Road to Paris

Nothing in the career of a rower is more important than the Olympic Games. But only a few get the chance to participate. The next Games are fast approaching, and the race for the limited starting spots has already begun.

For many, the dream of participating in the Olympics remains just that, a dream. Even fewer, manage to win a medal. And those who manage to win multiple Olympic medals crown themselves as the absolute superstars of the sport.

From July 27th to August 3rd, 2024, the rowing competitions will take place at the Olympic Games in Paris. Just under four weeks later, on August 30th, 2024, the rowing regatta will begin at the Paralympic Games. The race to qualify for a start in Paris has begun. Because this year, at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, most of the starting spots will be allocated.

In total, 502 athletes in 14 boat classes will compete for rowing medals at the Olympic Games, and 104 athletes in five boat classes will compete at the Paralympic Games. After Tokyo 2021, it is the second time, that there are exactly the same number of women and men. But how exactly can one qualify for the Games? For each boat class and gender, there are limited number of boats who are allowed to start.

To qualify for the Games, athletes have the following options:

  1. The World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, from September 3rd to 10th, 2023

During the World Championships, 114 rowing boats and 50 para-rowing will earn their spots. This promises not only exciting races for medals at the top of the field but also a fierce battle at the other end of the field, when crews will be racing for the all-important tickets to Paris. At the LUCERNE REGATTA 2023, teams had a final chance to compete with the competition from all over the world and gain valuable insights for the last weeks of preparation leading up to the World Championships.

  1. The Continental Qualification Regattas

50 regular boats and 12 Para boats will secure their spot through continental qualification regattas in 2024. There will be four continental qualification regattas: in Asia/Oceania, Africa, America, and Europe. Only nations that have not yet qualified any or only one boat for the Games at the World Championships are eligible to participate. Unlike the starting spots obtained at the World Championships, there can be no reassignment of athletes qualified at the continental qualification regattas by their national federations.

  1. The final qualification regatta in Lucerne from May 19th to 21st, 2024

Another 30 rowing and 7 para-rowing boats will use the last chance at the Rotsee to qualify for Paris 2024. Here too, for the total of 96 regular athletes and 12 Para athletes who earn a spot, once they secure a place, they are fixed in the boat – there can be no reassignment by national federations. This regatta, bearing the unfortunate nickname “Regatta of Death,” determines whether an international rowing career will be crowned with participation in the Games or not.

Just under a year to go until the Olympic regatta

It’s now just under a year until the Olympic regatta in Paris. The countdown is on… and the excitement for the moment when we will hear “Attention, Go!” from July 27th to August 3rd, 2024, in Vaires-sur-Marne is rising.

Exciting and High-Quality Rowing on the Final Day of LUCERNE REGATTA

26 races – 12 B-finals and 14 A-finals – were scheduled for the third and final day of the LUCERNE REGATTA. As they say, “third time’s a charm,” and this was certainly the case with the ideal rowing conditions prevailing throughout this year’s regatta on the Rotsee. Four boats from SWISS ROWING qualified for the finals on Saturday and Sunday, and all of them made it to the podium for the medal ceremony. Despite scorching temperatures, the rowers were provided with excellent water conditions, making it an ideal setting for their performances on the divine waters of Lake Lucerne. Additionally, the A-final day on Sunday attracted a large number of spectators – an enthusiastic audience that cheered on and supported the athletes during their races.

Most Successful Rowing Nations

The British delegation stood out as the dominant rowing nation at Lake Rotsee. They secured an impressive total of 9 medals, including four gold, three silver, and two bronze medals. The Dutch team also delivered a strong performance with a total of 5 medals – 4 gold and one bronze. The Romanian and Australian national teams also achieved notable success, earning 6 and 5 medals, respectively, both with two gold medals each. The four medals won by SWISS ROWING positioned them remarkably well among the top rowing nations. With one gold and three bronze medals, they showcased the excellent work of their organization.

First ever para finals on the Rotsee

Oficially held as an exhibition race, the finals in the PR1 men and women’s single sculls were announced as one of the highlights of this year’s LUCERNE REGATTA. With a 120 year old tradition, it was the first time ever, that the Regatta hosted para-competitions in Lucerne. The men’s race was led and dominated by Shmuel Daniel (ISR) who showed an impressive performance and won ahead of Marcus Klemp (GER) and Arkadiusz Skrzypiński (POL). In the women’s race both spectators and experts were curious to see whether Birgit Skarstein (NOR) would return to winning after having lost the heat on the previous day to Moran Samuel (ISR). She did so in a very impressive manner. Third place went to Emanuela Diening (GER) with local hero Claire Giringhelli (SUI) finishing just outside the podium in fourth position.

Final Decisions

The A-finals kicked off with the smallest but most demanding category – the women’s pair. The competition was dominated from start to finish by the Australian duo Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre, who were part of the Olympic gold medal-winning four without coxswain at the Tokyo Olympics. Additionally, they secured the overall World Cup victory in their category. The Romanian pair Ioana Vrinceanu and Roxana Anghel consistently held onto the silver position. The bronze medal went to the Greek duo Evangelia Anastasiadou and Christina Ioanna Bourmpou.

In the men’s pair, the Irish rowers Ross Corrigan and Nathan Timoney set the pace from the start, but later on, the Romanians Marius Cozmiuc and Sergiu Bejan, along with the British world champions from the previous year, Oliver Wynne-Griffith and Thomas George, took the lead. The Swiss pair of Andrin Gulich and Roman Röösli followed in their wake. Ultimately, the British secured the victory, just 34 hundredths of a second ahead of the Romanians. The Swiss duo completed the podium, winning the bronze medal and the overall World Cup title in the men’s pair category.

In the lightweight women’s double sculls, the Greek duo of Dimitra Elenei Kontou – still a junior and only 17 years old – and Zoi Fitsiou set the pace from the beginning. However, the favored British duo and last year’s world champions, Emily Craig and Imogen Grant, took control before the 1000-meter mark and maintained their lead until the end. The Greeks couldn’t fend off the charging Romanians Mariana-Laura Dumitru and Ionela Cozmiuc, who secured the silver medal. The men’s lightweight double sculls saw the French rowers Hugo Beurey and Ferdinand Ludwig making an early offensive move. The Swiss pair of Jan Schäuble and Raphael Ahumada then briefly took the lead. Subsequently, the Irish rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan took charge and seemed to be in a comfortable position to win. However, the seemingly defeated French duo found a second wind and executed a strong sprint to snatch the victory away from the Irish in the final moments of the race. The Swiss pair secured third place and the overall World Cup victory in the lightweight men’s double sculls category.

In the women’s quadruple sculls, the Dutch crew took the lead right from the start. The world champions and Olympic gold medalists from China closely followed, along with the British and Swiss boats – featuring Célia Dupré, Pascale Walker, Lisa Lötscher, and Fabienne Schweizer. The Dutch team comfortably maintained their top position, while the Chinese were overtaken by the British and, surprisingly, the Swiss crew, who managed to secure the bronze medal. This was the first time a Swiss women’s heavyweight boat appeared on a World Cup podium, and they also won the overall World Cup title in the category.

In the men’s quadruple sculls, the Dutch crew established dominance from the start. The Germans and British boats initially tried to chase them down, but the Romanian boat made a strong effort in the later stages of the race, pushing the Germans back and securing the silver medal behind the Netherlands. It’s worth noting that the Estonian boat, with Tonu Endrekson, the oldest participant in the Lucerne Regatta at 44 years old, finished in sixth place.

In the men’s coxless four competition, the Dutch crew took the lead early on. However, after the 1000-meter mark, the first of two British boats assumed control. The Australians chased them, and later on, the New Zealanders increased their pace, overtaking the Dutch and securing the bronze medal behind the British and Australian boats. In the women’s coxless four event, the Australian crew took the lead immediately and held onto their position for most of the race. The Dutch, Romanian, and British boats closely followed. The Dutch team faltered due to the high pace, dropping back, while the Romanians managed to overtake the Australians to secure the victory. The British team took the bronze medal.

In the women’s single sculls, the Dutch rower Karolien Florijn established herself as the leader from the start. Australian Tara Rigney and veteran Emma Twigg from New Zealand followed closely. This order remained unchanged throughout the race, with the three other finalists finishing more than 8 seconds behind, effectively having their own separate race.

In the men’s single sculls, German rowing star Oliver Zeidler dominated the race from the beginning and impressively claimed the lead. At times, he extended his advantage to 16 meters over the following Danish sculler, Sverri Nielsen. Although Nielsen seemed to reduce the gap at one point, Zeidler pulled away again and won the race with an almost 8-second lead. Nielsen secured the silver medal, while New Zealander Thomas Mackintosh, who transitioned from the eight to the single scull, claimed the bronze.

In the women’s double sculls, the Romanian Olympic champions from Tokyo, world champions from Racice, and European champions from Bled, Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis, set the tone from the start and maintained their lead. The Chinese and Lithuanian boats tried to keep the distance as close as possible, but the Romanian crew held their pace effortlessly. The Lithuanians, Donata Kareliene and Dovile Rimkute, overtook the Chinese duo of Shiyu Lu and Shunagmei Shen and secured the silver medal.

In the men’s double sculls, the two-time Olympic champions, six-time world champions, and seven-time European champions Valent and Martin Sinkovic returned to their usual category after five seasons in the pair without coxswain. However, they were upstaged by the Dutch rowers Melvin Twellaar and Stefan Broenink, who led from the start and increased their pace, maintaining an impressive stroke rate of 40 per minute for a significant portion of the race. The brothers from Zagreb had to settle for the silver medal. The Spanish duo Aleix Garcia Pujolar and Rodrigo Conde Romero held the third position for most of the race, but the Irish rowers Daire Lynch and Philip Doyle executed a powerful sprint towards the end, securing the bronze medal.

In the women’s eight race, the Australian crew dominated for most of the race. After 1,500 meters, the Canadian team went on the offensive, with the British boat in tow, ultimately claiming the lead. The Canadians had to settle for second place in the final 250 meters behind the British. The Romanian team never seriously contended for the top spots and finished last among the four competing boats.

In a close-fought men’s eight race, the British team took the lead from the start, closely followed by the Australian boat. The Romanians held onto the third position for most of the race, but in the last quarter of the race, the Dutch crew surged forward to snatch the bronze medal. The top two positions remained unchanged, with Australia finishing ahead of Great Britain.

Final day for the other Swiss boats

The B-finals started with the women’s double sculls, where the Swiss duo of Sofia Meakin (CA Vésenaz) and Salome Ulrich (See-Club Luzern) competed for places 7 to 12. The two rowers initially mixed well with the field, briefly falling behind but eventually executing an impressive final sprint to secure second place in the B-final and finish eighth overall. They finished just behind the German pair of Maren Völz and Leonie Menzel.

In the B-final of the lightweight women’s double sculls, two Swiss boats competed. Frédérique Rol (Lausanne-Sports Aviron) and Patricia Merz (SC Zug) formed “Switzerland 1” and consistently held onto the third position throughout the race, finishing in the same place at the finish line. In the final stages of the race, Eline Rol (SN Genève Aviron) and Olivia Nacht (RC Baden) were able to improve their position and cross the finish line in fifth place. In terms of the overall rankings, these results placed them in ninth and eleventh positions.

Jürg Trittibach

Semifinal Day at LUCERNE REGATTA

The second day of competition at LUCERNE REGATTA featured 51 races on the race schedule. Once again, the athletes enjoyed extremely fair conditions during the all-important races, where the finalists for Sunday’s finals were determined. The day ended with the first two A-finals. In the lightweight single scull category Andri Struzina won for Switzerland on the men’s side, and Sophia Luwis for the USA on the women’s side.

Copy and Paste: What applied to the conditions for athletes and spectators on Friday’s first day of competition was also true on Saturday at the concluding LUCERNE REGATTA of the 2023 World Cup series. Initially pleasant temperatures, which significantly increased during the afternoon, ideal water conditions, and barely noticeable tailwind. The main events included semifinals, last-chance races, C, D, E, and F finals, as well as the finals of the non-Olympic lightweight categories.

Most successful rowing nations

The semifinal competitions for the (largely) A finals taking place on Sunday saw Australia and Great Britain with 8 final qualifications as the most successful. Romania and the Netherlands secured 7, followed by New Zealand and Ireland with 6 final qualifications. Spain with 5, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Greece qualified 4 times for the A finals.

First final decisions

The first decisions in the non-Olympic lightweight boat classes were made on Saturday. Notably, in the women’s single scull, American Sophia Luwis clearly outperformed Irish Siobhan Mccrohan and Briton Olivia Bates for the top medals.

In the men’s category, Andri Struzina secured his first World Cup victory of his career in a fiercely contested sprint on the last meters against the long-time dominant Polish veteran Artur Mikolajczewski, who had previously won in Luzern in 2017. Frenchman Baptiste Savaete narrowly claimed the bronze medal, defeating Spaniard Manel Balastegui.

The second day of competition from the Swiss perspective

European champions Andrin Gulich/Roman Röösli confidently secured their place in the final in their men’s pair semifinal. Although the Irish duo Corrigan/Timoney led in the first 1000 meters, the two Swiss rowers took control and managed the race. Their main competitors in the final will be the two boats from Great Britain (Wynne-Griffith/George) and Romania (Cozmiuc/Bejan), who clearly dominated the other semifinal.

Raphaël Ahumada and Jan Schäuble secured their place in the final of the lightweight men’s double sculls, finishing second in the faster of the two semifinals behind the returning Olympic champions from Tokyo, Paul O’Donovan/Fintan McCarthy.

The Swiss women’s quadruple sculls team, consisting of Célia Dupre, Pascale Walker, Lisa Lötscher, and Fabienne Schweizer from the Success Project pool, earned their place in the final after a hard-fought repechage, where they managed to beat the German boat that had consistently been ahead of them this season.

In the women’s double sculls, Sofia Meakin and Salome Ulrich initially kept up with the competition but gradually lost ground. They will compete in the B-final on Sunday.

Unfortunately, the two lightweight women’s double sculls did not qualify for the finals. Both Frédérique Ro/Patricia Merz, who improved to 4th place in the semifinals, and Eline Rol/Olivia Nacht, finishing 6th in their race, fought bravely but ultimately realized that they would compete in the Sunday B-final.

The Swiss single scull competitors, Scott Bärlocher and Tim Roth, were already busy in the D and E finals early in the competition day. Bärlocher finished 21st overall, while Roth secured 26th place in the overall ranking. The coxless pair, Joel Schürch/Patrick Brunner, who advanced to the C-finals, finished 15th overall, and the double sculls duo Jonah Plock/Nils Schneider, who also made the C-final, ranked 18th overall. It’s worth mentioning that all these athletes have been predominantly competing in the larger boats, the coxless four and quadruple sculls, during this year’s international season and were only divided into pairs for the LUCERNE REGATTA.

by Jürg Trittibach

Intense Racing schedule on Day 1 of the LUCERNE REGATTA 2023

A record-breaking number of participants had registered for the LUCERNE REGATTA. 700 rowers from no fewer than 52 nations competed on Lake Rotsee. Ideal conditions prevailed with exceptionally warm temperatures. The first day of intense competition marked the start of the best-attended regatta before the upcoming World Championships.

The presence of the almost complete world elite from various rowing nations attests to the high ranking of the Lucerne Regatta. Traditionally, it is the most important international showdown of the rowing year, second only to the World Championships. It serves as a crucial test before the World Championships scheduled in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, in September. Moreover, it is also an opportunity to secure Olympic quota places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on the Save sidearm. The event took place in excellent conditions with warm to hot temperatures, calm water, and a gentle breeze of northerly winds at times throughout the day.

Large fields of participants

More than 700 rowers from 52 nations competed in the Olympic 7 boat classes, and for the first time and for testing purposes, two Para-Skiff events were introduced. Notably, China, Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and Romania sent sizable delegations to test their skills on Lake Rotsee. In contrast, the USA and Italy only sent small delegations. Once again, it was evident that nations with a broad range of competitive athletes are more likely to perform at the forefront.

The first competition day from a Swiss perspective

The highly regarded Swiss boats demonstrated their ambition to perform strongly in Lucerne. Notably, the pair of Andrin Gulich and Roman Röösli and the lightweight double sculls crew of Raphaël Ahumada and Jan Schäuble, both fresh European champions and World Cup winners in Zagreb, impressed with their performances. The women’s double sculls crew of Sofia Meakin and Salome Ulrich also qualified for the semifinals. However, in the women’s quadruple sculls competition, only the winning boat directly qualified for the A-final. The Swiss crew with Célia Dupré, Pascale Walker, Lisa Lötscher, and Fabienne Schweizer finished second behind the very strong and newly formed Dutch crew and will aim to secure a spot among the top six in the Saturday repechage. The lightweight rowers Frédérique Rol and Patricia Merz, as well as Eline Rol and Olivia Nacht – both competing in the double sculls – and Andri Struzina in the single sculls, qualified for the semifinals.

The rowers who typically form the SWISS ROWING men’s quadruple sculls participated in the double sculls. Both pairs, Jonah Plock and Nils Schneider, as well as Maurin Lange and Dominic Condrau, advanced to the C-final. Similarly, Joel Schürch and Patrick Brunner, usually part of the men’s four, competed in the pair without coxswain and were also relegated to the C-final. Scott Bärlocher and Tim Roth, competing in the single sculls, will compete in the D and E finals, respectively.

by Jürg Trittibach

rob’s hood at the LUCERNE REGATTA

by Regula Schweizer

At the beginning of the year the Swiss high performance rower, Jeannine Gmelin, retired from active sports. Today she has a new task at the Lucerne Regatta: She welcomes guests as a hostess and barista in “rob’s hood” coffee lounge. It is a tribute to her coach and partner, Robin Dowell, who unexpectedly passed away in December 2022.


Jeannine Gmelin, what does a perfect coffee taste like to you?

Not sour. Not bitter. I prefer a sweet coffee with a chocolate note. Of course always with milk.

It is unusual to talk with you about the perfect cup of coffee instead of the perfect rowing stroke.

I understand that. But you know, going out for a good cup of coffee has always been important to me, even as a high performance rower. It’s a break from everyday life or a short recovery pause during the World Championships.

Your long time trainer and partner Robin Dowell passed away unexpectedly at the end of last year. You shared his passion for coffee.

Robin loved coffee. For him, the passion for coffee came right after his love for rowing. While I may not be as passionate about coffee as he was. During lockdown when we were suddenly unable to enjoy good coffee outside, he bought a professional coffee machine so we wouldn’t have to go without.

This is how the idea of honoring him with a coffee lounge at the Lucerne Regatta started?

It wasn’t exactly my idea, it was his. In 2022, we discovered the roastery “400mg” during the regatta. Today, “400mg” is based in Hitzkirch, but back then the roastery was located right by the Rotsee. We were impressed with their coffee and Robin started talking to the owner. We couldn’t spontaneously execute the idea for 2022, but last autumn, Robin began all the necessary preparations with the roastery and the director of the Lucerne Regatta, Timon Wernas. So that this year all coaches, athletes, staff and visitors of the Lucerne Regatta can enjoy an amazing coffee.

This vision is now becoming reality.

In spring, I realized that this was a way to honor him. So, I reconnected with all my contacts and tried to make it happen. The reactions were very positive and

once again it showed me how Robin could inspire people, whether they were coffee roasters, graphic designers or regatta directors.

As an exceptional Allrounder, you have been at the start of the Lucerne Regatta for many years. This year, you will be running a coffee lounge. How did you prepare?

A good coffee can’t be made with the push of a single button. A good coffee is a craft. I took a barista course as well as a latte art course. My sister accompanied me and will also support me at the regatta – as well as Robin’s sister Megan. After those courses, I’m even more impressed by how Robin taught himself the art of coffee preparation. He never bragged about it and never got frustrated when he couldn’t manage something on the first try. Actually that describes him very well. He was always looking for solutions and sometimes (Jeaninne laughing) he just had a “stuure grind” *( funny swiss expression for being stubborn).

Do you have respect to return to Rotsee after your retirement as a rower?

No, I don’t have respect, but it’s going to be tough. It will be tough because it will remind me of what I no longer have. I did not retire because I no longer wanted to live the life of an athlete or race anymore. The reason why I won’t be on the water at Rotsee this year, but rather running a coffee lounge, is because Robin is no longer here. Having this project “rob’s hood” gives me a lot of purpose. I am doing it for myself, but primarily for Robin.

“rob’s hood” is located directly at the boat park area, somewhat shielded from the racing action. Will you still be watching the women’s singles races down at the course?

Yes, I think so. The athletes were my competitors, but we traveled together for almost ten years and experienced a lot together. One special memory is certainly the races in the Great Eight. The Great Eight is a composition of the best athletes of the world, the seats get selected after the season is over. That’s why in all those years as opponents we still formed a tight bond which results in friendship that will last a lifetime.

Long-time competitors and friends of the rowing community can stop by for a quick espresso or a flat white. Who are you most excited to see?

Robin had many role models, friends, and “competitors” in the international rowing world, whom he always treated with respect for their work. I am looking forward to hopefully greeting many of them for a coffee. Preferably, with a good story about their experiences with Robin, and write down a memory in the guestbook that will be available, so that those memories will live on forever.

Record high entries at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne

The LUCERNE REGATTA 2023 is set to break records with a huge number of participants. Nearly 700 athletes from 52 nations will compete at the event held on the Rotsee. The men’s single sculls category has a record-breaking 46 boats registered, including favorites such as World Champion Oliver Zeidler (Germany) and Olympic champion Stefanos Ntouskos (Greece). The women’s single sculls category also promises fierce competition with 30 registered athletes, including last year’s champion Alexandra Foester (Germany) who will be challenged by Olympic champion Emma Twigg (New Zealand) and last year’s runner-up Tara Rigney (Australia). The eights category is expected to be an exciting race, as three boats finished the final within half a second at the European Championships in Bled. The Netherlands, Great Britain and Roumania are all coming to Lucerne to fight it out once more.

Swiss Fireworks expected

The Swiss team has had an excellent start to the 2023 rowing season, achieving historic results at the first World Rowing Cup in Zagreb and winning four medals at the European Championships. The European champion crews in the men’s pair (Roman Röösli and Andrin Gulich) and the lightweight men’s double sculls (Jan Schäuble and Raphaël Ahumada) are expected to make the crowd go crzay at the Rotsee. The women’s quadruple sculls (Célia Dupré, Pascale Walker, Lisa Lötscher, and Fabienne Schweizer) also aim to compete for medals after narrowly missing the podium by 13 hundredths of a second at the second World Rowing Cup in Varese.

For the first time ever: Para-rowing in Lucerne

The LUCERNE REGATTA will witness the first international para-rowing races this year. Some of the world’s best PR1 athletes, including five-time para-world champion Birgit Skarstein (Norway) and Swiss para-rower Claire Ghiringhelli, will participate in two invitational PR1 single scull races. This initiative sets the stage for the final qualification for the Paralympic Games to be held at the Rotsee in 2024 in parallel with the final Olympic qualification Regatta.
Note: the para races are taking place on Saturday, 8. Juy 14:30 (test race) and Sunday, 9 July 12:15 (finals)

The return of the Queen of the Rotsee

Jeannine Gmelin, the most successful Swiss rower in history, will be present at the Rotsee despite retiring from elite sports. She will operate “rob’s hood” coffee lounge at the Rotsee in honor of her late coach and partner Robin Dowell. The LUCERNE REGATTA will celebrate Gmelin’s incredible career and recognize her contributions to Swiss sports.
Note: rob’s hood will be open Wednesday/Thursday (8h-16h) and Friday-Sunday (6h-16h) – get your coffee in the ground floor of the rowing centre (boatpark area)

Thomas Keller Medal in Lucerne

During the event, the Thomas Keller Medal, the highest award in rowing, will be presented to former rowing star Mahé Drysdale of New Zealand. Drysdale, a two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion in the men’s single sculls, has left an indelible mark on the sport. He will officially receive the Thomas Keller Medal during the Regatta.
Note: the ceremony will take place on Saturday, 8. July at 10h00 at the rowing centre (boatpark area)



Final Olympic and Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne

The Lucerne Regatta, with its 120-year history, is set to make a historic addition this year. For the first time ever, Para-athletes will compete on the iconic Rotsee. This milestone marks a significant step towards inclusivity and equal opportunities within the sport. As announced by World Rowing today, in May 2024, both the final spots for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris will be awarded at the Rotsee, presenting both a formidable challenge and a tremendous opportunity for Lucerne.

With the combined Olympics and Paralympics qualification regatta in 2024, up to 65 additional boats are expected, necessitating an adapted logistics concept due to limited space and the need to protect the sensitive environment around the Rotsee. The logistical and organizational considerations pose significant challenges for the organizing committee. The new director of the LUCERNE REGATTA comments: “Thankfully, the entire team is highly motivated to see this through and is working hard to solve the numerous challenges we are facing.”

To ensure optimal preparation for the 2024 qualification regatta, two Para-category races will be conducted as part of this year’s World Rowing Cup III Regatta in July. This serves as a test for the new Para concept, allowing valuable insights and collaborative optimization with athletes for 2024. The proof of concept event and the 2024 qualification regatta are part of the Lucerne Regatta’s gradual inclusion strategy for Para competitions on the Rotsee.

The Lucerne Regatta emphasizes the importance of support from partner organizations such as the “Schweizer Paraplegiker-Vereinigung”, “PluSport Behindertensport Schweiz”, and Suva, a long-term integration partner in disabled sports. Their expertise and collaboration are invaluable in ensuring the success of a long-term Para-rowing integration at the LUCERNE REGATTA.

Para-rowing beyond the LUCERNE REGATTA

The Lucerne Regatta aims to contribute to a more inclusive society beyond the event itself. With the introduction of Para rowing, the goal is to promote Para rowing in grassroots and youth sports. To this end, a first para-rowing event was held together with SWISS ROWING and other partners, addressing key topics such as safety, equipment, and training sciences. Swiss Rowing Club representatives from across the country attended the event.

Additional information about the introduction of para-rowing in Lucerne can be found in the following press release (released on 02.06.2023): LINK

Fantastic performances at the Europeans in Bled

When the rowing world travels to Slowenia and races on Lake Bled, beautiful images are guaranteed. For this year’s European Championships it was not only the beautiful scenery but more importantly the strong performances of the athletes, that impressed most. To have such tight and fast racing early in the season is very promising for what’s to come. With the World Rowing Cup in Lucerne approaching fast we look forward to welcoming many of those fast crews on Rotsee.

Get your ticket for the LUCERNE REGATTA 2023 now!

The ticket sale for the 2023 LUCERNE REGATTA is now officially open. Get your ticket to experience the unique atmosphere at the “Lake of Gods” and watch the world’s best athletes cross the line right in front of you. The grandstand also covers you from the weather and secures you the best view on the big screen in the finish area.

Get your tickets now!

Five months as director of the LUCERNE REGATTA

It’s been five months since Timon Wernas took over as new director of the LUCERNE REGATTA. We seized the opportunity to sit down with him and ask him a few questions about his first few months.

Timon Wernas, you started as director of LUCERNE REGATTA just under 5 months ago. If you were to describe your start with 3 words, which would you choose?

Exciting, intensive and informative. Every new job should be exciting, but this one was a bit more exciting than expected because I don’t have a predecessor and the position as such did previously not exist. In an organisation that has been around for almost 120 years… Where do you even start? How do I define my tasks? These were (and to some extent still are) very exciting questions.

Intense because the time until the next LUCERNE REGATTA is running (today there are just under 200 days left) and there is still an incredible amount to learn and understand. The organisation of a rowing regatta at the level of the LUCERNE REGATTA is complex in itself, but with the previous fully voluntary organisation, many processes have been very neatly adjusted and optimized over many years to make them as efficient as possible. No time to waste when you are sacrificing your weekends and evenings… In turn, this means that all changes have to be very well thought through. And while I am now making a living with this task, the big bulk of the organization remains volunteers.

It’s also been very informative first five months, because in addition to being director of the LUCERNE REGATTA, I work in a company that organises other large sporting events in Lucerne. There are a lot of potential synergies and, above all, a huge wealth of experience from which I and the whole regatta can benefit.

As you already mentioned, you work for athletics sportconsulting GmbH, which also provides the office for the SwissCityMarathon Lucerne and the “Luzerner Stadtlauf” (Lucerne City Run). How is the collaboration going?

It’s going really well, I’ve been able to integrate very well and have a very helpful team on site here. Reto Schorno (managing director of the marathon), a former board member of the LUCERNE REGATTA, is also part of the team and already knows a lot about the regatta. I don’t work full time for the regatta, and am allowed to spend the rest of my time helping the other ASC events. So this year’s marathon certainly counts as one of my highlights. Here I was able to experience for the first time how things work during such a big event and how the team functions.

Back to the LUCERNE REGATTA, where is the current focus of your work?

In the first few weeks, I have mainly been working on getting to know the existing organisation: Who is responsible for what? Where are the most important interfaces? And, of course, a lot of attention was paid to financing. In the past years, the association has been very careful with the available funds and has created a solid basis which allowed the professionalization in the first place. Now, however, the first step is to secure the professionalisation in the long term and, to do so, raising additional funds. This will allow to further develop the association and with that, the LUCERNE REGATTA as such.

You’re talking about further development? What can we expect from the LUCERNE REGATTA in 2023 and in the future?

First and foremost, we want to continue doing what we’ve done so well so far: having the world’s top rowers at the start in Lucerne and offering exciting rowing sport. Beyond that, however, we can certainly continue to develop as an event and improve the event character of the regatta. In the future, we want the World Cup Weekend to attract more people who are not (yet) die-hard rowing fans. From a sports point of view, the inclusion of para-rowing, for example, is an important milestone in order to be able to hold major international events again in the future. The latter remains our goal. While this is a big challenge, especially for our logistics at the Rotsee, it also offers a lot of opportunities. Rowing is a sport for everyone, and people with disabilities should have the opportunity to compete with each other on the highest level and on the best stage as well. The last rowing world championship titles in Lucerne were awarded in 2001. With the successful European Rowing Championships in 2019, we have shown that we are ready for more international championships. For 2023, it is still a little early for further concrete measures at the moment, but I am confident that some changes will be noticeable on Lake Rotsee. So it is definitely worth coming by.

Thank you for your time!