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Men’s and Women’s Fours win on opening day of World Rowing Cup 2

On a warm day with a tail breeze fluttering on Lake Malta, Australia’s crews took to the water for the first day of World Rowing Cup 2 in Poznan, Poland. The Men’s and Women’s Fours had positive starts to the regatta, with both crews snapping up wins ahead of Sunday’s A-Finals.

The Women’s Four started proceedings for Australia in fine fashion, with the crew of Molly Goodman, Sarah Hawe, Katrina Werry and Lucy Stephan winning their Exhibition Race in a time of 6 minutes 24 seconds. The crew, featuring senior team debutants Hawe and Werry, will race the A-Final on Sunday with the hope of no doubt replicating today’s result.

The Men’s Four, stroked by 2016 Olympic silver medallist Alex Hill, had a dominant race in their heat alongside Argentina, China and Germany. The crew had an open water advantage and were on world record pace when they reduced their rating to cross the line, finishing in a time of 5 minutes 53 seconds. Hill, along with Spencer Turrin, Jack Hargreaves and Joshua Hicks will no doubt have a battle royal on their hands on Sunday, in the A-Final, with Olympic Champions Great Britain booking the other automatic qualification spot.  The remaining A-finalists will be decided from the repechage tomorrow.

Performance Director, Bernard Savage said: “We’ve had some good results on the opening day of racing but this is just the start of the competition. It’s pleasing for us to have a couple of wins under our belts, however I have no doubt that our crews will have some tough racing tomorrow in their semi-finals and repechages.

“For a number of our athletes this was their first day of racing at a Senior International level. The results today are particularly pleasing with this in mind and should set the crews up well for the rest of the regatta.”

The experienced Women’s Double Scull of Maddie Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey needed a top place finish to book a spot straight in Sunday’s A-Final. The 2016 Rio Olympians found themselves in a heat alongside crews from Norway, China and the Czech Republic. The crew, who were 2012 U23 World Champions in the Women’s Quadruple Scull, had a strong start and held the lead for the majority of the race. As they reached the final 500 metres, China upped their rating to nip pass the Australians at the line to take the win, forcing the Edmunds and Aldersey into the repechage.

The Men’s Double Scull combination of U23 World Champion Luke Letcher and 2016 Rio Olympian David Watts need a top three finish to secure a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals. The experienced scullers sat back in third place as the crews from New Zealand and the Czech Republic battled it out for the top two positions in their heat. As the crews reached the 1500 metre mark, the Czechs began to slow with Australia overtaking them to snap up second place, while New Zealand maintained its lead to take the win.

Doubling up later in the day, Hawe and Goodman, took on crews from Ireland, New Zealand and the USA in the first heat of the Women’s Pair. The duo finished their race in third, so will contest the repechage tomorrow in a bid to make the A-Final.

The Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls heat featured both Australian crews, with Alice Arch and Georgia Miansarow in one boat and Georgia Nesbitt and Amy James in the other. The two crews were pitted against European champions, Poland, as well as an in form Great Britain in this heat and needed a top place finish to secure an A-Final and avoid the repechages.

The conditions on course changed as the crews took to the water, with a storm blowing in, and challenging all the competitors. However, the Poles continued comfortably on their home course while the remaining three battled it out and when push came to shove, Poland took the win with Australia’s Nesbitt and James finishing in third, while Arch and Miansarow had to settle for fourth. Both crews will take on the repechage tomorrow.

As the testing conditions continued, the Women’s Quadruple Scull of Leah Saunders, Genevieve Horton, Rowena Meredith and Caitlin Cronin took to the water. The Exhibition Race saw the Australians take on hometown favourites Poland as well as strong crews from Germany and China. The young Australian crew held their nerve to finish in second place and will race again in the same lane, Lane 4, in Sunday’s A-Final.

The Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull raced in the Men’s Quadruple Scull heat alongside Germany, Poland, Netherlands and also the Great Britain Lightweight Quad. In difficult conditions, the crew of Hamish Parry, James Kerr, Cameron Fowler and Sean Murphy finished in fifth place and will contest the repechage tomorrow.

Finally, men’s reserves, Hamish Playfair and Simon Keenan today raced in the Men’s Pair heats, finishing fifth overall in a heat featuring strong crews from Serbia and the Czech Republic. The duo will contest a repechage tomorrow in a bid to make the A-Final.

Tomorrow’s racing will see the Men’s Eight compete in their Exhibition Race, while seven Australian crews will contest repechages or semi-finals.

Australian crews racing tomorrow (Saturday) are as follows:

Women’s Pair – Repechage – Top 4 to A-Final, rest to B-Final – 10:44 local time (18:44 AEST)

Men’s Pair – Repechage – Top 2 to A-Final, rest to B-Final – 10:50 local time (18:50 AEST)

Women’s Double Scull – Repechage – Top 4 to A-Final, rest to B-Final – 10:56 local time (18:56 AEST)

Men’s Double Scull – Semi-finals – Top 3 to A-Final, rest to B-Final – 11:08 local time, subject to draw (19:08 AEST)

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull – Repechage (two crews) – Top 4 to A-Final, rest to B-Final – 11:44 local time (19:44 AEST)

Men’s Quadruple Scull – Repechage – Top 2 to A-Final, rest to B-Final – 12:02 local time (20:02 AEST)

Men’s Eight – Exhibition Race – 12:14 local time (20:14 AEST)