GB Rowing Team’s Mark Hunter shines in testing to secure world cup place

Londoner Mark Hunter has negotiated some stiff post-Trials testing to keep his hopes of an Olympic title defence on home water in 2012 on track.

The 32 year-old Thames Waterman from Forest Gate has been named alongside his Beijing gold crew-mate Zac Purchase in the lightweight men’s double scull as the GB Rowing Team, sponsored by its High Performance Partner, Siemens, and funded by the Lottery, announced its crews today for the season’s first World Cup in Munich from May 27-29th.

Purchase, 25 from Cheltenham, and Hunter are also world champions.  Hunter had been challenged in a fiercely competitive lightweight men’s squad during April’s Trials by rowers like Rob Williams – himself a world champion in the lightweight men’s four.

Williams now races in the four again in Munich with his 2010 world gold-winning counterparts Chris Bartley, Paul Mattick and Richard Chambers.

“Mark stepped up and delivered in the testing. In fact he shone”, said GB Rowing Team Performance Director David Tanner today.

“It’s great that we are taking such a strong team to Munich. The world cup circuit is a prize in itself but it also gives us vital feedback on how the team has progressed over the winter”.

The GB Rowing Team won 9 Olympic and 2 Paralympic-class medals at the 2010 World Championships in New Zealand but Tanner is sanguine that world cup and World Championships medals do not always correspond to equivalent success at the Olympic Games.

“It’s been my experience that most nations step up at the Olympic Games. There is a greater intensity so you need almost double the boats in the medal zone to hit your target at the Games”, he said.

Tom James, winner of Olympic gold in Beijing in the men’s four, has also grabbed attention in the Trials and testing programme recently.  He took a deliberate year’s lay-off after China and then an unscheduled season’s break through injury but has wrested his seat back in the men’s four despite the boat becoming a world title winner in 2009 and a world finalist in 2010 without him.

He will race in Munich alongside Ric Egington, Matt Langridge, and Alex Gregory whilst Alex Partridge, from last year’s four, returns to the men’s eight group in which he won Olympic silver in 2008.

Partridge joins a line-up which includes veteran Greg Searle and which is stroked once more by Dan Ritchie whose rise to world medal status – the boat won a World Championship silver medal last year – has come through the GB Rowing Team’s “Start” talent identification and development programme which is also Siemens-backed and lottery funded. Ritchie was a promising junior international swimmer before turning to rowing.

Phelan Hill retains his coxes seat in the boat for the first world cup.

There was never any doubt after the Trials that Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger, winner and runner-up, would be named in the open women’s double scull for the season’s opening world cup. 

The duo from Leek and Aberdeen respectively were world cup winners and World Champions last year and named World Crew of the Year by the sport’s international governing body.

Grainger, of course, has won three Olympic silver medals and Watkins won bronze in the double scull in Beijing.  Both covet the prize of taking an historic Britain’s first women’s gold at the Games but know they need to concentrate on the stepping stones to get there. Munich being the first of these.

Behind them Britain has named its world champion women’s quad for Munich.  Annie Vernon, Beth Rodford, Frances Houghton and Debbie Flood took gold on New Zealand’s Lake Karapiro last November.  Houghton, a talented cook as well as rower, is back in the boat after missing last month’s Trials with a slight injury.

The GB Rowing Team women’s squad also took a world silver medal in the women’s pair in New Zealand and that same pair has been named for Munich today.  Previously unheralded and relative newcomers to the sport, Army Officer Heather Stanning, from Lossiemouth and Cornwall’s Sporting Giant recruit Helen Glover even challenged the reigning Kiwi world champions en route to their well-fought silver.

Britain’s women’s eight for Munich has the same look and feel as that which finished an agonising fourth in the final at the World Championships. Katie Solesbury has returned to the group after two seasons of sculling and will add experience to the crew.

The GB Rowing Team’s management ended speculation last week after confirming rumours that Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge would once more compete as a men’s pair on the world stage.

Some regular observers of the sport had predicted that Men’s Chief Coach Jurgen Grobler might opt to put his top two athletes in the men’s four.  Reed and Hodge were world silver medallists in 2009 and 2010 and won Olympic gold in the men’s four with Tom James and Steve Williams in Beijing.   But the event’s dominant pairing since Beijing comes from from New Zealand – Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.

Reed said last week that it was a “great decision” and Hodge underlined that “the pair is what motivates me in training every day”.

Both are determined to examine every angle to improve constantly as 2012 approaches. “If this project in the pair makes us better athletes for 2012 then that’s a great thing”, said Hodge. But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week that he “just wanted to win Olympic gold” and did not mind if that came in the pair or the four or any other boat.

Unlike in previous decades, Britain also now has a very strong men’s sculling group.   The “Red Express” – so-dubbed because of their hair-colour – of Matt Wells, from Northumberland, and Marcus Bateman, of Devon, took silver in the men’s double at last year’s World Championships. Bateman joined Olympic bronze medallist Wells for the first time a year ago and the partnership continues to improve.

Ulsterman Alan Campbell was in fine form in New Zealand and took 2010 World Championships bronze – just four tenths off silver. He competes in his favourite single scull once again in Munich.

Britain’s quadruple scull will race in Munich with newcomer Tom Solesbury, husband of the women’s eight ‘s Katie, on board. This is the only change to the crew also featuring Sam Townsend,  Bill Lucas and Olympic bronze medallist Stephen Rowbotham, who became Britain’s first world championships finalists in this boat class since the early 1980s last November.

Townsend, engaged to be married to Natasha Page in the women’s eight, showed his growing maturity as a racer by taking a strong third place in the men’s single scull at the April Trials.  The 25 year-old who wanted to be a footballer was enticed into the sport as a 16 year-old when he was measured and assessed at Chiltern Edge School in Reading and told that he probably had what it takes to get to the top in the sport.

By contrast Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking, named in the lightweight women’s double scull, came into the sport through more traditional club-based routes.  A music teacher and research scientist respectively the duo were World Championships medallists in the only lightweight women’s Olympic-class boat in 2009 and world finalists in 2010.

Katherine Copeland has emerged as one of their leading challengers in recent months, following a good Trials’ performance. From Tees RC and part of a talented group of rowers and scullers that have emerged from Durham and the North East in general in the past decade, she races in Munich in the lightweight single scull and, therefore, makes her senior world cup debut but her main pathway this year is to aim at World U23 selection.

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SCOWEN BACK ON INTERNATIONAL SCENE

Wokingham’s Sam Scowen is back on the international rowing scene after a year’s absence.

The 23 year-old who was a world finalist in the  Paralympic-class mixed adaptive double scull in her debut senior season with James Roberts in 2009 missed a whole year’s action when a rule change classified former swimmer Roberts, from Wales, out of the sport.

Scowen will race in Munich – the only world cup of the season featuring adaptive racing – with Army Captain Nick Beighton who was identified into the sport through Guildford Rowing Club and a ParalympicsGB talent day.

Beighton, a double leg amputee, was injured in Afghanistan and took up rowing after GB Rowing Team coach Tom Dyson and the team’s sponsor Siemens arranged for some rowing machines to be placed in the Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.

Reigning Paralympic champion Tom Aggar also returns to action in Munich. Unbeaten at world cup or World Championship level since making his debut in 2007, the Londoner races in the arms-only single scull.

Britain also fields two adaptive mixed coxed fours at a world cup for the first time.  A fierce battle for places has seen
 am Relph emerge as a newcomer into the first-string boat alongside 2009 World champions Naomi Riches and former bobsleigher turned rower Dave Smith and 2010 world silver medallist James Roe with Lily van den Broecke as cox.

A-Level student Kelsie Gibson, Kate Jones, Luke Almond and Ryan Chamberlain race in the second boat coxed by Rhiannon Jones.  Almond will also be making his world cup debut.

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CREW LISTS

GB ROWING TEAM CREW-LISTS
2011 World Cup Regatta, Munich,
Germany, 27 – 29 May 2011
(listed bow to stroke plus cox)

OPEN

WOMEN

Pair

Helen Glover (Minerva Bath/Penzance/17.06.86)/
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)

Coach: Robin Williams

Eight

Jo Cook (Leander Club/Sunbury-on-Thames/22.03.84)/
Emily Taylor (Leander Club/Lincoln/28.06.87)
Katie Solesbury (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/
Jessica Eddie (Univ of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club/London/16.05.84)/
Natasha Page (Gloucester RC/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC/Edinburgh/15.01.82)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Ealing, London/25.04.83)

Coach: Nick Strange

Double scull

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

Coach: Paul Thompson

Quadruple scull

Annabel Vernon (Leander Club/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.02.82)/
Frances Houghton (Leander Club/Oxford/19.09.80)/
Debbie Flood (Leander Club/Guiseley/27.02.80)

Coach: Ade Roberts

Single scull
Boat 1
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/01.09.82)/

Boat 2
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham/30.11.87)

OPEN

MEN

Pair

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

Coach: Jürgen Grobler

Four

Matthew Langridge (Leander Club /Northwich/20.05.83)/
Richard Egington (Leander Club/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Tom James (Molesey BC/Wrexham/11.03.84)/
Alex Gregory (Leander Club /Wormington, Glos/11.03.84)

Coach: John West

Eight

Alex Partridge (Leander Club /Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell (Univ of London BC/Durham/13.04.88)/
Cameron Nichol (Molesey BC/Glastonbury/26.06.87)/
James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Greg Searle (Molesey BC/Marlow/20.03.72)/
Tom Ransley (York City RC/Cambridge/06.09.85)/
Daniel Ritchie (Leander Club/Herne Bay/06.01.87)/
Phelan Hill (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)

Coach: Christian Felkel

Single scull

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)

Coach: Bill Barry

Double scull

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

Coach: Mark Earnshaw

Quadruple scull

Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)/
Tom Solesbury (Leander Club/Petts Wood, Kent/23.09.80)/
Bill Lucas (London RC/Kingswear/13.09.87)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC/Reading/26.11.85)

Coach: Mark Banks

LIGHTWEIGHT

WOMEN

Double scull

Hester Goodsell (Imperial College BC/London/27.06.84)/
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)

Coach: Paul Reedy

Single scull

Katherine Copeland (Tees RC/Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees/01.12.90)

Coach: James Harris

LIGHTWEIGHT

MEN

Pair

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

Coach: Rob Morgan

Four

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)

Coach: Rob Morgan

Double scull

Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club /Romford, Essex/01.07.78)

Coach: Darren Whiter

ADAPTIVES

MEN

Arms & shoulders single scull (ASM1x)

Tom Aggar (Royal Docks RC/London/24.05.84)

Coach: Tom Dyson

Trunk & arms mixed double scull (TAMix2x)

Nick Beighton (Guildford RC/Yateley/29.09.81)
Sam Scowen (Dorney BC/Wokingham/29.10.87)

Coach: Tom Dyson

Legs, trunks & arms mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+)

(Boat 1)
Pamela Relph (Birmingham Uni BC/Aylesbury/14.11.89)
Naomi Riches (Marlow RC/Harrow/15.06.83)
David Smith (Reading Uni BC/Dunfermline/21.04.78)
James Roe (Stratford upon Avon BC/ Stratford upon Avon/28.03.88)
Lily van den Broecke (cox) (Headington School BC/Oxford/08.01.92)

Coach: Mary McLachlan

(Boat 2)
Kelsie Gibson (Maidstone Invicta RC)
Kate Jones (Imperial College BC/Eskdale Green, Cumbria/28.02.86)
Luke Almond (Worcester RC/ Bromyard, Herefordshire/14.05.90)
Ryan Chamberlain (Imperial College BC /Wandsworth, London/03.04.86)
Rhiannon Jones (cox) (Ross RC/Hereford/16.09.87)

Coach: Mary McLachlan

SUPPORT STAFF

Performance:

Team Manager: David Tanner
Chief Coach Men: Jürgen Grobler
Chief Coach Women & Lightweights: Paul Thompson
Assistant Team Manager (Adaptives): Louise Kingsley

Media/Admin/Logistics:

Assistant Team Manager (admin): Maggie Netto
Sponsorship Liaison: Fran Bullock
Resources Manager: Maurice Hayes
Boatman: John Tetley
Press Officer: Caroline Searle

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WORLD CUP SCHEDULE

The first world cup of the season takes place
in Munich from May 27-29.  Currently the key
stages are timed as follows but this may change
subject to entry:

Heats, repechages and quarter-finals

09.00 – 19.30  Friday 27 May

Repechages and non-Olympic class semi-finals

09.30 – 10.00 Saturday 28 May

Semi-finals Olympic Classes

13.30 – 16.15 Saturday 28 May

FINALS  (non-Olympic and Paralympic classes only)

16.30 – 19.00 Saturday 28 May

FINALS  (all Olympic classes)

11.00 – 14.00 Sunday 29 May

(B finals:  09.30 – 10.10 Sunday 29 May).

The next two world cups are:

Hamburg, Germany, 17-19 June
Lucerne, Switzerland, 8-10 July

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KEY DATES FOR 2011

This important season for the nation’s top rowers
culminates in the  World Championships and
Olympic qualifying regatta:

BLED, SLOVENIA, FROM AUGUST 28 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2011

Britain will seek to qualify boats into as many Olympic
and Paralympic classes as possible here rather than
through the last-chance final qualifying regatta in Lucerne
from May 20-23, 2012.

Meanwhile, here are some additional dates of note for the
GB squad for the remainder of 2011:

KEY DATES FOR YOUR 2011 DIARY

MAY

11
Announcement of first world cup squad – Caversham

27-29
Rowing World Cup 1, Munich Germany

JUNE

17-19
Rowing World Cup II, Hamburg, Germany

Henley Women’s Regatta

29- July 3
Henley Royal Regatta

JULY

8-10
Rowing World Cup III, Lucerne, Switzlerand

19
Announcement of the World Championships Team

21-24
World Rowing U23 Championships, Amsterdam, Netherlands

29-31
Coupe de la Jeunesse, Linz, Austria

AUGUST

4-7
World Rowing Junior Championships, Dorney Lake, Eton
(this is also the Olympic test event)

28 – 4 September

WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS, Bled, Slovenia

SEPTEMBER

16-18
European Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

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CONTACT DETAILS
For media enquiries about The GB Rowing Teams please contact:

Caroline Searle, Katy Rose or Miranda Edwards on:

T:  (01225) 443998
M:  (07831) 755351

e:  [email protected]

GB Rowing Team website www.gbrowingteam.org.uk – full biogs available
here.

Follow us on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/gbrowingteam
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