Australian rowing is set to be the fifth strongest team in numbers at the Olympic Games in Paris after the Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta (FOQR) determined the last boat allocations.

Australia had already qualified in nine of 14 Olympic boat classes for the Games before the FOQR at Lucerne in Switzerland that ended on Tuesday.

The Australian Rowing team (ART) had hoped to increase that number by entering four boats in the three-day regatta but despite all their efforts, was unable to add to the tally.

The disappointment was evident, especially given Olympic dreams were at stake. The mood also reflected their conviction to an event so cut-throat it is dubbed the ‘Regatta of Death’.

Australia will still race in Paris with at least nine boats and 37 athletes poised to go. Those boats will all race in World Cup II in Lucerne that starts on Friday and finishes Sunday.

Strongest of 57 National Olympic Committee (NOC) teams will be Romania (12/45), then the United States (12/42), Great Britain (10/42), the Netherlands (10/33), Australia (9/37), New Zealand (9/20), Italy (8/35), Germany (7/23), Ireland (7/16) and finally Switzerland (6/17).

On Tuesday, three Australian crews raced in the A-Finals to determine the final Olympic boat quotas per nation. Crews needed a top two finish to qualify their boat for the Games.

However, all three – the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull, Men’s Double Scull and Men’s Quad Scull – fell short of the mark despite some impressive showings.

“It was a tough day at the office,” Rowing Australia Performance Director Paul Thompson said.

“The first two go to the Olympics, while all the other crews get to row back to the boat park. I feel for all the [Australian] crews. They did their best, but that wasn’t good enough today.”

“That’s the hard part of sport … sport can be so cruel but they didn’t die wondering.”

In the Men’s Double Scull A-Final, New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship athletes David Bartholot and Marcus Della Marta (pictured) placed third after bravely laying down the terms of the race. They led from the start and for the next 1500m before being passed by the United States and Serbia in the last 500m.

Olympic qualification went to USA who won convincingly (6:23.14) after a big push through the field in the second 1000m and Serbia (6:26.47); whereas the Australians placed third (6:28.33), finishing ahead of Sweden (6:30.34), Greece (6:33.20) and Moldova (6:35.39).

In the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull A-Final, Australia’s Anneka Reardon and Georgia Miansarow, hot off a brilliant victory in their repechage on Sunday, finished third behind France and Greece, who both qualified for the Games.

France led all the way to win in 7:02.54s. Greece (7:05.07) placed second ahead of the Australians (7:10.88).

In the Men’s Quad Scull A-Final, Caleb Antill, Jack Cleary, Campbell Watts and Alex Rossi finished sixth in a race that still saw them right in contention up until 1500m.

But from 1500m, the race escaped Australia as the winners, Norway (5:50.89), and second placed Estonia (5:52.20) claimed the two Olympic berths, leaving the third-placed USA (5:52.33), France (5:55.74), Ukraine (6:00.48) and Australia (6:03.11) to finish in that order.

Meanwhile, in the Men’s Single Scull, former lightweight rower Oscar McGuinness, whose A-Final hopes were narrowly dashed in Monday’s quarter finals, placed fourth in the C-Final.


World Cup II will be held on the Rotsee, Lucerne, starting Friday and finishing on Sunday.

The Australian Rowing Team (ART) arrived in Lucerne, Switzerland on Tuesday from its training base at the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre in Gavirate, Italy.

The ART boats to race are the Women’s Coxed Eight, Coxless Four, Coxless Pair, Single Scull, Quad Scull and Double Scull; and the Men’s Coxed Eight, Coxless Four and Coxless Pair.

Rupert Guinness, Rowing Australia

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