Analysis of the U19 and U23 World Championships in Varese, by Dr Valery Kleshnev – Rowing Stories, Features & Interviews


By popular demand, an analysis of race data from the U19 and U23 World Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy was conducted by Bio Row. Due to the variable weather conditions throughout the regatta (even on a single day), it is difficult to compare the absolute rowing speeds in different categories: the average speed of the winners in 12 comparable Olympic boat types (at the exception of the lightweights) was even slower for the U23s. in the finals on Saturday (5.02m/s, 96.2% of the world best time) compared to the U19s on Sunday (5.07m/s, 99.2% of the WBT), where four best world times were established in JM8+, JW2x, JW4- and JW8+.

Due to the different weather conditions, it does not make sense to compare these results with those of the Tokyo Olympics, but it would be interesting to compare the WBT is each category (Fig.1). We have already done this type of analysis in RBN 2009/04, and now we have found that the values ​​for this year are significantly higher: 95.4% in U19 (was 94.9% in 2009, +0.5% on average on 11 boats, excluding W4- recently introduced), and 97.5% in U23 (was 96.5%, +1.0%). This means that the the rowing speed of young rowers is increasing faster than in the Olympic category and the gaps between them are narrowing.

The average stroke rate in 10 Olympic boats (Fig.2, M2x and M4 missing at Tokyo-2021, RBN 2021/07) was highest for Olympic rowers (38.9 spm), lower for U23 (37.3, -1.6spm) and the lowest for U19 (36.6, -2.3spm). However, U19 and U23 winners and silver medalists used roughly the same stroke rate.

Figure 3 shows the average shot rate of A finalists in 10 boat types in the U19, U23 and Olympic categories:

In the U19 and Olympic categories, the stroke rate continually increased from slower boats to faster boats, but in U23 exceptionally high stroke rates were found at W2x, W4- and M2-. In W1x, M1x, W4x and M8+, U19 rowers used similar or even higher stroke rates than the same U23 categories. Compared to Olympic rowers, the average stroke rate was 94.2% in U19 (-5.8%) and 95.9% in U23 (-4.1%).

To analyze effective work per move EWps in various categories, the following method was used. rowing power P can be expressed as follows:

P = DFv3 = EWpS / T = EWpS R / 60 (1)

Where DF is the drag factor, v – rowing speed, J – cycle time, R – stroke rate. Supposing DF the same, report of EWPSI at the target EWpsJ (Olympic rowers in this case) could be expressed as follows:

EWpsI / EWPSJ = (RJ /RI) (vI3 / vJ3) (2)

A ratio of EWps in young Olympians rowers in each boat type was derived using their WBTs and the average stroke frequency of the A finalists (Fig. 4):

It is interesting to note that in M8+ and W8+, EWps in the U23 rowers even exceeds that of the Olympic rowers, and in the M1x and M4x it is very close. On average over 10 types of boats, EWps in U19 was 91.6% (-8.4%) and in U23 96.0% (-4.0%) of Olympic rowers.

By comparing these values ​​with the stroke rate, it was found that the the increase in rowing speed of young rowers at the Olympic level occurs through a gain in both running speed and work per stroke. Both components increased similarly by approximately 4% on the U23 Olympic jump, but on the U19-U23 jump, the increase in work per stroke of 4.4% was significantly greater than the increase in stroke rate 1.7% (except M1x and M4x).

By comparing the average race strategy of the winners across the 12 comparable events (Fig.5), it was found that Olympic rowers had the most even distribution of effort during the race (SE = 1.1%) with the relatively slow start 500m section. Surprisingly, U19 rowers were the second most evenly distributed (SD=1.5%), with U23 crews showing the most variable speed (SD=2.2%) with 500m sections starting and finishing. arrived relatively faster.

©2022 Dr Valery Kleshnev

The Australian U23 W4 came close to setting the fastest time in his history - narrowly missed it

The Australian U23 W4 came close to setting the fastest time in his history – narrowly missed it

The American JW8+

The American JW8+

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