GB Team Off to Good Start at World Cup

Great Britain made the most of home advantage with a solid start to the Bearing Point World Cup regatta at Eton, with five wins, including an impressive victory by the new-look men’s four. With Camelot being announced as the lead sponsor of the GB Rowing team, the rowers repaid their sponsor’s faith.

News

David Tanner, Great Britain’s Team Manager was more
than happy with the news on both fronts, “We’re really
pleased to be once again associated with Camelot,
although this time as a GB team lead sponsor. Camelot
and their Chief Executive Diane Thompson were hugely
supportive of British Rowing in the lead-up to the Athens
Olympics and I am sure that this new sponsorship through
to 2008, will be a huge success. We intend to Camelot’s
business success with our results on the water.”

“The men’s four produced a good performance – they
went out fast and have put a marker down – but I think
the encouraging news is that there’s more to come
from them.

And from the day’s other results it looks as though
there are a number of other crews that can compete
at the top level as Tanner explained: “I’m particularly
pleased with this morning’s racing because of the
strength of the field here. We’ve got a large number
of nations – in the Olympic events, the nations who
have performed over the last two years all here
 – albeit with new mixes.

Tanner was particularly heartened by the performances
of the single sculllers. Both Debbie Flood and Matt Wells
produced surprise wins in the men’s and women’s singles
and there was promise for the future with wins for Naomi
Hoogester and Zac Purchase. 

As Tanner went on to explain, the crew scullers also
chipped in: “As far as our scullers are concerned, in
all categories we had some wins and that shows that
we have some depth – particularly in our lightweight
scullers. We have an interesting lightweight women’s
group coming on. The two Olympic lightweight men’s
boats both came second and to be quite honest, that
was not quite what I expected. I think they’ve shown
a racing ability today, which is quite a significant step
forward.

The men’s and women’s sweep boats also had their
moments in a packed day’s racing, with both pairs
qualifying for their semi-finals. The men’s pair
couldn’t quite catch Canada, although they produced
one of the closest possible finishes.
Tanner summed up the day’s action: “As a general
standard it’s been good – we have one direct qualification
to the final in the men’s four. The trick now is to translate
the other promising performances into final places for
Saturday.”

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New crew, familiar result

It was a case of a new season, fresh sponsorship
deal, new-look crew, but business as usual as Great
Britain’s lead men’s heavyweight boat put down a
marker as the BearingPoint World Cup got underway
at Eton today.

The men’s four started the season in determined
fashion, taking just 10 strokes to get their bow in
front and 300m to gain a length on strong opposition
in the form of the Dutch crew. In Athens veteran
Steve Williams’ words, “We’d killed off the race
after 500m.”

But typically, despite qualifying directly for Saturday’s
final, the crew was not content to rest on the laurels
of a good start to the competitive season.

“There are definitely things we can improve in the
middle of the race and we know we can go better”,
said Williams. There was also some personal
encouragement from one of Team GB’s younger
supporters, “My five year old nephew couldn’t
go to Athens, but ironically he’s come all the
way from Australia to be here today and judging
from the noise coming from the grandstand, he
made up for his absence last August.”

For Andy Hodge, it was a case of the new crew
creating its own identity after following in the
footsteps of some high-profile predecessors,
“There’s a lot of hype about the Olympic four –
lots of posters and constant reminders of their
achievements. But as far as we’re concerned,
our first race shows we’re stepping in the right
direction. There is a lot of potential in this boat
– whether it’s a one year or four year project –
but there is some way to go before we realise it.

Hodge, together with Williams, Alex Partridge
and Peter Reed will face the Czech Republic
in the final on Saturday, with the other places
decided through tomorrow’s repechages.

In the men’s pair, Josh and Kieran West lost
narrowly to a strong Canadian duo, by a margin
that made the men’s four’s victory in Athens
last August look comfortable. Just three hundredths
separated the two crews, producing a bittersweet
feeling for the Kieran West:

“It’s obviously disappointing to lose by such a small
margin – they must have got it on the surge. I thought
it was a really good row and we know there’s lots we can
do in the next race. They got a good lead and we kept
rowing them down, but didn’t quite make it.”

The result was sufficient to take the pair through
to tomorrow’s semi-final.

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Single Sculls make good start – but tough work ahead

Both of Great Britain’s leading scullers made a good
start to the BeraingPoint World Cup regatta at Eton
today, but know that today’s racing is the prelude
to tough semi-finals tomorrow.

Debbie Flood had not had the ideal run-in to Eton,
with final exams of her Physiology and Biochemistry
degree taking priority. But it proved no barrier to a
performance that “gobsmacked” her coach, Mark Banks
and to an extent, Flood herself, as she finished a
second ahead of Russian, Yulya Levina.

“I went out and didn’t really know what to expect.
As I’d never raced my single internationally and
I’ve just finished my exams, I was a bit apprehensive.
But I just went out and did my normal start, focused
on myself – tried not to go too hard in the second
500m as I didn’t know how much energy I had,
but I wanted to avoid the repechage if I could.

“I tried to push on in the second half of the race
and although I’m not renowned for my finishes,
I decided to wind it up at the end and it worked
and I came through first. Hopefully that will set
me up for a good semi, although it’s going to be
really hard to get through to the final.”

Matt Wells was also a little unsure of what to expect,
having only had clearance to resume rowing last week,
after a three month spell of back trouble. His performance
will have pleased the medical staff from the English
Institute of Sport who were watching from the grandstand.

His victory was all the more impressive given the way
he held off the challenge from Swiss Olympic sculler
Andre Vonarburg. Wells put a part of his performance
down to the support of an enthusiastic home crowd.

“It is already a highlight of my year just to come to
Eton and compete in front of this crowd. I train here
all year and now to race here is just fantastic –
I know it sounds corny, but it’s true!

“I feel that I’ve matured now as an athlete as a
result of this injury. I’ve had to be really focused
for the last three months, without being able to do
much training in the single.”

Flood and Wells can both look forward to their
semi-finals tomorrow, but do so in the knowledge
that a tough field remains.

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Lightweights make their mark

Great Britain’s lightweights had a good day on their
home water as a series of strong – and in some cases
unexpected performances – showed that progress has
been made at all levels.

Naomi Hoogester – one of the reasons why Durham
is fast gaining a reputation for rowing excellence –
started things off with a win in the day’s second
race. Despite being a newcomer to rowing at the
international level, even her victory failed to meet
the tough standards she imposes on herself.

“It wasn’t good sculling, my shoulders were a bit
tight and I’ll have to improve on that, but I was
putting down a lot in the water.”

Hoogester’s success in the women’s event, was
mirrored by that of Zac Purchase in the men’s.
Purchase had benefited from a couple of weeks
training alongside Matt Wells and the results
suggested that the strategy paid off. Purchase
singled out his finish in the senior ‘A’ trials in
Essen as the breakthrough which made his heat
win possible.

“Essen meant that I could take the step I needed
to, to perform in this race. The difference was my
second half – I had the confidence to race hard at
the start and know that I would still be there in the
second 1000m.”

Purchase’s performance didn’t necessarily come
as a surprise to his coach, Darren Whiter, “I’ve
coached a lot of guys, but Zac stands out as
someone who’s very mature and learns as he goes along.”

Other lightweight crews to progress were the
women’s and men’s doubles. Despite the men’s
four’s impressive second in their heat they still
face a trip to tomorrow’s repechage. For the
men’s crews in particular the heats at Dorney
represented a renaissance.

“After the results of the last few years, it was
a great feeling to be in a World Cup race and
look up and see the field behind you after the f
irst quarter”, said the doubles’ bow man Mark
Hunter. It was a sentiment echoed by Matthew
Beechey of the four, “It was great to be leading
after 500m – something we haven’t experienced
for quite a while.”

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RESULTS World Cup 2005 Eton, Great Britain, 26-28 May
DAY ONE

HEATS

WOMEN – Lightweight

Single sculls

Heat 2
1.  Naomi Hoogester (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:51.20
2.  Daniela Nachazelova (Czech Republic) 7:51.43
3.  Ismaray Marrero Aria (Cuba) 7:53.30
4.  Nora Fiechter (Switzerland) 8:05.88
5.  Ilona Hiltunen(Finland) 8:17.12

Heat 3
1.  Lea Fluri (Switzerland) 7:53.48
2.  Sinead Jennings (Ireland) 7:58.31
3.  Hester Goodsell (GREAT BRITAIN) 8:03.10
4.  Solenne Hamon (France) 8:06.88
5.  Siobhan Jacob (Ireland) 8:11.34

Heat 4
1.  Teresa Mas De Xaxars Rivero (Spain) 7:57.16
2.  Jennifer Goldsack (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:59.41
3.  Antonia Van Deventer (GREAT BRITAIN) 8:05.46
4.  Ka Man Lee (Hong Kong) 8:18.66
5.  Ibtissem Trimech (Tunisia) 8:32.01

Double sculls

Heat 1
1.  Liliana Niga/Angela Alupei (Romania) 7:19.05
2.  Jo Hammond/Helen Casey (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:19.76
3.  Lena Karlsson/Sara Karlsson (Sweden) 7:22.28
4.  Eva Val Del Rio/Meritxell Alonso Bertomeu (Spain) 7:45.77
5.  Kwan Yau Yip/Siu Man Tong (Hong Kong) 7:57.76

Heat 2
1.  Aina Chen/Dongxiang Xu (China) 7:06.18
2.  Berit Carow/Laura Tasch (Germany) 7:09.16
3.  Marit Van Eupen/Eeke Thomee (Netherlands) 7:11.12
4.  Sanna Sten/Minna Nieminen (Finland) 7:14.28
5.  Lorna Norris/Tanya Brady (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:18.05

MEN – Lightweight

Single sculls

Heat 1
1.  Zac Purchase (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:07.51
2.  Gerard Van Der Linden (Netherlands) 7:10.13
3.  Fabrice Moreau (France) 7:16.55
4.  Jacob Moeller (Denmark) 7:21.34
5.  Dimitrios Mougios (Greece) 7:23.23
6.  Rolandas Kazlauskas Hong Kong) 7:24.77

Heat 3
1.  Mads Rasmussen (Denmark) 7:07.06
2.  Tim Male (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:16.41
3.  Michal Vabrousek (Czech Republic) 7:23.03
4.  Jorgen Bauwens (Belgium) 7:24.00
5.  Mohamed Abd El Moaty (Egypt) 7:32.08
    Imanol Calvo Ortiz (Spain) DNS

Double sculls

Heat 1
1.  Zsolt Hirling/Tamas Varga (Hungary) 6:27.61
2.  Takahiro Suda/Daisaku Takeda (Japan) 6:27.97
3.  Ting Wai Lo/Sau Wah So (Hong Kong) 6:41.32
4.  Ali Brown/James Stephenson (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:47.50
5.  Kwong Wing Chow/Ming Cheung Ho (Hong Kong) 6:53.83

Heat 3
1.  Arnaud Pornin/Frederic Dufour (France) 6:28.81
2.  Mark Hunter/James Lindsay-Fynn (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:32.13
3.  Jan Vetesnik/Ondrej Vetesnik (Czech Republic) 6:37.26
4.  Vladimir Varfolomeyev/Denis Moisseyev (Russia) 6:42.13
5.  Nuno Mendes/Pedro Fraga (Portugal) 6:51.71

Four
1.  Spain 6:07.35
2. Paul Mattick/Dave Currie/Matthew Beechey/Nick Wakefield (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:08.84
3.  Ireland 1 6:12.72
4.  Netherlands 1 6:13.84
5.  Ireland 2 6:19.07

WOMEN

Single Sculls
1. Debbie Flood (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:37.76
2. Yulya Levina (Russia) 7:38.88
3. Anet-Jaklin Bushman (Bulgaria) 7:46.04
4. Nuria Dominguez Asensio (Spain) 7:55.73

Double Sculls
1.  Rumyana Neykova/Miglena Markova (Bulgaria) 7:01.39
2.  Yuliya Bichyk/Volha Bernazniova (Belarus) 7:05.76
3.  Elise Laverick/Annie Vernon (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:05.79
4.  Josephine Wartenberg/Magdalena Schmude (Germany) 7:11.90
5.  Marianne Nordahl/Heidi Veeser (Norway) 7:13.37
6.  Annekatrin Thiele/Anne-Katrin Kochan (Germany) 7:15.12

MEN

Single Sculls

Heat 2
1.  Iztok Cop (Slovenia) 6:57.76
2.  Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 7:00.61
3.  Sjoerd Hamburger (Netherlands) 7:09.78
4.  Igor Kuzmin (Estonia) 7:13.60
5.  Ian Lawson (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:28.34

Heat 4
1.  Nikola Stojic (Serbia & Montenegro) 7:01.79
2.  Colin Smith (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:04.59
3.  Ivo Yanakiev (Bulgaria) 7:11.85
4.  Charalampos Christou (Greece) 7:27.80

Heat 6
1.  Matthew Wells (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:02.26
2.  Andre Vonarburg (Switzerland) 7:11.83
3.  Akos Haller (Hungary) 7:15.82
4.  Julien Bahain (France) 7:18.86

Quad sculls
1.  Poland 1 5:50.46
2.  Australia 5:53.81
3.  Alan Campbell/Stephen Rowbotham/Alex Gregory/Matthew Langridge (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:55.84
4.  Poland 2 6:00.39
5.  Russia 6:01.27
6.  China 6:09.09

WOMEN

Open

Pairs
1.  Kate Hornsey/Sonia Mills (Australia) 7:26.85
2.  Tamara Samakhvalava/Natallia Helakh (Belarus) 7:27.27
3.  Beth Rodford/Alison Knowles (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:28.05
4.  Annemarieke Van Rumpt/Laura Posthuma (Netherlands) 7:28.25

MEN

Open

Pairs
1.  Ben Rutledge/Kyle Hamilton (Canada) 6:43.15
2.  Josh West/Kieran West (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:43.18
3.  Chris Liwski/Mike Blomquist (United States) 6:54.99
4.  Petr Masek/Jakub Litera (Czech Republic) 7:15.32

Four
1.  Steve Williams/Peter Reed/Alex Partridge/Andrew Hodge (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:58.38
2.  Netherlands 6:00.30
3.  Denmark 6:04.56
4.  France 6:09.15
5.  Switzerland 6:21.70
 

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