Day 1: Intense racing on the Rotsee

Timon Wernas Allgemein, Articles

A total of 234 teams in 23 boatclasses from 43 nations entered for the LUCERNE REGATTA 2024. Held immediately following the final Olympic and Paralympic qualification regatta, the races served as a form test for the participating national teams on their way to Paris. The first major competition day was marked by fiercely contested races.

The participation of a significant portion of the world elite from various rowing nations highlights the high importance of the Lucerne Regatta. Unlike in “normal” years, this event did not serve as a final rehearsal ahead of the season’s peak, the World Championships, but as a form test for the rest of the season, including World Cup III in Poznan and the Olympic and Paralympic Regatta in Vaires-sur-Marne near Paris. Under cloudy skies, a few warming rays of sunshine occasionally broke through in the morning until strong gusts of wind began to sweep across the Rotsee at the start of the afternoon session, creating waves and causing delays in the race schedule. These were later replaced by heavy rain showers, soaking the athletes when the races resumed. The race schedule on the Rotsee included preliminary and repechage heats, as well as a round of quarterfinals in the numerically largest single scull category.

Para-Rowing Included in the Regatta Program for the First Time

In addition to the seven Olympic classes for women and men, para-rowing was included as an integral part of the regatta program in Lucerne for the first time. Competitors in seven categories (PR1 and PR2 men’s and women’s single sculls, PR2 mixed double sculls, PR3 men’s pair, and PR3 mixed double sculls) competed for World Cup points.

Large Fields of Participants

A total of 234 teams from 43 nations competed in the seven Olympic boat classes for women and men. Large delegations from Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the USA were put to the test on the Rotsee, while China, France, and Canada sent only small delegations, and leading rowing nation Romania was notably absent.

The First Day of Competition from a Swiss Perspective

The top-rated Swiss boats showed their intent to play a strong role in Lucerne. The pair of Andrin Gulich/Roman Röösli and the lightweight double sculls team of Raphaël Ahumada/Jan Schäuble both won their heats confidently. The other five boats were relegated to the repechage heats, where the women’s double sculls team of Sofia Meakin/Salome Ulrich failed to advance to the semifinals. Shortly after, Aurelia-Maxima Janzen had a better run in her repechage: leading from start to finish, she defeated the veteran American Kara Kohler and advanced to the semifinals. On Saturday, the second day of competition, four more Swiss boats, including para-rower Claire Ghiringhelli, will attempt to advance to the next round of the regatta.

Favorites Showed Their Best Side

Several remarkable performances were seen from top-tier athletes in rowing. For example, three-time German scull world champion Oliver Zeidler appeared dominant. The British lightweight double sculls duo Emily Craig/Immogen Grant, two-time world champions, also had a strong showing. The British pair Oliver Wynne-Griffith/Tom George demonstrated in their heat that they will be a tough challenge for the Swiss duo Andrin Gulich/Roman Röösli in the men’s pair competition. The Dutch pair Ymkje Clevering/Veronique Meesters in the women’s pair and the double sculls team of Melvin Twellar/Stefan Broenink each delivered impressive runs, establishing themselves as favorites in their respective boat classes.

Jürg Trittibach