Three crews win on Day Two in Poland; Men’s Eight finish third in Test Race

Four Australian crews today booked places in the A-Finals of World Rowing Cup 2 in Poznan, Poland. The Women’s Pair, Women’s Double Scull, Men’s Double Scull and the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull of Alice Arch and Georgia Miansarow have secured A-Final berths, taking the total number of Australian crews in A-Finals on Sunday to eight. Meanwhile the Men’s Pair, the Lightweight Women’s Double of Amy James and Georgia Nesbitt and the Men’s Quadruple Scull will contest B-Finals tomorrow morning.

Sarah Hawe and Molly Goodman started proceedings for Australia this morning. The stern pair of the Women’s Four have doubled up to race the Pair at this event and needed a top four finish to book an A-Final position. The Australians paced their race beautifully in cool conditions on Lake Malta, having sat back in third for the first half of the race, Goodman upped the stroke rate as they hit the halfway mark.

The Australians pulled into the lead as they crossed the 1000 metre mark and began to pull away from the rest of the pack, rowing through Great Britain, New Zealand and Chile to take out the win and booking a place in Sunday’s A-Final.

This is 29-year-old Hawe’s first Senior Australian Rowing Team, with the Tasmanian having last raced for Australia in 2005 at the World Rowing Junior Championships, and she is delighted with how her World Cup is progressing: “The only other international experience of racing that I have had is back in 2005 at the Juniors and the Senior World Cups are of course a big step up in competition.

“The professionalisms of the athletes around the boat park, the racing, it’s a great experience. It’s exciting to have performed well here, with the Women’s Four being our priority boat.”

Goodman and Hawe in the Women’s Pair (Copyright RA)

Hawe admitted that the event was about developing as a crew, adding: “We want to build from each of our rows and learn from the process rather than focus on the results. It’s obviously great doing well and making the A-Finals, but it’s about bettering ourselves as we go along, race by race.”

The Women’s Double Scull of Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey had a strong repechage leading from start to finish in increasingly difficult racing conditions. The duo just missed out on automatic qualification yesterday, after China rowed over them at the finish of their heat, however this was not going to be the case for the Australians today. The two Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre athletes took the win, with Germany, Norway and the Czech Republic joining them in the A-Final with the already qualified China and New Zealand.

The new Men’s Double Scull partnership of David Watts and Luke Letcher had an exciting semi-final that saw the young duo battle it out with the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medal-winning crew from Norway. The crews were close throughout the race, however it was the Australians who retained the upper hand in the cold and blustery Polish conditions, with Watts and Letcher winning in a time of 6.14.17, the Norwegians coming in just 0.47 of a second behind them. Both crews booked A-Final berths, alongside Bulgaria, New Zealand, Argentina and Poland.

In the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull repechage, Australia’s two crews were drawn next to each other in Lanes Five and Six. Both crews needed a top four finish to ensure an A-Final tomorrow, however it was Alice Arch and Georgia Miansarow who finished ahead of their team-mates, Georgia Nesbitt and Amy James, to take fourth place and book a place in the A-Finals. Great Britain, Germany, Poland and two crews from China will join Arch and Miansarow in the A-Final tomorrow.

The Men’s Eight had its first race of the regatta today when it featured in the Test Race alongside crews from Germany, Poland, Great Britain and New Zealand. The crew of Darcy Wruck, Nathan Bowden, Ben Coombs, Angus Widdicombe, Angus Moore, Tim Masters, Campbell Watts, Alex Purnell and coxswain James Rook are a new combination, like many of those racing at the regatta.

Germany and Poland came out strong to lead the race from the start, but the battle ensued between Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Australia sat in third till the halfway mark, when Great Britain tried to make a push through, however the Australians held strong as they crossed the 1500 metre mark to take third place behind Germany and Poland. All five crews will contest the A-Final tomorrow.

The Men’s Pair of Simon Keenan and Hamish Playfair came out fast in their repechage, needing a top two finish to make the A-Final. The Victorian and New South Welshman led for the first half of the race, however the French and Turkish crews pushed past the Australians in the final 500 metres to snap up the only two A-Final spots available.

Finally, in the repechage of the Men’s Quadruple Scull, it was a tough race for Hamish Parry, Cameron Fowler, James Kerr and Sean Murphy. The crew, who normally race Lightweight, needed a top two finish to make the A-Finals, which wasn’t to be for this young combination. They will contest the B-Final tomorrow alongside crews from Great Britain, New Zealand and China.

Race times for the Australian Rowing Team tomorrow (Sunday):

09:35 Local Time (17:35 AEST) – Men’s Pair, B-Final
09:45 Local Time (17:45 AEST) – Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (Nesbitt and James), B-Final
09:50 Local Time (17:50 AEST) – Men’s Quadruple Scull, B-Final
10:35 Local Time (18:35 AEST) – Women’s Four, A-Final
11:18 Local Time (19:18 AEST) – Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (Arch and Miansarow), A-Final
11:33 Local Time (19:33 AEST) – Men’s Four, A-Final
11:48 Local Time (19:48 AEST) – Women’s Quadruple Scull, A-Final
12:18 Local Time (20:18 AEST) – Women’s Pair, A-Final
12:33 Local Time (20:33 AEST) – Men’s Double Scull, A-Final
12:48 Local Time (20:48 AEST) – Women’s Double Scull, A-Final
13:48 Local Time (21:48 AEST) – Men’s Eight, A-Final