Day of reckoning arrives for rowers
27 July 2012
ROWING: Australia’s rowers will face their busiest day of the 2012 London Olympic Games on Saturday as eight boats take to the water on the opening day of competition.
It’s a day that has the ability to set the tone for the eight day regatta and the women’s pair of Sarah Tait and Kate Hornsey will lead off for Australia in heat 2.
Tait and Hornsey were both part of the women’s eight crew in Beijing that finished in sixth place at the 2008 Olympic Games but have enjoyed success together in recent times with the pair combining for bronze at the 2011 world championships after a limited preparation.
Tait and Hornsey have drawn world champions New Zealand in their heat and will chase a top two finish to qualify directly for the gold medal race.
Australian men’s quad scull coach John Dreissen welcomed the tough draw his world champion crew received for their heat.
Daniel Noonan, James McRae, Karsten Forsterling and Chris Morgan will take on the form crew of 2012, Croatia, along with Poland and New Zealand, with the top three crews progressing to the semi-finals.
Driessen, who led the men’s quad to fourth in Beijing, before guiding them to silver, bronze and gold at the past three world championships, said it would provide the crew with a good yard stick for the regatta.
“By racing the Croatians who have won two World Cups we will get a clearer sense of how we are going,” Driessen said.
“The guys are feeling good and very confident. They are relaxed and have shown that in their rowing and movement around the boat.”
Defending Olympic champions David Crawshay and Scott Brennan will face off with medal contenders Germany in their first hit out in the men’s double scull.
In a tough heat that also features Slovenia, Crawshay and Brennan require a top three finish to move through to the semi-final stage as they aim to become the first combination to defend the men’s double scull Olympic title since 1924.
Leading Australian sculler Kim Crow will begin her two pronged campaign as she contests the heats of the women’s single scull.
Crow will row from lane three as she becomes one of a select group of athletes in Olympic history to contest two events in the one Olympic regatta.
The talented Victorian, who will also contest the women’s double scull with Brooke Pratley, faces six races in eight days and will look for a positive start in her first race.
In other racing on the opening day of competition the lightweight men’s four will take to the water, while the men’s eight, women’s quad scull and men’s pair all get their first taste of Olympic action.
David Polglase at Eton Dorney