Irish Crews dipped into the international regatta scene at the first event of the year in Piediluco International regatta (Paola D’Aloja International Regatta). World Champion Sanita Puspure dominated her race on Saturday whilst Ronan Byrne and Phil Doyle had a good start with the men’s double scull placing third. A newer lightweight combination of Cliona Nolan from NUIG together with Lydia Heaphy from Skibbereen finished in fifth position at their first international experience together. The U23 double of twins Jake and Fintan Mc Carthy took also the bronze medal whilst the pair of Aifric Keogh and Monika Dukarska had a good race to finish fifth overall. Another pair combination of Aileen Crowley and Emily Hegarty finished 7th whilst the U23 pair of Claire Feerick and Eimear Lambe finished third in the B Final.
Mixing up the HP team on Sunday to form two fours from the HP Women’s side saw some interesting racing with top Romanian and Italian entries. The first four with Monika Dukarska, Aifric Keogh, Sanita Puspure and Tara Hanlon came in fourth with the Romanians in first – third and the second four of Claire Ferrick, Emily Hegarty, Aileen Crowley and Eimear Lambe finished right behind them in fifth.
The team will now head to a two week camp in Varese just north of Piediluco this afternoon before returning to Ireland later this month. In what promises to be a challenging year with the World Rowing Championships which is also the Olympic Qualification regatta looming, the team are ramping up in order to be well prepared and to qualify as many crews as possible for Ireland.
Speaking after the two day event HP Director Antonio Maurogiovanni said
“As I was expecting the level of the competition is moving up a gear as we go toward the Olympic year. This edition of the memorial Paola d’Aloja regatta has seen our crews perform at their first International Competition with some well established crews and some new crews.
After its a very good post race review I am very happy with the attitude and the approach of the whole squad.
The 3 medals of Saturday and the finals of Saturday and Sunday needs to be taken as a very first stepping stone towards Linz, Austria where the World Championships and Olympic Qualification will take place.
I will now review everything further with the coaches and the athletes. Each performance will be looked and and we will identify the area for improvements.
We are all now also looking forward to the next two weeks camp in Italy”.