World Champions Unchanged, Newcomer in Four
Great Britain will go to the season’s opening world cup, in Munich from May 8-11th, with its two world champion boats unchanged from the 2007 editions but with a newcomer to the men’s four who were champions in 2005 and 2006.
For the Camelot-backed women’s quadruple scull of Katherine Grainger, Frances Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon Munich will provide a good early-year test but the season’s long-term aim must be Beijing after three successive years for GB as world champions in this boat category.
"Without a doubt the main aim of this year will be bringing back the first ever Olympic Gold medal for the GB women’s squad", said Grainger. " Germany has traditionally dominated our event ever since its creation and so are always a powerful force to reckon with, but this year China will prove to be a huge rival as they will have so much pride in their home Olympics, I would expect to see them putting out some strong crews at the World Cups".
For Munich, this means that Sarah Winckless, a world champion in 2005 and 2006 who missed the 2007 season through injury, will race in a double with Elise Laverick, invoking memories of their Olympic bronze medal in this boat class in Athens. Anna Bebington, now returning strongly from illness, will race in a single scull.
For the world-champion and Siemens-sponsored lightweight men’s four of James Clarke, Paul Mattick, James Lindsay-Fynn and Richard Chambers the task will centre on building upon their hard-won rise to success last year which culminated in a spectacular win on the Munich course at the 2007 World Championships.
"We have such a strong pool of talent now in the lightweight men’s group and we’ve been pushed very hard for our seats in this boat during the winter’s trialling and testing", said Richard Chambers recently. "That can only be good for GB rowing. The lightweight men’s four race is also traditionally a very competitive boat class and the Danes, Chinese, French and others will all be strong contenders".
Meanwhile, Tom James has stepped up into the men’s four after, according to GB Performance Director David Tanner, "his best winter yet of training". For Munich he has displaced Alex Partridge following a tight series of testing. Partridge’s focus for Munich will now be the men’s eight squad. James will join Andy Hodge and Peter Reed, 2008 GB Senior Trials winners, and Olympic champion Steve Williams.
"The selection process for the top boats was more intense than ever before with a number of GB rowers vying for places", added Tanner. "Whilst it has been tough for the individuals concerned it proves the strength in depth of our Olympic squads. We’ll look again at all of our boats after Munich before naming the line up for the
2nd World Cup in Lucerne".
Whilst the crew boats begin to settle into racing units one man has a lonely season ahead of him – by choice. Alan Campbell will once more mount an assault on the men’s single scull event. The 24 year-old was fourth at the 2007 world championships after winning world cup medals in this event in 2006 and 2007. Campbell continues to grow and develop and is a podium contender for both Beijing and London 2012.
Emerging from a winter partially disrupted by injury, Matt Wells and Stephen Rowbotham have settled back into their well-oiled combination in the men’s double scull. The duo were world championships bronze medallists in 2006 and fourth in 2007.
Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter will once more race together in the lightweight men’s double scull after taking world championship bronze in Munich in 2007. The combination most definitely clicks on the water despite the two men’s differing ages and backgrounds.
Purchase, the younger of the duo, said: "During the world cups last year, the crew that dominated the season were the Danish double. They were consistent and fast. This year, hopefully, we will be setting the standard and people will be saying the same sort of things about us".
GB will have two lightweight women’s double scull entries – one of which will feature Helen Casey and Hester Goodsell who were eighth in Munich in a performance which qualified GB’s Beijing slot whilst the second boat will feature emerging youngsters Sophie Hosking and Laura Greenhalgh.
Meanwhile, on the final day of the Munich world championships last year, GB rounded off a regatta, in which they won seven Olympic-class medals, by taking bronzes in both the men’s and women’s eights. At this stage of the season there are still question marks over the final line-up for the men’s eight as injury and illness in both training groups have precluded closure of the testing process. So GB today named 10 rowers from whom the men’s eight will be selected, which include Matt Langridge and Colin Smith, bronze medallist in the pair at the 2007 Worlds.
With Alison Knowles currently injured, the women’s eight has been announced with, for Munich, Baz Moffat and Georgina Menheneott racing in a pair – the latter being a boat category in which Britain has not qualified for Beijing.
The GB men’s quadruple scull at Munich this year will include Bill Lucas. He joins last year’s trio of Sam Townsend, Alex Gregory and Simon Fieldhouse. Britain has also not yet qualified this boat class for Beijing with the last chance due in June in Poznan, Poland, at the Olympic qualifying regatta.
In the non-Olympic classes Matt Beechey will partner Rob Williams in the lightweight men’s pair whilst Mathilde Pauls and Andrea Dennis will race in the lightweight women’s single scull event.
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GB CREW LISTS (with clubs/home towns/dates of birth)
Munich World Cup 2008
Baz Moffat (Thames RC/Bradford/08.04.78)/
Georgina Menheneott (Mortlake, Anglian & Alpha RC/North Bradley, Wilts/18.12.78)
Alice Freeman (Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.09.78)/
Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes BC/Northallerton/13.03.79)/
Natasha Howard (Tideway Scullers/West Runton/03.09.80)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander/London/16.05.84)/
Beth Rodford (Thames RC/Burton-on-Trent/ 28.12.82)/
Natasha Page (Reading Uni/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)/
Jess Eddie (Uni of London / Durham/07.10.84)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)
Coach: John Keogh
Anna Bebington (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83)
Coach: Miles Forbes-Thomas
Elise Laverick (Thames RC/Poling, W.Sussex/27.07.75)/
Sarah Winckless (Walbrook & Royal/Henley/18.10.73)
Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas
Annie Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/
Debbie Flood (Leander Club/Leeds/27.02.80)/
Frances Houghton (Tyrian Club (Uni of London)/Oxford/19.09.80)/
Katherine Grainger (St Andrews BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)
Coach: Paul Thompson
Tom James (Molesey/Wrexham/11.03.84)/
Steve Williams (Leander Club/Cheltenham/15.04.76)/
Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andy Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N.Yorks/03.03.79)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Eight and Leading Pair
(10 names from which these boats will be selected)
Robin Bourne-Taylor (Army RC/Oxford/22.07.81)/
Richard Egington (Leander/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Alastair Heathcote (Army RC/London/18.08.77)/
Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/
Tom Lucy (Oxford Brookes/Monmouth/01.05.88)/
Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Colin Smith (Leander/Henley on Thames/23.09.83)/
Tom Solesbury (Molesey BC/Petts Wood, Kent/23.09.80)/
Tom Stallard (Leander/Welwyn, Herts/11.09.78)
Josh West (Leander/Santa Fe, USA/25.03.77)/
Eight to be coxed by: Acer Nethercott (University College Oxford
Coaches: Mark Banks, John West
Toby Garbett (Leander Club/Woking, Surrey/14.11.76)/
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club/Torquay/16.09.82)
Tom Parker (Oxford Brookes/Winchester/24.10.82)/
Oli Moore (OUBC/Burford/22.12.85)
Coach: Jonny Singfield
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Coach: Bill Barry
Matt Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)
Coach: Mark Earnshaw
Simon Fieldhouse (Molesey/Thames Ditton/04.09.76)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Uni/Reading/26.11.85)/
Alex Gregory (Reading Uni/Wormington/11.03.84)/
Bill Lucas (Reading Uni/Dartmouth/13.09.87)
Coach: Adrian Cassidy
Single scull (two boats)
Andrea Dennis (Wallingford RC/Oxford/03.01.82)
Mathilde Pauls (Imperial College BC/Berlin & Putney/26.09.83)
Coach: Karl Offord
Double scull (two boats)
Helen Casey (Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.02.74)/
Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni/Cambridge/27.06.84)
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)/Laura
Greenhalgh (Reading Uni/Oxford/02.09.85)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Matt Beechey (Leander/Worcester/4.3.77)/Rob Williams (London
Coach: Paul Reedy
Richard Chambers (Oxford Brookes/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
James Lindsay-Fynn (London/Trim/29.09.75)/Paul Mattick
(Wallingford/Oxford/25.04.78)/James Clarke (London RC/
Coach: Robin Williams
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury, Glos/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)
Coach: Darren Whiter
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OUTLINE RACING SCHEDULE IN MUNICH
Thursday 8 May
9.00 – 18.00
Friday 9 May
Repechages – Adaptive classes
Heats and repechages – all other classes
9.00 – 17.30
Saturday 10 May
FINALS – adpative classes only (9.00 – 9.30am)
Semi-finals – (14.00 – 17.40)
Repechages – 17.48 – 18.28)
Sunday 11 May
FINALS 10.00 – 14.50
NB – may be subject to change. For up-to-date
information visit: www.worldrowing.com