Friday saw the start of the first round of the 2014 Rowing World Cup as part of this week's Sydney International Rowing Regatta at Penrith. More than 200 competitors have travelled to Australia for the first of three total regattas.
Sydney is hosting the World Cup for the second year in a row, and with a chance to gain some valuable points on home soil before the competition resumes in Europe, many of the top competitors from Australia and New Zealand have descended on the 2000 Olympic regatta course.
Sunday results, recap
Once again the Australian's were dominant in Sunday's finals. Of the 13 races to take place, six were won by the hosts to send the crowd into rapture.
Sally Kehoe and Olumpia Aldersey set the pace in the Women's double sculls final and were holding the lead at halfway, with a settled 35 stroke rate.
Reigning world champions, Lithuania's Donata Vistartaite and Milda Valciukaite, gave themselves too much to do in the latter stages and whilst a quick burst took them second, they were never going to catch Kehoe and Aldersey.
Building on his excellent performance on Friday, Australia's Nicholas Purnell led the way in the men's sculls final, moving quickly away from the field.
However, his over-exuberance saw him tire badly towards the end of the race and a last place finish would not be what he would've envisaged at the start of the race.
Instead, Dirk Uittenbogaard of the Netherlands took up the pace and could not be caught, Australia's Rhys Grant following him home in a distant second.
The mens eight final was an epic encounter. Australia1 got off to the best start, and by 500m were a quarter of a length up on the Netherlands.
New Zealand came with a late sprint to take themselves past Australia2 and with the line approaching they were gaining on the Netherlands with every stroke.
With 200 meters left, Australia1 could afford to ease themselves home, with the Dutch managing to keep the New Zealanders at bay.
|Rowing World Cup - Sunday's Results|
Friday results, recap
As was expected, the hosting Australians put together an excellent first day of competition with multiple teams dominating their races on the way to Sunday's finals.
Angus Moore, Alexander Hill, Spencer Turrin and Alexander Lloyd surprised everyone by winning the opening race in the coxless four, defeating the reigning world champion Dutch boat in the process.
The inexperienced but highly talented Australian crew took an early lead, forcing the Dutch boat (with Vincent van der Want stepping in as a substitute) to play catch-up for the entire race. The world champions came close, but the Australians were able to hold on to send the home crowd into a frenzy.
In the men's pair, Dutch favourites Rogier Blink and Mitchell Steenman did what they had to do, easily handling the field of crews to book their place in Sunday's finals.
A valiant effort from New Zealand's Thomas Murray and Alex Kennedy kept things exciting, but the youngsters lacked the power to overtake the 2013 bronze medalists.
The team's women's pair did better, however, with favourites Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt easily dominating heat one to secure a spot in the middle lanes on Sunday.
The women's double scull saw one of the strongest fields with several of last year's medallists present, but the team of Olympia Aldersey and Sally Kehoe won it for the hosts, holding off the heavily favoured Lithuanian crew.
Australia also performed well in the single sculls with Nicholas Purnell recording the fastest qualifying time and reigning Olympic champion Kim Crow dominating her race from start to finish.
In the men's eight, the top crews of Australia and Holland finally went head-to-head, giving spectators a marvelous show to end the first day of qualifiers. Though the hosts grabbed the early lead and pushed the tempo, Holland were able to beat the Aussie crew with a big final push in the sprint.
|Rowing World Cup - Friday results|
|Rowing World Cup - Saturday races|
Listings of further positions and times can be found at Rowingone.com.
Competition will resume on Saturday with the remaining teams racing for a spot and a favourable lane in Sunday's finals.