There are six entries in the women’s eights. Canada are the defending Olympic champions and New Zealand are the defending (2019) world champions. The New Zealanders who won silver at Tokyo have not entered an eight for Racice. The Dutch had a flying start to the season (two world cup gold medals and a European bronze) and will be highly favoured, as will the Romanians.
China who won bronze at Tokyo have a completely new look eight. Throughout the 2022 World Rowing Cup regattas they chopped, changed and reimagined their line up. For Fengjiao Sun, 2022 World Rowing Championships will be her first international race in the W8+. China finished fourth in Lucerne and raced two eights against a winning Dutch combination in the three boat final in Belgrade, Serbia. The Chinese are a bit of an unknown quantity which, in itself, might add stress to their opposition.
On the other hand, European champions Romania are a proven force and fierce competitors within the women’s eights. The big question is whether they can sustain their high-rating, top end, gold-medal-winning form from Munich. Like the Dutch, the Romanians will be doubling up across multiple boat classes, it is a strategy not without risk but so far has yielded positive results.
Australia upgraded their bronze-medal-winning performance in Poznan to a gold standard race in Lucerne. It meant the defending Olympic champions, Canada had to settle for silver. A largely unchanged Aussie line up sees Jean Mitchell replace Tokyo 2020 W8+ finalist Bronwyn Cox who will race in the W4-. The Aussies aren’t doubling up and will be aiming for (at least) a podium finish.
The US focussed on the small boats during their world cup tour. At Henley Royal Regatta they raced the Remenham Challenge Cup and progressed to the semifinal before being dispatched by the British. They finished fourth at Tokyo and have a smattering of Olympians left in the current line up. Still struggling to re-establish their former dominance, a podium finish would be a good start.
Irish fans hoping to see the second coming of their W8+ after its fleeting and flawed debut at 2022 European Rowing Championships will have to wait. Rather than double up, as in Munich, the Irish will focus on the small boats. They have thirteen entries in total which includes a M4- and a W4-.
After coming last in the W8+ at Tokyo 2020 Great Britain will also duck this event. A scratch British eight rowed down the Aussies at Henley Royal Regatta, in the Remenham Challenge Cup, and the Brits doubled up in Munich to claim a silver medal at the European Rowing Championships. Nevertheless, these results did not convince Head Coach Andrew Randell to gamble an eight at Racice. The British women’s considerable firepower will be concentrated within the W2- and W4-.