Men’s Eight take silver after exciting battle to finish with Germany; Women’s Quadruple Scull win bronze medal as World Rowing Cup 3 concludes

Australia finishes second on Lucerne regatta table with two golds, two silvers and one bronze

Australia concluded its European season today by winning three more medals at World Rowing Cup 3 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Australia’s Women’s Four won its second World Rowing Cup gold medal of the season, the Men’s Eight claimed silver, while the Women’s Quadruple Scull took home a bronze medal. These three medals are in addition to the Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull gold medal and the Men’s Coxed Pair silver medal from yesterday at the event.

Australia finished the regatta placing second on the medal table, alongside Poland and Italy. The team will now return to Australia to finalise its selections and preparations for the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, USA in September this year.

Performance Director, Bernard Savage said: “We have had some really encouraging results today and across the regatta as a whole. It has been pleasing to see the professional way the whole team – athletes, coaches and staff – have gone about their business.

“Obviously we had a really exciting race today. in the Men’s Eight, and it’s great to see that crew perform well after so little time together. It’s also pleasing to see the Women’s Four back up from Poznan and win another gold medal, this time against a stronger field.

“This tour has been a really important stepping stone leading up to the World Rowing Championships. We head home now, will assess all the performances and finalise our boats and crews for Worlds, looking to maintain the momentum we have developed here in Europe.”

Opening A-Final proceedings for Australia, was the Women’s Four of Molly Goodman, Sarah Hawe, Katrina Werry and Lucy Stephan. The crew, that won gold in at World Rowing Cup 2 in Poznan, came out fast alongside the other heat winners, Russia. As the crews approached the third 500 mark, the Australians began to make their move on the Russian crew and not only overtook them but moved completely away.

There was no stopping the Australians as they led the field in the last 200 metres of the race crossing the line with a clear water advantage, followed by Russia then Canada. Post-race, Hawe said: “We didn’t have a great start, but we wound it up and managed to push through. We concentrated on the last 750 metres, if we’re selected for the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, we will work on the first 500m to improve our start.”

In the Men’s Eight final, coxswain James Rook ensured his crew had plenty in the tank when it came to mounting a challenge against race favourites, and World Best Time holders, Germany. In one of the best races of the day, the Germans led the field from the start but at the halfway mark the Australians began to make their move on the German crew.

Rook had the crew up its rating to 43, with Germany on 41, which took Australia within in a canvas of the Germans but ultimately it came down to the final 15 strokes of the race, with the Germans taking the win and Australia a well-deserved silver medal, followed by the Netherlands.

After the medal presentation, Rook admitted the race had been a challenging one: “It was a tough race today. We came out to win and we had great support from our coach in the lead up to it. During the race, I just kept telling them where we were and, in the last 100 metres, I had a great response from the guys and we closed up on the Germans, we just didn’t quite take the win.”

The Women’s Quadruple Scull saw Australia having two crews in the A-Final. Leah Saunders, Genevieve Horton, Rowena Meredith and Caitlin Cronin (Australia 1) had progressed straight to the A-Final after winning their heat, while they were joined in the final by the Lightweight Quadruple Scull Amy James, Alice Arch, Georgia Miansarow and Georgia Nesbitt (Australia 2) who qualified via the repechage.

The Australia 1 crew powered out the start alongside the favourites Poland and the Netherlands, and held with them for the first half of the race. However, Poland pushed ahead and the Netherlands made their move at the 1250m mark, leaving Australia to sit back in third and fight off a push from Germany. The crew did just that, maintaining its positioning and claiming a bronze medal, their Lightweight counterparts finished in sixth.,

Post-race, Cronin said: “It was a very good race, it is exciting to be in such a quality field. Myself, Rowena and Genevieve will now go to Bulgaria [with Harriet Hudson to race the U23 Women’s Quad] to race at the U23 World Rowing Championships. Then we will go back to Australia to prepare for the senior World Championships.”

Stephan and Werry followed on their gold medal in the Women’s Four by also racing in the Women’s Pair A-Final today. The young duo had stiff competition in the final, from eventual winners New Zealand, and the Australians ultimately finished in fifth place.

In the Women’s Double Scull, A-Final, Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey took on, amongst others, favourites New Zealand as well as two strong French crews. Aldersey and Edmunds battled in the middle thousand with the French number one crew for second place, and ultimately the French took the upper hand leaving the Australians to fight it out with the French number two crew for the bronze medal. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the Australians, who were overtaken in the last 200 metres by the French to finish in fourth place.

In the B-Final of the Men’s Double Scull, David Watts and Luke Letcher finished in fourth place, while, the Men’s Four of Darcy Wruck, Simon Keenan, Campbell Watts and Angus Widdicombe finished in fifth in their B-Final.