2022 World Rowing Championships: Thursday September 22 Day 5
Just before the start of her first semifinal on day five of the World Rowing Championships, Jackie Kiddle raised her head for just a few seconds and then gave the thumbs up. It was a powerful affirmation given what she faced over the next few minutes and in the hour and a half to come.
Her immediate goal was earning a spot in the A final of the women’s lightweight single. But in the back of her mind she must have been thinking how she’d handle this race and then jump into the double with Rachael Kennedy to try and make a second final all in the space of 90 minutes.
Jackie Kiddle is one of the most highly regarded lightweight athletes at these championships. It’s easy to see why. She made rating 35 look effortless while generating boat speed others couldn’t do at a slightly higher beat. Jackie rows long in the water and she used that to stretch her early lead into victory by just under a boat length.
While Jackie was then getting ready to row with Rachael Kennedy, two athletes who know a lot about taking on two events were moving one step closer to defending their world title in the women’s pair. Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast generate boat speed like no other crew in their field. Kerri is one of those rowers who looks like she’s scrapping for every single metre she can get in a race. The Tokyo gold and silver medalists turned out the fastest time of the semis and will be dead set favourites for Saturday’s final.
Back at the top of the course, Jackie Kiddle and Rachael Kennedy were waiting for their lightweight double to start. But from the gun it quickly became clear that Jackie’s first row had taken too much out of the partnership. In a lesser field they might have been able to hang in there but with the gold and silver medalists from Tokyo fueling everyone else along the wall came quickly for Jackie and Rachael.
From the two KKs to the double Macs - Tom Mackintosh and Matt Macdonald have had ups and downs in their first year as a pair. Great Britain never looked like surrendering their lead but with about 700 to go the Kiwis were just a length behind second-placed Romania. It seemed like a pivotal moment. Would they make a charge for second or hold back and wait for that chance in the A final? Only Macintosh and Macdonald know that. We’ll find out if they can launch in Saturday’s medal race.
The women’s four and quad came to this regatta as new combinations, as did Chris Stockley and Matt Dunham in the lightweight double. They’re a mix of athletes who’ve been in the elite programme a long time and others just starting out. None of the three boats will be in the A final. But the B final’s a good place to start building towards next season rather than seeing it as a bad way to end this one.
Kiwis in action tonight/Saturday morning (NZT)
Jordan Parry, semifinal 2 of the men’s single, 9.26pm
Emma Twigg, semifinal 2 of women’s single, 9.46pm
Jackie Kiddle, A final of women’s lightweight single, 1.19am