PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY WORLD ROWING
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It was a glorious day for Great Britain at the 2023 World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland. Not only did they finish atop the medal table for the event, with four gold, three silver and two bronze medals, but they were also crowned World Rowing Cup Series winners at the end of racing.
With a total of 115 points, Great Britain finished atop the World Rowing Cup standings, ahead of Australia (103 points) and Switzerland (95 points).
The day started with a dominant performance from the Australian combination of Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre in the women’s pair, who led from start to finish and won another gold medal in this event. In the very next race, a great finish saw Tom George and Ollie Wynne-Griffith of Great Britain winning the men’s pair A-Final ahead of the World Champions of Romania and European Champions of Switzerland.
Despite a huge support from the local fans at the Rotsee, the lightweight men’s double sculls from Switzerland could not come home with a win. But perhaps more surprisingly, the reigning Olympic and World Champions of Ireland where pipped over the line by the French duo of Hugo Beurey and Ferdinand Ludwig in an epic sprint.
It was also a great day for the Netherlands – particularly the sculling team, with four gold medals, in both the men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, the women’s single and the men’s double sculls. The Florijn family goes back to the Netherlands happy, with siblings Karolien and Finn both going home with a gold medal.
The only athlete who managed to complete the World Rowing Cup Hat Trick this year (winning all three world cups in the same boat class) was the reigning World Champion in the men’s single sculls, Oliver Zeidler. And he did it in traditional, dominating fashion, leading from start to finish and winning with an 8 second margin over Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen.
Fireworks were expected in the men’s eight and it didn’t disappoint, with Australia breaking Great Britain’s winning streak in that event – the British were unbeaten since the beginning of this Olympiad. It was the women’s eight for GB who provided a surprise win from an outside lane, with an great battle with Canada and Australia to the line.
For the first-time ever, para-racing was contested on the Rotsee. The two exhibition races saw Shmuel Daniel of Israel winning the PR1 men’s single sculls race, and the reigning Paralympic, World, and European champion, Birgit Skarstein of Norway, continuing to dominate the field in the PR1 women’s single sculls. Lucerne will welcome in 2024, for the first-time ever, the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta.
Two legendary scullers were also honoured on the occasion of the 2023 World Rowing Cup III – Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand, recipient of the Thomas Keller Medal, the highest distinction in the sport of Rowing. As well, Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland, who recently retired following the passing of her longtime coach Robin Dowell.
For race reports, photos, race results and videos go to www.worldrowing.com.
The 2024 World Rowing Cup series will go to Varese, Italy (12-14 April), Lucerne, Switzerland (24 -26 May) and Poznan, Poland (14-16 June).