Ireland On The Brink Of History At World Rowing Championships

The World Rowing Championships kicked-off on Sunday 9th September, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. This is the second time Plovdiv have held the World Rowing Championships, having previously hosted six years ago.
Rowing Ireland have sent one of their largest teams ever, consisting of a total of seventeen athletes. Amongst these athletes, are seven women, in four crew boats. The squad comprises of:

Aifric Keogh & Emily Hegarty W2- – Women’s Pair
Sanita Puspure W1x – Single Sculls
Aileen Crowley & Monika Dukarska W2x – Double Sculls
Denise Walsh & Aoife Casey LW2x – Lightweight Double Sculls

With the finals taking place this weekend, on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th, Ireland are on course to once again bring home more rowing success. The finals can be viewed on RTE2  on Saturday from 9.20am and Sunday from 9.50am.
Here is a roundup of the actions so far:

Aifric Keogh & Emily Hegarty – Women’s Pair

On Day 1 of the Championships, the relatively new crew combination of Emily Hegarty and Aifric Keogh were the first of the Irish crews to take to the water. Drawn into a stacked heat with the current world champions, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand, the pair progressed directly to the A/B semi-finals after securing an excellent finish, which earned them second place behind the New Zealand crew. After crossing the half-way mark in third, pair picked up the pace and pushed through to finish two seconds ahead of the USA in third-place with a time of 7:11.51.
Today, the pair made history as they qualified for the A-final on Saturday after winning their semi-final. In what was a thrilling race, the duo showed remarkable composure and experience. Having been fifth for the majority of the race, the pair changed gears with 750m to go and progressively climbed the rankings and crossed over in first-place. Ireland crossed over in a time of 7:14.67 with Italy in second at 7:14.99.
In what is expected to be a closely contested final, 20-year old Emily Hegarty and 26-year old Aifric Keogh will compete in the A-final on Saturday 9th, at 9.30am.

Sanita Puspure – Single Sculls

Two-time Olympian Sanita Puspure, dominated her field as she finished almost 14 seconds clear of her nearest rival Fie Udby Erichsen in second place. Competing in heat one of the single sculls, Puspure stole the show as she was clocked as the fastest qualifying time across all the heats, crossing over in 7:25.78.
Puspure is the 2018 World Rowing Cup I and III silver medallist. She decided not to compete at the European Championships and based on the evidence of her performance, the decision was vindicated as she appeared to be in peak form.
Despite this, she will be aware of the strong competition and will aim to qualify for Sunday’s final in her semi-final tomorrow at 10.07am.

Denise Walsh & Aoife Casey – Lightweight Double Sculls

In the afternoon on Day 1, the Skibbereen double of Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey competed in the lightweight double sculls. It was a tough day for the crew they missed out on automatic qualification for the A/B semi-final, finishing fourth. The crew had a second chance to book their spot in the A/B semi-final in the repechages. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as they were marginally edged out by the Swiss and Japanese crews by three seconds.
As a result, the crew progressed to the C/D semi-final where they produced a fine display to finish first in a time of 7:20.51. The lightweight women finished four seconds faster than their nearest rivals Spain in second and will now race in the C-final on Saturday Aoife Casey and Denise Walsh won their lightweight double sculls C/D semi-final by four seconds from Spain and also go again on Saturday at 12:45pm.
Walsh and Casey competed for the first time together at the European Championships in Glasgow, where they placed eighth overall. Denish Walsh is the more experienced rower at this level, winning Silver at the 2017 European Championships. 19-year old Aoife Casey has just completed her Leaving Certificate. The newly formed crew are showing plenty of promise and with the ultimate goal of Tokyo 2020 in sight, the experience formed together will be priceless.

Aileen Crowley & Monika Dukarska–  Double Sculls

Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska took sixth place in their double sculls heat to go through to the repechages. In a strong field, the crew got off to a blistering start and were in third position after the first 500m. At the half-way mark, the crew moved down to fifth position but were unable to make a final push and crossed over with a time of 7:08.79.
In the repechages, the top three boats would progress to the A/B semi-finals whereas the rest of the field would compete in the C-final. Starting in Lane 1, the double were once again quick off the start. At the 500m mark they were in second place behind Germany. At the half-way mark, there was little to separate the crews as there was less than a second difference between second and sixth. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep up with the pace and eventually crossed over in fifth place. The Czech Republic pushed ahead of the field to claim first place.
Crowley and Dukarska will now compete in the C-final at 8.02am.

HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a platform giving girls and women a voice in sport. Our mission is to level the playing field through increasing visibility, education and creating a cultural shift.
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