European Rowing Championships day one: Three British boats straight through to finals

The women’s pair, women’s quadruple sculls and Vicky Thornley in the women’s single sculls progress straight to the finals of the European Championships


Vicky Thornley in her heat of the women's single sculls at the European Championships in Racice (credit: Naomi Baker)

Three British crews guaranteed themselves a Saturday off at the European Rowing Championships, storming straight into Sunday’s finals thanks to some fantastic racing in the heats.

Vicky Thornley dominated her heat of the women’s single sculls, winning by over five seconds from young Swede Lovisa Claesson. Thornley is the only medallist from the event at the first World Cup in Belgrade to feature this weekend, but faces stiff competition from experienced Dane Fie Udby Erichsen, who was equally dominant in her heat.

The women’s pair also sailed straight into the final, putting in a dominant performance in the fine conditions. Holly Norton and Karen Bennett raced out to a comfortable lead, eventually crossing the line nearly ten seconds ahead of Romania in second place.

Second place in a strong heat was enough to see the women’s quadruple through to the final. The quartet showed the progress they’ve made since Belgrade to move through the field and hold off the Germans for second place behind the Netherlands.

The men’s four secured their place in Saturday’s semi-final by winning their heat by two seconds from France and Romania. Coach Jurgen Grobler tinkered with his crew only slightly after seeing them win gold in Belgrade, including moving Moe Sbihi to the stroke seat, with fellow Rio gold medallist Will Satch now in the two seat.

The new lightweight women’s double sculls pairing of Katherine Copeland and Emily Craig came within inches of automatic qualification to the final, battling with France all the way up the course but eventually missing the win by half a second.

The men’s quadruple sculls, dealing with a late substitution – Tom Barras came in for the ill John Collins – put in a strong performance in their heat, but had to settle for a place in the repechage. Sitting fourth at one point, the crew moved through to second place by the finish line, but missed the sole qualification spot.

Barras was replaced in the men’s double sculls by Zak Lee-Green, who, alongside Bath’s Frazier Christie, sealed a place in Saturday’s semi-final with third place in the afternoon’s repechage. In the morning session the pair, who had only been in the boat together several times before their first race, finished fifth in their heat.

Belgrade gold medallists Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher also came through the afternoon’s repechage, having come second to Germany in the heat. They won the afternoon race comfortably to move into the semi-finals.

In their first race of the season, the new look women’s eight kicked off the regatta with second place to Romania in the test race. All five nations will race again in the final.

One of the stories of the day came in the men’s eight, though, as Romania upset the form book by storming to victory. Setting off at a frenetic pace, the Romanians held at over 40 strokes per minute for the majority of the race, chased by the Polish crew, leaving the Dutch and Brits fighting for third and fourth respectively.

GB’s women’s double sculls combination of Georgia Francis and Emily Carmichael finished third in their first international race and head to the repechage, while the men’s pair of Matt Rossiter and Jacob Dawson battled hard against the Dutch for the second automatic qualification place, but had to settle for third in their heat – won by Olympic bronze medallists Italy.

The lightweight men’s pair – reigning champions Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour – finished fourth in their test race and compete again in the final on Sunday.


Heats/Test races
Women’s eight test race (all progress to final)
1. Romania, 6:06.83
2. Great Britain 6:12.57
3. Russia 6:16.58

Men’s double sculls (top three to semi-final)
1. Dzianis Mihal & Pilip Pavukou (BLR) 6:19.71
2. Georgi Bozhilov & Kristian Vasilev (BUL) 6:20.49
3. Ioan Prundeanu & Vasile Agafitei (ROU) 6:25.37

5. Zak Lee-Green & Frazier Christie (GBR) 6:30.81

Men’s four (top three to semi-final)
1. Great Britain (Moe Sbihi, Matthew Tarrant, Will Satch, Callum McBrierty) 5:59.71
2. France, 6:01.27
3. Romania, 6:01.76

Lightweight men’s double sculls (winner through to semi-final)
1. Lucas Schaefer & Jason Osborne (GER) 6:37.53
2. Peter Chambers & Will Fletcher (GBR) 6:43.94
3. Jort van Gennep & Bart Lukkes (NED) 6:45.45

Women’s pair (winner through to semi-final)
1. Karen Bennett & Holly Norton (GBR) 7:26.42
2. Madalina Beres & Laura Oprea (ROU) 7:36.04
3. Lea Duret & Claire Chanut (FRA) 7:44.42

Men’s pair (top two to semi-final)
1. Matteo Lodo & Giuseppe Vicino (ITA) 6:30.15
2. Lex van den Herik & Bo Wullings (NED) 6:31.57
3. Jacob Dawson & Matt Rossiter (GBR) 6:33.05

Women’s double sculls (winner through to semi-final)
1. Lisa Scheenaard & Marloes Oldenburg (NED) 7:05.81
2. Olga Michalkiewicz & Joanna Hentka (POL) 7:08.28
3. Georgia Francis & Emily Carmichael (GBR) 7:11.64

Women’s single sculls (winner through to semi-final)
1. Vicky Thornley (GBR) 7:42.23
2. Lovisa Claesson (SWE) 7:47.30
3. Annekatrin Thiele (GER) 7:48.63

Lightweight women’s double sculls (winner through to semi-final)
1. Laura Tarantola & Claire Bove (FRA) 7:08.20
2. Katherine Copeland & Emily Craig (GBR) 7:08.87
3. Ionela-Livia Lehaci & Gianina-Elena Beleaga (ROU) 7:12.88

Women’s quadruple sculls (top two to semi-final)
1. Netherlands, 6:27.46
2. Great Britain (Holly Nixon, Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Jess Leyden, Beth Bryan) 6:29.26
3. Germany, 6:31.38

Men’s quadruple sculls (winner through to semi-final)
1. Norway, 5:53.15
2. Great Britain (Tom Barras, Jack Beaumont, Jonny Walton, Peter Lambert), 5:55.04
3. Poland, 5:56.62

Men’s eight (top two to semi-final)
1. Romania, 5:42.96
2. Poland, 5:43.58
3. Netherlands, 5:45.20
4. Great Britain, 5:46.58

Lightweight men’s pair test race (all progress to final)
1. Mark O’Donovan & Shane O’Driscoll (IRL) 6:57.77
2. Giuseppe Di Mare & Alfonso Scalzone (ITA) 6:59.82
3. Nikita Bolozin & Aleksei Kiiashko (RUS) 7:01.75
4. Joel Cassells & Sam Scrimgeour (GBR) 7:03.39

Men’s double sculls
1. Mickael Marteau & Thibaut Verhoeven (FRA) 6:34.04
2. Gergely Papp & Joszef Matheisz (HUN) 6:39.70
3. Zak Lee-Green & Frazier Christie (GBR) 6:41.89

Lightweight men’s double sculls
1. Peter Chambers & Will Fletcher (GBR) 6:31.10
2. Panaglotis Magdanis & Spyridon Giannaros (GRE) 6:32.85
3. Anton Kuranov & Nazar Lifshitc (RUS) 6:35.72

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