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Eights make World Champs statement as first boat qualifies for Paris

The PR3 Coxed Four was the first Australian boat to qualify for Paris. Photo: Vera Bucsu/Rowing Australia

By Rupert Guinness with the Australian Rowing Team in Belgrade

The Australian Men’s Eight confirmed that it will be major force to be reckoned with at the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, by winning its Heat to make the Final on day three of racing on Tuesday.

The Eight’s performance capped off a terrific day on the Ada Ciganlija Regatta Course for an Australian Rowing Team that is also trying to qualify boats for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

The Men’s Eight that won the final of World Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland in July, faces its medal race on Sunday. Before them now is the chance to win Australia’s first Gold Medal in the World Championship Eights since 1986.

Racing in lane two, the Australian crew of coxswain Kendall Brodie, stroke Angus Widdicombe, Angus Dawson, Jack O’Brien, Jack Robertson, Tim Masters, Ben Canham, Josh Hicks and Paddy Holt, took first place in a time of 5:37.85s.

Second was the United States in 5:40.41, then Germany in 5:46.41, Italy in 5:47.22 and Romania in 6:08.86. First and second went to the Final.

Meanwhile, Great Britain, who Australia pipped to win World Cup II in Italy in June, won the earlier Heat in a slightly faster time. Great Britain clocked 5:34.25 to beat the Netherlands who clocked 5:36.61.

Australian Eight Coach Mark Prater was happy for his crew’s performance.

“It’s good to get the win,” he said afterwards. “We’ve got a few things to work on between now and the final. We showed some good speed. It’ll be close in the final.”

Quote of the Day
“It’s fair to say, because we’re a non-centralized crew, that we absolutely had to bring it together in the three weeks preceding [the regatta]. That was a tough job. It took a lot of brainpower and effort from the crew to row the way that James [Loveday – coach] wants us to row,” – Teesan Koo, the Australian PR3 Coxed Four cox after their Repechage win to qualify the boat for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.


Fun Fact of the Day
The Belgrade Rowing Club is more than 100 years old. It was founded on June 6, 1922. On March 4, 1945, it was one of the founding sports clubs of the Red Star Sports Association and has been called the Red Star Rowing Club ever since.

Most impressive was how the Australians powered by the US with such assuredness before surging away.

“We put a bit of squeeze on in the water. It wasn’t a big move, just sustained pressure,” said Prater. “But we’ve shown we have good speed at the end of the race when we need it.”

The Australian Women’s Eight’s strong performance in its Heat augured well for its medal hopes. Needing first place to go directly into Sunday’s Final, the John Keogh coached crew was second behind the US who won in 6:18.36, followed by Australia in 6:20.56, Canada in 6:23.92 and China in 6:40.39.

But the Australians matched the US for much of the way and should face the Repechage on Friday confident of joining the US and Tuesday’s other Heat winners, Romania in the Final.

The Men’s Quad Scull needed a top three place in their Repechage to make the A-B Semi Final on Thursday. They allayed any doubt by leading all the to the finish and winning.

Coached by Don McLachlan, the crew of Caleb Antill, Jack Cleary, Dave Bartholot and Henry Youl won in 5:49.76. In second was Norway in 5:51.48, with the United States third in 5:51.49. The Australians race their Semi Final on Thursday.

In the PR1 Single Scull, Erik Horrie OAM, a three-times Paralympic Silver Medallist and five-time World Champion, marked his first race back since his fourth place in last year’s World Championships by winning his Heat in the fastest time.

The Chad King coached sculler’s victory locked in his place in for the A-B Semi Finals on Friday. Racing in lane two, he won in 9:06.48, beating Marcus Klemp of Germany (10:00.77) and Maher Rahmani of Tunisia (10:12.12).

The PR3 Coxed Four of Tom Birtwhistle, Harrison Nichols, Jessica Gallagher, Susannah Lutze and coxswain Teesan Koo won their Repechage to book their place in the A Final on Saturday. It was also the first boat of the Australian team to qualify for either the Olympic or Paralympic Games in Paris.

The Australians needed first or second place to progress to the medal race. In lane four, they won in 6:59.29, breaking the seven-minute mark for the first time. In second place was China in 7:06.54, followed by third placed Italy in 7:10.12.

The Women’s Lightweight Double Scull of Anneka Reardon and Lucy Coleman narrowly missed out on the top two finish they needed in their Repechage to make the A-B Semi-Finals.

But they put up mighty fight, beaten by the respective Tokyo Olympic Silver and Gold Medallists, France who won in 6:57.78, and Italy in 6:59.69. Australia was third in 7:01.68.

Day Three: Full Australian results

Men’s Quad Scull
Crew: Caleb Antill, Jack Cleary, Dave Bartholot, Henry Youl (Coach: Don McLachlan)
Result (Repechage): 1. AUS 5:49.76; 2. NOR 5:51.48; 3. USA 5:51.49; 4. IRL 5:53.03; 5. LTU 5:56.92; 6. CZE 6:01.15
Qualifying: 1-3 to A-B SF. Rest to CF 

Men’s Coxed Eight
Crew: Kendall Brodie (Cox), Angus Widdicombe, Angus Dawson, Jack O’Brien, Jack Robertson, Tim Masters, Ben Canham, Josh Hicks, Paddy Holt (Coach: Mark Prater)
Result (Heat): 1. AUS 5:37.85; 2. USA 5:40.41; 3. 5:46.18; 4. ITA 5:47.22; 6. ROU 6:08.86
Qualifying: 1-2 to AF. Rest to repechage 

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull
Crew: Anneka Reardon, Lucy Coleman (Coach Ellen Randall)
Result (Repechage): 1. FRA 6:57.78; 2. ITA 6:59.69; 3. AUS 7:01.68; 4. ESP 7:14.26; 5. PER 7:16.68; 6. EGY 7:25.71
Qualifying: 1-2 to A-B SF. Rest to C-D SF

Women’s Coxed Eight
Crew: Hayley Verbunt (Cox), Lily Alton, Paige Barr, Georgie Gleeson, Olympia Aldersey, Georgina Rowe, Jacqueline Swick, Molly Goodman, Bronwyn Cox (Coach: John Keogh).
Result (Heat): 1. USA 6:18.36; 2. AUS 6:20.56; 3. CAN 6:23.92; 4. CHN 6:40.39
Qualifying: 1 to AF. Rest to repechage

PR3 Mixed Coxed Four
Crew: Teesan Koo (Cox), Tom Birtwhistle, Harrison Nichols, Jessica Gallagher, Susannah Lutze, (Coach James Loveday)
Result (Repechage): 1. AUS 6:59.29; 2. CHN 7:06.54; 3. ITA 7:10.12; 4. KOR 7:47.23; 5. ESP 7:58.42; 6. MEX 8:26.05
Qualifying: 1-2 to AF. Rest to repechage

Men’s PR1 Single Scull
Sculler: Erik Horrie OAM (Coach Chad King)
Result (Heat): 1. AUS 9:06.48; 2. GER 10.00.77; 3. TUN 10:12.12; 4. 10:36.87; CZE 11:40.13
Qualifying: 1 to A-B SF. Rest to BF