The finals of the Lucerne World Cup showcased some tight racing among the world's best. New Zealand showed it was ready for November's home World Championships by winning three of the first four events. The United States women put the finishing touches on a good regatta, winning gold in the W8+, silver in the W2-, and bronze in the W2x, all to go along with the gold in the four they won on Saturday evening. The men's results weren't quite as good, but showed that they are definitely making improvements from last year's world championships.
The women's eight race was the race of the day from the American perspective, and perhaps the entire regatta. USA got off to a sluggish start and gave up nearly a length to Canada and Great Britain. Somewhere in the second 500, the US crew found there rhythm and started to make up the deficit, pulling through the Brits at the 1250 mark and gradually pulling up with Canada. The Canadians had been over stroking the US the entire race and when the Americans shifted to their sprint, it was too much for Canada and the US pulled out the win two tenths of a second.
Esther Lofgren (USA) - Gold
"We had a race plan and just stuck to it. We had a really good piece and coming into the finish our cox was fantastic. Some of the girls were in the pair and the four, and because they had all medalled it really fired us up to make sure we made the podium too."
Andreanne Morin (CAN) - Silver
"Our coach is John Keogh. We have been rowing together since one month. The best thing about being coxed by Leslie Thompson-Willie is that at the start line I am 100% confident that no one has a more experienced cox than I do. Winning Henley was great. It was a great preparation for Lucerne and gave us an idea of what it is like to race against the Brits and Dutch. Now we are going back to Canada and will start preparing for the World Rowing Championships."
Emma Darling (CAN) - Silver
"I'm happy about the race. We had a very quick start. At the end we had to stick together to keep through. Winning Henley gave us power. We trained on speed before the racing and we will go on with that to make it perfect. It's my first time in Lucerne. It's also a good place for my family who came with me."
Jessica Eddie (GBR) - Bronze
"That was a tough race especially with the heat at the moment! Overall I'd say we were happily with the frontrunners during the first half of the race, but then lost pace in the second half. Suffices to say we've got some work to do, but it's a great day, particularly because the women's eight have never won a medal at Lucerne before!"
The young Canadian eight set the pace from the first stroke and got out to a good sized lead in the first half of the race before the experienced Germans caught them. Canada tried to hold on a medal position the Australian and British sprints were too much and they fell to fourth. Germany held of Australia to win gold.
Maximilian Reinelt (GER) - Gold
"We had a great race, but we have got a lot more work to do before the World Championships. I love Lucerne, but it was so hot today, we really felt like we had been smacked down."
Martin Sauer (GER) - Gold
"We are very happy, we were a bit under pressure being the race leaders. We're going straight back into training for the World Championships, there may be some crew changes."
Joshua Dunkley-Smith (AUS) - Silver
"Until the end of the race we fought and gave all we could. Last year Great Britain was in front of us. This year it's the other way round. So that is good. We hope to stay in the same combination."
Mohamed Sbihi (GBR) - Bronze
"It was a good race today, especially given how hot it is at the moment. However, after having trained all winter it's quite nice to race under the sun! We've slowly been putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and are forming a great team. Now all we have to do is put some miles on the clock and we'll be ready for the World Rowing Championships! It's been an honour and a privilege to row for Britain, and one which I've enjoyed massively."
Tom Wilkinson (GBR) - Bronze
"Today was very hot, but the last-minute changes that we implemented yesterday paid off, so we kept them again today. There's still some work to be done before New Zealand, but I'm optimistic about our chances."
Another win in the books for Belarusian Ekaterina Karsten, who used an incredible move in the second 500 to pull away from the field. Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic fought hard before Karsten sprinted away for another win. Karsten is unbeaten in the last six years except for the two Olympic finals. Racing in the B Final, American Gevvie Stone raced a smart and controlled race, nearly even splitting the race to win over Canada. Stone was in fifth at the 500, third at the 1000, second at the 1500, and won by about a second.
The Lucerne World Cup was the first event to feature all of the favored single scullers and the final proved to be a heavyweight battle with five members of the Great Eight racing. Malcolm Howard of Canada is no slouch either, winning Beijing gold in the eight. The race went the way the rest of the World Cup races have gone with Czech sculler Ondrej Synek pulling away from the field in the last 500 to win the gold. Great Britain's Alan Campbell took the silver over New Zealand Mahe Drysdale.
Ondrej Synek (CZE) - Gold
"This was a horrible race - I hate it when it gets above 20 degrees. Alan was on great form today, but I was expecting more of a challenge from Mahe (Drysdale). After this I will take five days holidays, I'm going on a motorbike trip with my friends. Who knows for the World Rowing Championships - I could win or I could be in the B Final, it's four months from now."
Alan Campell (GBR) - Silver
"It was really a last-minute decision to come and race Lucerne. I had troubles with my back before Munich. On Thursday we checked whether there was any danger of injuring my back if I would race but as the test came out ok we decided that I should race. Bill Berry (Coach) really made the right call. I have had great support here. It was fantastic to see the rest of the guys do so well and my fiancée is here to support me. (We will get married next year). The support has made a huge difference for me. Now I am determined to get rid of my back problems and nobody is safe from me. A race is not over until it is over. "
Mahe Drysdale (NZL) - Bronze
"That was quite a shock to come out racing again! I didn't stand a chance, as I was playing catch up on the leaders from the very beginning. I'm very pleased to find myself on the podium again. It's going to be a mission to get back on form again for the World Rowing Championships, but I've got three months, so I'm pretty sure I'll get there. As to them taking place in New Zealand it's a unique opportunity which I believe the whole country is going to benefit from!"
The NZL pair of Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown have gelled very quickly since coming together and have been excellent training partners. Results have shown this, with the Kiwis dominating in Munich, and now doing the same here. Both are incredibly fit as evidenced by their ability to race the 2000 meters at a very high rating. The US2 pair of Francia and Musnicki were down off the start to CAN (World Cup I winners) and Australia, but came through in the second thousand to take the silver by half a length. Before the regatta began, the USA1 entry of Amanda Polk and Erin Cafaro had to scratch prior to the heats when Cafaro became ill.
Comments from the crew:
Francia - It was a great race, it was just too bad our teammates couldn't be here on the podium with us. I'm just so proud of Megan, this is her very first international race and first international medal.
Musnicki - I lucked out with my bow seat, I mean Susan Francia?
Francia - We're very excited to race again (in the eight). Right now we're just in enjoying this victory, we're calling it a victory because it just a really great.
Musnicki - (on her first international final) I am speechless about it. It was amazing. It was my first time racing internationally and to come back and get second is amazing. It gives us something to shoot for this afternoon, gives us some room for improvement.
Juliette Haigh (NZL)
"We hadn't expected to dominate, but it was a really good race, I'm pleased with our performance. I love racing at Lucerne. The water is really fast, great conditions, and fortunately we missed the storm yesterday."
Rebecca Scown (NZL)
"We really enjoyed watching Henley Royal Regatta. Unfortunately we didn't have a chance to race there though. Dorney was really useful training. I'm not sure of the plan between now and the World Championships, only our coach does, but I'm sure it'll be hard!"
Krista Guloien (CAN)
"We're really glad to have come - its always exciting to race against New Zealand! We've been lucky to have some pretty sweet competition back home, so that's helped us really push ourselves. We emptied the tanks today, but it was worth it!"
The A Final for the men's pair was set up to be another showdown between New Zealand's Murray/Bond and Great Britain's Reed/Triggs-Hodge. The two crews have shown themselves to be the class of the event over the past 14 months, but the Brits had yet to knock off the Kiwis - they have now gone 11-0 in their numerous meetings. Today was no different. New Zealand used and explosive middle thousand to break free of their rivals yet again and take gold. Rumors in the media area surrounding the event were that this may have been the GBR pair's last chance at New Zealand, and without a win here there may be some line-up changes, with the pair most likely going into the four, much as Pinsent and Cracknell did in 2003.
In the B Final, the USA entry of Charlie Cole and Jake Cornelius took off to a tremendous start, but were unable to maintain their lead. The crew finished in fourth place behind SRB, NED, and GBR2.
Hamish Bond (NZL) - Gold
"We knew it was going to be a harder race and that the Brits would be closer to us than they were in Henley. Out there [in Henley], there was a massive headwind, but these conditions were much flatter. These conditions are probably the hottest I've rowed in, but it was a bit cooler today."
Eric Murray (NZL) - Gold
"It's so hot that I had to take a dip in the lake. We were really lucky to train out at Dorney to test the conditions for London 2012. We also learned a lot in Henley because of the headwind, head current and choppy conditions."
Andy Triggs Hodge (GBR) - Silver
"That was a solid performance, but it's not gold, so big steps still need to be taken. We've got three months to put it right. It's going to be hard, but I reckon we can get better than we are at the moment. We're still confident, and still enjoying the pair."
Peter Reed (GBR) - Silver
"We needed to have the perfect race to beat them. It wasn't perfect today, but we followed our race plan. We're thinking hard about how to beat them. However, we needed to have a good race to put Henley behind us. Last season was an embarrassment - we've done better this time. We're still building our race because their training incorporates time to fine tune the boats, unlike ours, which is just a constant build up of power. It felt like a two-horse race, and that's what it is. However, they are only men - they breathe, sweat and get tired like us. We will beat them."
Christou Ioannis (GRE2) - Bronze
"We decided to come ten days ago. On Tuesday we arrived in Lucerne. We were very surprised about the warm weather like in Greece. Until the World Rowing Championships everything is open."
In a race dominated by Great Britain, including multiple Olympic-medallist Katherine Grainger, both American entries found themselves in a fight for medal position. In the early going it looked like USA2 (Kalmoe/Shumway) may be the crew to break onto the podium, but it was USA1 (Carle/Bertko) that executed the second half the race with poise and efficiency, coming through CZE in the last few strokes to take the bronze. USA2 finished a length back in fifth place.
Bertko - "It was a great race. We knew it was close with the Czechs but we had no idea if we had beaten them. Right now we're just trying to recover as much as we can between races."
Stesha Carle: "We didn't know if we made third place until we heard the beep. We'll give everything for the quad race later on. This third place might help us."
Carle/Bertko were noticeably hurried on the awards dock, wanting to get back to the boat racks to start their recovery for the quad final.
Kim Crow (AUS) - Silver
"We are happy with our performance. The Brits did a great job. I haven't been sculling that long. I'm not sure what the future holds for me, but it's still exciting!"
Sally Kehoe (AUS) - Silver
"I always love racing at Lucerne - it's a fantastic backdrop and the water is great. I was supposed to be racing in the single here, but Kim's double partner was injured so I came into the double. There's a great groups of scullers back in Australia, so I'm not sure what will happen at the World Rowing Championships."
Croatia won the A final with a furious sprint to get through Germany. The US men's quad was unable to find the speed to make the A Final in this morning semifinal, then finished second in the B final to the world champions from Poland.
Martin Sinkovic (CRO) - Gold
"This race was really tough, the toughest of my career. We had some problems on the start because our three-seat threw up, we were very close to cancelling the race. We thought we would just do the best we can, so to win is unbelievable."
Valent Sinkovic (CRO) - Gold
"Everyone in Croatia talk about how amazing Lucerne is, and it's true. This is the best racing course in the world!"
Mathias Rocher (GER) - Silver
"Apart from the last one hundred meters we are very happy with how the race went. We were able to row exactly how we planned it but the sprint of the Croatians was just unbelievable. We will have some holidays before we get back together to prepare for the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand. Our goal is to win a medal."
Sam Townsend (GBR) - Bronze
"We've only just got the quad back together again after injuries, so it was surprising for us to come here and win a medal. Compared to the double, the quad is much fiercer, much more front-loaded, so to speak. In the double you have a lot more of a say in the boat speed, whereas in the quad it is more of a team boat - you have to work together a lot more. We've got a bit of time between now and the World Rowing Championships to get ourselves together and improve, but I'm looking forward to it very much."
The women's quad race was by Great Britain with the Ukraine taking the silver. The Brits rowed a controlled race and were able to hold off in the sprint to win. The Americans doubling into the quad couldn't quite get it going in this event and finished in fifth place, about three seconds out of the medals.
Annie Vernon (GBR) - Gold
That was such a hard race, but it's the kind of race you dream about. At about 700m to go I made a call to kill them off as we were rowing very defensively, which seemed to be very effective. "Control the race" - that was our plan - I've got it written on my hand."
The men's four is one of the premier events at any international regatta, and Great Britain loves to win this one. Today, they executed a brilliant race, got out to nearly a boat length lead on the field by the thousand, then held off the hard charging New Zealand and French crews to win. The US four that had shown a great deal of speed over the past few weeks was unable to match the pace of the front of the pack and finished in sixth place.
Alex Partridge (GBR) - Gold
"We had a really strong race today, we're really pleased. We got out in front for the first time, and just kept it going - I had the easy job just thinking about what to say to get the three strong guys in front to keep pulling hard to move away. We had a bad race in Munich, just not good enough, so we even missed Henley, which we love, to prepare for it. Fortunately it paid off."
Jade Uru (NZL) - Silver
"We are content with second place. We arrived three weeks ago for acclimatisation. We felt in good condition today. We'll go back directly to New Zealand after Lucerne to get prepared again."
Julien Despres (FRA) - Bronze
"It was a good race, especially given that we have only been together for three weeks. However, we haven't had much time training, and have spent a lot of our time travelling, which means that we were very tired for this event. Our big problem was a lack of vigour. We were attacking and counterattacking the New Zealanders the whole way through, but in the end they could pull it out longer than we could. It's been fun though, and once we've got it under our belt, we'll be a much stronger team."
The light four was the closest race of the day with less than two seconds separating the top four crews. Great Britain held of the Danish sprint to win by a bowball. Italy finished in third, holding off the hometown Swiss for the final medal spot.
Richard Chambers (GBR) - Gold
"That was a seriously hard race. The charge from the Danes at the end was impressive, they just came so quickly. I just kept making the calls from the bow, that's my role."
Kasper Winther (DEN) - Silver
"That was an okay race. We've changed our tactics for today to try and get ahead and stay ahead from the beginning. Everything went well until the 1000m mark, when we got surrounded. We lost a bit of water, and had to make that up at the finish. Fortunately we have a very strong sprint, but I feel that the race could have gone better. We need to improve our starts and our middle section"
Martino Goretti (ITA) - Bronze
"We are very happy with how the race turned out. Not only because of winning bronze but also because we were able to stick to our race plans. There is no special mental training for close races like this one, we just give it our all for every stroke of the race. The heat has affected us in the heats but it was better today."
The French double continued their fast summer by defeating GBR for the gold, their first world cup win together. They crew broke a lead in the second 500 and never relinquished it, cruising over the line to win by a second. In the B Final, the US double of Ochal/Anderson fought off a slow start win. The crew sprinted through Norway in the last 100 meters for the victory.
Cedric Berrest (FRA) - Gold
We had a really good hard race. Winning at Henley definitely helped our psychology and we have also recently changed the set-up in the boat, which has helped a lot. This is the first time we have won a World Cup, we have been trying for three years and we've always finished second, so this feels great. We've been racing every weekend for a month, so we are going to have a week off after this."
Julien Bahain (FRA) - Gold
"Very happy with that! It was an incredible race and we pushed hard but pulled through. We changed our strategy for this race compared with our others recently. Rather than going for a high stroke rate (which we found had us constantly digging in and not slowing down), we went for a low stroke rate and really pushed with each stroke, which meant that we could speed up if necessary to counter any British offensive - it clearly worked! They didn't come close!"
Matthew Wells (GBR) - Silver
We've had seven big races in two weeks - that's hard on anyone. We dug a little too deep in the qualifiers as well, which meant that we had nothing left over for this race. However, overall I'm pleased with how the season's gone so far - we aimed to win medals in all the World Cups, and we've done that."
Nathan Cohen (NZL) - Bronze
"I am very happy with the result. The French team took of very fast. We started well but it was a very hard race. The next steps are yet to be decided but first we are enjoying the bronze medal. The organisation here in Lucerne is very good. We have been here in 2009 before."
While it shouldn't be a surprise when the defending world champions from New Zealand win, today's result was a little surprising. After Munich, the Olympic champion British double seemed back on track and poised to dominate their event again, but a few short weeks later, the event looks in fact to be wide open. The NZ double of Storm and Taylor made a strong statement here, as the Canadians and Germans battled ferociously behind them. The Germans came out on top, although not without paying a price that was clear to everyone watching the medal ceremony. Meanwhile the Brits found themselves battling the Italians for fourth, and came up short, placing fifth. Racing in the B Final, the US entry of Winters/De regt had a tremendous sprint, passing Norway and Greece to finish in second. They have already placed high enough at the Munich World Cup to be the light men's double, so you will be seeing them in NZ in November.
Linus Lichtschlag (GER) - Silver
"Totally surprised to reach the second place. As a double we have been together for two and a half months. We will not row at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships but will be at the European Rowing Championships and the World Rowing Championships."
Cameron Sylvester (CAN) - Bronze
"That was a good race, but we didn't know where the Germans were, we only knew we were close, but not enough to respond. All we heard was the finish."
Douglas Vandor (CAN) - Bronze
"This was the next step towards New Zealand, where we're going to beat the Germans! (but don't tell them that :))"
The US double of Grobler and Broughton did not race here in Lucerne, but having won the first World Cup very convincingly, they are not only selected to the team to race at Worlds, but are clearly one of the teams to watch. Today's final was an intense one, with only two second separating the entire field at the 1000, and came down to a furious finish, with some crews surging dramatically, and others nearly coming apart. In the end, Australia, Great Britian, and Greece nabbed the medals, followed by Belgium, Germany, and Poland.
Alice McNamara (AUS) - Gold
"We've not been in this combination very long and we were coming here to test our speed, so are absolutely delighted to come away with a win. We are going to go back and train hard for the World Rowing Championships. We will be hoping to do well, but there is some good speed in Europe, we were certainly tested over this regatta."
Hannah Every-Hall (AUS) - Gold
"I've come back to sculling after an eight-year break - I was desperate to have a family so now I have two little boys back home and a very supportive husband. My husband and I had agreed that if I wanted to return to rowing because I wanted it really badly then I could - I obviously wanted it pretty badly!"
Sophie Hosking (GBR) - Silver
"That was more the race rowed - everything came down to tactics. We felt that we were part of the pack, and couldn't really pull clear. This will be the race that will be lurking in the back of our minds in New Zealand."
Triantafyllia Kalampoka (GRE) - Bronze
"It was a very hard race. We hoped to get the first place, but we are content with bronze. We've rowed together as a double four four years. After this race, we will row at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships. After that, we will look how it will go on. "
Overall World Cup Winner: Great Britain
The close of this final stage of the 2010 Rowing World Cup resulted in a fourth consecutive overall win by Great Britain.
The British team clocked up a total of 231 points over the entire series, putting them well in the lead ahead of Germany (109 points) and New Zealand (85 points). The Brits tallied eleven medals in Lucerne and head home with eight small crystal cups awarding the overall boat class winner.
And so ends row2k's World Cup Lucerne coverage; we hope you have enjoyed it!