A cold January day in Copenhagen was warmed up by some excellent racing at the 11th Concept2 Euro Open. The centrepiece of the day was undoubtedly the Men’s Open Lwt. Denmark has a proud lightweight tradition, and in this land of 75kg warriors, Henrik Stephansen is king. The current lightweight world record holder and lightweight single scull world champion, Henrik first burst onto the scene at the age of 19 when he set a new world record of 6:02.2 at the world indoor rowing championship. Since then he’s lowered the mark to 5:56.7, becoming the only lightweight ever to go under six minutes.
With rumours flying around that he was in top condition, the anticipation in the arena was palpable. Setting off at his customary rate of knots, he soon left the rest of the field, including former world indoor rowing champion Steffen Bonde Jensen, in his wake. At the 1700m stage he was just outside his own mark, but with less than 300m to go he started to crank it up. Despite some impressive sinew straining, when the dust settled, he finished in 5:56.7, “only” managing to equal his old record. You can see a video of his race on the Danish Rowing Federation's website.
The day’s first gold medal was won by Team GB’s Marjorie Roome; a mainstay of the indoor rowing scene, Marjorie won her first international gold in the Women’s 60-64 Hwt with a time of 7:46.8. More British success, along with some record-breaking, came in the Men’s 80-89 Hwt, won by Jim Brownlow in 7:49.2, and the Men’s 50-54 Lwt, where David Byrnes rowed a 6:37.2. These times were not only were good enough to make both men European champion, but they were also new British records to boot. David Byrnes’ achievement is especially noteworthy for breaking such a long-standing record – Chris Bertram’s old mark being set over 10 years ago. In the 60-64 Lwt, Roy Brook won silver in a time 7:08.6, a medal matched by Nigel Jepson in the 65-69 Hwt race. Andy Jones from Taff Attack Racing picked up a bronze in the Men’s 30-39 Hwt race, just fending off Simon Newton for the final podium spot. Anna Lewis and Philip Dyer also won bronze in the Women’s 30-39 Hwt and Men’s 55-59 Hwt race respectively.
In the Men’s 40-49 Lwt, triple Olympic champion Eskild Ebbesen not only added another gold to his trophy cabinet, but he also smashed the 40-49 Lwt world record. Despite looking all the way like he was too far off the pace, his customary tactic of pouring on the power in the last 500 metres meant he averaged 1:31.1 for his final quarter. With the crowd cheering him on, and Danish TV playing close attention, he crossed the line in 6:16.8, just over half a second quicker than the old record. Jonathan Doyle of Ireland and Alistair Peake of Team GB finished second and third respectively in that race in times of 6:30.3 and 6:33.4. Full results, along with race replays and splits, can be found at http://tilmeld.roning.dk/?regatta=dm2014. Tak!
British and Irish Race Results
|David Byrnes||Men’s 50-54 Lwt||1||06:37.2|
|Jim Brownlow||Men’s 80-89 Hwt||1||07:49.2|
|Marjorie Roome||Women’s 60-64 Hwt||1||07:46.8|
|Jonathan Doyle||Men’s 40-49 Lwt||2||06:30.3|
|Roy Brook||Men’s 60-64 Lwt||2||07:08.6|
|Nigel Jepson||Men’s 65-69 Hwt||2||07:32.4|
|Andy Jones||Men’s 30-39 Hwt||3||06:13.2|
|Alistair Peake||Men’s 40-49 Lwt||3||06:33.4|
|Philip Dyer||Men’s 55-59 Hwt||3||06:45.5|
|Anna Lewis||Women’s 30-39 Hwt||3||07:05.5|
|Simon Newton||Men’s 30-39 Hwt||4||06:19.7|
|Paul Winton||Men’s 55-59 Hwt||5||06:52.4|
|Chris Price||Men’s 30-39 Lwt||6||07:23.0|
|Susan Young||Women’s 40-49 Hwt||8||08:14.5|
|Andrew Burrows||Men’s 30-39 Hwt||9||06:45.4|
|John Goodman||Men’s 70-79 Hwt||11||08:29.1|
|Phil Morris||Men’s 40-49 Hwt||13||06:43.3|
|Simon Stone||Men’s Open Hwt||19||06:45.4|
|John Davies||Men’s 40-49 Hwt||20||06:55.8|
|Iain Hill||Men’s 40-49 Hwt||21||06:57.7|