Monday 28 July
Australia secures two silver and two bronze medals at 2014 World Rowing U23 Championships
U23 Men's Coxed Eight, U23 Men's Pair, U23 Women's Pair and U23 Lightweight Women's Double Sculls all medalled in Varese, Italy
The U23 Australian Rowing Team has capped off a busy week of racing at the 2014 World Rowing U23 Championships with two silver and two bronze medals at the event.
Competing in Varese, Italy the U23 squad competed in a number of races over the course of the five-day event, securing places in six A-Finals and claiming four podium finishes.
The Australian U23 Men's Coxed Eight walked away with a silver medal in a nail-biting race against reigning U23 World Champions, New Zealand as well as last year's runners-up, USA, in what was the final race of the event. The USA gave it their best shot in the first half of the race to challenge New Zealand but ran out of steam half way through and Australia took advantage of the situation to push for second.
In the sprint to the line, New Zealand kept the pressure on to claim gold, while Australia had a 41 stroke rate powerful finish that brought them through to silver ahead of the United States who held on to third.
The crew of James Medway, Timothy Masters, Benjamin Coombs, Simon Keenan, Louis Snelson, Aaron Wright, Henry Meek, Charles Risbey and Stuart Sim are all based in the USA currently, something that Snelson, who is currently studying at the University of California, Berkley says is helping: "The American experiment seems to be working well [referring to Australia's program of Australian athletes studying and rowing at US universities]. This is our third year of doing it and it has been very successful.
"We've only been rowing together for one month, we had a camp in Dartmouth, USA ahead of the World Championships, so it was a challenge to get us all rowing the same style, that said to walk away with a silver is great."
Australia claimed another silver medal earlier in the day when Jack Hargreaves and Nicholas Wheatley showed some true Aussie grit and determination when they challenged home crowd favourites, and eventual winners, Italy in the final of the Men's Pair.
Coming through the semi-finals the Italian duo had recorded the fastest qualifying time and they took off the fastest out the blocks on Lake Varese, but Hargreaves and Wheatley were having none of it and by the 750 metre mark had moved into the lead. However, the Italians fought back again and the race turned into an epic battle between the Australians and the home-grown talent where the Italians edged out Hargreaves and Wheatley for the win in the last 500m.
Finishing behind the Italians by 3.59 seconds, an exhausted Hargreaves said: "We didn't have a great semi-final, so we drew the outside lane for the final. We knew we had to do a lot of work in the middle of the race to challenge the Italians who have a strong sprint."
The Lightweight Women's Double Sculls also secured a medal today when Georgia Nesbitt and Georgia Miansarow claimed a bronze in the A-Final of their race. New Zealand were the favourites going into the finals and ultimately turned out the victors, with Romania in second, however the real battle came for bronze between Australia, Switzerland and the USA.
A solid finish by Miansarow and Nesbitt of Australia earned them the bronze with Miansarow saying post-race: "We did not have the best heat, but we learned that we had to trust in our training and not let one race throw us off.
"The first race does not always dictate the rest of the regatta. We trusted in ourselves, everything happens for a reason and we're pleased to walk away with a bronze medal today."
Yesterday saw Australia's women claim a bronze medal in the A-Final of the Women's Pair when 2013 Junior World Champions in the event, Jessie Allen and Genevieve Horton, battled in a strong field that included New Zealand, Romania and the USA.
The extremely fast race saw the in-form New Zealand partnership of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler lead from start to finish and crossing the line with a time of 7:02, a new U23 World Best Time, while the USA finished second, some 12 seconds behind New Zealand, and Australia in third.
Allen said after the medal ceremony: "We raced at the 2013 World Rowing U23 Championships last year and finished fourth in the final, having won the Juniors the same year, so it has been good to see an improvement. It is a good feeling racing against this type of competition.
"The Kiwi pair is amazing and won a medal recently at Lucerne at World Rowing Cup 3, so it has been good to see what we all can do in a competitive situation."
Australia's Women's Coxed Eight, made up of four US-based Australian athletes and four Australian-based female rowers (Addy Dunkley-Smith, Emily Carey, Katrina Werry, Georgina Gotch, Eleanor Wilson, Georgina Howe, Jacinta Edmunds, Lilly Tinapple and Sarah Banting) competed in a hard-fought A-Final in which the crew lost out to Germany for the bronze medal by just 0.09 seconds. The race was won by USA followed by Great Britain in second.
Meanwhile, Australia's Lightweight Men's Pair of Hamish Parry and Jack Armitage failed to medal in the A-Final of their event, which was eventually won by the Czech Republic's Jan Hajek and Michael Humpolec.
In other results, the U23 Men's Double Sculls duo of David Watts and Max McQueeney qualified for the B-Final of their event which they ultimately won yesterday in a time of 6.27 minutes, some four seconds faster than their closest rival, Norway.
The U23 Women's Quadruple Sculls made the B-Final of their event and finished second to home-crowd favourites Italy. The crew of Rosalind Cartmill, Tessa Carty, Narelle Badenoch and Leah Saunders finished with a time of 6.46 minutes, 2.48 seconds behind winners Italy. Finally, Australia's Luke Letcher, competing in the Men's Single Scull at the event, finished fourth in the C-Final on Saturday.
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