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Golden start for Australia’s World Rowing Cup campaign

Men’s and Women’s Fours take gold in Austria; Women’s Quad and Women’s Eight win bronze medals

The Australian Rowing Team today (Sunday) wrapped up its World Rowing Cup 2 campaign with two gold medals and two bronze medals. Australia’s Men’s and Women’s Fours both won gold medals, while the Women’s Quadruple Scull and the Women’s Eight both won bronze medals at the event in Linz, Austria.

In the other A-Finals, the Men’s Quadruple Scull finished fourth, the Men’s Eight fifth and the Women’s Single sculler, Madeleine Edmunds, fifth.

In overcast conditions, the Women’s Four secured Australia its first medal of the day. Coming out of the start, the crew of Lucy Stephan, Rosie Popa, Sarah Hawe and Molly Goodman sat back in second, with Great Britain in the lead. At the halfway mark, the Australians made a push but there was little to call it between the girls in Green and Gold and the British crew.

As the crews crossed into the final 500 metres, Goodman upped the Australian stroke rate to 38 and put the crew comfortably into the lead. The South Australian then upped the rate again, this time to 40, to ensure the Australians secured their first gold medal of the international season.

Victorian Lucy Stephan said, “Our race was alright, but it wasn’t the best. We always say we want our worst to be better than everyone’s best, so we managed to do that today. Next we will be taking an eight to Henley Royal Regatta before heading off to Lucerne for the final World Rowing Cup.”

Australia’s World Champions, the Men’s Four, led their final from start to finish. Josh Hicks, Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Alex Hill powered out of the start with a 50-stroke rate and were leading the charge at the 500 metre mark.

As the crews reached the middle of the race, just two seconds separated the field, when Australia broke away. An incredible charge gave them a full boat length over Romania, with the rest of the field trailing behind as Australia claiming a second gold medal in a matter of minutes.

Sydney University Boat Club member, Jack Hargreaves, commented post-race, “That wasn’t our greatest race but it’s a really good starting point. We hope to continue our winning streak; we’ve never won at Lucerne (World Rowing Cup 3) so we hope to now turn that around.”

Australia’s Women’s Quadruple Scull made their A-Final by virtue of finishing second in their repechage and were drawn in Lane 6. The crew of Genevieve Horton, Caitlin Cronin, Rowena Meredith and Olympia Aldersey sat back in sixth for the first half of the race but made their move in the second thousand.

Chasing down pack leaders, and eventual winners, Germany, the Australians pursued China and Ukraine for silver and bronze. With China upping their rate to 45, Aldersey pushed the Australians to 40 in the final sprint to muscle past the Ukrainians and take the bronze medal, with China winning silver behind the Germans.

Queenslander and member of the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre, Caitlin Cronin said post-race, “We were expecting a tight race today after the times in the heats and the reps. It really could have been anyone’s game but we executed our plan. We will be in Lucerne, for World Rowing Cup 3, where we hope to build on what we did today.”

The final crew to win a medal today Austria was the Women’s Eight of Leah Saunders, Hannah Vermeersch, Addy Dunkley-Smith, Georgie Gotch, Georgie Rowe, Ciona Wilson, Jacinta Edmunds, Emma Fessey and coxswain, James Rook.

Coming out firing at 46 strokes per minute, the young Australians took an early leading margin. However, with only a second separating the top five crews, it was the Dutch who made the move into the lead at the halfway point, with Australia and New Zealand in close pursuit.

As the crews approached the line, the Dutch pulled away with New Zealand but Rook called on his charges to stay with the leading crews, which they did, and secured Australia’s Women’s Eight a bronze medal.

In the other A-Finals, the Men’s Quadruple Scull put pressure on the Germans in the final stages of their A-Final but missed a podium finish by 0.78 of a second. The Men’s Eight had a tough A-Final alongside reigning World Champions Germany, Netherlands and Great Britain. The crew, coxed by Kendall Brodie, finished fifth in a spirited first World Cup performance of the season.

Madeleine Edmunds came out firing in her Women’s Single A-Final, and held pace alongside the likes of World Champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland and Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig. The Commercial Rowing Club member finished in fifth in what was her first senior outing in the single.

Earlier in the day, in the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull B-Final, Alice Arch and Amy James finished fifth. The duo conclude the event ranked eleventh overall.