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2022 World Rowing Cup 1 – Para-Rowers Find Their Groove

The 2022 World Rowing Cup Series is underway in Belgrade (SRB) and Australia’s Para-Rowers were amongst the first to take to the course.

Friday’s Para-Rowing boat classes were classified as test races and as such were not compulsory, rather an opportunity for crews to get a feel for the course and conditions ahead of Sunday’s Finals.

Australia’s PR3 Mixed Coxed Four got off to a speedy start to lead their rivals Great Britain to the 400-metre mark. It was here that the current Paralympic and World Champions Great Britain made their move, establishing a tidy lead through 1,000 metres which they extended in the second half of the race to ultimately cross the line with a four-boat length lead over Australia.

Speaking on behalf of the Crew, World Rowing Cup debutant Jess Gallagher said they were grateful to have substitute Cox Alex Wenyon from Great Britain on board, due to Teesaan Koo being unavailable to travel with the team to Serbia.

“We’ve got a new cox come in and we’re very grateful to Team GB for loaning us Alex, it’s been amazing to have her. We’ve got the final on Sunday so we’re looking forward to another opportunity here,” Gallagher said.

Racing out of lane five, Australia’s Paralympic Silver Medallist Erik Horrie OAM established an early lead in the PR1 Men’s Single Sculls. Horrie was challenged early by Great Britain’s Benjamin Pritchard but pulled away from the pack at the 500-metre mark. Demonstrating that he is the athlete to beat in this boat class, Horrie remained smooth and in control throughout the rest of the race to cross the line in first place.

After a disappointing outing at the Gavirate International Para-Rowing Regatta a fortnight ago, Horrie was pleased to put in a solid performance on Day One of this World Cup.

“(Gavirate) certainly wasn’t the best weekend for me but we went back and looked at the positives out of everything and made a few changes,” Horrie said.

“We’ve decided to use this regatta as a test event and play around with the set-up and boat. It’s looking promising and we’ll adjust and go for some more on Sunday,” he said.

Four-time Paralympian Kathryn Ross elected to skip the PR2 Women’s Single Sculls test race to focus on the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls with partner Simon Albury. The pair went head-to-head against the Mexican combination of Hector Arriaga Chavez and Angeles Gutierrez. The Aussies dominated the race from the outset and were already two boat lengths in front at the 400-metre mark. Despite Ross catching a slight crab at the end of the race, the crew recovered quickly and finished more than 100 metres ahead of their competitors.

Ross was happy to reunite with her Tokyo Paralympic partner who was unable to compete at Gavirate, which saw Ross race as part of a composite crew with Dutch rower Corne de Koning.

“I was lucky enough to get Simon out here post-Covid,” Ross said. “We were a little bit underdone (today) but we had a good hit out.

“It was nice, we sat with the (Mexican crew) for a bit, but we worked out our own race plan and did what we had to do,” she said.

An hour after racing the PR3 Mix4+, Al Viney was back on the water partnering with Alex Vuillermin in Heat 2 of the Women’s Pair. Racing out of lane three, the Aussie duo faced strong opposition from two Chinese and two Dutch crews as well as the Chilean twins Melita and Antonia Abraham, the ultimate winners of the race. The Aussies crossed the line in fifth position to advance to Saturday’s repechage.

Fellow PR3 Mix4+ Crew Members Nicholas Neales and Tom Birtwhistle were also back on the water 1.5 hours later, lining up in Heat 3 of the Men’s Pair. The crew finished in fifth position to book a spot in the repechage which was raced later in the day on Friday. They finished fifth and progress to Final D which is the first race of the day on Saturday.

With three races to contest in a day, it was a busy morning for the pair and a baptisim of fire for World Cup debutant Neales.

“It’s a pretty unique first day of the World Cup but it’s been good to get out with the Four this morning and then the Men’s Pair this morning and this afternoon,” Neales said.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s racing, Ross will get her first opportunity at this regatta to race the PR2 Women’s Single Sculls when she lines up in the Final of this boat class. The rest of the Para boat classes have a rest day with their finals scheduled for Sunday. Viney and Vuillermin will race the repechage of the Women’s Pair, while Neales and Birtwhistle will race in Final D in the Men’s Pair.

SCHEDULE SATURDAY

NOTE: AUS Time is reflected as AEST which is eight hours ahead of Belgrade. 

Local Time AUS Time Boat Class
0905 1705 M2- D Final
0957 1757 W2- Repechage
1230 2030 PR2 W1x

GUIDE

Here’s your guide to supporting the Australian athletes competing at World Rowing Cup 1, Friday 27 May – Sunday 29 May 2022 at Belgrade, Serbia.

Visit the World Rowing Website to view the schedule, link to the live stream, entries and results.

You can also support the team by following Rowing Australia on Facebook and Instagram. 

CREW LIST

PR1 M1x Erik Horrie OAM

Coach: Jason Baker OAM

PR2 W1x Kathryn Ross

Coach: Renae Domaschenz

PR2 Mix2x Simon Albury (b)

Kathryn Ross (s)

Coach: Renae Domaschenz

PR3 Mix4+ Alexandra Viney (b)

Jessica Gallagher (2)

Nicholas Neales (3)

Thomas Birtwhistle (s)

Alex Wenyon GBR (c)

Coach: Gordon Marcks

W2- Alexandra Viney (b)

Alex Vuillermin (s)

M2- Nicholas Neales (b)

Thomas Birtwhistle (s)