All GB Rowing Team crews through to the Henley Finals

All the senior Great Britain Rowing Team crews racing at Henley Royal Regatta have reached the finals – breaking more records on the way.

World silver medallists Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells put down another marker today – smashing the course record for the double sculls event by five seconds to line up a final against the reigning Olympic Champions from Australia.

The GB women’s eight booked a final against the American world champions and the men’s eight, 2010 world silver medallists, went through to the final everyone wanted to see against the German world champions  who also pipped them to gold at the first world cup of the season in Munich.

The GB men’s quad will race the Croatian world champions while the men’s pair of Olympic men’s four gold medallists Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge will  take on the Italian pair whom they beat into silver at Munich.

The GB men’s four will race the Americans after the US crew upset the  odds beating an Australian four featuring double Olympic champion Drew  Ginn, former member of the Oarsome Foursome, and talented Australian  newcomer Josh Dunkley-Smith.

The GB double scull, racing as Leander Club, faced testing opposition today in the form of the Americans from the Chula Vista Training Centre who  finished 5th at the 2011 world cup in Munich behind the second-placed GB boat.

Bateman and Wells broke the old Barrier record for the second day running – just one second slower than the 1:56 record they posted  on Friday to break Sir Steve Redgrave’s 1982 record.

And this time the “Red Express” kept the power on to break the Fawley record of 3:20 by three seconds – set in 2010 by French scullers  Julien Berrest and Cedric Bahain – and the 16-year-old overall record of 6:55 set by the  Americans  Brian Jamieson and Dave Gleeson.

Bateman, from Torquay, is a product of the GB Rowing Team’s talent identification and development ‘Start’ programme, sponsored by Siemens and funded by the Lottery, after being spotted in his first year at the University of Bath.

In Munich he and Olympic bronze medallist Wells were just 0.05 seconds behind the winning German boat.

“It is quite surprising we broke records on the way down, we weren’t looking  for that. But it is good to take the (Fawley) record away from the French double”, said Bateman. Despite having broken all the Henley records for the double scull, Bateman has  one more target.

“I haven’t won Henley before so I would like to amend that. And if it is against the Olympic champions (Australia) that is all the better.”

Matt Wells took bronze behind the Aussie pair of David Crawshay and Scott Brennan in Beijing with Stephen Rowbotham.

“We’re a good crew and we’re feeling great,” said Wells, from Northumberland.  “It would be good to race the Aussies again like I did in Beijing, bring it on.”

The GB women’s eight, racing as Leander Club and Gloucester R.C. beat the GB Under 23 crew racing as Oxford Brookes University and Molesey B.C. by  three lengths.

Cox Caroline O’Connor and her crew-mates Ro Bradbury, Polly Swann, Jess  Eddie, Vicky Thornley, Natasha Page, Louisa Reeve, Katie Solesbury and  Lindsey Maguire, will learn from the experience of the GB women’s  development eight who were knocked out by the American world champs,  racing as Princeton Training Center.

Eddie said the crew were all excited about testing their speed against the US boat.

“There is no one better to race than the best in the world,” she said. “We’ve moved on a lot in the last six to seven months and hopefully on home  water everyone will be cheering for us on the course tomorrow.”

The development crew coxed by Zoe de Toledo, is vying for selection in the GB boat at the European Championships in September – and gained  valuable experience from their defeat.

Londoner de Toledo was impressed by the Americans’ speed and described the experience as “an excellent benchmark for us”.

“We had a good start and stuck with them for a while. They are a very  strong crew, very fast. We weren’t as good as we could have been but this  is a development crew.

“I’m happy our girls (in the GB women’s eight) will be able to give them a good race,” she added.

The men’s eight of Alex Partridge, James Foad, Cameron Nichol, Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell, Mohamed Sbihi, Greg Searle, Tom Ransley, Dan Ritchie and cox Phelan Hill clocked a time just a second outside the course record to beat a strong Australian boat by a length and going faster than the Germans who won their semi-final to set up a classic Henley head-to-head in the Grand Challenge Cup.

Partridge said he “felt so pumped for that race” as “it has been a long time  since Munich.”

The GB crews missed the second world cup of the season in Hamburg due to the e-coli outbreak there and have been restricted to training – until Henley.

“A performance like today makes you recognise what you have been  doing in training is good,” he said. “We got in control and dictated the race.”

2008 gold medallist Tom James and 2009 world champions Alex Gregory, Matt Langridge and Ric Egington set a new course record in their quarter final of the Stewards’ Challenge Cup yesterday and today beat the Belarus crew, racing as Dinamo Brest, by three lengths in controlled fashion.

The GB men’s four, racing as Leander Club & Molesey B.C., equalled their  own record to Fawley which they set on Friday and which was equalled by the Chula Vista Training Centre who they will face in the final.

Langridge said: “Both races have been comfortable. Today we decided to keep the power on a bit and bring the rate down. It was much better.”

Crewmate Gregory agreed. “Yesterday we were a little scrappy. Almost like first race nerves. Today’s crew we raced are getting better all the time so it was good to have that margin over them.” 

The GB men’s quad beat Chula Vista Training Centre by two-thirds of a length in 6:17, two seconds off the record for the Queen Mother Challenge Cup.

Stephen Rowbotham, Bill Lucas, and Sam Townsend won the Cup last  year with Charles Cousins but this year, with Tom Solesbury, they face the world champions from Croatia in the final after the Polish crew, containing three reigning Olympic champions were knocked out on Friday.

Solesbury said: “I can’t wait. We think we’ve made some good steps forward  since Munich. We’re getting better all the time and we’ve picked up some speed. We knew the USA were going to be tough opponents but we really executed what Banksy (coach Mark Banks) said to us in the pre-race chat.”

Reed and Triggs Hodge succeeded in their aim of smashing SIr Matt Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave’s 1993 record to the Barrier yesterday and today succeeded in outgunning the Greek Gkountoulas twins who claimed bronze  behind the gold-medal GB pair in Munich.

Triggs Hodge said: “We had a really good race today. The Greeks have always been very strong racers over the first 1,000m so I was a bit surprised we were able to pull out such a significant lead so early.”

The Greeks held level till the end of the Island before steadily slipping behind as the world silver medallists in the pair and Olympic gold medallists in the  men’s four imposed themselves to tee up a final against the Italians.

Pete Reed described the Greeks as a “classy pair” and echoed the surprise  of his partner that they won so comfortably. “It was a real crowd pleaser today,” he said.

Alan Campbell will face Nicholas Hudson, yet another Australian, in the Diamond Challenge Sculls final, after cruising home against James Chapman from the Australian Institute of Sport.

The GB crews pinpointed the Henley Royal Regatta as key race preparation for the final world cup in Lucerne on July 8-10 and the world championships in Bled, Slovenia at the end of August, which doubles as qualifying boats  for London 2012.

*SIEMENS is the high performance partner of the GB Rowing Team
(as such they sponsor all the Olympic and Paralympic Class
boats in the senior squad and add value to the GB Rowing
Teams’ Start and High Performance Programme in Clubs Schemes)





Ro Bradbury (Leander/Banstead/17.12.88)
Polly Swann (Leander/Edinburgh/(05.06.88)
Jessica Eddie (Univ of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham/30.11.87)
Natasha Page (Gloucester RC/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club/London/16.05.84)/
Katie Solesbury (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)/
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC/Edinburgh/15.01.82)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Ealing, London/25.04.83)




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


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)


Alex Partridge (Leander Club /Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
James Foad  (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)
Cameron Nichol (Molesey BC/Glastonbury/26.06.87)/
Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell (Univ of London BC/Durham/13.04.88)/
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)

Single scull

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)

Double scull

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

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)


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


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:



29- July 3
Henley Royal Regatta


Rowing World Cup III, Lucerne, Switzlerand

Announcement of the World Championships Team

World Rowing U23 Championships, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Coupe de la Jeunesse, Linz, Austria


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

28 – 4 September



European Rowing Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

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