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Silver start for Australians at 2017 World Rowing Championships

Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull and Men’s Coxed Pair win silver medals in Sarasota

The Australian Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull and the Men’s Coxed Pair have won silver medals at the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida.

Angus Widdicombe, Darcy Wruck and coxswain James Rook won their first senior World Championship medals after finishing in second place in their A-Final, while Georgia Nesbitt, Georgia Miansarow, Alice Arch and Amy James claimed silver in their A-Final at Nathan Bederson Park.

Earlier in the day, Erik Horrie progressed to the A-Final of the PR1 Men’s Single Scull after winning his semi-final, while Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey finished second in their semi-final to book a spot in Sunday’s A-Final.

The Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull (Copyright Rowing Australia)

The Men’s Coxed Pair were the first Australians to take to the water in an A-Final at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. The race favourites were no doubt Great Britain who have won this event for the last two years; however, Wruck, Widdicombe and Rook had other plans in mind.

The young crew, competing in their first senior World Rowing Championships, shot out of the start to take an early lead that by the halfway mark was a clear water advantage over their closest rivals. As the crews came into the final 500 metres, the race flipped around with Hungary sprinting up on the outside to overtake both Great Britain and Germany and nipping on the heels of the Australians.

As the crews surged for the line, Hungary pulled ahead of the Australian crew to take gold, with the Australians taking home the team’s first medal of the event, a silver.

Post-race, coxswain James Rook said: “Coming through the race we didn’t know where we were going to sit and coming out of the 500m we found ourselves ahead and we went for it right to the line but credit to Hungary, they did a great job.

“I think this was a big effort for the guys. They’ve done a lot of hard training and it’s paid off, silver at a World Championships isn’t too bad for a group of guys who have never been to a senior World Championships before!”

The Men’s Coxed Pair (Copyright Rowing Australia)

Australia’s Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull had won World Rowing Cup 3 in a blistering pace and in today’s A-Final Amy James, Alice Arch, Georgia Miansarow and Georgia Nesbitt went all out again in a bid to claim the World Championship title. The Italians, who are also the U23 World Champions in this boat class, were the crew Australia needed to keep an eye out for, alongside an in form China.

As the crews approached the halfway mark, China and Italy were battling it out for first and second, while Australia, stroked by Nesbitt, began to make their move on the tightly packed group, with only two seconds separating the top five boats. As Italy pulled ahead in the final quarter, Australia began to charge, overtaking China and going after Italy but it was the Italians who claimed gold, with Australia taking silver and China bronze.

Alice Arch, making her senior team debut said: “I’m stoked. We are obviously disappointed that we didn’t get gold as that was our goal, but we’re really happy as a crew to have won silver today.”

Georgia Miansarow said she had enjoyed racing with the crew this year: “We’ve had a great time training in the quad this season. While we’re pretty disappointed to come away with a silver and not gold, we will keep on fighting for the next year, it’s been a great campaign.”

Miansarow’s words were echoed by senior team debutant Amy James, who added: “We’ve come a long way, had some great sessions, and racing, as well as having had a lot of fun along the way. It has shown us how hard we can work and what we can do together as a crew, we’ve loved racing together this season.”

Two semi-finals took place earlier today in Florida, with Erik Horrie the first Australian to participate in one. Racing in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull, Horrie needed a top three finish to book a place in Saturday’s A-Final. In cooler conditions, due to an overnight storm, the experienced sculler took the lead early on with Andrew Houghton of Great Britain hot on his heels.

As the scullers approached the halfway mark, Horrie, a two-time Paralympic silver medallist, pushed away from the field to take a comfortable lead. The 37-year-old Australian crossed the line in first, followed by Houghton, while Rene Periera of Brazil took third; the three scullers will join Roman Polianskyi of Romania, Alexey Chuvashev of Russia and Blake Haxton of USA in the A-Final on Sunday.

The Women’s Double Scull of Olympia Aldersey and Madeleine Edmunds were drawn in Lane 5, alongside race favourites New Zealand and an in form China. After a delayed start, due to a technical issue for the Dutch crew, the Australians were quick out of the start and took an early lead much to the delight of the travelling supporters.

Having taken virtually a clear water advantage at the 1000 metre mark, the Australians were being hotly pursued by Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand. With 400 metres to go, New Zealand got their bow ball into the lead, and crossed the line in first, while Australia took second and China third. The three crews progress to Sunday’s A-Final, joining USA, Lithuania and France who qualified in the earlier semi-finals.

The Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull of Cameron Fowler, Redmond Matthews, James Kerr and Hamish Parry, finished sixth in the B-Final and therefore concluded their World Championships campaign ranked 12th overall.

David Watts and Luke Letcher finished fifth in their C-Final to wrap up their World Championships campaign ranked 17th in the world.

Race times for Australian Rowing Team crews for Saturday 30 September
A-Final – Men’s Four – 11:23 local time (01:23 AEST – 1 October)
A-Final – Women’s Four – 11:38 local time (01:38 AEST – 1 October)
A-Final – Women’s Quadruple Scull – 11:53 local time (01:53 AEST – 1 October)