All of the non-Olympic finals took place today, events where qualification is not on the line, but perhaps a closer look from next year's selectors could be. Even without the Olympic factor, any rower will bring plenty of passion to an A final of any stripe, and today was no exception. Here is what we saw and heard all along the course today.
The day's finals started with the women's four in a Final that developed and ended up almost identical to the Preliminary race for lanes two days ago, which is a relatively rare occurrence. It's also rare to see a crew get out to a 2.5 length lead on the entire field, but that is what the US crew did in both the prelim and in the final. After their win, the crew was looking forward to supporting their team in person after having done so from their hotel earlier in the week.
Read what they had to say about the race and their season here.
Men's Coxed Pair
The GB pair dominated the Final this morning, surging out at the start and never flagging down the track toward an open water victory. The crew pretty clearly wanted this one, and admitted the same after the race.
"It was awesome and I can't ask for anything more," stroke seat Mat Tarrant said. "We had a solid race and we would not have been happy with anything but gold".
Earlier in the day, the US finished second of two in the B final, finishing eighth overall.
Light Men's Pair
The British pair won the gold after having come together only a short while ago after the U23 Worlds.
"I am delighted with that," GB stroke Sam Scrimgeour said. "I have had three really good pairs partners this season but this takes the biscuit. I had to wait for Joel to join us after the U23s and so the first training camp was hard but it all came together in Varese. It's been a short honeymoon period and it's been great to be in the pair with Joel".
His pair partner Joel Cassels said the crew was gunning for the lead early, and the tactic worked.
"We wanted to go out hard and control the race and see off any challenges that came at us," he said. "I think that is one of the best races I have ever done."
The German pair was rowing in a pretty distant fifth in the early going but really dug in in the last 25 strokes, overtaking the Italians in the final stroke of the race.
"We know that our strengths are in the last 500," said German bow seat Jonas Kilthau. "We showed this yesterday in the semis, and wanted to have a little bit better pace in the middle. We raced our race and wanted to attack the Italians at the end and it worked."
Kilthau saw the opportunity developing and called the sprint, but stroke seat Arnold Matthias had no sense of where they were.
"He was talking in the boat, and said 'yes, we come up to the Italians!'" Matthias said. "I thought 'no, he just wants to push me; I can't see the Italians!' Then he said "Half length to the Italians!' I said "no, I can't see the Italians!' But it was then I pulled the last 250 meters, closed my eyes and in the finish I looked up and saw the Italians next to us, then looked at the board behind the finish line and saw we are third!" (laughs)
"So now you know he doesn't pull, but he looks!" he added. "No, no, no, it is not true, but he tells me what to do and I do it."
The US crew couldn't quite get themselves in the medal mix today and finished fifth overall.
Sam Scrimgeour (s) - GBR - gold: "It has taken me three years in the pair to win the World Championships, it's amazing."
Augustin Mouterde (b) - FRA - silver: "We knew in the second part of the race was our strength. We thought we would catch up, but GB was too far in front. In a race you have to believe that you can win.
Matthias Arnold (s) - GER - bronze: "We are a really new crew, we've been training together only since two weeks before Lucerne. Our goal here was to get into the final, we never thought we would get a medal, it's great."
Light Men's Single
NZ single sculler Adam Ling hung back in the field in the early going, purposely wait for his opportunity to attack. He had to wait a long time, but he pulled it off, surging into the lead only in the final strokes of the race.
"Yesterday I went out a bit early and got pipped in the semifinals, and today I was not going to let that happen," Ling said after the race. "I bided my time a little bit longer and just had some real good legs at the end to scare everyone and hope that they couldn't come back at me."
"I went out as hard as I wanted to and then got into a really nice rhythm. I knew I had a sprint at the end so just had to sit within a length - in the last 100 metres I was just praying. Winning the World Champs is the pinnacle, it has put me in a really good frame of mind to chase down an Olympic spot next year."
I asked: "How about you; was it scary for you to race that way?"
"Oh yeah," he said. "But then I heard the crowd chanting and I knew I was going to go, I wasn't going to let it happen."
US sculler Nick Trojan gave away a bit too much at the start, and although the results don't really show it, he did threaten in the final part of the race. When the NZ sculler went, though, the field noticed and responded, which dampened Trojan's sprint considerably for a fifth place finish overall.
Adam Ling - NZL - gold: "I am stunned, I got into a really nice rhythm and had a good sprint. I had a quick look and I knew I had to push more to win."
Rajko Hrvat - SLO - silver: "I wanted to win, but New Zealand was better. It's my first medal at the World Championships and I am very happy. I had nothing more to give at the end."
Milos Stanojevic - SRB - bronze: "It's my biggest success in my career. I am happy because I love the single. The other guys were better, I feel like won the bronze medal, not like I lost the gold."
Light Women's Single
Zoe McBride of New Zealand, who set a new world record of 7:24.46 at the second World Cup this summer, showed that her speed has lasted into September with a wire-to-wire win. McBride has had an incredible summer, becoming world champion just 23 days short of her 20th birthday later this month.
"I'm literally on top of the world, to top of this amazing season with this," she said after the race. It's everything I've wanted and more. I just wanted to do exactly what I always do and go out there, have control and be calm. Right from the start I felt so good, I was able to get an early lead and then just hang onto it."
USA LW1x Kate Bertko, bronze medalist today, with USRowing President Don Langford
US sculler Kate Bertko gave chase to McBride for most of the race, pressing her lead several times, which seemed to cost her a bit in the end, and the GB sculler slipped past for the silver, with Bertko repeating as bronze medalist this year.
"I like to see where my limit is and I definitely found that today so I guess that's always a little bit of a blessing," Bertko said after the race. She was cognizant that many of her fellow competitors have more than just the singles races on their minds.
"I think a lot of us have something to prove in this particular event; I don't know if it was faster than last year but it was definitely a tough race," she said. "It makes everyone pretty serious about what they're doing."
Zoe Mcbride - NZL - gold: "I am literally on the top of the world. It's great to finish this amazing season this way. I had to stay calm during the race to win it. I have three weeks break now."
Imogen Walsh - GBR - silver: "You always want to win, but it's still good. I want to get back in the double, but it will be tough as the level is very high. I have three weeks break now and I go to Kazakhstan and I will come back fresh."
Kathleen Bertko - USA - bronze: "I was focused on my race, I wanted to be brave. I knew how fast these girls are, it's nice to medal."
Light Men's Quad
The French light men's quad won this race in front of their home crowd, which was going crazy on the shore for the entire last 300 meters.
"It was a crazy race, bow seat Maxime Demontfaucon said. "I make the calls and I asked for more. To hear the crowd at home really helped us to win."
French Crews may be forgiven for getting a little excited today
The bronze medalist Danish quad came together only a month ago, bringing together athletes who had been training in the single, double, and pair.
"We're a pretty new team, so actually the preliminary race was our first 2k together," said three-seat Andrej Bendtsen. "We had a really good rhythm, in the middle 1000 meters], but we definitely stepped up. We got genuine good rhythm from the first stroke, it was really a pleasure out there. They all are great teams. This is a diamond after a good month of work. "
The US crew went out of the gates in sixth and quickly clawed up into fifth, but by the 1000 the lead pack of three had pulled away from the rest of the crews, and the US crew finished fifth behind GB and ahead of Italy.
Maxime Demontfaucon (b) - FRA - gold: "It was a crazy race. I make the calls and I asked for more. To hear the crowd at home really helped us to win."
Roman Acht (b) - GER - silver: "We won silver and didn't lose gold. We tried everything, the French just passed us, but we did our best race."
Andrej Bendtsen (2) - DEN - bronze: "It's the top of a great amount of training together. We found a good rhythm in the middle. It's a big pleasure to be out there fighting with these guys."
Light Women's Quad
The German quad led from start to finish, but coming into the finish line was not inclined to cruise it in.
"Near the finish, I just thought we had to push harder," said two-seat Leonie Pieper. Referring to bow seat Katrin Thoma, she added "And she, sitting behind me, was just screaming let's go!"
"The last 10 strokes, we really had to push very hard," Thoma agreed. "We just said go, and we crossed the line ahead.
"I knew we were going to get it; we are a good team, we all have a very good relationship, and we worked together to get better and better."
The US Crew couldn't quite go with the tempo in this one, and ran briefly in fifth before bowing to the Chinese quartet to finish sixth overall.
Anja Noske (s) - GER - gold: "The race was good but hard. I was looking forward since last night to have burning legs during the finish."
Brianna Stubbs (b) - GBR - silver: "We wanted gold and if was not our goal, we would have finished fourth. Everyone pushed so hard, it is tough to win a medal."
Elisabeth Woerner (3) - NED - bronze: "We had to stay calm and we found a very good pace. We hoped to win a medal and we got it. We trained only three weeks together."
Light Men's Eight
The light men's eight hasn't really produced a thrilling final for a little bit, but today's final did away with all that today as all five crews finished within 4.5 seconds of one another (as they did in the prelim race earlier this week), and more importantly there was only 0.41 seconds between second and fourth, ouch. The German crew controlled the second half of the race, but just barely, and behind them the silver and bronze medal places changed repeatedly. It came down to the final stroke of the race and a photo finish to decide 2nd to 4th, and it was so close for third that the Italian fans were celebrating while the US fans were horrified for a long few moments after the crews crossed. But when the times flashed on the boards, fortunes were reversed, and the US fans burst into cheers as the US grabbed the bronze by 0.14 seconds.
Four boats for three medals in the Light Men's Eight; the USA is lane 1, Italy is lane 5.
German fours-seat Florian Roller sounded almost metaphysical describing how he felt before heading onto the podium: " "I feel empty, but it feels so good to be World Champion. Italy started very quick, then we had a good move and we stayed in front for the last 500m."
The US crew had focused on a better start to get them into the race, and then hung tough to the end.
"We were focused on having a real good start, and it was better today," bow seat Tobin McGee said. "Not exactly what we wante, but we had really solid base speed and were able to move in the field at that point. France started to come back at the end, so we tried to fight them off, they're able to pull through us, but also on the far side, all the boats were together, and we were able to stay ahead of Italy."
USA Lightweight Men's Eight and USRowing president Langford
"With lightweight racing, you always know it's going to be tight," said two-seat John Devlin. "We knew going into this race at the end of the summer, we're going to have a tight race in the end. We just trusted in our training, and we pulled out a bronze."
As these two guys are the bow pair, they would have a good look at the show. Did they peek?
"A couple times, but it ended up being all right," Devlin admitted with a laugh.
"It was really fun,' McGee added. "It was a great race, and we had great boat chemistry, that's what led us to the medal in the end."
Fabrice Moreau (s) - FRA - silver: "The young guys were all here for me. It is my last race, my last Championships. To win a silver with them is amazing. Thank you."
John Carlson (c) - USA - bronze: "It was an awesome and super close race, I thought I was going to have a heart attack in the last 500m. So great to win a medal."
Notes from the course:
- It is rumored that Emma Twigg will be doing commentary for the women's single final - zut alors!
- Yesterday the Canadian men's four caught a crab that blasted the stroke coach out of the boat, woah. The Canadian LTA coxswain caught one as well, but mainly just knocked out her pride (or not, as coxswains crabs in the row back from the medal dock are very much part of the fun)
- Typically racecourses have red buoys for the first 100 meters, then white buoys through the main part of the course with a red buoy at each 250, and then turn red again with 250 to go. Here, the first 100 and last 250 meters are white, while the rest of the course is red save for the 250 meter buoys, which again are white. After some inquiries, it turns out that it doesn't matter in which order you have the colors, so long as they keep the same 100m/every 250/last250 scheme.
- The stroke of the German light women's quad did a gunwale walk up to bow, kneeing her teammates and knocking off their hats all the way up. After she reached the bow seat and gave her a hug, the stroke then sat down on the gunwale and jumped into the lake. She swam back to her own seat, climbed in, and headed for the podium.
- One of the medalist light men's eights completely missed the dock on the way to the podium; oops!