BY CHIP DAVIS | PHOTO COURTESY EUROPEAN ROWING
The Netherlands topped the medal count with 11, and Great Britain topped the table with five gold and 10 total at the 2023 European Rowing Championships, May 25 to 28, in Bled, Slovenia.
Lennart Van Lierop upset reigning Olympic champion Stefanos Ntouskos and world champion Oliver Zeidler in the men’s single in a surprise final. The former sweep rower sculled through the repechage and finished third in the semis before delivering the race of his nascent sculling career in the final, beating Zeidler and Ntouskos by less than one and two seconds, respectively.
Romania’s Simona Radis won the double-sculls final with partner Ancuta Bodnar, and less than a hour later, stroked the eight to another gold, just as she did at last year’s world championships. Six other women from the eight won the four and pair finals.
Italian para sculler Giacamo Pernini improved from second against reigning Paralympic and world champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine to win gold in the PR1 final. Reigning women’s PR1 Paralympic champion Brigit Skarstein of Norway charged from as far back as third to win.
Switzerland, France, and Italy followed in the medals table, with Germany a disappointment—here. The European championships represent an important performance benchmark for many European crews, and an additional regatta experience for European national teams before the Olympic-qualifying 2023 World Rowing Championships in Serbia in September.