Grainger wins in Olympic level final – Race reports – Final Results
Six Olympic medallists went to the start line today in the GB Rowing Senior Trials in Hazewinkel, Belgium, and Scot Katherine Grainger emerged the winner of the women’s single scull final in a time of 7:47.80.
The already double Olympic silver medallist held off a late challenge from Sarah Winckless, winner of a bronze in Athens.
"I was aware that it was an absolute ‘class’ race today", said Grainger afterwards. "It shows the calibre of this women’s squad that the British Trials were like an Olympic line–up".
The leading men raced in pairs here and favourites Steve Williams, Olympic gold medallist in the men’s four, and Alex Partridge were beaten today in the men’s pair by Andrew Hodge and Peter Reed in a time of 6:42.93.
Hodge and Reed took an early lead, extended that with a push at just past1000m and held on for victory.
"I’m quite emotional", said Reed afterwards. "There was excitement towards the end at seeing the blades of Steve and Alex behind us. For me they are up there with the greats".
"It wasn’t quite the race we expected", said Williams. "At half–way we thought we were in a good position but they kept their length and we lost ours a bit in the second half".
World silver medallist Jo Hammond won the women’s lightweight single in a time of 8:05.84 from her training partner and Olympian Helen Casey whilst Mark Hunter held off a challenge from two new contenders, James Lindsay–Fynn and Zac Purchase to win the equivalent men’s title in 7:25.71.
Beth Rodford and Alison Knowles won the women’s pair in a time of 7:38.43.
<h3>RACE REPORTS </h3>Even the experts found it difficult to predict who might win today’s women’s single scull final at the GB Rowing Senior Trials. Most mentioned Frances Houghton, winner last year.
However, in an unprecedented line–up of six Olympic medallists, it was Katherine Grainger, a world champion in the pair and twice already an Olympic silver medalist who emerged victorious. The early leader, though, was Debbie Flood, silver medallist in the quadruple scull in Athens, who went out very strongly and held the lead to the 1700m mark when Grainger made her move.
"I felt really good", said Flood afterwards, "until I started to wind it in and then I started to do things differently and it didn’t work".
Behind Grainger and Flood, Sarah Winckless, Olympic bronze medallist in the double scull in 2004, gradually built up the momentum in the second half.
"I know that I can change boat speed in the second half", said Winckless. "From1000m I kept coming back into it. But unfortunately for me Katherine is so much stronger than me. What’s good is that all six of us (the medallists) Have had different winters and we’ve all come through to the final".
Winckless eventually took second place behind Grainger, pipping Flood on the line. "Combining the strength in this women’s squad is now going to be awesome", said Grainger.
The lightweight women’s single was won by Jo Hammond who moved ahead of her team–mate Helen Casey, of Wallingford Club, as the two Boats glided on still water past the 1000m mark.
Hammond is very strong in the second half of the course and that strength showed
today. Behind them Naomi Hoogesteger showed good promise to take third place after sitting back in the chasing pack for the first 1000m.
"It’s a bit like a game of poker, I know I’ve got a good hand and I knew that I had to raise the stakes down the course and play the winning hand", said Hammond, the former Millfield school pupil who has come to the sport from triathlon.
The men’s pair final this morning settled quickly into a tussle between the on–paper favourites, Olympic gold medallist Steve Williams and 2004 Trials winner Alex Partridge, and Oxford Boat Race winning pairing of Andy Hodge and Peter Reed.
Hodge and Reed got the better start and immediately took a short lead. Williams and Partridge stayed in contention until the 1000m mark.
From there the race unfolded in unexpected fashion. Hodge and Reed normally start well but dip in the second half. Today, their push at 1000m took their opponents by surprise.
From there they held on well to win in 6:42.93, six seconds ahead.
Josh West and Tom James of Cambridge University were third in 6:52.14.
"It was a different race to the one I expected", said Williams afterwards. "We knew they would make a good start and would be strong to the first1000m. At that point I thought we were in a good position". In the second half, though, Hodge and Reed – the latter being an officer in the Royal Navy who have supported him well through his training and competition commitments – just seemed to hold their rhythm and get stronger.
"We rowed OK for the first half", said Partridge afterwards. "But in the second half instead of rowing longer we shortened up. It was a learning experience", he said.
Hodge, winner of the trials a year ago with Partridge was in understandably buoyant mood. "It’s great. Two years in a row. It must be good for the GB squad to have two quick pairs and we’re looking forward to a lot of racing including the World Cup at Eton".
The men’s single scull final was another good and close contest. Alan Campbell, from Belfast, blasted out of the start in his customary fashion and took a length lead quite early in the race.
Matt Langridge, former world U23 winner, looked smooth and comfortable behind him and seemed to be poised to attack in the final 300m. Ultimately, though, Campbell had enough left in the tank to take the title in style in 7:07.10 ahead of Langridge. Steve Rowbotham of Molesey was third.
British lightweight rowing got just the injection of new blood it needed today with the second and third placings won by James Lindsay–Fynn and Zac Purchase in the men’s single scull.
Lindsay–Fynn rocketed out at the start to build a long early lead. You could be forgiven for thinking that this was rash rather than controlled.
Gradually Mark Hunter of Leander tracked him down and moved into the lead in the closing half of the race.
Remarkably, though, Lindsay–Fynn fought on and was only 1.52 seconds down on Hunter at the finish.
Purchase, from last year’s world junior double scull, moved quietly up from fourth to third by the 1000m mark and held off the more–established Nick Wakefield to take third place overall in 7:30.72.
With all of the leading women’s athletes in the single scull event, the women’s pair competition in Hazewinkel has featured a group of emerging pairs who may form the basis of a GB four or eight in the summer. Here the final was won by Beth Rodford and Alison Knowles, world U23 champions in the four last year, in a time of 7:38.43. They consistently held a lead down the course over Alice Freeman and Hilary Powell of Osiris, Oxford University Women, who came home second in 7:52.33.
<h2>Results</h2><h4>Open Weight</h4><h4>A Finals</h4><h4>Women</h4><h5>Single scull</h5>
<ol><li>Katherine Grainger (St Andrews) 7:47.80</li><li>
Sarah Winckless (Walbrook) 7:51.63</li><li>Debbie Flood (Leander) 7:52.80</li><li>Frances Houghton (Uni of London) 7:53.72</li><li>Rebecca Romero (Leander) 7:55.62</li><li>Elise Laverick (Thames) 8:07.29</li></ol>
<h5>Pair</h5><ol><li>Beth Rodford/Alison Knowles (Thames) 7:38.43</li><li>Alice Freeman/Hilary Powell (Osiris) 7;52.33</li><li>Jo Cook/Ann Allin (Notts County/Durham Uni) 8:00.96</li><li>Lucinda Gooderl/Marsaili Scott (Durham Uni) 8:06.10</li></ol>
<h4>Men</h4><h5>Single scull</h5><ol><li>Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 7:07.10</li><li>Matthew Langridge (Leander) 7:09.78</li><li>Steve Rowbotham (Molesey) 7;13.68</li><li>Ian Lawson (Leander) 7:19.11</li><li>Alex Gregory (Reading Uni) 7:19.68</li><li>Peter Wells (Uni of London) 7:33.90</li></ol>
<h5>Pair</h5><ol><li>Peter Reed/Andrew Hodge (Oxford Uni) 6:42.93</li><li>Alex Partridge/Steve Williams (Leander) 6:48.68</li><li>Josh West/Tom James (Cambridge Uni) 6:52.14</li><li>Simon Fieldhouse/Phil Simmons (Molesey) 6:53.76</li><li>Tom Broadway/Henry Bailhache-Webb (Uni of London/Oxford Brookes) 6:57.15</li><li>Tom Parker/Hugo Lee (Oxford Brookes) 6:59.21</li></ol>
Jo Hammond (Kingston) 8:05.84</li><li>Helen Casey (Wallingford) 8:08.82</li><li>Naomi Hoogesteger (Durham Uni) 8:12.98</li><li>Hester Goodsell (York Uni) 8:17.34</li><li>Lorna Norris (Mortlake) 8:18.16</li><li>Tanya Brady (Wallingford) 8:24.61</li><li>Laura Greenhalgh (Rob Roy) 8:31.85</li></ol>
<h4>Men</h4><h5>Single scull</h5><ol><li>Mark Hunter (Leander) 7:25.71</li><li>James Lindsay-Fynn (London RC) 7:26.33</li><li>Zac Purchase (Marlow RC) 7:26.72</li><li>Nick Wakefield (Leander) 7:30.72</li><li>Matt Beechey (Leander) 7:36.85</li><li>Paul Mattick (Wallingford) 7:40.39</li></ol>
<h4>B Finals</h4><h4>Open Weight</h4><h4>Women</h4><h5>Single scull</h5><ol><li>Annie Vernon (Rob Roy) 8:06.20</li><li>Natasha Page (Reading Uni) 8;08.44</li><li>Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes) 8:08.52</li><li>Florence Temple (Thames) 8:10.30</li><li>Katie Greves (Uni of London) 8:11.73</li><li>Anna Bebington (Rob Roy) 8:16.06</li></ol>
<h4>Men</h4><h5>Single scull</h5><ol><li>Colin Smith (Oxford Uni) 7:17.46</li><li>James Dunley (Uni of London) 7:23.63</li><li>Sam Townsend (Reading Uni) 7:29.61</li><li>Tom Wilkinson (Leander) 7:36.00</li><li>Nick Clarke (Leander) 7:40.97</li><li>John Moon (Tideway Scullers) 7:44.51</li></ol>
<h5>Pair</h5><ol><li>Robin Bourne-Taylor/Kieran West (Ox. Uni/Uni of London) 6:50.68</li><li>Tom Stallard/Richard Egington (Leander) 6:57.92</li><li>Henry Adams/Ed Johnson (Cambridge Uni/Imperial) 6:59.33</li><li>James Orme/Pete Gostling (Cambridge Uni/Leander) 6:59.80</li><li>Tom Gale/George Whittaker (Tideway Sculler/Imperial) 7:00.55</li><li>Ben Lewis/Tom Burton (Leander) 7:03.39</li></ol>
<h4>Lightweight</h4><h4>Women</h4><h5>Single scull</h5><ol><li>Antonia Van Deventer (Rob Roy) 8:32.07</li><li>Laura Ralston (Uni of London) 8:34.29</li><li>Mel Court (Mortlake) 8:40.55</li><li>Liz Barker (Wallingford) 8:41.28</li><li>Julia Warren (Molesey) 8:42.34</li><li>Helen Ralston (Rob Roy) 8:43.09</li><li>Sally Orr (Cardiff Uni) 8:36.63</li></ol>
<h4>Pair</h4><ol><li>Alex Eddie/Alice Bray (Uni of London/Molesey) 7:58.90</li><li>Anna McNuff/Lizzie Tinley (Uni of London) 8:02.66</li></ol>
<h4>Men</h4><h5>Single scull</h5><ol><li>Mike Hennessy (Tideway Scullers) 7:37.43</li><li>Simon Jones (Notts & Union) 7:39.59</li><li>Nick English (Wallingford) 7:40.11</li><li>Richard Hosking (Tideway Scullers) 7:41.40</li><li>Stephen Feeney (Newcastle Uni) 7:43.65</li><li>Paul Kelly (Durham Uni) 7:44.90</li></ol>
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