There are eleven entries in the men’s eights. New Zealand, the defending Olympic champions, have not fielded a crew. Germany are the current (2019) world champions but Great Britain are heavy favourites to win. During the Heat of Lucerne Regatta, the British clocked 5:24.33, the fastest of any eight this season. Their coach, Sydney M8+ Olympic gold medallist, Steve Trapmore has led the new look M8+ to an undefeated season and will be working hard to keep it that way.
Taking advantage of the British absence, Germany won gold at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland. Three weeks later they pipped Romania to secure bronze in Lucerne, Switzerland. Much to the disappointment of the home crowd Deutschland-Achter were unable to step on at 2022 European Rowing Championships, in Munich, Germany. Italy and a rampaging, crabtastic Dutch crew rowed them down and pushed the Germans into fourth place. At Racice Mark Hinrichs and Tom Tewes will replace Olaf Roggensack and Laurits Follert who are busy with their Federal Police work. Coach Uwe Bender’s crew is a work in progress with podium aspirations. They have failed to deliver the outright dominance of previous German eights, but nevertheless they ought not to be dismissed.
Australia will be hungry for a medal after beating the Chinese crew to reach the final of the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta, and winning silver at World Rowing Cup II and III. An almost unchanged line-up sees Tokyo 2020 M8+ bowman (and seat racing specialist) Nick Lavery replace Patrick Holt who will be one of two travelling men’s sweep reserves.
Italy continue with their otto experiment by stacking talent into the big boat. Only three of the Azzurri crew have not competed at (at least) one Olympic Games. Italy’s Tokyo 2020 M4- bronze medallist will be revving the engine from the middle. If the Italians have gelled together and continued their adaptation to the top end speed of eights-racing then this eight will be an exciting prospect and a real contender for the medals.
From North America the US and Canada will be hoping to unlock past glories. Canada’s world cup performances were not overly convincing although illness forced a withdrawal from their final in Poznan. The US eight kept Great Britain to a ¾ of a length at Henley Royal but never seemed likely to progress to the Sunday. Winning Oxford Blue and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Liam Corrigan re-joins the US eight.
The Romanian eight will want to reach the A-Final as efficiently as possible as they are doubling up in the M4- and M2-, so won’t want to waste too much energy. Not an easy prospect.