Fast times were the talk of the day at the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland (May 25-27), and Canada’s men’s eight rose to the occasion setting a world’s best time on Friday.
A confident-looking Canadian crew won the heat in 05:19.35 (2000 metres) – breaking the previous 2004 U.S. world’s best (5:19.85) set in Athens at the Olympics. Poland was second in 05:21.75, Great Britain was third in 05:22.71 and the Ukraine finished in 05:32.42. Only Canada advanced directly to the final from this heat.
“At the start, I was thinking about all the training we have done and all the confidence I have in these guys,” said 2008 Olympic gold medalist Andrew Byrnes. “I think we went out there, and we showed we have the strength and the speed to do really well this year. I’m always nervous in the first race of the season, it’s when you see if your winter training has paid off and I think it has this year.”
Germany won the other heat in 05:22.44 to also advance to the A final.
This Canadian crew is coxswain Brian Price (Belleville, ON), Will Crothers (Kingston, ON), Jeremiah Brown (Cobourg, ON), Byrnes (Toronto), Malcolm Howard (Victoria, BC), Conlin McCabe (Brockville, ON), Rob Gibson (Kingston, ON), Doug Csima (Oakville) and Gabe Bergen (100 Mile House, BC).
Canada also looked strong in the women’s eight event. The Canadian boat won the heat in 05:55.71, the Netherlands was second in 05:58.38, Australia finished in third in 06:00.47 and Germany in fourth in 06:12.64.
“We knew how fast we were going through the 1000, but it was a heat and we are happy with the result. It’s our first international race of the season, so it’s a stepping stone for the next race,” said veteran coxswain, Lesley Thompson-Willie.
The eight rowing here is Thompson-Willie (London), Darcy Marquardt (Richmond, BC), Ashley Brzozowicz (London), Lauren Wilkinson (North Vancouver, BC), Andreanne Morin (Montreal, QC), Rachelle Viinberg (Regina, SK), Krista Guloien (Port Moody, BC), Cristy Nurse (Georgetown) and Natalie Mastracci (Thorold).
“Today’s race was a solid confirmation that the work we’ve done over the winter has paid off and we’re looking forward to tweaking some things for the final,” said two-time Olympian Marquardt. “It’s going to be a barn-burner final!”
In the second heat, the U.S. women’s eight boat won in 05:54.17, setting a world’s best time today. Canada and the U.S. advance directly to the A final in the women’s eight event.
Earlier today, the men’s pair of Scott Frandsen (Kelowna, BC) and David Calder (Victoria, BC) finished second (6:30.41) in a heat to advance. New Zealand, 2011 World Champions, won the heat in 6:27.02.
Men’s team alternates Spencer Crowley (Lantzville, BC) and Will Dean (Kelowna, BC) finished fourth in the same pairs’ heat in 6:41.08. In the rep this afternoon, this young pair finished first and move to the semis.
The Canadian men’s four was third in 5:47.01, and must row in a rep tomorrow. Great Britain and New Zealand advance to the final from this heat. The Canadian men’s four is Derek O’Farrell (Montreal, QC), Anthony Jacob (Vancouver, BC), Mike Wilkinson (North Vancouver, BC) and Peter McClelland (Aurora/King City, ON).
The lightweight men’s double of Doug Vandor (Dewittville, QC) and Morgan Jarvis (Winnipeg, MB) were third in the heat and advance to the semi. New Zealand was first in 6:25.87, Denmark was second in 6:27.61 and Canada, after leading for the first half of the race, was third in 6:30.37.
The lightweight women’s double of Tracy Cameron (Shubenacadie, NS) and Lindsay Jennerich (Victoria, BC) are relegated to a rep, after a fifth-place finish (07:01.60) in the heat this morning. They compete again tomorrow.
The men’s double of Kevin Kowalyk (Winnipeg, MB) and Michael Braithwaite (Duncan, BC) had a tough heat, and finished fourth in 06:33.65 this morning. This afternoon, the double was third in the rep, and move forward to the semi.
Women’s pair Larissa Lagzdins (Burlington) and Carolyn Ganes (Saskatoon, SK) were fifth in the heat this morning in a time of 07:12.99. In the rep this afternoon, this crew was second and advances to the semi-finals.
Several world’s best times were set on the Rotsee course today. See www.worldrowing.com for more details. Racing continues through Sunday.