Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee, both from Vancouver Island, on the podium today after winning a silver medal in the lighweight women's double in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
August 30, 2014
Olympic event finals began today in Amsterdam following a week of preliminary rounds, repechages and semifinals. Athletes who managed to weather the elements and pace their way properly through the week, were rewarded with their last chance at rowing glory for 2014.
As the rowers prepared, yesterday’s wind refused to calm overnight, continuing to blow down the Bosbaan today.
Before the highly anticipated finals could get underway in the afternoon, Canadians took to the water in four ranking races.
The heavyweight men’s double of Michael Wilkinson and Steven van Knotsenburg had their last race of the regatta today. In a deep field, the duo finished third, finishing 15th overall.
Wilkinson and van Knotsenburg started rowing the double together this past year. Wilkinson switched back to sculling (two small oars) from sweep rowing (one large oar) following a hiatus from the sport after the London Olympics.
The lightweight men’s four also had their last race of the regatta today.
Brendan Hodge, Max Lattimer, Eric Woelfl, and Evan Cheng were eager to finish off the week on a solid note.
“We have the opportunity to end the season right,” Woelfl indicated two days ago, referring to today’s race.
And after crossing the halfway mark in third, it looked like this is what they were setting out to accomplish. The foursome timed it right and moved through the field in the latter part of the race, crossing the line first.
They finish the regatta in 13th place.
After racing the final in the four yesterday, Jennifer Martins and Kristin Bauder jumped back into the pair today.
A quick start kept them with the leaders in the first half, only to slip to fourth in the third quarter. Despite a quick last 500 meters, the twosome remained in fourth as they crossed the line. The crew finished 10th overall.
The men’s quad of Pascal Lussier, Michael Braithwaite, Will Dean and Matthew Buie struggled in their semifinal race. Winning a bronze medal at World Cup 2 in June, the foursome had high expectations at this regatta.
Getting off to a good start, the Canadians inched their way into a narrow lead in a race that saw all the boats almost level at the half way mark. Never relinquishing their position, they crossed the line first. They finish the regatta in 7th place.
The lightweight double of Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee were the first medal final for Canada today.
The Vancouver Island duo became overnight favorites when a sensational semifinal win brought them back from the brink to first place, all in the last 250 meters.
They tried to be more aggressive in the first part of the race today, with precious medals waiting to be claimed.
“We tried to go out of our comfort zone,” explained a tired but happy Obee, while waiting for the medal ceremony to begin.
The Canadians, jumping out of the starting blocks, settled into a relaxed yet strong rhythm, not giving up as much ground in the first half as they did in their semifinal.
Going through the halfway mark, they were in a much better position to attack without having to push the panic button.
“We sprinted for the line, but it was more controlled,” explained Obee, “the water was so bumpy, we didn’t want to make any mistakes, knowing we were in a medal position.”
Jennerich and Obee crossed the line behind a young New Zealand crew, to claim the silver medal. China took the bronze.
“This is validation,” said Jennerich, the veteran in the boat. “I am already excited to start training again. The ultimate goal is Rio.”
This is the second World Championship silver medal for Jennerich and Obee in this event, having today replicated their performance from three years ago in Bled, Slovenia.
The British dominated men’s four event was the next chance for Canada to win a medal.
Will Crothers, Rob Gibson, Conlin McCabe and Kai Langerfeld have come a long way since their 14th place finish 12 months ago at last year’s Championships.
Attacking the race from the first stroke, the foursome were still in the hunt in the first half of the race. However, Olympic champions Britain proved too strong for them today, and the Canadians fell off the pace.
“I knew the race would go by really quickly,” commented London silver medalist McCabe, “of course it’s disappointing, but we left it all out there and have no regrets.”
The four crossed the line in fifth position. Great Britain won the gold, USA and Australia rounded out the top three.
McCabe is looking forward to spending some time in Ontario with his family while reflecting on the week, “emotions run high following a race, it’s important to keep things in perspective,” concluded the 6 foot 8 inch rower.
The Brockville native is relishing the downtime before heading back to Victoria, BC, where the men’s team is based.
The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Emily Cameron, Kate Goodfellow, Carling Zeeman and Antje von Seydlitz-Kurzback were Canada’s last race of the day.
Silver medalists at last year’s World Championships, the crew raced a strong and composed semifinal, finishing third.
Looking forward to the final, the four women were excited to improve on last year’s performance.
Being relegated to lane 6 as a result of their 3rd place finish in the semifinal, the girls were somewhat removed from the action that was occurring on the opposite side of the course, in lane 1 through 3.
“I think we learned a lot here, about how the week progresses,” said Seydlitz-Kurzback, who sets the rhythm in the boat. “It’s really important to place well in each round because that determines lane draw in the subsequent race, which determines the favored lanes.”
Germany, who won their semifinal, was moved to lane 1, the favored and protected lane, on the opposite side of the course from the Canadians.
An emotional Canadian crew finished 6th. Germany won the gold, China the silver and USA finished third.
Finals continue tomorrow, resuming at 13:00 local time, as Canada’s women’s eight tries to unseat reigning World Champions, USA.
Today’s FINALS will air on Rogers SportsNet One in Canada, between 12 – 2pm EST.
Online streaming with audio commentary for the racing continues to be available at www.worldrowing.com.
Live video streaming for the Olympic class events also continues to be available August 31st at www.worldrowing.com.
Athlete biographies of Canada’s national rowing team are available at www.rowingcanada.org.
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