European University Championships in Subotica
Four students from Karlsruhe were represented at the tournament alongside crews from all over Germany and Europe. Simon Gessler, a student at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, as well as Maximilian Schäfer, Andreas von Borstel and Rupert Pretzler - all three students at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - won the silver medal for Karlsruhe in the men's coxless four.
Three of the four team members - Rupert Pretzler was new to the team this year - were already very successful last year. The four-man team from Karlsruhe is the reigning European university champion. The boat won this title last year in Zagreb at the European University Games. The boat qualified for this year's European Championships by winning the German University Championships in Bremen last July.
The four had arrived in Serbia this year with the hope of defending their title.
The competition for the Karlsruhe boat started with a course distribution race on Friday. If there are less than 6 registered boats (5 nations were represented in the four), there will be no heats, but only the distribution of the lanes in the final. Usually, there is a lot of tactical planning and the forces are used for the final race. This is also how the four students from Karlsruhe started into the first race. The goal was to achieve a good place in order to row in one of the middle lanes in the final. This is what the students from Karlsruhe did, finishing the lane distribution race in second place behind Oxford. A good starting position for the final on Sunday.
On Sunday, the decision in the men's four was made around noon. Despite very difficult conditions (strong headwind and waves), the German boat started very well into the race. When the first intermediate sprint was started shortly after the 500 meter mark, the whole field was still very close to each other.
During the middle 1000 meters of the 2000 meters (=Olympic race distance) long race the field became more and more separated. Oxford took the lead and controlled the race from that point on. Despite numerous well-functioning intermediate sprints and a spirited final sprint, which led to the exhaustion of all four Karlsruhe racers, the German boat did not manage to come dangerously close to the Oxford foursome. The other opponents from the Claude Bernard University in Lyon, France, the University of Savoy Mont Blanc, also in France, as well as from the University of Aalborg in Denmark were controlled by the Karlsruhe students. Thus, the result behind the finish line was: gold for Oxford, silver for Karlsruhe and bronze for the foursome from Lyon.
"The boat from Oxford was simply too strong, we tried to keep up the pace after the start and stayed with the British for a long time. Unfortunately, they were in front and countered all our spurts immediately and controlled the race so that we could not do anything in the end." Said Maximilian Schäfer, the team captain.
Despite initial disappointment at not being able to repeat last year's great result, the four from Karlsruhe were nevertheless more than satisfied with second place behind the rowers from Oxford Brookes University and ahead of the quad from Lyon University in France.
"The boys are the second fastest university four in Europe and can be very proud of their performance. That it wasn't enough to defend the title is a shame. But they rode a great race and I think that the four got everything out of what they can technically as well as physically at this point in time in the final!", explains coach Christoph Reichelt after the race.
After a rather physically oriented basic training over the winter and spring with many training sessions in the weight room as well as on the rowing ergometer, the four students from Karlsruhe have once again intensified their training in the boat in the last weeks and month with regard to the upcoming season highlight. The team trained regularly up to 10 times a week under the watchful eye of coach Christoph Reichelt in the Rhine harbor as well as in training camps away from home in order to coordinate their technical skills and to achieve the necessary competition hardness through training loads in the boat.
We would like to thank the university sports of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Karlsruhe Rowing Club Wiking, our sponsors THOST Projektmanagment and Agosi and our coach Christoph Reichelt for the great support.