World Rowing Championships -- Thursday 29th August

posted by Roy Sinclair - 30 Aug 2013, 5:07 p.m.

In their semi finals, both Inverness athletes, Imogen Walsh in Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x) and Alan Sinclair in Men's Four (M4-) powered into the A Finals which will take place on Saturday 31st August

Report from World Rowing noted below

Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x) - Semifinals
Like fine-tuned Formula 1 racing cars, Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy led from start to finish in Semifinal One to cross the line just six seconds outside of the World Best Time. Milani and Sancassani came together late last year and they haven't lost a race since. Behind the Italian duo, the United States (Kristin Hedstrom and Kathleen Bertko) remained within striking distance of the Italians. Following the US was the New Zealanders, Julia Edward and Lucy Strack.

This is how the order remained through to the line with South Africa, in fourth, not having the firepower to challenge for a qualifying spot. At the line Italy and New Zealand looked relatively comfortable while the United States, at 39, had kept the pressure on right to the line.

Semifinal Two was much closer than the first semifinal. Germany's Lena Mueller and Anja Noske got out into the lead at the start with Sweden and Poland in hot pursuit. The Swede's and Poles then seemed to be out of their league, slipping down in the rankings. This gave Elisabeth Woerner and Maaike Head of the Netherlands the chance they were looking for with Great Britain and Australia stepping up the pace.

There were now four boats in contention for a qualifying spot. The best sprint award goes to Kathryn Twyman and Imogen Walsh of Great Britain. Rating 36, Twyman and Walsh closed in on the Germans. At the line Germany had remained in first, Great Britain had earned second and the Dutch had qualified just ahead of Australia, in third.
Qualifiers: ITA, USA, NZL, GER, GBR, NED

Men's Four (M4-) - Semifinals
When you see a crew come out of the start looking relaxed in their faces and effortless through the water, you know you've got a special crew - especially when they're in the lead. This was the case for the United States. The sole medal at the London Olympics for US men's rowing went to the four when they finished in the bronze medal spot. Henrik Rummel is the sole remaining member of the London four. This new 2013 crew won at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne and today they remained in the lead for the entire Semifinal One.

But the United States did not have it all their way. The entire field was still within striking distance of the leading crew through the middle of the race with only Germany dropping back a bit. In the sprint to the line the field closed on James, Weil, Rummel and Gennaro of the United States. At a 42 stroke rate the US held off a lower rating Netherlands in second. A very happy Czech Republic snuck through in third ahead of a disappointed Belarus.

Semifinal Two had all six crews jump out quickly at the start moving through the first 500m mark with less than two seconds separating the entire field. Then Australia did a strategically planned piece and drew their boat into the lead. Australia had finished second to the United States at the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne and, as London Olympic silver medallists, they had a fine history in this event to call on.

The sprint to the line finally saw crews spread out. Spain and Croatia had dropped back a bit with the real battle going on between Lucerne bronze medallists, Italy against Australia and Lucerne B-finallists, Great Britain. At the line Lodo, Perino, Paonessa and Vicino of Italy had taken first, Australia was in second and Great Britain qualified from third.

It is interesting to note the finishing times of all of the finalists is within just two seconds. This will be one hot final on Saturday with no real obvious favourite.
Qualifiers: USA, NED, CZE, ITA, AUS, GBR

USA, Grant James, "We got ahead as planned and expected the field to come back at us but we knew we could hold them. It will be an exciting final race from start to finish."

CZE, Jan Pilc, "We had a good start to go with the field and the plan was to push at the half way point. The last 200m we were just satisfied with holding a qualifying spot. The final will be very tough as everybody has a chance to win a medal."

ITA, Paolo Perino and Mario Paonessa, "We had a very good start with Australia and we fought with them until the 1500 and then we decided to attack in the last 500. Australia tried to push past us, but we responded well. It will be a war in the final from 0 to 2000m."

GBR, Alan Sinclair, "We needed to make sure we weren't in a risky position in the last part of the race. Our crew's goal here was to make it to the final, but now we'll try to take a step forward for the final."

AUS, Joshua Dunkley-Smith, "We expected a tight race with the Italians as we raced them in Lucerne. They are a young crew so you can always expect some kind of a surprise. Our goal is to go faster in the final and we are happy how we have been going through this regatta week."

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