U23 world Championships – Lightweight events preview

Racing in Linz starts this afternoon so I need to get the final events previewed pretty sharpish!

Lightweight women

LW1X
18 scullers. Leading the way will be the reigning European Champion; Aikaterina Nikolaidou of Greece. She raced in the open double at last years U23’s with Eleni Diamanti and picked up a silver medal.
Also racing the LW1X at the European Championships were Anna Ioannou of Cyprus and Julie Marchal of France and they finished 6th and 8th respectively. Both these scullers also raced at the U23’s last year with Ioannou winning bronze in the single and Marchal finishing 8th in the quad.
The biggest challenge to Nikolaidou will come from two time winner of this event Alena Kryvasheyenka of Belarus. She won this event in 2010 and 11 and then raced the double last year finishing 7th. She returns to the single this year hoping to make it a hattrick of victories.
Poland’s Katarzyna Welna is competing at her first U23 championships but already has a couple of senior representations under her belt, she won bronze in the LW2X at the European Championships and finished 8th in the light double at Lucerne.
Watch out also for the Italian sculler, Denise Zacco, a silver medallist from last years U23 light quad. There are a few scullers making their international debut so it’s difficult to assess their speed but watch for Germany’s Samantha Nesajda and the USA’s Colleen Wohlrab.
My picks…belarus gold, Greece silver, Poland bronze

LW2X
13 crews. I think this will turn into an Anglo-German battle. The British, Eleanor Piggott & Brianna Stubbs finished 4th in the LW2X at the Eton World Cup this year. Piggott was 7th in this event last year and both she and Stubbs raced the U23’s in 2011 as well (Piggott in the BL4X and Stubbs in the W8).
The Germans have Fabienne Knoke and Leonie Pieper. Knoke won gold in the light quad at last year’s U23’s and also won junior gold in 2010. Pieper was in the LW4X that won bronze at the Lucerne World Cup in 2011.
Romania have a young double of Andreea Asoltanei and Ionela-Livia lehaci who won silver at last year’s Junior World Championships. it’ll be interesting to see how their speed matches up at the higher age-group.
6th in this event last year were the Swiss double of Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol. They will be hoping for an improvement on that result this year. They lso raced at the Europeans this year coming 9th.
Another double who are back for a 2nd attempt at this event are the Poles. Monika Kowalska and Joanna Dorociak were 8th last year.
New Zealand have one of their scullers back from last year; Sophie Mackenzie won bronze in this event last year and is now joined by debutant Lisa Owen.
Another mix of experience and debutant are the Dutch. Joanneke Jansen won bronze in the BLW4X last year and she is joined by newcomer Martje de Jong.
Italy and Norway both have new doubles this year with Francesca Contini and Federica Pala for Italy and Andrea Alveborn & Stine Hammer for Norway making their international debuts.
My picks…Germany gold, GB silver, Switzerland bronze

LW4X
7 crews. Quite an open field with no real standout leader. Germany have Franziska Kreutzer who won this event last year. she is joined by Clara Bergau who raced the JW4X last year and two debutants (Ann-Catrin Leineweber & Julia Eichholz).
GB have 2010 World Junior Champion Rosa Atkinson along with fellow junior international Elisha Lewis along with debutants Gemma Hall of Newcastle University and Emily Craig from Sir William Borlase School.
There are a lot of nations with debutants in this event which makes it difficult to assess speed. Australia have 3 newbies in their quad with the only experienced member being Sarah Pound who won bronze in the LW1X at the Sydney World Cup. The Italians also have three debutants with bow Elena Coletti an U23 silver and senior world bronze medallist in the light quad.
The US and the Russians also follow the trean of having three debutants in their crew. The Russians have 2011 junior international Anastasia Lebedeva and the Americans have U23 international Kayla Mc Neill.
The Danes buck the trend with a crew a fiur ex-junior internationals all of who were “B” finalists in the past two years.
My picks…Germany gold, GB silver, Italy bronze

Lightweight men

LM1X
28 scullers. Another high quality field. Greece’s Spyridion Giannaros is the defending champion and also won senior world gold in the LM4 last year and European gold in the LM2X. So far this season he has a 6th place in the LM1X at the European championships and a 6th in the LM2X at Lucerne. He will be a strong favourite to retain his title.
The main challenge to the Greek champion is likely to come from America’s Andrew Campbell. Campbell won bronze at the senior world championships last year and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Olympics in the LM2X. This season he has been rowing sweep as part of the successful Harvard lightweight varsity.
GB’s Zac Lee-Green is racing at his 4th U23 championships, his first in the single and he has a bronze medal from the light quad in 2010. He will be hoping to make the podium this year.
keep an eye out for Irishman Paul O’Donovan, he had an excellent regatta at the Eton World Cup making the “A” final.
Another sculler to look for is Franciscus Goutier of the Netherlands. Goutier raced in this event last year just missing out on a podium place. One place ahead of Goutier last year taking the bronze medal was Switzerlands Fabian Luca.
My picks…Giannaros gold, Campbell silver, Lee-Green bronze.

LM2-
17 crews. Italy are the defending champions in this event and Francesco Schisano and Vincenzo Serpico are back to defend the title. This season they raced at the Lucerne world Cup making the “A” final. The main threat to the successful defence of the title is likely to come from the British, Matt Bedford and Wilf Kimberley of the University of London and Imperial College were 4th in this event last year but so far this season they have a silver medal from the Eton World Cup (coming 2nd to the senior GB LM2- )
The Germans have a new pair of Lasse Werder & Jonas Briese both making their international debut, at the Wedau regatta they were 5th in an all-German final.
As with a few other Australian boats at this regatta the BLM2- is made up of athletes based at US universities. Jacques David is from Penn and Ed Northrop is at Princeton. Both are making their international debut.
12th in the open weight 2- last year were the Austrians Max Affenzeller & Michael Mandlbauer – it’ll be interesting to see how they fair in the lightweight division this year. The Belarussians Dzimitry Hetsevich and Yauheni Kryvahei raced in this event last year and will be looking to improve on the 8th place finish they achieved in 2012.
The Czech Republic have Jan Hajek who was in this event last year finishing 6th and is joined by Michael Humpolec who was 5th in the JM2- last year.
Canada have two of the U23 LM4- from last year, Evan Cheng and Max Lattimer will be hoping to make an impact in the “A” final.
The final crew to flag up are the Americans; William Robins was in the LM8 at the World Championships last year and is joined by debutant Jordan Tewksbury (although the US Rowing press release refers to him as Jordan Volpe). tewksbury/Volpe raced for Italy at the 2011 Coupe de Le Jeunesse picking up a bronze in the 8.
My picks…Italy to retain the title with GB silver and the Czechs bronze.

BLM4X
6 crews. The only event at the regatta with a straight final. predicting this event isn’t easy as their are lot of scullers making their international debuts.
Germany will undoubetdly by strong in this event and are lead by Roman Acht who was 5th in the LM4X at the senior World Championships last year and won bronze at the U23’s in 2012 as well. He is joined by three international newbies (Jonathan Rommelmann, Tobias Schad and Florian Roller).
Possibly starting as favourites are the Italians, Francesco Pegoraro and Matteo Mulas won this event last year and have two new crewmates in Paolo Ghidini and Michele Quaranta.
2nd to the Italians last year were the French and they have 1 member of that crew, Thibault Lecomte, returning. He is joined by 210o junior international Eloi Debourdeau and debutants Quentin Varnier and Edwin Desuzinge.
The Danes have 4 internationally expereinced scullers with Frederic Maigaard and Andreas Rasmussen from the 2012 U23 LM4- and junior internationals Fredrik Leicht and Oscar Petersen.
The US are an interesting crew with only Parker Lange at stroke having international expereince. Sitting at 2 is debutant Max Fenner who has an U19 gold medal from the German national championships.

My picks…Italy to retain the title with Germany in silver and France bronze.

BLM2X
19 doubles. My favourites for this event are the Germans. Moritz Moos and Jason Osborne were in the LM4X that won gold at Lucerne a few week’s ago and Moos was 4th in the JM1X last year.
The biggest challenge to the Germans may well come from the Italians. Leone Barbaro won gold in the BLM4X in 2011 and was Junior World Champion the year before. In 2012 he raced the LM2X at the Europeans making the “B” Final. His partner, Simone Molteni raced the LM1X at this year’s European Championships finishing an excellent 5th.
The Spanish duo of Jamie De Haz and Ander Zabala Artetxa have been racing togther for a couple of years with an 18th place at this Europeans, 5th in the BLM2X last year and 9th in the BLM4X in 2011.
Denmark are the Olympic Champions in this event but have yet to find a double to take on the mantel of Quist & Rasmussen (Stephansen & Jensen raced at Lucerne but only made the “B”final). At the U23 level the Danes have a talented duo of Peter Norlem and Mathias Larsen. They won gold in the light quad at the 2011 U23’s. Who knows, maybe this double will be the successors to the Olympic Champions?
France have also a good reputation in this boat with the senior double of Jeremie Azou and Stany Delayre winning in Lucerne. Their U23 boat has U23 silver medallist Damien Piqueras and junior international Pierre Houin.

GB have had to make a late change to their boat following injury. World Junior silver medallist Jamie Copus is joined by Nottingham Rowing Club’s Stuart Sykes who was a semi-finalist at the GB national trials in April.

The Hungarians have a very experienced double, Daniel Matyasovszki and Bence Pozsar raced in this event last year winning the “B” final as they did in 2011.
Also watch for the Austrians Michael Saller and Matthias Taborsky who were in the light quad that made the “A” final last year.
The final crew to note are the Americans. Great things are expected in the future from Matt Maddamma from the Oaklahoma High Performance Centre. he raced the single at the Junior World Championships in 2009 finishing 4th. He’s joined by Thomas Hope. Born and bred in the UK, Hope is a memeber of Upper Thames Rowing Club in Henley winning the GB national Championships in 2012, the National Schools Regatta in 2010 and represented England at the Home International Regatta.
My picks…Gold Germany, silver Italy, bronze denmark

And finally…
LM4-
12 crews. Another event with lots of debutants. The Russians, Americans and Poles are all making their debuts (although the Polish stroke Bartosz Pszczolkowski coxed the U23 4 in 2004)
France possibly start as marginal favourites with three of the crew that won bronze last year (Ludovic Seureau, Clement Duret & Theophile Onfroy) They are joined by Constant Ryngaert who raced the light single last year and also, with Duret won silver in the BLM4- in 2011.
The Spanish will be strong challengers with Jose Gomez-feira and Patricio Rojas Aznar from the crew that won silver last year.
Italy have also put together a very strong crew and are the defending champions. Petru Zaharia and Guido Gravinia return to defend their title and are joined by junior world champions Stefano Oppo and Paolo Di Girolamo.

Germany have 2 returners from last year when they finished 5th. Sven Kessler and Jonas Kilthau are joined by bronze medallist from the BLM2- Can Temel and debutant Torben Neumann.
The final crew to flag up are the Aussies. Harrison Westbrook and Hamish Parry were 4th in the LM4- at the Sydney world Cup and are joined by U23 national champions lachlan Chapman and Cameron Fowler.

My picks…France gold, Italy silver, Spain bronze.

So that’s it….let racing commence…..*phew*

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