The independent voice of rowing in Britain

Ukraine unassailable (W4x final Munich)

Posted by rowingvoice on June 21, 2012

There is no doubt that Ukraine’s women’s quad are head and shoulders above anyone else this year.  Even Germany’s attempt to get on terms by putting Britta Oppelt and Annekatrin Thiele back into the big boat didn’t dent Ukraine’s confidence in the first straight final of the day.  The blue and yellow blades sat second to Australia for several hundred metres in the Munich final, then just steadily leaned into the stroke and stamped on, moving steadily ahead at 33 strokes a minute.

There was no response to this power, and Germany and Australia found themselves bowball to bowball as Ukraine swept ahead.  Suddenly, charging up the field, came the GB quad.  For the first time in the season the British crew, now stroked by two-times Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood, found its top gear just in time to seize bronze.  Though there wasn’t quite the technique the Brits have found in previous year — it could have been silver had there not been difficulties getting away from the bow side buoys in the final hundred metres.

“Obviously it is a different crew,” said GBR 3-woman Fran Houghton.  “We’ve always known Debbie is like a super-racer and she’s just prepared us really well for the racing.  It’s good to be back on the podium.  It means we’re back in touch.”  Beth Rodford acknowledged she will be brushing up on her steering.  “I had the rudder on — sorry guys!”

Look out for strong improvements from the Aussies and Brits over the weeks before the Olympics, and the Americans will be back to join the party too.  The German quad could improve fast now that it has been settled.  But everyone’s got a lot to do to catch up with Ukraine.

Rachel Quarrell

Gold Ukraine, silver Germany, bronze Great Britain; AUS, NZL.


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