A perfect day dawned over Rotterdam on Day 3 of the 2016 World Rowing Championships, heralding a welcome change from the rain and wind that had persisted over the prior days. The change in weather saw a more mixed day for the Australian team, but still a strong performance overall.
Racing kicked off with Cara Grzeskowiak comfortably winning her quarter-final of the Under 23 Women’s Single Scull. After sitting in third place after 500m the Vicky Spencer-coached athlete made a decisive push into first and was never challenged again over the course, finishing over 5 seconds ahead of the Czech sculler in second place. Cara will now progress to the semi-final on Wednesday.
The second Australian crew in action in the morning session was Georgia Nesbitt in the repechage of the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull. Perfect racing conditions met her, in stark contrast to the strong winds in her heat the afternoon prior. A top two placing was required to progress through to the semi-finals, and this looked like a big task as Georgia went through the 1500m two seconds behind the sculler from the Netherlands in third place. She was more then up to the task however and pushed through to finish over two seconds clear in second place, and will contest the semi-finals on Thursday.
The afternoon session saw the excellent racing conditions continue, and this worked into the favour of the Under 23 Lightweight Women’s Double of Alice Arch and India McKenzie in their semi-final. All semi-finals required a top three placing to progress to the A-Final, and the duo coached by Bert Cocu used the calm water to build into their race, moving smoothly from fourth through the 500m into second place at the finish and a clear path into the A-Final on Friday. The Under 23 Men’s Quad followed, and it was an all Commonwealth progression down the course with only New Zealand and Great Britain challenging Australia for the lead. The Australian crew stroked by Tom Schramko held off every threat however and crossed each 500m point in the lead, finishing over two seconds ahead of the New Zealand crew in second and looking in fine form ahead of the A-Final. Unfortunately, the Under 23 Lightweight Men’s Quad couldn’t quite replicate the comeback shown by Georgia Nesbitt earlier in the day; after being fifth through the 500m they put strong pressure on the French and German around them and while a crab from the French on the line allowed the Australians to get over them they were left in fourth, and will contest the B-Final later in the week.
The Under 23 Men’s Eight were drawn in the last race of the day for their semi-final against an incredibly strong field including Great Britain, the USA, Italy and Russia. Against such competition a fast start was required, however this sadly wasn’t to be today – the Australian’s sat in sixth place through the first 500m and despite a valiant late fight back weren’t able to push into the top three places and as such progress to the B-Final on Thursday. A measure of the quality of the race can be seen in that the Australian time was 10 seconds faster than the equivalent place in the prior semi-final.
Day 4 of competition will see the Junior racing into the regatta for the first time. The first Australian crew in action will be the Junior Men’s Coxed Four at 9.50am local time (5.50pm AEST). All draws, results and live race tracking can be found on the World Rowing website – http://www.worldrowing.com/.