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Silver Saturday for Australia

6 September 2015

ROWING: The Australian men’s Coxless four and the quadruple scull have won silver medals in Aiguebelette, France at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

In qualifying for the A-Finals both crews have booked berths for their boats at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Australian men’s pair finished sixth in their A-Final, with their boat already qualified for Rio by virtue of finishing in the top 11 of the event, while the other A-Finalists, the Australian women’s quadruple scull qualified their boat for Rio de Janeiro by finishing in fifth in their race.

The men’s quadruple scull of David Watts, Cameron Girdlestone, Karsten Forsterling and David Crawshay qualified the boat for the 2016 Olympic Games earlier this week and were on the hunt for a medal today.

All the crews sped out of the start, with the favourites, Germany, taking the lead, with the Swiss and Estonians on their tail along with Australia. As the race progressed and the crews got into the full swing of things, the Germans went from a stroke rate of 38 to 41, with Australia chasing them down as Watts upped Australia’s rate as high as 43 and Estonia hot on the Aussies’ heels.

As the crews reached the final 200 metres it was Germany’s to win, with Australia snapping up second and Estonia in third.

“Conditions are the start were quite different to how they were at the finish, there was a genuine cross head which meant that no crews could get out really fast.

The Australian men’s quad scull

“As it got through the race we started off a little bit behind but we knew that and then we set about using our rhythm through the middle which we know is good and then really tacked together for a good finish which we probably haven’t done since Varese and the first World Cup we competed in this season,” said David Crawshay of the men’s quad.

“We put ourselves in a good position, but Germany showed their class but we hung on for that second position, and it definitely gives us something to work on should we boat again together next season which I really hope it does happen.

“The younger two members of our crew in Cam (Girdlestone) and David (Watts) have really taken this whole experience in their stride and not been overawed by it all. It’s a real measure of the two of them that they’re able to do that, Cam has gone from a boat that was in the C-Final last year to one that has won a medal this year and that’s a phenomenal thing for anyone.

“He’s a class act and a great athlete and he deserves and to come from where he was, taking it in his stride and I believe our boat has really benefited from having both the older experience of myself and Karsten as well as the youth and exuberance of Cam and David.”

The men’s four of Alex Hill, Spencer Turrin, Josh Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood were up against crews from Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Netherlands and Canada. The Italians took a small lead at the start but at the 500 metre mark Australia pushed ahead and held the lead in the middle of the race before Italy upped its stroke rate to surge ahead as they approached the 1500 metre buoys.

With the crowd going wild the Italians edged the Australians out to take the gold with Simon Cox’s crew taking silver and Great Britain bronze.

Speaking post-race, bowman Will Lockwood said: “Our start was the best we’ve had all regatta and we put our all out there. We had a great middle kilometer but we just didn’t have the juice when it come to the final 500 metres to overtake the Italians.

“We’ve been rowing together for four weeks which is no time at all, the Italians have been together for three years and it showed in the cleanliness of their row. Credit to them, it was an awesome race and we raced well and I’m incredibly proud of the boys for what they did today.”

In the third A-Final of the day for Australia it was the women’s quadruple scull of Madeleine Edmunds, Kerry Hore, Jennifer Cleary and Jessica Hall who took on the Olympic and 2014 World Champions Germany. Joining the two favourite crews were USA, Netherlands, Poland and New Zealand.

Germany took the lead early on with the Australians forced to make-up for a disappointing start which saw the other crews in the final take advantage of, as the Australians sat in sixth at the 500 metre mark.

Clawing their way back the crew dug deep in a bid to chase down the pack and showed their true grit to push themselves into fourth before Poland took a surge ahead of them in the final 500 metres to assume fourth. With USA sewing up gold, Germany silver and Netherlands bronze, it was fourth for Poland and fifth place for the Australians, who in turn secured a berth for the women’s quadruple scull at next year’s Rio Olympic Games.

The first A-Final of the day for Australia was the men’s pair of Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves. The crew, who won silver medals in the same event at U23 level both this year and last year were up against the reigning World and Olympic champions New Zealand as well as Italy, Serbia, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

All the crews came out firing, with Hamish Bond and Eric Murray in their sights but it was the New Zealanders who led the race from start to finish, leaving the remaining crews to battle it out for the remaining positions. The young Australians were fourth at the 500 metre mark but slipped back to sixth and remained there for the race, finishing in a time of 6.35. 97, with Murray and Bond retaining their title for another year, followed by Great Britain and Serbia.

Hargreaves and Wheatley conclude their World Rowing Championships ranked sixth in the world and having qualified their boat class for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Genevieve Horton and Molly Goodman competed in the C-Final of the women’s pair first thing this morning in Aiguebelette. The crew, coached by Bill Tait, led the race from start to finish to ensure they finished in a time of 7:15:84 and sees them now ranked 13th in the world.

Tomorrow sees the following crews competing:

Women’s double scull, Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey (coached by Jason Lane). B-Final, Lane 5. 20:00 AEST (12:00 Local Time) – Top five qualify for Rio Olympics

Women’s eight, Charlotte Sutherland, Alexandra Hagan, Katrina Bateman, Meaghan Volker, Rosie Popa, Georgie Howe, Hannah Vermeersch, Lucy Stephan and Sarah Banting © (coached by Andrew Randell). B-Final, Lane 4. 20:30 AEST (12:30 Local Time).

Men’s eight, Josh Booth, Matt Ryan, Nick Purnell, Fergus Pragnell, Scott Laidler, Sam Hookway, James Chapman, Kit Cunningham-Reid and David Webster © (coached by Tim McLaren). B-Final, Lane 2. 21:00 AEST (13:00 Local Time)

Men’s Double, Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae (coached by Rhett Ayliffe). A-Final, Lane 2. 21:30 AEST (13:30 Local Time).

Women’s single scull, Kim Crow (coached by Lyall McCarthy). A-Final, Lane 4. 22:30 AEST (14:30 Local Time)

ROWING AUSTRALIA

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