Grey clouds replaced the clear blue skies that previously welcomed the international rowers. By mid-morning as the semi-finalists raced by the grandstand the sun began to burn away the overcast conditions and temperatures steadily rose. So too did the intensity of racing, the schedule concluded with five lightweight races and their respective medal ceremonies. The second day of Sabaudia’s World Rowing Cup delivered drama and set the scene for the last day of competition on Sunday.
For the most part the Dutch will be pleased to have survived the cloak and dagger repechages. Their men’s double scull, men’s four, and women’s quadruple sculls made it into Sunday’s A-Finals. But they did not escape casualty-free, their second women’s quadruple sculls were outsprinted by the Hungarians. Less than four tenths of a second separated the two crews on the finish line.
In the men’s pair repechage, the Turlan twins of France withdrew for medical reasons, which likely explains their underwhelming last place finish in the Heat. Progression to the A-Final went to the Croatian and German pairs. The 20-year-old Croatian twins are showing promise and will surely have Paris 2024 in their sights, but for now the focus will be closing the gap to the Sinkovic superstars. Both the Swiss and Czech pairs will need to up their game in the B-Final if they wish to beat France’s second pair who finished third.
Solely Single Semis
In the day’s first A/B semifinal, Great Britain’s women’s heavyweight single sculler Lola Anderson battled the Dutch sculler Sophie Souwer at the front of the field of the. Souwer raised her rate to overhaul Anderson’s lead in the final few hundred meters but the British sculler seemed composed, it will be interesting to see what happens in the A-Final. The German sculler will join them, and it was the Swiss sculler who missed out on the A-Final along with the Norwegian and second Dutch sculler.
In the second women’s single sculls A/B semifinal Great Britain’s Kathyrn Wilkinson-Feller was cruelly denied a place in the A-Final. She looked well in control until the Tokyo-bound Swedish sculler Lovissa Claesson launched a blistering attack and elbowed her way into the qualifying spots. Ukraine was safely out of harm’s way at the front of the field and crossed the line 0.85 second in front of Maike Diekmann of Namibia in second place. Diekmann has qualified for Tokyo and will be the first sculler to represent Namibia at the Olympics.
Sverri Nielsen was the first men’s single sculler to secure his spot into Sunday’s A-Final. Calm and in command he led the pack. Italy’s Gennaro di Mauro utilised his power to finish in second place ahead of Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk.
In the second semi-final the qualification spots were never in doubt as Ziedler, Borch, and Martin proved their pedigree. Nonetheless the race out front was filled with intrigue. Damir Martin made progress as he tries to rediscover his Olympic-medal-winning form before Tokyo. Kjetil Borch still searches for Ziedler’s Achilles’ heel. But the German World Champion maintains his winning ways, Damir took second place and Borch third.
Italy claimed their first medal of the regatta by way of Paolo Piazzolla. She claimed the lightweight women’s single sculls silver medal. Martine Veldhuis of the Netherlands took gold. After a tough year of training Martine was happy to get her first win of the year. The bronze medal went to the Swiss sculler Sofia Meakin.
Piazzolla’s performance initiated a spate of Italian wins which pleased the local dignities hoovering by the big screens in hospitality. Durante and Ficarra in the Italian lightweight men’s pair beat their Hungarian opposition, and the men’s and women’s lightweight Italian quadruple sculls also topped the podium. The Dutch men and women in both the lightweight quadruple sculls were unable to make inroads on their Italian rivals who have a long and successful history in these events.
It was the lightweight men’s single scullers who had the honour of concluding the day’s racing schedule. Quickest out of the blocks was the 2019 World Champion Martino Goretti. He hoped to even the score with fellow countryman Niels Torre, the winner of Lucerne World Cup II. Torre kept his cool and pushed into the lead through the middle thousand. It was gold and silver to the Italians, Goretti was unable to reclaim the lead but held off Rajko Hrvat who took the bronze medal.