Success for Leander at the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours
Leander enjoyed a bumper weekend at the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours on Saturday, with five crews picking up winners’ pennants in the Men’s Elite 4x, Elite LWT 4x-, IM1 4x-, Elite 4+, and Women’s Elite LWT 4x-.
A number of the GB Rowing Team squad took to the water on Saturday sporting the Thames club’s famous pink hippo, with the two fastest boats on the water consisting entirely of GB Rowing Team rowers.
Leander’s elite heavyweight quad took the honour of fastest boat on the river, with GB rowers Stephen Rowbotham, Matthew Wells, Tom Solesbury, and Marcus Bateman covering the seven kilometre course in 18 minutes and 11.01 seconds.
Leander’s elite lightweight quad – the first boat of the day to race out of 489 – came closest to dethroning their heavyweight rivals, but the GB quartet of Mark Hunter, Richard Chambers, Kieran Emery, and Paul Mattick finished a second and a half back in 18 minutes and 12.39 seconds.
The time was fast enough to win the elite men’s lightweight category at a canter – more than 20 seconds clear of the second placed elite lightweight crew – as well as being the second-fastest time of the day.
The fastest women’s boat on the day was also racing with the pink blades of Leander, with another all-GB Rowing Team crew of Debbie Flood, Anna Watkins, Frances Houghton and Rachel Gamble-Flint posting a time of 19 minutes and 35.01 seconds.
Oxford and Cambridge universities both entered several crews into Saturday’s event, and the Dark Blues stole a march on their fierce rivals in the Men’s Elite Coxed four.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Thames provides the first opportunity to see the 2012 University Boat Race squads in competitive action, and the top Oxford four claimed the early bragging rights by finishing over 12 seconds faster than the fastest Cambridge boat.