Defending Champions: Croatia
In the absence of last year’s champions from Croatia it’s the British who have taken up the mantel this season. The crew of Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charlie Cousins and Pete Lambert, made history last year by becoming the first British crew to win a World Championship medal in the men’s quads. So far this season that have gold at both the Aiguebelette and Lucerne World Cups. They have only been beaten once this season and that was by the Ukrainians in their first outing of the season at the European Championships.
The Ukrainians, Dmytro Mikhay, Artem Morozov, Olexandr Nadtoka and Ivan Dovgodko, have only raced the once this season at that was the win at Belgrade. This is the same line up that finished 4th at Chungju. My expectation is that the British have progressed a lot over the season and should be able to get their revenge on the Ukrainians for the defeat at the Europeans.
The Olympic champions from Germany have, so far this season, played second fiddle to the British. They have 3 of the crew that won in London and finished in 2nd last year (Karl Schulze, Philipp Wende & Tim Grohmann). They will not have enjoyed being beaten by the British this season and will be hoping for revenge at the biggest race of the year. But, their final race at Lucerne did not go to plan at all and they trailed in 6th.
The battle behind the British this season has been intriguing with the minor placings being mixed between a number of nations. The Germans took the silver in Aiguebelette, but it was the Estonians who took that honour at Lucerne after a 5th in Aiguebelette.
The USA have put together a strong quad, with the Graves brothers Peter and John, along with Stephen Whelpley and Ben Dann. They pushed the British very hard at Henley and followed that up with a bronze at Lucerne. They are, undoubtedly the best US M4X for a very long time.
The Canadians have also put together a strong crew that took a superb bronze in their first outing in Europe at Aiguebelette. They found the pace a little hotter at Lucerne where they finished 8th. They certainly have the capability to make the “A” final and if they do then who knows!
Other crews to watch out for are the New Zealanders, Jade Uru, John Storey, Nathan Flannery & Chris Harris. They were 7th at Aiguebelette and followed that up with an excellent 4th at Lucerne. Also watch out for the Poles, 9th at Aiguebelette they made the “A” final at Lucerne. Gut instinct says they will be top of the “B” final or back of the “A” final this time around.
The final crew to mention are the Swiss. They won the U23 World Championships last month. However they’ve made one change to that crew with Nico Stahlberg replacing Barnabe Delarze. An “A” fnal finish will be a good result for the young Swiss crew.
So, my picks. I think the British will make history and take the gold with the Germans being the bridesmaid and the Americans taking the bronze.
Defending champions: Germany
The Germans have won both the European World Cup Regattas. But, they suffered a defeat at the hands of the Belorussians at the European Championships – a crew that contains the legendary Ekatarina Karsten. The Belorussians missed all the world cups (they raced in different boat classes) but are back in the quad for Amsterdam. It’ll be fascinating to see if they can stop the Germans seemingly inevitable trek to a successful defence of their title.
Another crew who’ll be hoping to upset the Germans are the Canadians. Emily Cameron, Katharine Goodfellow, Carling Zeeman & Antje Von Seydlitz-Kurzbach, were runners up to the Germans at Lucerne and also at Chungju last year. They missed the medals at Aiguebelette but will be strong contenders again in Amsterdam.
The Americans are beginning to develop a strong tradition in this event with a medal from London 2012 under their belts. This was followed up by a 5th place last year. This season they raced at Aiguebelette and took the silver behind the Germans. They’ve made one change to that crew with Olivia Coffey replacing Eleanor Logan. Coffey raced in a 2nd US quad at Aiguebelette that made the “B” final but was part of the W4- that won the World Championships last year. They will certainly be going into Amsterdam as strong contenders for a medal.
New Zealand will be there or thereabouts as well. The crew of Erin-Monique Shelton, Sarah Gray, Georgia Perry and Lucy Spoors, were 3rd at both Aiguebelette and Lucerne they will probably expect to get among the medals again.
So my picks….it’s going to be really, really close. The Belorussians showed at Belgrade that the Germans can be beaten, but they are a little inconsistent. My money will be on the Germans to take the win with the Belorussians in silver and the Kiwis in 3rd (but it’ll be very close with the Canadians and Americans).
Defending champions: Greece
The Defending champions from Greece have 3 returners to the crew for this year. They will be probably starting as favourites but they will face a stiff challenge from the Danish. Denmark have been forced into a late change with Olympic LM2X champion Mads Rasmussen making his return to competition replacing Jannik Nilton. Nilton’s girlfriend, Mette Petersen from the Danish W2X was taken seriously ill whilst on training camp and Nilton is remaining at her side while she recovers from a blood clot on the brain. Denmark won a 5 boat final at Lucerne ahead of the Germans.
The Germans have tweaked their line-up with Konstantin Steinhuebel moving from the LM2X. I would expect them to be up for the medals this year, although U don’t think it’ll be the gold.
Also keep an eye out for the US who will be expecting to be in the “A” final but I think they will miss out on the medals.
My picks….The Danes in gold ahead of the Greeks with the Germans in bronze.
Defending champions: The Netherlands
The Dutch have 2 returners from the crew that won last year, Mirte Kraaijkamp and Maaike Head. They are joined by the U23 LW1X world champion Ilse Paulis and 2012 U23 silver medalist Elizabeth Woerner.
Their main challenge will come from the British who have put together a very strong line up which includes Brianna Stubbs and Ellie Piggott the reigning U23 LW2X champions. They are joined by the experienced Ruth Walczak (who won a bronze in the LW1X last year) and Charlotte Taylor who made a spectacular debut in the GB team this season winning silver in the LW2X at Aiguebelette.
The US, like the Dutch have half of the crew from last year’s World Championships. Hialary Saeger and Helen Tompkins won silver in 2013. This year they are joined by Sarah Giancola and Mary Jones.
My picks…the British ahead of the Dutch with the Americans in bronze.
Next up….the big boats…the eights!