Casey and Nolan storm to final
Ireland's lightweight women lit up the course at the World U-23 Championships in Florida yesterday as Aoife Casey and Cliodhna Nolan stormed home to win and qualify for tomorrow's final.
After a disappointing race in Thursday's heat, where the Skibbereen/NUIG duo slipped off the pace to finish fourth, the advice from coach Giuseppe de Vita on race strategy would prove invaluable.
Great Britain's Fina Chestnutt and Chloe Knight were first to show in yesterday's repechage, with Ireland, China and the Netherlands level for second, and just 0.59 seconds separated the four leading crews at halfway.
With only two to qualify, Casey and Nolan knew decisive action was required, and kicked in hard to overhaul the tiring British, while China began to fall off the pace.
But Chestnutt and Knight found a new gear to try and overhaul the second-placed Netherlands, and the pressure began to narrow the gap behind Ireland, who held on to cross the line just 0.22 seconds ahead of the Netherlands.
For Casey, the daughter of legendary coach Dominic, who guided the O'Donovan brothers to Olympic silver, the championships have already provided the best result of her three-year international career. For Nolan, the vice-captain of the NUIG boat club, the event marks her international debut.
Today's racing features the final of the lightweight men's quadruple sculls, the event in which Ireland took silver behind Italy at last year's championships.
With two of last year's crew on board, Ryan Ballantine and Miles Taylor, Ireland took a clear-water win ahead of France and Italy on Thursday, and will line up between the same crews as they aim to go one better than last year.