Canada will have to qualify its men’s lightweight four for next summer’s Olympics Sunday in the B final at the world rowing championships on Lac Aiguebelette, France.
On a morning when the sun broke through after two overcast days, the Canadian crew of Maxwell Lattimer, Brendan Hodge, Eric Woelfl and Kingston’s Nicolas Pratt was fifth in its heat and failed to make the championship final.
Finishing the course in 6 minutes, 6.55 seconds—10 seconds away from qualifying for the A final—the Canadians had the 11th-best time of the 12 semifinalists. The good news is that the 12th crew, from Austria, was 18 seconds behind Canada, and the top 11 boats, all six in the A final, and the top five of six in the B final, qualify for next summer’s OIympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Denmark, the reigning world champion, won the race the Canadians contested Friday. Leading from start to finish, the Danes finished in 5:55.33, with the Netherlands and New Zealand close behind.
“We have definitely rowed better,” Pratt said. “It is such a competitive field that the minute you hesitate, you fall behind. We are going to have to row better in the final.
“We are going to have to find a good rhythm and trust it.”
The medal round begins Saturday in Olympic-class events. Among Canadian crews that are seeking medals having already qualified for Rio will be the men’s four, with Kingston’s Will Crothers in the boat. The men’s quadruple sculls, a crew that includes Rob Gibson of Kingston, will race in the B final, needing a top-two finish to gain a spot in the 2016 Olympic rowing regatta.
On Sunday, coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie of Napanee will lead the Canadian women’s eight in its quest for a medal in the women’s eight.