GB Rowing Team rowers break Redgrave and Pinsent’s records at Henley

GB Rowing Team rowers have broken two long-held records belonging to five-times Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave and four-times Olympic champion Sir Matt Pinsent at the Henley Royal Regatta today.

Current world silver medallists Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman knocked two seconds off Redgrave’s double scull time of 1:58 to the Barrier on the Henley course which he set with Adam Clift, 29 years ago in 1982. And just over an hour later men’s four Olympic gold medallists Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge matched the achievement, shaving two seconds off the 1:58 record set by Redgrave and Pinsent in 1993.

Not to miss out, the current GB Rowing Team men’s four featuring 2008 gold medallist Tom James also broke the Barrier and overall course record in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup. Both the GB double and pair had comfortable races enabling them to open up from the start to take advantage of the favourable conditions and break the Barrier record before easing off and winning their races on quarter-final day of the head-to-head, knockout competition.

Wells and Bateman, racing in Leander Club colours, beat an international lightweight crew from Shandong Province in China in their opening race of the Double Sculls Challenge Cup and Bateman in particular was delighted.

“The record was 29 years old, that’s the same age as me,” he exclaimed. “It is very nice to get Steve Redgrave’s record, we just chatted to him and he said he was surprised we didn’t do it sooner.  “It is like when Bannister broke the four-minute mile, it is a mental thing. We know we are going well and we got the right draw and the right conditions.”

Wells added: “It was very different from last year when it was a raging head wind and we were probably a minute slower.” Reed and Triggs Hodge, competing as Leander Club and Moseley Boat Club in the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup, raced father-and-son crew Neil and Stuart West from Walton Rowing Club – and set their new record in front of Pinsent who was umpiring from the launch behind them.

To add to the occasion Pinsent’s boat was being followed by Redgrave who was taking part in a row-past of the Stewards’ Enclosure in memory of his former crew-mate Andy Holmes who died last year. “They’ve held that record for 18 years and it is testament to their training in an era when there wasn’t the (GB training) centre at Caversham, it was off their own backs.

“It is a bit of a shame to beat the record as it stood as a shining light despite the lack of investment in the sport at the time. We’re really proud to have broken it and it is a testament to the sport moving on.”

On Saturday, though, the pair will turn their attention away from records and be concentrating on the finishing line at Henley which was the site of the last Olympic Regatta in England in 1948. Reed was equally proud of the achievement but conscious their focus had to now return to racing the full length of the course.

“We have international standard racing tomorrow and we will have to race hard to beat Greece,” he said.

The Gkountoulas twins claimed bronze behind the GB pair and the Italians at the world cup in Munich, with the latter also entering the record books at Henley after breaking the record to Fawley.

Of the Italians’ record he said: “We know the Italians are classy anyway and I don’t think you can break the Barrier and the Fawley record in the same race.”

The GB men’s four featuring 2008 Olympic gold medallist Tom James and 2009 world champions Alex Gregory, Ric Egington and Matt Langridge, also wrote their names into the Henley record books in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup – despite their oars being hit by the bow of their lightweight Australian opponents metres before the line.

Racing as Leander Club and Molesey B.C., the four broke the Barrier record by a second, posting 1:50, equalled the Fawley record of 3:05 and were two seconds quicker to the finish than the Cambridge University and ‘Mladost’, Croatia crew in 1995, clocking a new record of 6:20.

Bow Matt Langridge played down the collision and said, although pushed all the way, the GB crew had controlled the race. “We got on top early on but they were never going to let us walk away,” he said. “I suspect they got caught in our wash and sucked
over at the end.

“We didn’t think about the record to be honest. They kept on it and we had to do just enough to stay ahead. We didn’t have to go flat out but had to keep it honest”.

Tom James, who rejoined the boat to win gold in Munich after two years out, said: “They are one of the best lightweight fours in the world so they pushed us.”

He was also simply glad to be back competing in the boat after the GB team pulled out of the second world cup in Hamburg due to health fears.  “We’ve not done that many races together so we’ve still got a bit to learn,” he said.

“It is always nice to race at Henley. There is loads of cheering which you are not always used to.”

 By contrast world bronze medallist in the single scull, Alan Campbell, had another uneventful, comfortable, race in the Diamond Sculls against  Dave Bell from Henley Rowing Club – denied his own shot at beating his own record by the changing wind.

The GB women’s eight, racing as Leander Club and Gloucester R.C. won a controlled race – after a fast start just two seconds off the Barrier record.   Beijing Olympic finalist, 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 make up the GB women’s squad eight at the Royal Regatta.

“It was a good start,” said O’Connor. “We just wanted to go out fast and steady and get together some of our technical changes we are working on throughout the regatta and want to step up each race.” Thornley, who was in the boat which came 4th at the 2010 World Championships but switched to the single sculls event in Munich, said: “We want to build on each race. We haven’t raced in quite a few weeks now so it is good to get out there.”

The GB crews have 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 double as qualifying boats for London 2012.

Tomorrow the world silver medallist GB men’s eight will face the top Australian eight in the Grand Challenge Cup with the incentive of meeting the German world champions in the final on Sunday. Stephen Rowbotham, Tom Solesbury, Bill Lucas and Sam Townsend will also be in action in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup. If they win their semi-final against the Americans they will meet the winner of a top draw race off between three of the four Poles who won Olympic gold in Beijing and the world champions from Croatia.

*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)

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GB CREWS AT THE HENLEY ROYAL REGATTA

OPEN

WOMEN

EIGHT

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)

OPEN

MEN

Pair

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

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)

Eight

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)

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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

JUNE

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
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Caroline Searle, Andy Sloan or Miranda Edwards on:

T:  (01225) 443998
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M:  (07831) 755351

e:  [email protected]

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

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See our season’s preview on YouTube
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