Women’s Four, Lightweight Quad and Double all progress; Men’s Double and Lightweight Quad to contest repechages
Australia’s three female crews showed their racing prowess today at the 2017 World Rowing Championships to qualify for their respective A-Finals and semi-finals. The Women’s Four won their heat in style,the Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull finished second to progress to the A-Final and the Women’s Double Scull crossed the line in second in their heat to make the semi-finals.
The two male crews racing today, the Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull and the Men’s Double Scull, will both contest repechages having finished fourth and fifth respectively in their heats.
The Women’s Four of Lucy Stephan, Katrina Werry, Sarah Hawe and Molly Goodman proved once again how powerful they are at the finish of a race. With the USA having led for the first half of the heat, Stephan called to Goodman to up the rate as the crew crossed the halfway mark and that she did, with the Australians surging into the lead.
As the crews approached the final 250 metres, the USA attempted to make a move on the Australians but the advantage set up by the crew, coached by Tom Westgarth, was too much for the Americans and Australia crossed the line in a time of 6 mins 33 secs and in turn secured a place in Saturday’s A-Final.
“I felt we really nailed it in the final five hundred, when we really started to move. It’s been a while since we have had an international hit out, since World Cup 3, so it was good to get the nerves out and then be ready to attack the final on Saturday,” said Lucy Stephan.
“Our real strong point is the middle kilometre and it was interesting to have not moved through the pack at that first kilometre, but I put that down to nerves. We have worked on there always being a step up at Worlds and knowing that we are not hunting, we are the hunted [as the winners of the World Cups 2 and 3].
“We do hold speed well and so that final five hundred was about sticking it out and staying in our boat, I think that’s what really happened for us in that last section. I gave the direct call that we were inching back, but we needed to go now. We swung through and held on to take the win, but we’ll need to step it up again on Saturday,” admitted the 25-year-old.
In picture-perfect conditions, Amy James, Alice Arch, Georgia Miasarow and Georgia Nesbitt, of the Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull, saw China jump out from the start, but it was the tussle between the Australians and Italians that saw Australia take the lead for the middle thousand of the race.
At the halfway point, things were tight between Australia, Italy and the China, with the Italians making the biggest push in the final 500m to nip ahead of the Australians at the line. The Australians fended off a challenge from China to finish in second and secure a place in the A-Finals. Italy and Australia recorded the fastest qualifying times, ahead of Canada and Great Britain who qualified from the other heat.
Making her Senior World Championships debut, Alice Arch, enjoyed her first hit out in Sarasota. “I was really excited, I actually felt more relaxed coming into it than I did with the World Cups earlier this year.
“I felt really confident coming into the race, on the back of the work we’ve been doing at home and here in the USA. A few of us have mentioned that we’ve felt really prepared for this regatta having both arrived early and also having raced in Penrith over the summer. The heat in Penrith is probably hotter than it is here right now,” admitted Arch.
“It was fun to have a really competitive field as we had only raced three boats in Lucerne. We knew Italy was going to be competitive, they had a good race at U23 Worlds. We were happy with our first kilometre and we’ve identified a few things we want to work on between now and the final on Friday,” added the 23-year-old.
There were three heats for the Women’s Double Scull, meaning a top three finish was needed for a direct path for the semifinals. As the crews passed the 500-metre marker, Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey muscled past Germany who had had the fastest start to come into the lead stroking 35 as they took the lead.
Edmunds and Aldersey pushed away from the field, leaving Germany, Czech Republic and Lithuania to battle it out behind them. However, as the crew crossed the 1500m marker, Lithuania made their move and powered past the Australians to take the win, with Australia finishing second and Czech Republic third. All three crews progressed to the semi-finals.
With temperatures approaching 30 degrees once again, the Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull were the first Australian crew on the water today. Cameron Fowler, Redmond Matthews, James Kerr and Hamish Parry racing at their first Senior World Rowing Championships took on an inform Italy as well as crews from China, Hungary and the USA.
Despite a good middle thousand, which saw the crew move through the field to third place and be within touching distance of race leaders Italy and China, the Australians were overtaken in the final 500 metres by a sprinting Hungary. The crew finished fourth in the heat and will now contest the repechage in a bid to make the semi-finals.
The Men’s Double Scull of David Watts and Luke Letcher needed a top two finish in their heat to qualify directly to the semi-finals and avoid the repechage. It was not to be the young Australians day, drawn in a heat with an inform Italy and Great Britain.
Ultimately, Great Britain and Italy automatically qualified, while Australia finished in fifth place and will now contest the repechage on Wednesday in Sarasota.
Race times for the Australian Rowing Team tomorrow (26 September 2017)
Heat: PR1 M1x (Erik Horrie) – 10:40 local time (00:40 AEST – 27 September).
Repechage: Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull – 12:08 local time (02:08 AEST – 27 September)
Heat: Men’s Eight – 13:35 local time (03:35 AEST – 27 September)
All races can be watched LIVE via www.worldrowing.com