Aft in the dock: The German flagship boat is at its lowest point at the World Cup. - Sports

Six seconds, that's a lot. That's six times ten tenths of a second, and in a situation like the Germany eight experienced on Monday, six seconds behind the winner stretches even further. You're not just anyone, you're the crew of the Germany eight.

This boat not only pushes its own success in German high-performance rowing, but also the entire fleet of the German Rowing Association (DRV). Based on old military metaphors, the long boat is therefore often called the "flagship". It should be the lead boat that points the way to success. However - fourth place in the preliminary heat, at the World Championships in Racice near Prague, indicates that this eighth still needs guidance and a lot of support. The nine colleagues, including the helmsman, have one last chance at the final on Friday morning at 12:45 p.m. But in this repechage they would have to make a miraculous increase because of the strong opponents.

Martin Sauer steered the boat for years, now Jonas Wiesen is taking over

The management around eight national coach Uwe Bender is therefore already expecting that the eight crew will now have to go through a low, which is basically only normal. Einem colleague Oliver Zeidler and also some other boats would now have to achieve victories or podium places, because the eight, with everything that goes with it, is in a sense in the dock and is currently being renewed: in interaction, in the sense of rhythm, in the build-up of strength and in practice on the Water.

The silver team phase of Olympia 2021 is over, now a new cycle begins with many newcomers, and you can already see that at the end of the boat. From there, helmsman Martin Sauer observed the enemy for a good ten years and gave safe tactical commands. Now sitting there: Jonas Wiesen. He's already 26 years old and has also worked as a rowing captain, but only in small boats, the aft was Sauer's job. Then the helmsmen were recently eliminated except for the aft pilot, and Wiesen now has to learn the art of reading a race. Bender says: "Even meadows have to consolidate first."

Like the whole boat. The average age is 24.2 years. Torben Johannesen is now the oldest, having taken over as batsman. He sets the rhythm so that the oar blades dive into the water and come out again simultaneously and synchronously, the whole boat has to become a unit. All levers, all forces must be used in such a way that no energy is wasted, ideally the boat flies over the water over 2000 meters in five and a half minutes with ease. However, like all other boats, due to the Covid postponement of the 2020 Olympics, this new generation has not four but only three years before it has to fly.

One-rower Zeidler certifies the association mainly "blah"

That works faster for some, for example for preliminary winner Canada. The Germans, on the other hand, are still far from easy, because trouble is brewing in the background. On the one hand, the most recent Olympic silver medal was a small setback for many, they were just used to more. And a dispute has broken out at the moment, between sport and politics, i.e. rowers and the association. The strategists of the DRV are looking for solutions for the future, among other things they have founded an "expert council", which sounds very impractical for the athletes, in any case Johannesen described the council in the Ruhr Nachrichten as a "farce": there were people in there who would anyway are already the focus of criticism, "they sort of control themselves". Instead, Johannesen calls for concrete measures that take effect quickly, namely the right tools to implement the performance plans: "We athletes need a plan for how we can get back to the international top."

The association's idea of ​​moving single rowers from their home milieu to central bases also caused a lot of anger. Someone, as the name says, are alone a lot, although they have a team and, like the current world champion Oliver Zeidler on the Unterschleißheim regatta course, their own home, their milieu. If you want to transplant them, for example to Hamburg, they sometimes react allergically, like Zeidler, who said about the results of the crisis talks in the world on Sunday: "Except for a lot of blabla, nothing constructive came out." Incidentally, the DRV dissolved its expert council on Thursday afternoon.

Zeidler has presented himself in decent form at the World Championships so far, and like single rower Alexandra Föster he still has to contest a semi-final on Friday. And all the successes of the others together should indirectly help the eights, who, despite a World Cup victory this summer, still have more work to do. He is far from producing constant performances, and yet he still hopes to reach the finals in Racice.

To do this, the error from the pre-run would have to be cleared out of the heads of the nine boat occupants on Friday in good time. In short, it lacked confidence. They kept up in the first 1000 meters of the preliminary heat, then the opponents suddenly picked up the pace briefly, the young team, according to Bender, got frustrated and all together they gave up. That too is an experience.

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