All you need to know about the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton

The 2017 World Rowing Championships run between Sunday, 24 September and Sunday, 1 October in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

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The Great Britain team for the 2017 World Rowing Championships (Naomi Baker)

 When will they be racing?

The World Championships features eight days of action between Sunday, 24 September and Sunday, 1 October, encompassing both Olympic and Paralympic boat classes. Racing takes place in the morning and early afternoon, with the five-hour time difference meaning the action starts between 2.00-3.00pm each day in the UK and finishing between 5.00-7.00pm.

The medals will be decided over the final three days of competition. The non-Olympic class boats have their finals on Friday – including the men’s coxed pair, lightweight quadruple sculls and lightweight men’s pair. Ten medals are decided on Saturday, including the men’s and women’s four and the PR3 mixed coxed four, while Sunday plays host to a further nine finals, including the eights and single sculls.

Click here to see the provisional race schedule (local times)

How can I watch the racing?

As usual, we will be bringing you live text coverage on the British Rowing Twitter feed (@BritishRowing), as well as behind-the-scenes content from Sarasota-Bradenton on Instagram and Facebook.

The BBC will be in Florida and will have live coverage of the A finals on Saturday, 30 September and Sunday, 1 October, as well as a highlights programme on Monday afternoon.

Saturday, 30 September

3.00-5.30pm – BBC Two – live coverage

Sunday, 1 October

3.15-5.00pm – BBC Red Button – live coverage

Monday, 2 October

2.00-3.35pm – BBC Two – highlights (repeated at 17:30 on BBC Red Button)

Live coverage of the A/B semi-finals and A finals will be streamed on the World Rowing website, as well as live tracking every race throughout the weekend.

Who is in the Great Britain team?

Great Britain is sending 19 crews and 73 athletes to compete at the 2017 World Championships. The GB Rowing Team contains 14 Olympians, including four gold medallists, and two Rio 2016 Paralympic champions, as well as many athletes for whom this is their first senior World Championships.

GB topped the World Rowing Cup standings this summer ahead of New Zealand, with two boats – the men’s four and men’s quad – winning their individual event standings. Both crews retain the same rowers that competed at the second and third World Cups in Poznan and Lucerne, as well as winning their respective events at Henley Royal Regatta.

Olympic champions Moe Sbihi and Will Satch are again joined by Rio 2016 reserve Mat Tarrant and former junior world champion Matt Rossiter in the four, while Peter Lambert, John Collins, Jonny Walton and Jack Beaumont continue in the quad after an impressive string of results so far this season.

>>> ‘I had pictures of Reed, Triggs Hodge and Pinsent on my wall – it’s very strange to now be in the four’

European champion Vicky Thornley continues in the women’s single scull looking to add a sculling world medal to the bronze she won in the eight back in 2011. The women’s quad, meanwhile, returns to the formation that won World Cup and European bronze at the start of the year. Injury and illness forced changes to the boat in mid-season, but Holly Nixon, Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Jessica Leyden and Beth Bryan come back together for a tilt at a World Championships medal.

Paralympic champions Grace Clough and James Fox return to the PR3 mixed coxed four with three new faces from the Rio 2016 boat. Ollie Stanhope, Giedre Rakauskaite and Anna Corderoy come in to the crew hoping to extend GB’s six-year winning streak in the event. Andy Houghton, meanwhile, competes in the PR1 single scull.

Karen Bennett and Holly Norton swap the pair for the women’s eight in Sarasota. Bennett won silver in the eight in Rio, and returned to help the relatively inexperienced crew to the same colour medal in Poznan. The boat finished the World Cup series with bronze in Lucerne.

Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour, world champions in 2015, will look to repeat that feat this season – teaming up once more in the lightweight pair (LM2-). The duo took a silver and a bronze in this year’s World Cup series.

The women’s lightweight quad of Maddie Arlett, Robyn Hart-Winks, Ellie Piggott and Gemma Hall took silver in Lucerne and will be hoping to go one better in Sarasota, while multiple world medallist Peter Chambers takes his place in the men’s lightweight quad alongside Gavin HorsburghZak Lee-Green and Ed Fisher.

Olympic finalists Alan Sinclair and Angus Groom are set to make their returns from injury in Sarasota – Sinclair takes a place in the eight, having been a spare in Lucerne, while Groom joins Graeme Thomas in the men’s double scull. Thomas was selected for Rio in the quad but was forced to withdraw through illness just days before the event; he has also spent most of the 2017 season recovering from injury and makes his debut in Florida.

Click here to see the full team.

Who else will be there?

The 2017 season has thrown up some fascinating racing so far, with some old and new rivalries set to come together in Sarasota.

The men’s four looks set to deliver some furious racing, with GB looking to continue the form that saw them take gold in the final World Cup in Lucerne. They’ll face the Australian crew that beat them by a second in Poznan, as well as European champions Italy and the likes of Germany, Spain and the Netherlands – all of whom have medalled in 2017.

Vicky Thornley faces some tough competition in the single scull, with Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin dominating the field in both Belgrade and Lucerne – the only two events she has raced so far this season. Magdalena Lobnig of Austria took a gold and two bronzes in the World Cup series, while the likes of Carling Zeeman (Canada) and Jingli Duan (China) medalled in their only appearances this year at Lucerne and Poznan respectively. Thornley, though, took silver in the first two World Cups and a fantastic gold at the Europeans to put herself alongside her competition for Sarasota.

The men’s single scull sees New Zealand’s Robbie Manson looking to continue his stunning form from Poznan and Lucerne. In the former, he set a new world’s best time – beating countryman Mahe Drysdale’s previous mark by three seconds. He dominated again in Switzerland and will be confident of recreating such success in Florida.

New Zealand could also find success in the women’s pair, where Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler go in as firm favourites having won gold at the two World Cups they entered, as well as at Henley Royal Regatta. With the absence of GB’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, the title is again up for grabs and the Kiwis look set to take the mantle.

The men’s pair, meanwhile, sees Croatia’s Sinkovic brothers testing whether their switch from sculling to sweep has paid off. They took silver in their only regatta this season in Lucerne. Like the women’s pair, the retirement of multiple champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (New Zealand) heralds the start of a more open competition, which has been evident through the season thus far, with GB, Italy, France and New Zealand taking the wins.

>>> Read World Rowing’s ‘Ones to Watch’

About Sarasota-Bradenton

The World Rowing Championships return to the USA for the first time in 23 years, with Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, welcoming the best rowers in the world to compete for some of the most prestigious medals in the sport.

The city of Sarasota is situated on Florida’s western coast, an hour’s drive south of Tampa. It is home to an estimated 56,000 people, with the wider metropolitan area boasting three quarters of a million inhabitants, who enjoy year-round warm weather. Average temperatures in September hover around 32 degrees Celsius – summers are hot and humid, but also mark the rainy season in the area.

Sport and recreation plays a large part in Sarasota’s tourism industry, with several of its beaches being regarded as among the best in the world. The Baltimore Orioles baseball team host their spring training activities in the city, while Sarasota is also home to the largest whiskey festival in Florida – there’s something for everyone!

About Nathan Benderson Park

Nathan Benderson Park is the home of the purpose-built rowing lake that plays host to the 2017 World Championships. Of the 600 acres of parkland, 366 are occupied by lakes – including the 2,000m facility where the World Championship medals will be decided.

Next to the multi-lane course is a large warm-up lake – attached to the course by way of a return channel beyond the finish line. A wave attenuator separates the two bodies of water, absorbing waves on the course to reduce any reflected wash.

The regatta island is situated at the end of the course, where the finish tower is located. Organisers have also designed the final metres of the course to have viewing areas on both sides of the lake, in the hope of creating an atmosphere similar to that of Eton Dorney during London 2012.

Zoe Lee, silver medallist in the GB women’s eight from Rio 2016, took a trip to Sarasota in August and took a paddle on the lake – read her thoughts on the venue here.

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