Tailwind and chop again this morning, but in the bigger boats it didn't seem to matter as much, as we didn't see as many game-changers as we did yesterday.
Holy smokes did the US Women's eight row an aggressive race in winning today...the field was tight early on, then the USA blew it open with a big move at the 1000 then held the field off to claim the win, a succesful defense of the Olympic title, and running their winning streak to four years now.
"We weren't taking stroke rates during the race, but I'm glad we didn't," said US women's coach Tom Terhaar after the race. "I'm pretty sure we would have been a little high!"
The crew echoed their coaches comments. "Our race was one big move!" said coxswain Katelin Snyder.
In terms of getting the crew into the right frame of mind, Terharr said they try to keep it simple. "We don't make it about defending, we don't make it about holding on. I told them today that they have an opportunity to get a gold medal, and to go out and get it."
This eight is a mixture of old salts and rookies, but the blend worked today, and the eight deserve a namecheck here: the cox is Katelin Snyder, then, from stroke, it's Kady Glessner, Caroline Lind, Anna Goodale, Susan Francia, Laura Larsen-Strecker, Lindsay Shoop, Mara Allen, and Erin Cafaro.
If you can't beat 'em, be 'em: one of the Romanian women arrived at the course this morning sporting a Stars and Stripes bandana for the practice row, nice! Several US coaches and athletes commented that this rivalry seemed friendlier than it has been; these crews will continue to see a lot of each other in coming years, so you might as well get along.
The double-gold at Worlds that Francia and Cafaro hit this week is a fairly rare achievement, most recently accomplished by my reckoning in 2001 by two guys named Pinsent and Cracknell.
The Dutch and Romanian Women also doubled here this week; the Dutch doubling their gold medal W4- into their W8+, which took bronze, while Romania doubled their silver W2- into their silver W8+.
The US had a well-earned Gold medal on the men's side as well, with Troy Kepper, Henrik Rummel and Marcus McIlhenny rowing a really strong race to take Gold in the coxed pair to open the morning. The lead sled was more or less a real event this year, with 9 crews entered, and the US crew had to work for their medal today.
"We executed it exactly the way we wanted to...hot and fast!" said Henrik Rummel (with an assist from Marcus McIlhenny). "We had pressure on us the entire time, and Marcus just called us to move one percent more, and keep our composure, and we had to turn it up a gear from the first stroke."
You had to once again feel for Vaclav Chalupa in the Czech pair, who picked up what seems like his umpteenth silver medal at worlds behind the US today; the man retired after the M2+ final today, having never won a gold. (see also our athlete quotes at the bottom of this feature).
With the M2+ the only medal for the US sweep or sculling men this year, the squad is definitely looking towards 2010.
The surprise performance of the championships would have to be that of the US women's quad. Though the US enjoyed a strong performance in this event at Lucerne earlier this summer, the lineup changed significantly before worlds, and the crew definitely took a hit in terms of overall experience that they could draw on. Perhaps the novelty helped? In any event, the crew posted up the best US performance in the event since the '84 Olympics with a silver medal, behing Ukraine and ahead of Germany.
"We were untested, but we knew we had some strengths to play off of," said Stesha Carle after the race. "In general, it's a competitive, aggressive group," added Megan Walsh. "This is what we live to do, we got to do it, and do it well today."
The US women's quad is Katie Bertko, Sarah Trowbridge, Stesha Carle, and Megan Walsh.
The US Men's lightweight eight had definitely wanted to put one over on the Italians today, but that's nearly impossible today; the Italian men medalled in four of the five light men's events today, winning the light quad and eight in dominant fashion.
The US crew was definitely happy with silver, and, given the promising results earlier in the week of the LM4-, there's a good core group of lightweights in the US that can grow into this level.
"We're a young group, pretty much everyone at their first World Championships, really solid level heads by everyone, great effort by everyone," said six-seat Matt Muffelman. "It's obviously not the color medal we wanted, but it's a great start and it's the turnaround of the US lightweight program."
Rowing in the US lightweight eight at worlds this year were coxswain Kerry Quinn, Jim Sopko, Andrew Diebold, Matt Muffelman, Ryan Fox, Kenny McMahon, Anthony Fahden, Matt Kochem, and Skip Dise.
As fast as their rowing is on the water, the Italians broke all previous records for best endzone dance today. We know the Italians can celebrate, but this was ridiculous; fully five members of the crew stood up in the boat after they crossed the line, the coxswain tossed himself into the drink and swam the length of the eight, and at least two oars came out of the oarlocks to be waved overhead.
Evidence of this, and more, coming in our Sunday winner's reel vid as soon as we can get the film chopped and uploaded.
A final surprising bit of hardware for the US today, in the lightweight women's quad. A five-boat final only, the US had come last in the "race for lanes" earlier in the week, but probably benefitted from being in an outside lane next to Germany today. As the Germans pushed into the lead midrace, the US shifted with them and moved through Canada and Poland into the bronze medal position, which they would hold until the line.
"We knew it was anyone's game, and we knew we had as good a shot as anyone," said stroke Abby Broughton.
Even if it is a final-only, a medal at worlds your first time out is a pretty impressive achievement, and the US crew had three rookies aboard. The US LW 4x: Abby Broughton, Stefanie Sydlik, Lindsey Hochman, and Hillary Saeger.
Other US crews in action today: Meghan Sarbanis in the LW1x just missed a medal, finishing 4th. The US LM4x started well, then faded to sixth by the end, a somewhat disappointing yet totally respectable result for a young crew. The Italian LM4x averages nearly a decade older than their US counterparts, so maybe if the US guys can stick around for a few more years?
In the Olympic big boats, it was somewhat of a Germany show; the Germans claimed the Men's Eight, a fairly stunning turnaround from Beijing a year ago where the German M8+ finished last. Canada, with several Olympians aboard, finished a length back and seemed genuinely pleased with that result; the Germans had been world-beaters all season, and it would likely have been a tall order for anybody to catch them here.
It seems hard to believe, but yesterday's gold in the M2x was Germany's first gold medal in rowing in three years. They added 3 more today, so that drought is officially over. In fact, the Germans ended up winning the FISA team title here in Poznan, ahead of the Brits, who had their big day yesterday.
The Germans also took gold in the LM4-, for the first time ever I believe, with a go-for-broke first 1000m that got them a length clear of the Danes by halfway, and was enough to withstand the torrid sprint the scandinavians threw at them headed down to the line.
The hometown Poles won the Men's Quad, and have run their gold-medal streak to five years now, the longest current streak going, I believe. (The US Women's Eight, winners of four straight, are the next longest). The Poland M4x is a boat of decent guys, and you definitely don't begrudge them their hometown success (although trying to land the women's eights on the awards dock while the POL M4x was parked there was impossible until the Polish media crush had been fully dissipated, easier said than done...even as experienced a people mover as the HOCR's Fred Schoch, on hand here in Poznan in his FISA capacity, was powerless).
With the way the schedule was laid out this week, with 8 A-Finals and all of the B-Finals completed by Saturday, a lot of folks were done racing early...I'm not sure if downtown Poznan was ready for that last night, whew.
From our stands in the media area, we can see the boating area gradually clear out of boats, oars, athletes and coaches, and as we close down the media area for the 8th straight day and stow our own gear, we hope you have enjoyed our world championships coverage from Poznan; it has been our pleasure bringing it to you!
Troy Kepper, Henrik Rummel, Marcus McElhenney (USA) – Gold
"The race went great, although we didn't have the best start, we caught up by staying composed and putting the pressure on. If there was a problem? Yeah the Czechs! All the time! They kept their position, it was tough!" Marcus McElhenney
Jakub Makovicka, Vaclav Chalupa Jr, Oldrich Hejdusek (CZE) – Silver
"I'm happy with this medal. I hope I'll be in bigger boats though in the future, I've been in the pair for four years and it's time for a change. Maybe we'll try to get in an eight together. But the main thing today is that it was my partner's last year and this medal was the least we could get for him." Jakub Makovicka
"Yes, this was it. This was my last year and my last race at a World Rowing Championships. I would have liked to finish it with gold, but silver is o.k. too. My first medal was a silver at the World Rowing Championships in Bled in 1989 and this is my last. Now it will be time for my 15-year old son. Three years I reckon and he could win a medal too." Vaclav Chalupa
Philipp Naruhn, Florian Eichner, Tim Berent (GER) – Bronze
"I wanted to win, but our start wasn't good. But the second part of the race went well, so we are very happy about the result. We really had to get used to this boat class though. It was the first time for the three of us in the coxed pair." Florian Eichner
Pamela Weisshaupt (SUI) – Gold
"It just went well, and well and well, from the start to the finish all went well. It was much easier than expected. Everything worked out wonderfully, including my final sprint. Already this morning I knew I could do this. I always believed in myself."
Laura Milani (ITA) – Silver
"The wind really bothered me and I didn't want to take any risk, but just secure second place. I'm very happy about this and it's a great feeling to win silver."
Juliane Rasmussen (DEN) – Bronze
"It was a hard but a good sprint, I had great rivals. I was expecting to come second or third, so I did, and I am happy of my result. Looking forward to the Olympics!"
Duncan Grant (NZL) – Gold
"Great, but in the final you never know. A final is always tough. And I knew this was going to be especially hard, since both the Greek and the Danish got lots of medals and experience behind them. I got some good cheering from the bank, which was great in lane one and really helped because the last 250m were particularly tough."
Vasileios Polymeros (GRE) – Silver
"It wasn't my best race, I am not satisfied. A lot of waves and I caught a crab on the last couple of meters so I had to let it go. But overall it was a good year for me, I got a gold medal at the Mediterranean Championships and I hope next year will go even better."
Mads Rasmussen (DEN) – Bronze
"It was a good race, my first medal in the lightweight single at the World Rowing Championships, but I must admit I had some trouble with the waves. Usually the last 500m are my best, today, I wasn't able to stabilise and find the right rhythm."
Fabien Tilliet, Jean-Christophe Bette (FRA) – Gold
"We were able to overtake the Italians for the first time. We concentrated very hard on them and as soon as our position was advantageous the waves became tougher and this is where it seems like the Italians had more trouble." Jean-Christophe Bette
Andrea Caianiello, Armando Dell'Aquila (ITA) – Silver
"Our start was pretty good, but the French are just strong. They are a fantastic crew, have rowed at the Olympics and everything. I think we missed a bit of preparation for these World Champs after also racing at the U23s. But we are very satisfied with this medal. Next year we won't be U23 anymore and we'll focus on the Olympic boat then." Andrea Caianielloa
Nenad Babovic, Milos Tomic (SRB) – Bronze
"The conditions are tough, it is hard to steer the boat, there is a cross wind. Of course we would have liked to get a gold or a silver medal, but bronze is good! At the last 500m we accelerated and caught up with the Italians and the French. We were very close." Nenad Babovic
Lena Mueller, Helke Nieschlag, Laura Tibitanzl, Julia Kroeger (GER) – Gold
"We always hoped to make it. After the Race for Lanes there was a lot of critique though. But we just gave it all today and it worked." Lena Mueller
"We had similar conditions in Ratzeburg in our training camp so we knew this would be our conditions today. When we saw the British catch a crab we did a sprint, you just have to use a moment like that and it worked well. The gold medal is great." Laura Tibitanzl
Stephanie Cullen, Laura Greenhalgh, Andrea Dennis, Jane Hall (GBR) – Silver
"We have never been so disappointed by a silver medal. We expected our rivals, we know that Germans are tough, we had to show our guts and character all along for the Americans not to take away our silver." Jane Hall
Hillary Saeger, Lindsey Hochman, Stefanie Sydlik, Abelyn Broughton (USA) – Bronze
"From the Race for Lanes we knew that this could be anyone's race. The conditions were difficult so we tried to stay composed and relaxed and I think we did a good job as team. I'm very pleased with the result. " Abelyn Broughton
Franco Sancassani, Daniele Gilardoni, Lorenzo Bartini, Stefano Basalini (ITA) – Gold
"We are an experienced crew, we couldn't have wished for more. All of us were very concentrated all throughout the race, it was great! This is my eighth medal at the World Rowing Championships, tenth for Gilardoni, third for Bertini and seventh for Basalini. We are happy with our result." Franco Sancassani
Knud Lange, Lars Wichert, Felix Oevermann, Michael Wieler (GER) – Silver
"We had a very good start and if I saw it correctly we were ahead at the 500m. We found a good rhythm then, but the Italians are just strong in this boat and again today they were just the bit better. We are very happy about silver and will enjoy the celebration today." Knud Lange
Hans Christian Soerensen, Christian Nielsen, Rasmus Quist, Andreas Ramboel (DEN) – Bronze
"We are a new crew, we've only been rowing together three weeks, we are extremely happy with our result. The last 700 meters were hard, we pushed harder, did our best." Hans Christian Soerensen
Christina Giazitzidou, Alexandra Tsiavou (GRE) – Gold
"We have been rowing together for only two or three weeks and when we arrived in Poznan we realised that there were possibilities for us because the races were going very well. Although the conditions are terrible, we did our best, I'm very proud and happy for us." Alexandra Tsiavou
Hester Goodsell, Sophie Hosking (GBR) – Bronze
"The conditions were really tough and it was tough race. We got bumped around quite a lot and we just didn't get it right today. 2012 is our long-term goal, so bronze is a start, but, of course, after this season we had hoped for more. " Hester Goodsell
Storm Uru, Peter Taylor (NZL) – Gold
"It was an amazing race! We knew we could achieve this but we didn't know how. It just happened. Everything went according to the plan. I still cannot believe how well it went. " Peter Taylor
Jeremie Azou, Frederic Dufour (FRA) - Silver
"We trained together for about five times before coming here and it is great to discover, step by step, that you are actually getting along extremely well with your partner. We have a big age difference, but Jeremy learns fast, we have only three seconds of difference on the erg. I think we should preserve our technique, work on our speed, and then we might be able to beat the Kiwis. We are going to continue rowing together for a while. We will see where it leads us." Frederic Dufour
Marcello Miani, Elia Luini (ITA) – Bronze
"This wind was terrible, but the medal is great. It was just unfortunate that the wind stopped us a bit from getting all our power in. But it was great race and we are happy about the medal." Marcello Miani
"You saw the conditions, but then everybody had to deal with them. We didn't manage to get all our strength into it because of the conditions. But in general we are a racing crew and always have the will and the optimism to win. We are happy with this medal." Elia Luini
Matthias Schoemann-Finck, Jost Schoemann-Finck, Jochen Kuehner, Martin Kuehner (GER) – Gold
"This is awesome and a sensation. We knew we were able to do it. After our terrible bad luck in Beijing the luck is finally on our side. Big thanks also to our coach Uwe Bender, who really knew how to prepare us mentally and physically really well." Martin Kuehner
"We caught a crab at the start, but then we just pushed and pushed. We wanted to be in front right from the start, because we know you always have to be afraid of the Danes in the last 400m. I think being brothers in this boat makes it extra special. We are two twins and two brothers in our team and maybe this is an advantage because we are very close and we just know how the other ticks." Matthias Schoemann-Finck Christian Pedersen, Jens Vilhelmsen, Kasper Winther, Morten Joergensen (DEN)– Silver
"Nobody remembers silver, we won all the World Cups until now and this truly disappointing. As for the race itself, we wanted to avoid hitting the water too much, but we weren't able to do this until the end. We clearly have to work hard and improve our technique." Kasper Winther
Svitlana Spiriukova, Tetiana Kolesnikova, Anastasiia Kozhenkova, Yana Dementieva (UKR) – Gold
"The race couldn't have gone better, everything went according to the plan. We did our best! Next year we are planning to do as many competitions as possible, in order to prepare ourselves for the Olympics." Svitlana Spirikova
Megan Walsh, Stesha Carle, Sarah Trowbridge, Kathleen Bertko (USA) – Silver
"The race went pretty well, we had high expectations for our crew, as usual. Our coach tuned us right before the race. This always is a special moment. We are happy about our result." Megan Walsh
Annekatrin Thiele, Peggy Waleska, Stephanie Schiller, Christiane Huth (GER) – Bronze
"We wanted more, we wanted the gold medal, but it just wasn't enough today. It all went well going out this morning, but in the race not really. Now we'll have to analyse what went wrong. But with a bit of distance, I'm sure we will see the positive sides of the bronze medal." Christiane Huth
"This wasn't what we had expected. We wanted to continue our World Cup series and to race for gold with the others. That didn't happen. We just made it to the finish line and were still lucky to get bronze. So we are little disappointed." Peggy Waleska
Konrad Wasielewski, Marek Kolbowicz, Michal Jelinski, Adam Korol (POL) – Gold
"We are very happy. This is our fifth title, which is great. It's a fantastic victory, especially since this is my home town and it's in front of our home crowd. Next I will have my wedding and then we'll go to New Zealand to get our sixth title." Michal Jelinski
Nick Hudson, Jarred Bidwell, David Crawshay, Daniel Noonan (AUS) – Silver
"We had a really good start and all went according to plan. We have been rowing together since April and have developed a really good base in this crew. The roughness of the water and the conditions didn't handicap us. We were able to adapt our technique very well. Hats off and congrats to the Polish crew. They are Olympic and World Champs for a reason." David Crawshay
Tim Grohmann, Karsten Brodowski, Marcel Hacker, Tim Bartels (GER) – Bronze
"In the final of the quad at a World Championship everything is possible and nobody is to be underestimated. We don't have to blame ourselves for anything and a medal at the World Champs always is a fantastic result. It's great to leave here with a medal around the neck." Tim Bartels
Erin Cafaro, Mara Allen, Laura Larsen-Strecker, Zsuzsanna Francia, Anna Goodale, Lindsay Shoop, Caroline Lind, Katherine Glessner, Katlin Snyder (USA) – Gold
"I told them the entire race to be careful and to not catch any crabs. It was a strong race. It was one big move. Only on the last five, actually maybe only the two last strokes, we figured we had it." Katlin Snyder
Roxana Cogianu, Ionelia Neacsu, Maria Diana Bursuc, Ioana Craciun, Adelina Cojocariu, Nicoleta Albu, Camelia Lupascu, Barabas Eniko, Teodora Stoica (ROU) – Silver
"I am disappointed, we were racing for the gold. We will do better next year. I cannot say what went wrong, except that we could have made a better start." Barabas Eniko
Nienke Groen, Claudia Belderbos, Jacobine Veenhoven, Systke de Groot, Chantal Achterberg, Nienke Kingma, Carline Bouw, Femke Dekker, Anne Schellekens (NED) – Bronze
"I didn't expect this. We rowed much better than in Lucerne and it was a really good race. It's difficult when the other four have to wait for you finishing other races (the stoke four raced in the women's four). But our coach Susanah prepared us all mentally very well over the last couple of days." Femke Dekker
Urs Kaeufer, Gregor Hauffe, Florian Menigen, Kristof Wilke, Richard Schmidt, Philip Adamski, Toni Seifert, Sebastian Schmidt, Martin Sauer (GER) – Gold
"This is phenomenal. At the moment there's not much more I can say. It was all over so quickly. The plan was to start really fast and we were in front right from the beginning. It was just awesome. Of course this is the first year after the Olympics so I'm sure it's a new beginning for everybody, but to win in such style is a great beginning for us and will give us confidence for the next years." Sebastian Schmidt
"These World Championships here in Poland and winning the gold medal here was extra special for me. This felt like a "second home World Champs" for me. Also many of my Polish family were here and in the Polish eight, I've got some good friends." Philip Adamski
Steven Vanknotsenburg, Gabriel Bergen, Robert Gibson, Douglas Csima, Malcolm Howard, Andrew Byrnes, James Dunaway, Derek O'Farrell, Mark Laidlaw (CAN) – Silver
"We are a little disappointed of course, everybody is going for the gold. But the race went pretty well, we didn't have any sort of issue, although we did let go a little in the second 500. Next year should be better." James Dunaway
Meindert Klem, Robert Luecken, David Kuiper, Jozef Klaasen, Olivier Siegelaar, Mitchel Steenman, Olaf van Andel, Diederik Simon, Peter Wiersum (NED) – Bronze
"Next year we will even go harder." Diederik Simon
"We are satisfied. It isn't gold, but Bronze is okay also." Mitchel Steenman