Day one in Poznan at World Rowing Cup III

Poznan, Poland

4 minute read
Words Row360
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 14.06.24

The 2024 World Rowing Cup series will conclude this weekend at World Rowing Cup III in Poznan, Poland. The first day of the last regatta of this year’s World Rowing Cup delivered excellent racing in tricky conditions.

Photo FRA W2-
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The Netherlands are the current leaders of the 2024 World Rowing Cup series with 128 points. Ten points behind them are Great Britain, both nations have sent development squads to Poznan and entered six events each. Germany has a sizeable team but are without their top-tier single scullers.

Australia’s Tara Rigney is the favourite for the women’s single sculls, she ambled over the line nearly ten seconds clear of the American sculler Margaret Fellows in her first heat. Rigney is a regular fixture on the podium along with world champion Karolien Florijn (NED) and Olympic champion Emma Twigg, who are both prepping for Paris elsewhere leaving Rigney with a (seemingly) clear run to the top at Poznan.

The fight for the minor medals could be tight, leading the charge are the other heat-winners Aurelia-Maxima Katharina Janzen (SUI) and Tokyo bronze-medallist Magdalena Lobnig (AUT) – who is the W1x World Cup Best Time holder set at this venue in 2017. It was Lobnig’s first race back since suffering a prolapsed disc in her neck, she said: “I’m glad I can race again, and my neck was okay today, but I know it needs to be better and better. I need to get my confidence back, it’s quite difficult with that kind of injury.”

A highlight of the afternoon’s racing was the fantastic fight in the repechage between Nika Vos (NED) and Diana Dymchenko (AZE). Despite a massive effort from Vos, Dymchenko held her nerve to win by just 0.04s. The former Greek sculler Anneta Kyridou now racing for the US did enough to deny Kathryn Rowan (AUS2) a spot in the semifinal.

There were four heats in the men’s single sculls – progression was made slightly easier with the withdrawal of Alexandr Bulat who replaced Chirill Visotchi-Sestacov in the Moldovan men’s double. The first two saw predictable wins for Sverri Nielsen (DEN) and the newly-named next Oxford University Boat Club men’s president Tom Mackintosh (NZL) who won gold in Tokyo with the Kiwi eight.

Brazil’s Lucas Verthein Ferreira upset the form guide by beating world cup medallist Ryuta Arakawa (JPN) in the third heat. In the fourth, Croatia’s Damir Martin cruised four and bit lengths in front of Great Britain’s George Bourne who recently missed Olympic qualificaton at the Last Chance Regatta in Lucerne. Bourne beat Stephen Cox (ZIM) to dodge the repechage by a second.

Photo NZL W4-
Credit Benedict Tufnell

French double sculls were in full swing with the Olympic champions Hugo Boucheron and Mattieu Androdias claiming the fastest heat time by narrowly (0.15s) holding off the new Zealanders. It’s Androdias and Boucheron’s first international win together since the 2022 world championships.

An hour later, Tokyo silver medallists Claire Bove and Laura Tarantola, who recently qualified for their home Games, won the first heat of the lightweight women’s double. Their compatriots in the men’s event had only a preliminary race to deal with: there are four lightweight men’s doubles racing at Poznan, half from France and half from the Americas. Hugo Beurey and Ferdinand Ludwig (FRA1) won comfortably; behind them Mexico pipped the second French crew who were well ahead of Argentina in fourth place.

Poland have two crews prepping for the Paris Olympics, and local supporters saw both in action today. The lightweight women’s double of Martyna Radosz and Katarzyna Welna (POL) came up short against the French, they will race in tomorrow’s repechage but there was a decisive win in the first heat of the men’s quadruple sculls for the Polish European medallists.

It was Oceania all the way in the fours. Heat wins were swiped by New Zealand and Australia in both the men’s and women’s events. The Danish challenged the Australian women, whereas it was the British and Swiss men who kept the Aussie men’s four honest. On her women’s four race, New Zealand’s Olympic silver medallist Jackie Gowler said: “Tricky cross conditions out there, a bit to work on but good to get the first one under the belt. We’ve been trying to work on being a bit stronger out of the start. Coming off World Cup II we were lacking that a little bit, but good learnings and we had a good step on with that today.”

British supporters didn’t need to wait long before cheering home a heat win. Just after Australia’s Erik Horrie outgunned Giacomo Perini (ITA) and Ben Pritchard (GBR1), Lauren Rowles and Gregg Stevenson (GBR) dominated the preliminary race of the PR2 Mix 2x. European Champions Sam Murray and Annie Caddick followed suit in the heat for the PR3 Mix 2x.

Photo AUS PR1 M1x
Credit Benedict Tufnell

Caddick said: “We didn’t know how the Americans were going to do because we’ve never raced that combination, and we’ve never raced the French combination either, so we went into it with a few unknowns. Our start was good, we’re normally slightly off on the start and make it up in the middle but we were with them from the start so it gave us the confidence to go and push on.” 

The afternoon offered cutthroat repechage races but the first race saw Jessika Sobocinska deliver a comfortable 10s margin in the lightweight women’s single. Zhiwei Ou and Rongcheng Zhang (CHN) found themselves on the wrong side of a tight finish in the men’s double repechage. Rep-winners Great Britain did enough to keep their noses out of the fray, behind them the Netherlands and Croatia’s Loncaric brothers snagged the last spots into semifinal.

The racing concluded with four preliminary races: two PR2 singles and two eights races. A head-to-head two-boat encounter, set to repeat tomorrow, saw Germany’s Jasmina Biers getting one over Mexico’s Gutierez who’d raced in the double earlier in the day. Paul Umbach (GER) did not repeat Biers’s winning-effort, the PR2 M1x preliminary went the way of Dutch veteran sculler Marinus de Koning. The development Dutch women’s eight almost held the Olympic-set Aussies to a length, pushing them all the way to the finish well clear of Romania. The day finished with another win for Australia, the green-and-gold-clad oarsmen getting the better of Germany’s men’s eight.