On the second day of A-Finals at the 2022 World Rowing Championships, the racing was intense. In a series of exciting racing which saw ten new World Champions be crowned and a World Best Time broken, 14 nations stood on the podium today in two Paralympic and eight Olympic boat classes.

PR2 Mixed Double Sculls (PR2 Mix2x) – A-Final

With a gold medal already around his neck from yesterday, Corne De Koning of the Netherlands was looking for a second medal, this time with doubles partner Chantal Haenen, and they got out of the start fast. However, by the 500m marker it was Poland’s Jolanta Majka and Michal Gadowski that had got into the lead. Moving into the second half of the race, Svitlana Bohuslavska and Iaroslav Koiuda of Ukraine had moved into the lead and were controlling the race. France had also worked their way through the field and pushed the Netherlands out of the medal zone. It wasn’t to be another medal for De Koning.


PR3 Mixed Coxed Four (PR3 Mix4+) – A-Final

All four of the British rowers had won gold medals in the PR3 pairs yesterday, and were looking to match that success again today. In the early stages, they just weren’t able to break away from the pack, Germany and Australia were going with them every stroke. However, as they race progressed, Great Britain began to establish their familiar lead and soon opened up clear water with Germany sitting in third place and France in bronze medal position. Could anyone catch Great Britain? At 1000m, they were certainly looking in a comfortable position and with Germany still in second place, Australia were starting to put pressure on France – could they challenge for the bronze? The Paralympic Champions and reigning World and European Champions in this boat class continued to look dominant and had opened up more of a lead with 500m to go. GB crossed the line in 6:48.34, breaking the previous World Best Time by just under a second. Germany crossed in second and France managed to hold off the challenge from Australia.


Women’s Pair (W2-) – A-Final

Romania’s Ioana Vrinceanu and Denisa Tilvescu absolutely flew off the start at 49 strokes per minute but it was also gusty start from Great Britain’s Emily Ford and Esme Booth with the highest boat speed that allowed them to establish an early lead. The Brits were still leading at 1000m with the Olympic Champions Grace Prendergast and Kerri Williams in second place, and the USA’s Maddie Wanamaker and Claire Collins in third. However, by half way, New Zealand had moved into the lead, ahead of Great Britain with the Americans maintaining the bronze medal position. Coming into the final quarter of the race, the Kiwis were still in the lead and started to look comfortable. Meanwhile, Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meester of the Netherlands had moved into second place and with the USA now in third, Great Britain had been pushed out of the medal zone. Could the positions change again in the final sprint? Prendergast and Williams maintained the lead and were able to defend their title as World Champions in this boat class. With Clevering and Meester taking the silver, Wanamaker and Collins were able to hold off the final sprint from Romania.


Men’s Pair (M2-) – A-Final

This was one of the most anticipated and hotly contested boat classes of the Championships. Great Britain’s Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George went off the start off the start at 46 strokes per minute trying to make their mark, but it was Australia’s Harley Moore and Alex Hill that took the early lead. At the 250m mark, all six pairs were still within half a length of each other and we knew an epic race was starting to unfold. Romania’s Marius Cozmiuc and Sergiu Bejan were leading, narrowly ahead of Spain’s Jaime Canalejo Pazos and Javier Garcia Ordonez. By halfway, Wynne-Griffith and George had started to make their move and had got into the medal zone, sitting in third place behind Romania and Spain. With 500m to go, Romania was still leading and they looked comfortable, but the other medals were still up for grabs and it was far too early call. What did GB have left to give? Just enough was the answer. It was a sprint to the line between Great Britain and Serbia, but Serbia couldn’t manage the race to the line and the Brits claimed the bronze.


Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – A-Final

This final was missing last year’s Olympic Champions who hadn’t managed to make it through the semifinals, so it really was all to play for. Ireland’s Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen had the fastest start but it was Greece’s Dimitra Eleni Kontou that took the initial lead, Kontou being the youngest competitor at the Championships. However, Great Britain’s Emily Craig and Imogen Grant soon got into the lead and then started to open up more of a gap ahead of their competitors. By halfway, it was Great Britain ahead of Molly Reckford and Michelle Sechser of the USA, with Casey and Cremen sitting in bronze medal position. With 500m to go, Craig and Grant were continuing to lead, but there was still a battle behind them for the silver and bronze. It was lightweight racing at its very best. GB continued to control the race and with Reckford and Sechser in silver medal position there was a real sprint to the line between Ireland and France. Casey and Cremen has just enough in the tank and claimed a well-earned bronze.


Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) – A-Final

After the excitement of the lightweight women’s double sculls, the men were up next and another incredible race unfolded very quickly. Italy’s Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo established the early lead, and were still at the front of the field. It was a surprise to see the Olympic Champions, Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan sitting in sixth at 500m, but they made their move in the second quarter and it was a significant move. McCarthy and O’Donovan had moved into gold medal position, but it was far from over! Ruta and Oppo continued to attack all of the way while Switzerland’s Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ahumada Ireland were also attacking. With 500m left to go, McCarthy and O’Donovan had clear water and were beginning to look dominant, but the other two medals were definitely not set. With large numbers of Irish supporters in the stands, the noise levels grew as the boats approached the finish line and the race was really starting to heat up. Ukrainians Stanislav Kovalov and Igor Khmara had come from nowhere and moved into bronze medal position, pushing Schaeuble and Ahumada Ireland out of the medals. What a finish!


Women’s Four (W4-) – A-Final

This boat class was absolutely stacked with talent and was impossible to guess what might unfold. The Netherlands had the highest boat speed off the start and established the early lead, narrowly ahead of Australia. The strong Romanian crew was at 47 strokes per minute and Ireland’s Olympic bronze medalists were also well within the mix. With 300m gone there was just over a length separating the six crews – who could break the pack first? The British crew, which has enjoyed much success this season, started to make their move and went into the lead by the 1000m marker with Australia still in second place, and China now in bronze medal position. The GB crew was starting to look really impressive and were starting to move away from the pack. Australia continued to hold silver medal position and the Netherlands had moved into third, but China and Romania were still close behind. As the race came into the closing stages, the Dutch crew was attacking hard. They couldn’t catch the British, but they did overhaul the Australians to sneak an impressive silver. Another incredible finish.


Men’s Four (M4-) – A-Final

Romania shot off the start at 52 strokes per minute to establish the initial lead but Australia had also had a fast start and Great Britain was only narrowly behind. Romania was still at 48 strokes per minute 250m into the race but by 500m Australia was leading ahead of Romania with Great Britain in third place. By the halfway marker, the strong British crew was starting to make their move and had slipped into second place ahead of Romania. A classic battle in the men’s four was beginning to unfold between Australia and Great Britain.  Australia was at 39, and Great Britain at 38, but Great Britain had the higher boat speed and was starting to move through approaching the 1500m. Romania was paying the price for their fast start and had now dropped back to fourth with the Netherlands now in bronze medal position. Nobody could catch Great Britain as they crossed the line over two seconds ahead of Australia and with Romania having dropped right back, the Netherlands claimed the bronze.


Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) – A-Final

China was out to defend their title as World Champions, but they were going to have a battle on their hands. Switzerland was the highest on the ratings of the start and although Australia was slightly off the pace there was very little between the remaining five crews in the early stages. At 500m, China was leading but Great Britain was challenging them and Ukraine, in third, weren’t far behind either. The positions were unchanged at 1000m, but into the third quarter, the Netherlands was starting to come into the medal zone. None of the medals were set, China was still under significant pressure from Great Britain. By 1500m, China was just over a second ahead of Great Britain with the Netherlands still in bronze medal position, narrowly ahead of Ukraine. This one was going to go to the line! In the sprint to the line, the Netherlands overhauled Great Britain and moved into silver medal position and were even starting to close on China. Great Britain was having to work really hard to hold off Ukraine, but the finish line came just in time. Last year’s Olympic Champions had defended their World Champion title.


Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x) – A-Final

In the last A-Final of the day, a high class field was assembled. Italy shot off the start and got out in front ahead of Poland with Great Britain and the Netherlands also in the mix. By 500m, Italy led Poland, who led Great Britain, but there was only just over a second separating the top four crews with Romania and Estonia just narrowly behind. Poland had moved into the lead by 1000m, with Italy sitting in second and Great Britain holding on to the bronze medal position, ahead of the Netherlands. As the field approached 1500m gone, Poland was still leading the way, but Great Britain had upped their rate and moved in front of Italy. It was all going to come down to the final sprint. In the closing stages, Great Britain was closing on Poland. The Poles were really having to respond while Italy was also pushing for the line as they were coming under pressure from the Netherlands. It was another amazing finish to close off the day.


The last races of the 2022 World Rowing Championships will take place tomorrow, Sunday, 25 September. Racing starts at 10:40 CET with the first medal race at 13:05.