Saundersfoot waves test competitors as 2022 World Coastal Champions crowned: World Rowing
Finals day at the 2022 World Rowing Coastal Championships brought a stiff southerly breeze creating white caps out in Saundersfoot bay and producing challenging conditions for racing crews.
Photos: World Rowing/Ben Rodford
Over a shortened course the rowers battled the waves and each other, and World Champions were crowned in seven events.
Berra bests Dymchenko in battle against elements
There were only two scullers in contention for gold in the coastal women’s solo (CW1x) – Diana Dymchenko (AZE01, Baku RC) and Jessica Berra (FRA01, Endaika Arraun Elkartea). Dymchenko took the early lead but was blown off course, giving a chance for the Frenchwoman to upgrade from her 2021 bronze. The race for bronze this time around was tight throughout, with several scullers in contention. Maria Berg (SWE01, Helsingsborg Roddklubb) came out on top, just over 2 seconds ahead of Sionna Healy (IRL03, Arklow RC).
“Diana had difficulties with the direction of her boat and taking the buoys, and that’s something I’m good at. Every time I saw her having problems, I said to myself, be careful not to do the same thing, and especially when I was a little bit ahead – but not much – that was when I said to myself to row harder to put more distance on her.” Berra said afterwards.
Defending champions win again
Dennis Gustavsson and Eskil Borgh (SWE01, Stockholms och Höganäs Roddförening) took the coastal men’s double sculls (CM2x) final A out hard and established the lead early on. Giacomo Costa and Edoardo Marchetti (ITA01, Rowing Club Genovese 1890) were able to challenge the Swedes for gold, constantly gaining and losing ground as the race developed. But Gustavsson and Borgh proved stronger in the closing stages, successfully defending their title. In a close contest for bronze, Ben Mason and Brook Robertson (NZL01, Nelson RC) emerged triumphant over Javier Madrid Balebona and Adolfo Ferrer Marin (ESP04, RCMD Málaga).
“It was a tough race, but we got out to a better start than in the heat and got the lead quite early, and just held off.” said Borgh.
Spanish coastal knowledge proves vital
All eyes were on the stacked crew from Hawkes Bay RC (NZL01) in the coastal women’s quadruple sculls (CW4x+), but ESP01 (RCMD Málaga) showed first and stayed in front throughout the race. NZL01 were able to make up a bit of ground at one point when the women from Málaga briefly lost grip on a blade, but ultimately the Spaniards’ superior coastal knowledge paid off and they earned a comfortable win. IRL03 (Castletownshend RC) clung to the stern of USA02 (Next Level Rowing) throughout the race, and when the Americans made a mistake, the Irish moved past to claim bronze.
“It was far rougher, wavier, swellier than I thought it was going to be. Literally you’re up in the air and then you’re dumped down the next second. Definitely what I expected compared to yesterday and Friday, so I’m glad I had a rough day out there, but definitely far more wild than I thought it was going to be.” NZL01’s Emma Dyke said.
Two boats in the fight for first
The coastal women’s double sculls (CW2x) final turned into a duel between Janneke van der Meulen and Karien Robbers (NED01, Rv Willem 3) and Monika Dukarska and Rhiannon O’Donoghue (IRL06, Killorglin Rowing Club). The Dutch got their bows in front first, but the Irish women managed to catch them and overtake. In the chicanes, Robbers and van der Meulen regained the lead, and this time Killorglin could not catch up again. Ainoha Casanova Calpena and Nadia Felipe Garcia (ESP01, Club Deportivo de Mar Clot de L’Illot el Campello) moved up through the field to take third.
Quiroga makes up for 2021
At the 2021 World Rowing Coastal Championships, Adrian Miramon Quiroga (IRL06, Wicklow Rowing Club) capsized in the A-Final of the coastal men’s solo, got back in and stormed back through the field to win bronze. This year he had no such issues despite the conditions and looked strong from the start as he secured the title. Ramon Gomez Cotilla (ESP02, RCMD Málaga) improved from fourth to second, tracking Quiroga steadily throughout the race, and it was Matt Dunham (NZL01, Star Boating Club) who seized a fantastic bronze in a strong finish.
GBR go clear in drama-filled quads final
A series of technical mishaps in several crews meant the lead kept changing throughout the coastal men’s quadruple sculls (CM4x+) race. Before turning point 1 (TP1) Andrea Serafino, bowman in ITA01 (Circolo Canottieri Saturnia A.S.D.), came off his seat, giving the advantage to GBR02 (UL Tyrian Club). Egypt then surged into silver medal position and ITA01 chased hard, only for Egypt to have issues at TP2, allowing POR01 (Clube Fluvial Portuense) to get into medal contention. Then POR01 found themselves down a man and FRA01 (Gravelines Aviron) moved into third. Tyrian had a clear run to gold, Saturnia held on for silver, and Gravelines won bronze.
“Incredible, like no other race I’ve ever experienced before. To be able to do it with some of your best mates as well, it’s just an indescribable feeling,” said Tyrian’s Jacob Dawson.
Spain end the day on a high note
Ander Martin Domingo and Esther Briz Zamorano (ESP04, Remo Torrevieja) were never really troubled in the last final of the championships, cruising clear to defend their coastal mixed double sculls (CMix2x) title. But there were some fantastic battles behind them, with Patrick Boomer and Monika Dukarska (IRL01, Loughros Point & Killorglin RC) and Adolfo Ferrer Marin and Teresa Diaz Moreno (ESP01, RCMD Málaga) crossing the line together. Silver eventually went to ESP01 by a margin of just 0.09 seconds. Emma Twigg and Ben Mason (NZL02, Nelson RC), who had looked strong winning their heat yesterday, suffered an early technical issue and pulled out of the race.
The B-Final of the CW2x was the first race to test the conditions and the field was soon spread out. At the head, Taye Le Monnier and Kirsten West (GBR03, Jersey RC) managed the waves superbly and led from start to finish. The course was shortened from 4km to 3km for the next three B-Finals, and in the CM1x it was Mitchel Steenman (NED01, Rv Willem 3) who took the early advantage and held on to win, despite being pressed hard by Christophe Charlemagne (FRA02, Gravelines Aviron).
Kingston RC (CAN01) won the B-Final of the CM4x+, while IRL01 (Loughros Point RC) won a photo-finish for second ahead of a composite of RG Wiking Berlin, Bessel RC Minden, TuS Bramsche and Bremerhavener RV (GER03). Completing finals B, Polish couple Maciej Zawojski and Agnieska Kobus-Zawojska (POL01, AZS AWF Warszawa) held on for a win despite challenges from two crews from SN de la Baie de Saint-Malo.