Men’s Four, Men’s Quadruple Scull and Women’s Single all win their heats
Australia began its World Rowing Championships campaign for 2015 in a positive manner today (Sunday) with five crews booking automatic qualification into their respective quarter-finals or semi-finals.
The Men’s Four and Men’s Quadruple Scull won their respective heats to book places in the semi-finals later this week, while Kim Crow, in the Women’s Single Scull, won her heat to book a place in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, the Men’s Pair and Lightweight Women’s Double Scull both finished second in their heats to secure a spot in their respective quarter-finals and avoid a trip to the repechage.
First up for Australia on the opening day of the 2015 World Rowing Championships was Tim McDonnell in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull. Needing a top three finish in his heat to avoid the repechage and make the quarter-finals, the Queenslander was up against Slovenia, Great Britain, Turkey and Iran.
McDonnell, who until a week ago was racing in the Lightweight Men’s Four before an injury to crewmate Perry Ward forced an entry changed, finished in fourth behind Slovenia, Great Britain and Turkey, the Queenslander will now head to Monday’s repechages.
“It’s been a solid start to racing here in Aiguebelette. There’s still plenty of racing to come here in France but today’s start has been pleasing,” said High Performance Director Chris O’Brien.
The next Lightweight category on the water was the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull, with Tasmania’s Georgia Nesbitt in action. Nesbitt faced competition from Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, France and Morocco. The young Tasmanian, who last year won bronze at the U23 World Rowing Championships in the Lightweight Women’s Double, paced her race well and while the Brazilian sculler and former World Champion, Fabiana Beltrame took the victory, Nesbitt was hot on her heels in the closing stages.
Finishing second, it means that Nesbitt will now compete in the repechage of the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull Tuesday.
In the Women’s Pair, Genevieve Horton and Molly Goodman required a win in their heat to automatically make the semi-finals and avoid the repechage. The young crew, coached by Bill Tait, were drawn in a heat against reigned Olympic and World Champions, Great Britain, as well as Germany, China and South Africa.
Goodman and Horton set a steady pace through the race, sitting in third and fourth throughout, however it was the British who claimed the win and the only automatic qualification spot, while Australia finished fourth in a time of 7:15:30 and will contest the repechage on Tuesday.
The Men’s Pair of Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley took to the water to contest their heat against Ukraine, Chile, South Africa and Mexico. A top four finish would guarantee the 2014 and 2015 U23 World Rowing Championship silver medallists a place in the quarter-finals.
The New South Welshmen, who are coached by Mark Prater, sat in second throughout the race and comfortably secured their place in the quarter-finals finishing with a time of 6:37:14 just behind South Africa who claimed the win.
In the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, Ella Flecker and Alice McNamara needed a top four finish in their heat to make their quarter-finals. The crew sat in second for most of the race, but having a battle with Canada’s Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee as they progressed. The finish saw the Canadians take the win with the Australians in second, both crews booking a place in the quarter-finals along with Germany and Greece.
The new look Men’s Four of Alex Hill, Spencer Turrin, Josh Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood had a good race leading throughout to take the win over the Netherlands in a time of 5:52.57.
Following on from the Men’s Four was the Men’s Quadruple Sculls with the crews needing a top two finish to book a place in the semi-finals. The crew of David Crawshay, Karsten Forsterling, Cameron Girdlestone and David Watts were up against the reigning World Champions, Ukraine, and the race was tight until the halfway mark when Australia made its push into the lead.
John Driessen’s crew continued to surge forward and claim victory with Poland nipping at their heels to take the second automatic semi-final spot and leave the 2014 World Champions, Ukraine, to face the repechage.
The final Australian to race on the course today was the 2013 World Rowing Champion, Kim Crow. The Victorian sculler, who claimed victories in World Cups II and III already this year, showed no sign of ending her winning streak in the Women’s Single Scull.
The in-form Crow led her race from start to finish to book her place in the quarter-finals in a time of 7:26:93, with Switzerland and Belgium claiming the other two automatic qualification spots.