Racing for the 2018 World Championships begin on Sunday, September 9, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Below, we preview the M4x, W4x, LM4x, and LW4x events.
ENTRIES - 15
THE FAVORITE – No clear cut favorite coming in to Plovdiv, but many strong crews are set to compete. Germany had the most successful run during the World Cup circuit, taking bronze, gold, and gold.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – Poland nearly took the win in 2017 and are the European champions for 2018. The Dutch are the defending champions and won several World Cup medals this season. Australia, Ukraine, and China have all shown good speed and will likely round out the final, plus the Americans are always a tough out.
USA PROSPECTS – The USA W4x of Elizabeth Sonshine, Emily Huelskamp, Maureen McAuliffe, and Kara Soucek were selected out of Princeton Training Center. Sonshine, Huelskamp, and McAuliffe return from the 2017 quad that finished fifth in Sarasota and will be looking to improve on the result in Plovdiv.
2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – The Dutch quad used a well timed sprint to pass Poland with about 15 strokes remaining to take the gold over the Poles. Great Britain executed a great second thousand to win the bronze over fourth place Germany. Video here.
2017 LTU M4x
ENTRIES - 13
THE FAVORITE – Italy have had the most consistent 2018 season, winning both events they've entered, World Cup II and the European Championships. The men's quad field is deep and talented, and the Italians will face many challengers is what should be a very competitive event.
MEDAL CONTENDERS - Great Britain lead the way in rivals to Italy, though they have had an up and down season in 2018. The British won World Cup I, and World Cup III, but finished sixth at the European Championships. Lithuania is the defending champions and won the silver at Europeans.
The Dutch and Poles bring strong crews Plovdiv, but the wild card may be New Zealand. The Kiwi quad features recent addition and two time Olympic champion in the M1x, Mahe Drysdale. How much of an impact he can have could have a big effect on who ends up on the podium.
USA PROSPECTS – The Penn AC entry of Erik Frid, Michael Knippen, Greg Ansolabehere, and Justin Keen won trials in August and will represent the USA in Bulgaria. Three of the crew, Keen Ansolabehere, and Frid, raced in the quad at World Cup II this spring, finishing in ninth. Racing in a tough field, making the semifinals and making a run at the A Final will be the best likely result for the crew.
2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – The Netherlands shot out to nearly a boat length lead on the field, but were only able to lead to the 1500. Lithuania led the charge to reel in the Dutch, coming from fifth place in the first part of the race to take the lead at 1700 and win going away. Great Britain won the silver over a hard charging Estonia, with the Netherlands ending in fourth. Video here.
2017 ITA LW4x
WOMEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT QUAD
ENTRIES - 7
THE FAVORITE – China won the only World Cup event contested in the LW4x at Lucerne.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – Denmark took the silver in Lucerne and Germany took the bronze. Italy's crew are the current U23 world champions in the event.
USA PROSPECTS – The USA entry of Hillary Saeger, Margaret Bertasi, Christine Cavallo, and Michaela Copenhaver won trials unopposed in August. Saeger has the most experience in the crew, and will be competing at her sixth senior World Championships, winning medals in three of them. Cavallo has raced at multiple junior and U23 championships, winning silver in the junior women's pair in 2012. Bertasi has raced in the 2010 JW4x and the 2014 BW2x. Copenhaver will be making her first international start. The crew should make the final and compete for a medal.
2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Italy outraced Australia in the last 500 meters to win. China defeated Canada at the line to take the bronze. Video here.
FRA defeats GBR at the line
MEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT QUAD
ENTRIES - 11
THE FAVORITE – Italy has been the fastest crew so far in 2018, easily winning the European Championship and World Cup II.
MEDAL CONTENDERS – Germany, Denmark, and The Netherlands took the medals at World Cup III and will be the strongest challengers in Plovdiv. All three World Cups were final-only, so the event should be pretty open with 11 entries.
USA PROSPECTS – The USA entry of Michael Landuyt, Sam Hausmann, Alex Loy, and James Nelson won trials unopposed in August. All four scullers will make their international debuts in Bulgaria and an appearance in the A Final would be a great start.
2017 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – France rowed down and sprinted through Great Britain and Greece in the last 150 meters to take the gold. Great Britain took silver by just 0.2 seconds, Greece bronze, Italy in fourth. Video here.