A great win by the new women’s double of Alison Bergin (21) and Zoe Hyde (26, pictured) commanded the attention on the second day of the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade. The races were brought forward and run at 5-minute intervals because of a worry about bad weather coming in later in the day.
Lithuania led off in Bergin and Hyde’s heat, while Norway and Ireland contended for the second semi-final place … or so it seemed. By the third quarter, Ireland had moved into a clear second, and 100 metres into the final 500, the new combination led Lithuania. They crossed the line as clear leaders.
Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen qualified for the A/B semi-finals of the lightweight double sculls. The top two made it through, and after an early show by Switzerland, Ireland and Romania moved clear in the second half of the race. Romania passed Ireland coming to the line and held on to win.
The women’s four has just one remaining oarswoman, Eimear Lambe, from the 2021 unit which took bronze at the Olympic Games. Sanita Puspure, Natalie Long and Imogen Magner joined her – and they achieved their aim in their heat.
There were three places available in the semi-final. Britain were dominant from early in the race, Australia took them on but could only finish second, while Ireland eased away from Germany and took third.
Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh contended well with the Netherlands in the first 500 metres of their heat. Only the winner would qualify directly for the semi-final, and while Ireland were just 1.34 seconds behind after the first quarter, Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meester moved away precisely and powerfully from there to win. Ireland slotted into second and Britain third.
In the repechage of the men’s lightweight single, Jake McCarthy achieved his aim of qualifying for the quarter-final – and gave himself the boost of a race win. Two qualified, and Finlay Hamill of New Zealand led into the final stages. McCarthy sprinted past him to win.
The Ireland men’s four is a development crew; they finished sixth in a heat won by the United States. The men’s quadruple had the same placing in their heat, which was won by the Netherlands.