Racing for the 2017 World Championships begins on Sunday, September 24, in Sarasota, Florida. Below, we preview the W4-, M4-, and LM4- events. Check out our additional previews of the single sculls, pair, and double sculls events.
ENTRIES - 12
THE FAVORITE – Australia are the favorites following their wins at World Cup II and World Cup III. The crew of Molly Goodman, Lucy Stephan, Katrina Werry, and Sarah Hawe will have their work cut out for them in the first year of the women's four being classified as an Olympic event following FISA's program change earlier this year.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – Canada should prove up to the task, with three of four athletes that won the bronze in Lucerne. The crew are doubling up out of the eight, so should have a busy week of racing.
The Russian and Dutch crews arrive in Sarasota with their lineups intact from Lucerne. The Russians won the silver and the Dutch finished fourth. Both crews should challenge for a medal.
USA PROSPECTS – The American entry for 2017 is strong and young with a very successful pedigree of U23 success, but not much senior team experience. They are led by Kristine O'Brien, who has won two medals in the event, gold in 2015 and silver in 2016. O'Brien also won gold in the U23 W8+ in both 2012 and 2013. She's joined by Molly Bruggeman (2nd in 2016 W4-, two U23 golds), Kendall Chase (five U23 golds), and Erin Reelick (three U23 golds). The crew should make the final and challenge for a medal in Sarasota.
The GBR M4-
ENTRIES - 16
THE FAVORITE – The Australian four is the favorite by virtue of their win over Great Britain at World Cup II in Poznan. The four then plugged into the eight for World Cup III and nearly knocked off the German eight before settling for silver.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – The British four are basically the co-favorites for gold as they are incredibly difficult to beat in this event at the World Championships. They have only one holdover from their Olympic champion crew in Mohamed Sbihi. They held off a tough field at World Cup III to win and now have their sights set on defeating Australia in Sarasota.
Another challenger for a spot on the podium is Italy, the European champions and silver medalists in Lucerne. South Africa brings a retooled and experienced lineup for 2017 that includes former lightweight Olympic champion John Smith from the lightweight four, and Lawrence Brittain who won Rio silver in the men's pair last year.
USA PROSPECTS – The new look USA men's squad is young and athletic and the men's four is no exception. The lineup of Ben Delaney, Alex Richards, Robert Moffitt, and Ben Ruble boasts two rowers that are still undergrads (Delaney at GW and Richards at Harvard). Sarasota will be their first race together as a crew and a spot in the A Final would be an excellent showing.
2016 OLYMPICS – Great Britain held off Australia to win the gold. Italy sprinted through South Africa to take the bronze.
MEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR
ENTRIES - 6
THE FAVORITE – The demotion of this event from the Olympic program has hit this event hard. One of the most entertaining events has dropped from 23 entries in 2015, to just 6 this week in Sarasota. The Italians bring their World Cup III champion crew to Florida this week and are the favorites.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – The top two medal contenders for the remaining spots on the podium are the Russians and the Chinese. Russia are the European champions and China brings three of their Rio LM4- to Sarasota.
USA PROSPECTS – The American crew of Nicholas Dawe, Thomas Foster, Andrew Neils, and David Smith should challenge for a spot on the podium. Dawe and Smith were part of the 2015 lightweight eight that won the bronze in France.
2016 OLYMPICS – Switzerland broke away from Denmark in the second half of the race to win gold, with France taking the bronze.