22 May 2023
Rowers to Watch at the 2023 European Rowing Championships in Bled
The best rowers from around Europe will be heading to Bled, Slovenia this weekend to compete in the 2023 European Rowing Championships. While a few raced at the recent World Rowing Cup in Zagreb, for many, it is the first international event of the 2023 season. We will get a chance to see line-ups that will be looking to secure Olympic and Paralympic qualification later this year.
23.05.2023 UPDATE: Crew changes have occurred since this article was published. Please refer to the event page for the most up to date information.
Women’s Pair (W2-)
The three boats that raced at the recent World Rowing Cup (Croatia, Czech Republic and Spain) will now face many more crews from Europe! The line-up includes the silver medallists from the 2022 World Rowing Championships, Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meester of the Netherlands. The rowers from Great Britain and Romania will also race in the women’s eight, and will be ones to keep an eye on. Romania have never failed to medal at the European Rowing Championships since they were re-introduced in 2007. Their crew stood atop the podium last year in Munich. Don’t overlook the Irish duo either; Fiona Murtagh won Olympic bronze in the women’s four in Tokyo, and will race alongside Imogen Magner, who will make her international debut.
Men’s Pair (M2-)
The three medal winning boats from last year’s European and World Rowing Championships will meet again! Romania’s Marius Cozmiuc and Sergiu Bejan will, once again, race in both the pair and the eight. At last year’s European Rowing Championships, Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George of Great Britain took silver with Spain’s Jaime Canalejo Pazos and Javier Garcia Ordonez claiming bronze. The positions were then reversed at the World Rowing Championships, so we can’t wait to see who makes the podium in Bled. Keep an eye out too for the pair from the Netherlands. Abe Wiersma and Guillaume Krommenhoek won silver in the men’s eight at last season’s World Rowing Championships, and have raced in various boat types over the years, but have now switched into the pair, the boat that Krommenhoek raced in Tokyo. We also see the return of Denmark’s Frederic Vystavel and Joachim Sutton, who won bronze in this boat class in Tokyo. Their comeback began in Zagreb a few weeks ago, where they took bronze. Don’t rule out the boats from Serbia or Switzerland either; all four rowers are Olympians, and have stacks of experience. Switzerland already has a gold medal from this season, from the 2023 World Rowing Cup I in Zagreb.
Women’s Double Sculls (W2x)
The line-up of thirteen boats includes several of the medallists from last year’s World Rowing Championships. In Racice last year, Romania took gold. While Ancuta Bodnar will return in this boat class and be looking to defend her European Championship title, she will be joined this season by youngster Andrada-Maria Morosanu. Morosanu raced at U23 level last year winning gold at the World U23 Championships and silver at the European U23 Championships in the double scull. Last year’s World Championship silver and bronze medal winning boats from the Netherlands and Ireland respectively will return unchanged this season. Keep an eye on the boat from Austria, the Lobnig sisters. Katharina and Magdalena narrowly missed out on the podium at last year’s World Rowing Championships, but claimed silver at the recent World Rowing Cup. The Swiss duo that beat them in Zagreb, Fabienne Schweizer and Lisa Loetscher, will race in both the double and the quad in Bled, and are worth watching out for!
Men’s Double Sculls (M2x)
Croatia’s Sinkovic brothers secured an historic win on home waters in Zagreb a few weeks ago, but can they maintain that winning streak? With 22 entries, this is likely to be one of the hottest events of the Championships. France’s reigning Olympic and World Champions, Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias are back this season and will be looking to set a marker on the road to the Olympic Games in their home country. Meanwhile, the young Spanish duo, who took silver at last year’s World Championships, Aleix Garci Garcia Pujolar and Rodrigo Conde Romero have already performed this season, taking silver at World Rowing Cup I in Zagreb. On that occasion, it was Martin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia that claimed gold, and the Sinkovic brothers will be hoping to repeat their victory on Lake Bled, and defend their title as European Champions. However, watch out for the Netherlands. Stefan Broenink spent much of last season in the quad and Melvin Twellaar picked up several medals in the single, but the Olympic silver medal winning duo will be reunited for this European Rowing Championships. Perhaps keep an eye on the young crew from Belgium, too. Tristan Vandenbussche, 22, and Aaron Andries, 19, took gold in this boat class at both the World and European Rowing U23 Championships last season, so it will be interesting to see what they can do at senior level.
Women’s Four (W4-)
Great Britain’s women’s four last season was exceptional, but this season the crew includes the double Olympic Champion and triple World Champion Helen Glover in the second comeback of her career. Helen hasn’t raced a flat-water international competition since Tokyo, but has been seen on the coastal rowing scene, including at last year World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals. Can she make this unbeatable crew even stronger? They’ll need to watch out for the Netherlands, the crew remaining unchanged from last year’s World Rowing Championships where, impressively, they took silver in both the women’s four and the women’s eight. Watch out too for Ireland, with two bronze medallists from this boat class in Tokyo. This same line-up picked up silver at last year’s European Rowing Championships.
Men’s Four (M4-)
Great Britain are reigning World Champions in this boat class. Two of the crew will return, but also Matthew Aldridge, who missed out due to illness at the end of last season. Meanwhile, the Netherlands claimed World bronze last season but will come to Bled with a completely different line-up. Last year’s crew from Romania remains unchanged and they will also, once again, race both the four and the eight. Switzerland is also fielding a relatively new line-up in this boat class for the 2023 season and having claimed gold at the first World Cup of this season, they are one to keep an eye on.
Women’s Single Sculls (W1x)
Current World Champion in this boat class, Karolien Florijn of the Netherlands will be looking to defend her title as European Champion. However, all three medallists from the recent World Cup will be back in action so watch out particularly for Spain’s Virginia Diaz Rivas, who made the final at both the World and European Rowing Championships last season, but not quite the podium. Young Swiss sculler Aurelia-Maxima Janzen has enjoyed much success at the U19 and U23 level and claimed silver in Zagreb a few weeks ago, so will also be looking to make an impression in Bled. What can Simona Radis of Romania do in the single scull? She’s reigning Olympic, World and European Champion in the double scull, and reigning World and European Champion in the eight so it’s exciting to see how she’ll perform on her own. Finally, keep an eye on Ireland’s Alison Bergin. Bergin won bronze at last season’s World Rowing U23 Championships, just behind Janzen, so it will be interesting to watch her develop.
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x)
The biggest boat class of the regatta, with 23 entries, the field includes all three medallists from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and also reigning World Champion Oliver Zeidler from Germany. It is going to be one not to miss! Current Olympic Champion Stefanos Ntouskos of Greece took silver at last year’s European Championships, but only managed sixth at the World Championships, whereas Norway’s Olympic silver medallist Kjetil Borch improved from seventh to fifth place between the Europeans and the Worlds last year. Tokyo bronze medallist, Damir Martin, has already raced this season, when he failed to make the final on home waters at World Rowing Cup I in Zagreb, he’ll be hoping to improve his position this time around. Meanwhile, Zeidler took gold in Zagreb, and will be hoping to maintain his winning streak. Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen, who missed out on the podium in Tokyo by 0.15 seconds, took silver at the recent World Cup, so he will also be one to keep an eye on in Bled.
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x)
There’s bound to be fireworks in this event! The reigning World and European Champions Emily Craig and Imogen Grant from Great Britain are back and looking to stamp their authority. However, they’re likely to face pressure from Olympic silver medallists Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove of France, who took silver at last season’s European Rowing Championships, but missed out on the podium at the World Championships. Ireland’s bronze medal-winning boat from last season’s World Championships remains unchanged with Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen hoping to make the podium again. Switzerland’s boat is also unchanged from the Tokyo Olympics; Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol claimed gold at the recent World Rowing Cup; what can they do in this larger field? Italy’s Olympic Champion Federica Cesarini will compete, this time teamed up with Silvia Crosio.
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x)
The field really is wide open in this boat class. We’ve got to start with Italy. Stefano Oppo is an Olympic bronze and World silver medallist in this boat class. He’ll team up with Gabriel Soares, who became World Champion in the Lightweight Single Sculls last season, so it is likely to be a powerful combination. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian crew of Igor Khmara and Stanislav Kovalov who claimed bronze at last year’s World Championships remains unchanged for this season. Another unchanged boat is the young Swiss duo of Jan Schaeuble and Raphael Ahumada. They took bronze at last year’s Europeans and finished fourth at the Worlds and proved their form with gold at the recent World Cup. Watch out too for the Czech Republic. Jiri Simanek and Miroslav Vrastil took silver at the recent World Cup, and were in the final the Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as both the World and European Rowing Championships last year. As we said, it really is wide open!
Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x)
Twelve boats will contest this boat class, with lots of changes from last season. The Dutch crew has two returners from the boat that won silver at last year’s World Championships. However, there are two familiar names joining the crew; experienced lightweight sculler Martine Veldhuis, and Tokyo bronze medallist (in the double scull), Lisa Scheenard. Great Britain won bronze at last year’s World Rowing Championships and their crew also has two returners. Tokyo Olympian Hannah Scott will join the line-up, along with youngster Lauren Henry, who raced at U23 level last season. On the subject of youngsters, keep an eye out for the crew from Romania. Despite an average age of just 21, the crew doesn’t lack pedigree with all of them having international racing experience, and three of the crew having won sculling medals at last year’s World Rowing U23 Championships. Don’t write-off Italy, either. The Italian boat contains three returners from their quad that finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. This will undoubtedly be an interesting boat class!
Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x)
This boat class sees all three medal winning crews from last year’s World Rowing Championships return, with just one change in the British line-up, seeing Callum Dixon join the crew. Poland became World Champions last season having previously won silver at the European Championships while Italy, who had become European Champions, took bronze at the Worlds – so there’s plenty of rivalry there! There has been a change of line-up this season for the Netherlands with reigning Olympic Champions in this boat class, Tone Wieten and Koen Metsemakers returning to the mix. It will be fascinating to see what difference they can make. It was the Czech Republic that claimed gold at the World Rowing Cup in Zagreb a few weeks ago, so keep an eye out for them also.
Women’s Eight (W8+)
With four entries, it’s a race for the podium. Based on previous form, it’s hard to look beyond Romania in this boat class, who have taken the gold fourteen times since 2007. The crew contains several returners from last year’s World Championship boat, and some from the boat that won gold at the European Rowing Championships last year too. Most of the Romanians will double-up into other boat classes in Bled. Great Britain has seen a bit of a shake-up in the women’s sweep squad, having not raced a women’s eight at last year’s World Rowing Championships. This year’s crew will include Samantha Redgrave, who was in their dominant women’s four last season, and also Karen Bennett and Harriet Taylor, who were in the four in Tokyo but did not race last season. The GB women’s eight will be coxed by Henry Fieldman, who coxed Great Britain’s men’s eight to Olympic bronze in Tokyo. Germany and Italy will complete the field, both crews with a wealth of international racing experience. The Italian crew features Valentina Rodini, Olympic Champion in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls.
Men’s Eight (M8+)
The unbeaten GB men’s eight from the 2022 season returns with just one change; Tokyo bronze medalist Jacob Dawson joins the crew having not raced last season. Can anyone topple them this time around? Germany was evidently having a building season last year, and it will be interesting to see what they’ve done over the winter. Olympic silver medallist, Olaf Roggensask, who didn’t race at last year’s World Rowing Championships, where Germany failed to make the final, returns to the crew and will hope to help improve their performance. The Netherlands took silver at the end of last season, just over a second behind Great Britain. This year’s crew eight features four returners from last year, but also all of their bronze medal winning men’s four; will that be enough to overcome the British?
Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x)
This boat class has attracted 13 entries, including reigning World Champion, Ionela Cozmiuc, from Romania. It’s a relatively young field including 21-year-old Evangelia Anastasiadou of Greece, who claimed gold in this boat class at last year’s World Rowing U23 Championships and silver at the European Rowing Championships. She was beaten by Turkiye’s Elis Ozbay at the European edition, and they will race again in Bled. Ozbay will also race the openweight single scull. Poland’s Jessika Sobocinska enjoyed much success in the lightweight double scull last season and will move to the single this season.
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x)
A field equally as stacked as the women’s event includes all three medalists from the first World Rowing Cup this season; World bronze medallists Rajko Hrvat of Slovenia will be looking to repeat his gold from Zagreb, where he beat Switzerland’s Andri Struzina by 0.36 seconds. Struzina will certainly be out for revenge! However, the field will be much larger than it was in Zagreb and includes Ireland’s Olympic champion (in the lightweight double sculls) Fintan McCarthy. McCarthy had a successful season in the double scull last season, culminating in becoming World Champion, so we’re excited to see what he can do this season in the single. Speaking of World Champions, Italy’s Niels Torre took gold in the Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls in Racice last season, but he’s no stranger to the single scull either.
PR1 Women’s Single Sculls (PR1 W1x)
The field of seven scullers features all three medalists from the Tokyo Paralympic Games, so is bound to be competitive! Norway’s Birgit Skarstein is reigning European, World and Paralympic Champion in this boat class, so probably comes in as favourite. However, she should watch out for France’s Nathalie Benoit, who she has raced many times before. Benoit took bronze in Tokyo, but silver at last year’s World Rowing Championships. Also aiming for the podium will be the youngest in the field, 22-year-old Anna Sheremet of Ukraine. Sheremet took bronze at both European and World level last year, and has been on the podium at every European Championships since this boat class was added to the programme in 2020.
PR1 Men’s Single Sculls (PR1 M1x)
All eyes will be on reigning Paralympic and World Champion Roman Polianskyi of Ukraine! Polianskyi has medalled in this boat class at the European Championships every year since it was introduced in 2020. However, at last year’s European Rowing Championships, relative newcomer, Giacomo Perini, of Italy, got the better of Polianskyi, and claimed the gold. Keep an eye out too for Schmuel Daniel of Israel, who has not quite made the podium yet, but has often been close!
PR2 Mixed Double Sculls (PR2 Mix2x)
Reigning Paralympic Champion in this boat class, Lauren Rowles is back, with a new partner! Looking to reestablish Great Britain’s position in this event, Rowles will team up with Gregg Stevenson, who will make his international debut. However, all three medal-winning boats from last year’s World Championships are back, unchanged, so the British boat will have some work to do. Ukrainians Iaroslav Koiuda and Svitlana Bohuslavska are reigning European and World Champions in this boat class and will be determined to defend their title. France and Poland also claimed medals at both the European and World Championships last year, so it is likely to be a competitive field. Ireland’s Katie O’Brien and Steve McGowan are also on the rise, and will be searching to reach the podium.
PR3 Mixed Double Sculls (PR2 Mix2x)
This will be the first time that this boat class is contested at the European Rowing Championships. France’s Laurent Cadot took gold in this boat class last year at the World Rowing Championships and will come to Bled with a new partner, Guylaine Marchand. Will that change allow last year’s World bronze medallists, Dariia Kotyk and Stanislav Samoliuk of Ukraine to improve their ranking? Keep an eye too on the new line-up from Great Britain. Annabel Caddick and Samuel Murray will both make their international debut in Bled but, given Great Britain’s reputation in the Paralympic boat classes, they are likely to be in the mix.
PR3 Mixed Coxed Four (PR3 Mix4+)
Four crews will contest this boat class. Great Britain has been a force to be reckoned with for many years, and they return with three out of the five of their World Championship gold medal-winning crew from last year. Reigning European Champion Erin Kennedy returns to the coxes seat after receiving treatment for breast cancer during the last 12 months. However, the crew from Germany is the exact line-up that took silver at last year’s World Championships, and they will undoubtedly be wanting to go one better. Don’t overlook France either, who took bronze in Racice last year and return with a similar line-up. They have been on the podium every year since this boat class was added to the European Rowing Championships programme in 2020.