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Swiss rowers struggle in Lucerne

Gier (left) and Lätt could only manage fourth place on Monday


After the successes of Sunday, it was back to reality on Monday for the Swiss rowers competing at the world championships in Lucerne.

The opening day's action had seen former Olympic gold medallist Xeno Müller book his place in the semi-finals of the men's single sculls, with fellow Swiss Pia Vogel reaching the final in the women's single sculls.

But there was no such joy for the four Swiss boats in action on Monday.

Mich Hegetschweiler and Camille Codoni came fifth in their six-boat heat for the men's lightweight pairs, with only first place enough to guarantee a place in the semi-finals.

Good chance

Lea Fluri and Jane Bogorad appeared to have a good chance of reaching the semi-finals in the women's lightweight double sculls with three teams from their five-boat heat going through. But the Swiss pair were to finish last, more than 15 seconds behind heat winners and Olympic silver medallists Germany.

Atlanta gold medallist Markus Gier also struggled with partner Nicholas Lätt in a tough lightweight double sculls heat. With Olympic silver medallists Italy grabbing the one semi-final spot by almost three seconds, Gier and Lätt could only manage fourth place behind the Italians, Japan and Australia.

Perfect conditions

Good weather and perfect rowing conditions on Lucerne's Rotsee seemed to bring the best out of the favourites with the Olympic champions of Poland, the bronze medallists of France and Munich regatta winners Germany all joining Italy in the semis.

The last race of the day to involve Swiss rowers saw the lightweight coxless four team of Benedikt Schmidt, Frédéric Hanselmann, Stefan Steiner and Mathias Binder make a strong start but eventually finish fourth behind Austria, Italy and Spain.

Second chance

All the crews who have failed to make it through to the semi-finals will at least have a second chance in the 'repechage' second round heats which get underway on Tuesday.

In Monday's other racing there was no catching hot favourites Germany in the women's quadruple sculls as the Olympic gold medallists eased into Sunday's A-final, winning their heat by a good two lengths. The second heat was won by the New Zealand crew with Sonia Waddell looking to follow in the wake of her now-retired world champion husband Rob.

Exciting eights

A sudden drop in temperature and the arrival of a massive thunderstorm did nothing to dampen an exciting climax on the Rotsee as the men's and women's eights brought an end to the championship heats.

Great Britain and Australia won the two women's heats by little more than a second, Britain edging ahead of arch-rivals Germany with Australia just doing enough to consign perennial champions Romania to the repechage.

The men's eights saw those results reversed with the Romanians narrowly beating Russia, Croatia and Australia for the one semi-final spot from the first heat and Germany celebrating an unexpected win over Olympic and World Cup champions Britain in the second.

World record

While there was little to cheer on the Swiss front on Monday, the second day of the championships did see a new world record set in Lucerne, with the Australian crew of Catriona Roach, Amber Halliday, Sally Causby and Josephine Lips knocking more than five seconds off the world's previous best time in the women's lightweight quadruple sculls.

by Mark Ledsom, Lucerne


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