Canadian rowers need repechage to survive

rowing_2014The second day of competition at this year’s World Championships came to a close in the Dutch capital Monday (Aug 25). In contrast to the previous day’s windy and challenging conditions, cloud cover and a light rain provided for near perfect water on the storied Bosbaan (translated: course in the woods), the world’s oldest artificial rowing course.

Three more Canadian crews saw action in the preliminary rounds of the weeklong competition.

The first crew to take to the water Monday was the men’s double. With only the top crew advancing to the semi-final, the majority of the field had to qualify through the repechage (rep). The rep is the second chance offered to crews to qualify for the next round.

Michael Wilkinson of North Vancouver and Steven van Knotsenburg of Beamsville, Ontario finished fifth in their heat.

“It felt like we never hit our stride,” said van Knotsenburg, “Our length of stroke felt short. That will definitely be our focus for the next race.”

An impressive Croatian crew won the race with a substantial lead on the rest of the field. Wilkinson and van Knotsenburg will race the repechage on Wednesday.

Lightweight rowing always provides for entertaining racing and Monday was no different. The lightweight men’s four of Brendan Hodge, Max Lattimer, Eric Woelfl, and Evan Cheng had their work cut out for them against reigning world champions, Denmark.

The Danish crew battled past a strong French crew to take the lead at the halfway mark. Denmark and France, finishing first and second respectively, move directly to the semi-final. The Canadians, who finished 5th, will race the repechage on Wednesday.

The women’s four of Kerry Shaffer, Jennifer Martins, Kristin Bauder and Sarah Black were Canada’s last race today. Finishing 3rd and missing the direct route to the final, they will have to qualify through the repechage on Wednesday.

The women’s eight is the only Canadian crew that has yet to see action.

The semi-finals and finals are scheduled to air on Rogers SportsNet One from Aug. 28 – 31.

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