Fairytale comeback to GB Rowing Team continues for Searle

38 year-old Greg Searle, from Marlow, opened his international account after a ten-year break in  a GB Rowing Team men’s eight which won its heat today in Bled, Slovenia, to reach Sunday’s world cup final.

The fairytale comeback continued for 1992 Olympic gold medallist Searle today when the men’s eight, stroked by Dan Ritchie and coxed by Phelan Hill, surged ahead of Poland in the final 500m to book a finals place.Men's Eight Heat Bled WCR 2010

“I enjoyed every minute of it”, said Searle. “It’s a gorgeous place here and I took  confidence from the success of the rest of the GB Rowing Team. We stuck to doing the basics well and Dan [Ritchie] set up a great rhythm for us”.

Searle’s victory was one of 11 for a GB Rowing Team squad which enjoyed an eye-catching start to its 2010 campaign in the day’s opening session.

“Yes, we’ve had a good morning as a start to 2010”, agreed GB Rowing Team Performance Director David Tanner.  “It will get tougher, though”.

Two of those GB Rowing Team wins fell to Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins in both the women’s double and the women’s quadruple scull heats, giving both women two places apiece in Sunday’s finals.

“This felt like a good combination when we started out”, said Grainger of the double with Watkins.  “But we needed to test it.  It was rough [water] to race in but the intuition is already there between us and we knew what we had to do”.

Pete Reed and Andy Triggs Hodge were in quick form in the men’s pair to make the semi-finals as were the two, new men’s double scull combinations of Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells as well as Sam Townsend and Bill Lucas who both took honours in their heats to move through to tomorrow’s semi-final programme.

“It was a good race.  We expected a lot from the Greeks but they didn’t qualify. Not everything was completely perfect but it was a good start”, said men’s chief coach Jurgen Grobler of Reed and Hodge’s victory.

Alan Campbell, winner of a men’s single scull heat here, will not face his nemesis Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand in Bled as the New Zealander and world champion is injured. The Northern Ireland sculler still has a quarter-final to race later today such is the depth of entry in his event.

The world champion GB men’s four were also heat winners as were the lightweight women’s double scull, the lightweight men’s four and Zac Purchase in the lightweight men’s single scull – an event he has entered as his normal racing partner Mark Hunter is injured.

Britain’s three women’s pairs, two of whom are doubling up here into the eight, were all third-placed today and have,  therefore, booked places in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

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Pete Reed and Andy Triggs Hodge laid down a marker in their opening heat here in Bled. By halfway they were five seconds ahead and never looked seriously challenged despite a last minute flurry from China on their inside.  Greece, the world U23 champions, were third and will now race a repechage.

The second-ranked British duo of Cameron Nichol and Tom Burton also produced a storming finish in their heat of the same event
to book a semi-final place.  They were beaten only by the world champions from New Zealand Hamish Bond and Eric Murray who will be able to renew their rivalry here with Reed and Hodge.

Olympic lightweight men’s double scull champion Zac Purchase is racing here in a single scull as his intended partner Mark Hunter
is injured.  Today he glided comfortably over the line to win his opening heat and qualify for tomorrow’s semi-final.

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins made their race debut in combination and looked comfortable in winning their women’s double scull heat, leading throughout to book Britain’s first final place on Sunday.  “We already have intuition between us”, said Grainger afterwards. “It was a bit scrappy but with plenty of power”, said Watkins in describing the duo’s first race together.

Both women are “doubling up” here by also racing in the quadruple scull with Annabel Vernon and Beth Rodford. This quartet looked strong and confident to lead consistently and capture another finals spot for GB.  The Ukraine and China also produced good performance setting up a potentially competitive final.

Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman impressed in winning their men’s double scull heat.  They also led all the way down the course.  Sam Townsend and Bill Lucas, the second-ranked British boat in this category were later involved  involved in an early-race tight battle before emerging to win their heat. Both crews now race semi-finals tomorrow.

The world champions from New Zealand, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond look set to be the main opposition to the British thirst for gold here.  They won their heat which also featured Cameron Nichol and Tom Burton from Great Britain. The British duo put in a storming final  800m to take second place and move into the semi-finals.

Alan Campbell later became Britain’s eighth heat winner and the fourth for the open weight men’s squad. As unruffled as the water surface on Lake Bled in the early morning,  he cruised to win in 7:12.74 ahead of Holland and Estonia.  Both he and Brendan Crean, making his senior single scull debut here and who finished third in his heat, will now race quarter-finals later today.

The world champion men’s four added a ninth heat win in a smooth outing ahead of Spain,  China and Iran to also move through to the semi-finals.

They were followed on the course by the men’s eight who were unconcerned when the Polish crew took an early lead.  With 750m to go the British combination made its move, upped the stroke rate and moved through to victory.

“I knew we had it won at 750m to go”, said the stroke Dan Ritchie, from Kent, who admitted to being nervous at his first senior regatta in the role. “Halfway through the warm-up our cox Phelan Hill had to tell me me calm down a bit.  It’s good to have experienced people like Phelan and Greg Searle around me”, he said.

Olympian and former world champion Richard Chambers is back in the GB Rowing Team lightweight mens’ four and savoured an opening heat victory on his return to competition after a year of injury. Racing with Paul Mattick, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley the crew moved to an early lead and won to book a place in the semi-finals.

Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking wasted no time in getting back to world cup winning ways after their
great 2009 season.  They were heat winners for GB in the lightweight women’s double scull here, taking the lead from just beyond the 500m mark.  Their compatriots Andrea Dennis and Steph Cullen were fifth in the same race and will race a repechage.

GB’s squad in Bled features three women’s pairs with Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve ranked first among them. Today’s heat for the 2008 Olympians proved a solo battle against three Chinese crews who had been placed in the same heat through the vagaries of the draw. The Li twins proved victorious and in a close finish Reeve and Whitlam lost out to the second-ranked Chinese crew to take third.

Jess Eddie and Alison Knowles were fourth at 500m but nudged back into third by halfway behind Canada, who won, and the USA.  The British duo held off a strong finish from Italy to main their qualifying place.

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, both products of  GB Rowing’s Start scheme, have emerged at this level in 2010 and made a strong opening by qualifying in third place here for tomorrow’s semi-finals. 

Debbie Flood is back in the rowing fold in recent weeks after a year of work with HM Prison Service. The twice Olympic silver medallist was the early race leader in the women’s single scull but paid the price for her early pace by taking fifth place just ahead of Britain’s no.1 ranked single sculler here, Melanie Wilson.

Wilson and Flood will now race in today’s repechages along with the iightweight men’s pair, the second GB lightweight women’s double and the U23 duo racing here in the lightweight men’s double scull.

Today’s second session race programme also features heats of the adaptive events.

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(GB Boats only. Full results at:  www.worldrowing.com)




Heat 1
1. Li Meng/Li Tong (China 1) 7:14.82
2.  Sun Meiling/Sun Zhengping (China 2) 7:21.38
3.  Olivia Whitlam/Louisa Reeve (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 7:21.99
4.  Zhang Jiaying/Ding Yanjie (China 3)  7:29.95
5.  Sonja Keserac/Maja Anic (Croatia) 7:40.24

Heat 2
1.  Krista Guloien/Ashley Brzozowicz (Canada) 7:17.35
2.  Zsuzsanna Francia/Erin Cafaro (USA) 7:17.35
3.  Jess Eddie/Alison Knowles (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 7:21.67
4.  Marta Novelli/Samanta Molina (Italy) 7:23.72

Heat 3
1.  Kerstin Hartmann/Marlene Sinnig (Germany) 7:23.09
2.  Lin Hong/Li Xin (China 4) 7:25.88
3.  Helen Glover/Heather Stanning (GREAT BRITAIN 3) 7:26.89
4.  Marie Le Nepvou/Stephanie Dechand (France) 7:34.60

Single scull
Heat 1
1.  Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch (Belarus) 7:45.96
2.  Tang Bin (China) 7:50.43
3.  Frida Svensson (Sweden) 7:51.58
4.  Agata Gramtyka (Poland 1) 7:57.46
5.  Debbie Flood (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 7:59.97
6.  Melanie Wilson (GREAT BRITAIN) 8:00.60

Double scull

Heat 1
1.  Jitka/Lenka Antosova (Czech Republic) 6:59.04
2.  Carle Stesha/Kathleen Bertko (USA) 7:01.12
3.  Vanessa Grandpierre/Caroline Delas (France1) 7:16.09
4.  Clemence Willaume/Pauline Bugnard (France 2)  7:18.62
5.  Virginia Diaz Rivas/Nuria Asensio Dominguez (Spain) 7:24.05

Heat 2
1.  Katherine Grainger/Anna Watkins (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:53.88
2.  Tian Liang/Zhang Yangyang (China 1) 6:56.67
3.  Jin Ziwei/Duan Jingli (China 2) 7:00.09
4.  Anastasiya Fadzeyenka/Katsiaryna Shliupskaya (Belarus) 7:16.39

Quadruple scull

Heat 1.

1.  Annabel Vernon/Beth Rodford/Anna Watkins/Katherine Grainger/
    (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:34.32
2.  Switzerland 6:37.63
3.  Italy 6:43.53
4.  Denmark 6:46.56
5.  Austria 6:47.63



Heat 1
1.  Peter Reed/Andrew Triggs Hodge (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 6:26.48
2.  Wu Lin/Sun Zhaowen (China 1) 6:30.70
3.  Ioannis Tsilis/Georgios Tziallas (Greece 1) 6:36.34
4.  Andrew Byrnes/Derek O’Farrell (Canada) 6:38.92
5.  Guo Xiaobing/Lin Dongjan (China 2) 6:41.12
6.  Lukasz Kardas/Dawid Paczes (Poland) 6:49.91

Heat 3
1.  Eric Murray/Hamish Bond (New Zealand) 6:29.60
2.  Cameron Nichol/Tom Burton (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 6:33.12
3.  Kristof Wilke/Richard Schmidt (Germany) 6:33.38
4.  Marko Marjanovic/Nikola Stojic (Serbia) 6:39.29
5.  Jacob Cornelius/Charles Cole (USA) 6:49.50
6.  Benjamin Rondeau/Laurent Cadot (France 4) 6:52.40


Heat 2
1.  Alex Partridge/Ric Egington/Alex Gregory/Matt Langridge
     (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:11.96
2.  Spain 6:15.69
3.  China 2 6:18.71
4.  Iran 7:04.68


Heat 1
1. Tom Wilkinson/James Clarke/James Orme/James Foad/
    Moe Sbihi/Greg Searle/Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/Dan
    Ritchie/Phelan Hill (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:37.47
2.  Poland 5:40.91
3.  Ukraine 6:02.74
4.  Iran 6:15.38

Single scull

Heat 3

1.  Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 7:10.62
2.  Aleksandr Aleksandrov (Azerbajan) 7:13.70
3.  Brendan Crean (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:17.49
4.  Jean-Pierre Peltier (France 3) 7:19.29
5.  Ralph Kreibich (Austria) 7:21.49

Heat 5

1.  Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:12.74
2.  Roel Braas (Netherlands) 7:18.21
3.  Igor Kuzmin (Estonia 3) 7:20.49
4.  Sigmund Verstraete (France 4) 7:26.52

Double scull

Heat 1
1.  Matt Wells/Marcus Bateman (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 6:21.75
2.  Piotr Licznerski/Wiktor Chabel (Poland) 6:28.38
3.  Valeri Prosvirnin/Vladimir Latin (Estonia 2) 6:31.81
4.  Mads Rasmussen/Thomas Larsen (Denmark) 6:48.18
5.  Paulo Quesado/Pedro Ramos (Portugal) 6:52.59

Heat 4
1.  Bill Lucas/Sam Townsend (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 6:25.49
2.  Paolo Perino/Domenico Montrone (Italy 2) 6:27.20
3.  Allar Raja/Kaspar Taimsoo (Estonia 1) 6:27.67
4.  Igor Salov/Vladislav Ryabcev (Russia) 6:43.04



Double scull

Heat 1
1.  Hester Goodsell/Sophie Hosking (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 7:09.54
2.  Michaela Taupe Traer/Stefanie Barzacchini (Austria) 7:12.29
3.  Eugenie Vince/Elise Maurin (Austria 1) 7:13.55
4.  Yan Shimin/Liu Tingting (China 2)  7:14.14
5.  Steph Cullen/Andrea Dennis (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 7:14.61
6.  Eri Wakai/Akiko Iwamoto (Japan) 7:26.71



1.  Nenad Babovic/Milos Tomic (Serbia) 6:45.37
2.  Adam Freeman-Pask/Chris Boddy (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:47.49
3.  Luca Motta/Giorgio Tuccinardi (Italy 3)  6:52.50
4.  Salvatore Di Somma/Armando Dell’Aquila (Italy 2) 6:56.93


1.  Richard Chambers/Paul Mattick/Rob Williams/Chris
    Bartley (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:07.81
2.  Canada 6:09.82
3.  France 6:10.44
4.  Denmark 2 6:21.60
5.  Poland 6:27.00


1.  Zac Purchase (GREAT BRITAIN)  7:12.86
2.  Fabrizio Gabriele (Italy 2) 7:14.25
3.  Alexander Rath (Austria) 7:16.04
4.  Daniel Zielinski (Denmark) 7:16.40
5.  Pietro Ruta (Italy) 7:43.97

Double scull

Heat 2
1.  Lorenzo Bertini (Italy 2) 6:35.21
2.  Wang Teixin/Sun Jie (China 1) 6:37.84
3.  Benjamin Rowe/Peter Chambers (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:43.07
4.  Nemanja Nesic/Milos Stanojevic (Serbia) 6:44.57
5.  Arnoud Greidanus/Jaap Schouten (Netherlands) 6:44.73
6.  Mark O’Donovan/Michael Maher (Ireland) 2 6:47.39

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2010 Rowing World Cup, Bled, Slovenia (28-30 May)
(listed bow to stroke plus cox)



Pairs – three boats

Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC/Warrington/16.09.85)/
Louisa Reeve (LeanderClub/London/16.05.84)

Jessica Eddie (Uni of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/

Helen Glover (Reading Uni BC/Penzance/17.06.86)/
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)


Jo Cook (Leander Club/Sunbury-on-Thames/22.03.84)/
Louisa Reeve (LeanderClub/London/16.05.84)/
Natasha Page (Reading Uni BC/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Victoria Thornley (Minerva Bath/Wrexham/30.11.87)/
Jessica Eddie (Uni of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC/Edinburgh/15.01.82)/
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC/Warrington/16.09.85)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes Uni BC/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)

Single scull – two boats

Melanie Wilson (Molesey BC/London/25.6.84)

Debbie Flood (Leander Club/Guiseley/27.02.80)/

Double scull – two boats

Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)/
Anna Watkins (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83)

Quadruple scull

Annabel Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.12.82)/
Anna Watkins (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83)/
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)



Pair – two boats

Peter Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N.Yorks/03.03.79)

Cameron Nichol (Molesey/Glastonbury/26.6.87)/
Tom Burton (Leander Club/Barton-le-Clay, Beds/24.05.80)


Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Richard Egington (Leander Club/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington/11.03.84)/
Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/


Tom Wilkinson (Leander Club/Reading/04.07.85)/
James Clarke (London RC/London/31.12.84)/
James Orme (Leander Club/Colchester/01.04.84)/
James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Greg Searle (Molesey BC/Marlow/20.03.72)/
Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell (Uni of London/Durham/13.04.88)/
Daniel Ritchie (Herne Bay RC/Herne Bay/06.01.87)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)

Single scull – two boats

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83)

Brendan Crean (Agecroft/Lewes/07.02.85)

Double scull – two boats

Matthew Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79)
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club/Torquay/16.09.82)/

Bill Lucas (Reading Uni BC/Kingswear/13.09.87)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Uni BC/Reading/26.11.85)



Double scull – two boats

Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni BC/London/27.06.84)/
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)

Stephanie Cullen (London RC/Putney, London/27.11.80)/
Andrea Dennis (Reading Uni BC/Oxford/03.01.82)




Chris Boddy (Leander Club/Stockton-on-Tees/16.11.87)/
Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC/Windsor/19.06.85)


Richard Chambers (Leander Club/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
Paul Mattick (Leander Club/Frome, Somerset/25.04.78)/
Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.85)/
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)

Single scull
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury/02.05.86)

Double scull

Ben Rowe (Tees RC/Middlesbrough/05.11.88)/
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Uni RC/Coleraine/14.03.90)


Mixed adaptive coxed four

Kelsie Gibson (Maidstone Invicta RC)/
James Roe (Stratford-upon-Avon BC//Stratford-upon-Avon/28.03.88)/
Ryan Chamberlain (King’s College London BC/London/03.04.86)/
Naomi Riches (Marlow RC/Harrow, London 15.06.83)/
Rhiannon Jones (Reading Uni BC/Hereford/16.09.87) (cox)

ASM1x – two boats

Tom Aggar (Royal Docks RC/Barnet, London/24.05.84)
Andy Houghton (Maidenhead RC/Newbury/06.04..81)


Jurgen Grobler/Christian Felkel/Mark Earnshaw/Mark Banks/John West/Bill Barry/Paul Stannard

Paul Thompson/Miles Forbes-Thomas/Ade Roberts/Darren Whiter/Rob Morgan/Paul Reedy/Peter Sheppard

Tom Dyson/Mary McLachlan

Management & Support Staff

David Tanner, Team Manager
Maggie Netto, Assistant TM
Louise Kingsley, Adaptive TM
Fran Bullock, Sponsor Liaison
Ann Redgrave, Doctor
Mark Edgar, Physiotherapist
Andrew Griffin, Physiotherapist
Pat Dunleavy, Adaptive Physiotherapist
Chris Shambrook, Psychologist
Wendy Martinson, Nutritionist
Maurice Hayes, Resources Manager
John Tetley, Boatman
Drew Robertson, Driver
Andy McCartney, Driver
Caroline Searle, Press Officer