London 2012 Day 1: Glover and Stanning set Olympic best time at Eton-Dorney
Spectators came in their droves to Eton-Dorney from early today to watch the opening day of the Olympic Rowing Regatta.
Britain’s rowers did not disappoint in a session opened by Helen Glover and Heather Stanning who set an Olympic best time of 6:57.29 to win their heat accompanied by a wall of noise from starter’s beep to finish line. The result put them through to Wednesday’s final.
Theirs was one of four heat victories from eight starts for the Team GB rowers today – enough to prompt Team GB rowing leader David Tanner to describe it as ” an exciting start” but cautioning that it would get “tougher from here”.
Glover was also keeping her feet on the ground whilst praising the crowd of 30,000. “The atmosphere is fantastic, the noise was amazing. For us, though, it was a standard row without the fireworks you might expect in a final.”
Stanning concurred: “We felt we had a relaxed row and now it’s all about the final. That’s the race we came here for.”
Britain’s other two victories came from the newcomer men’s pair of Will Satch and George Nash, who produced a poised first race at such a major event, and Alan Campbell, who looked in fine form in the men’s single scull.
Campbell moves to a quarter-final whilst the lightweight four and men’s pair move to semi-finals – all on Tuesday.
Sam Townsend and Bill Lucas were delighted with their performance in taking second place behind New Zealand who set an Olympic best time in the men’s double scull.
Cox Phelan Hill says “there is definitely more to come” from the British men’s eight who closed back up on eventual winners Germany in the second half of their heat today before taking second place and moving into the repechage on Monday.
The GB men’s quad are through to a semi-final with a comfortable second place today and Debbie Flood was clear that there were still options for the women’s quad who were fourth in their heat.
“We know we have the speed,” she said. “We just need to do a few things better to pick it up.” They also race a repechage on Monday.
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE ROWERS?
A further three boats will race opening heats on the second day – the women’s eight, lightweight men’s and women’s double scull.
In the lightweight men’s double scull Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter begin the defence of their Beijing crown, having had a roller-coaster season so far.
“We’ve had a good few weeks at training camp and we feel we are in a good place”, said Hunter recently.
Sophie Hosking and Kat Copeland contest the lightweight women’s double scull. Neither has raced at a Games before but Hosking has experience in the same event for the past three years at World Championship level, including two bronze medals in 2009 and 2011. Copeland was world U23 lightweight single scull champion last year and won the GB Senior Team Trials in that event.
The women’s eight finished the world cup season on a high after winning bronze in Munich. Cox Caroline O’Connor, Natasha Page, Louisa Reeve, Jess Eddie, Katie Greves, Annie Vernon and Olivia Whitlam are all Beijing Olympians – albeit not all in the women’s eight – whilst Lindsey Maguire and Vicky Thornley are World senior medallists.
Meanwhile the women’s double scull, featuring world champions Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, and the men’s four – with world champion Alex Gregory and three Beijing gold medallists Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed and Tom James on board – will race for the first time on Monday.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were not the quickest out of the starting system – that honour fell to Germany – but they had made their mark on their women’s pair heat with 250m gone to take the lead.
The USA’s new-found pairing of Sara Hendershot and Sarah Zelenka emerged as the main challengers rather than the seasoned former Olympic champions Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu of Romania.
By halfway Glover and Stanning had a length on the Americans and went on to win in 6:57.29, smashing the Olympic best time that had stood since Atlanta 1996. USA were second to move to the final and Romania third
Much later in the session the men’s pair of Will Satch and George Nash proved their growing maturity by winning their heat in 6:16.58. They rowed through the early leaders from Greece, the Gkountoulas brothers, with 600m to go. Greece were overhauled in the final phases by Italy. All three crews progress to the semi-finals.
New Zealand’s Eric Murray and Hamish Bond set this event alight by recording not just an Olympic best but a world’s best time to win their heat in 6:08.50. Beijing medallists Scott Frandsen and Dave Calder, of Canada, won the third heat.
World champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan produced the third Olympic best of the day when they won their heat of the men’s double scull in 6:11.30 but that was just under six tenths of a second ahead of Bill Lucas and Sam Townsend, Britain’s new double scull this season.
Townsend and Lucas were clearly happy with a performance which saw them lead at the 500m mark and then stay in close contention with the New Zealanders who surged through to take the lead later in the race.
“We have been working hard on the training camps and today was a fantastic experience. We were bit scrappy in the final 200m but we can work on that,” said Townsend.
Lucas added: “I think our race showed we were ‘ball-park’ and we can still make a few tweaks.”
The British lightweight men’s four showed a blistering turn of pace in the second half of their heat today. Rob Williams, Chris Bartley and the Chambers brothers – Richard and Peter – moved through the early leaders and reigning World Champions from Australia to take victory in 5:49.29. Australia were second and Germany third with all three crews moving into the semi-finals.
Bartley said: “We had a good row today but we were pretty safe to qualify and you never know if anyone else is fully emptying the tank or not.”
Williams added: “We just stayed in our boat and rowed our own race and were intensely focussed. The crowd is pretty amazing though.”
Peter Chambers, the younger of the two brothers, said of the pressure of performing in front of a home crowd: “It was quite nerve-wracking today but you just put it out of your head and try to do your own thing.”
Richard Chambers said: “We just loved our race in the second 1,000m. It’s then that you bring out all the training that you’ve done month after month.”
Both Chambers brothers are from Coleraine in Northern Ireland. The town is celebrating a great start to its Olympics today as Alan Campbell also hails from there and won his heat today in controlled style from the front to move into the quarter-finals here.
His winning time was 6:47.62 and although he had the world-medal pedigree amongst the field, he was aware that Zhang Liang of China, second today ahead of Poland’s Michal Sloma, might prove a contender.
He said: “That was a good race. It felt controlled and everything was very good, very positive. But it’s all about baby steps from here. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves”.
The British men’s eight, coxed by Phelan Hill and stroked by Constantine Louloudis, were drawn in a stiff opening heat featuring the World Champion German eight, unbeaten since 2009, and Olympic champions Canada.
Alex Partridge, James Foad, Tom Ransley, Ric Egington, Mohamed Sbihi, Greg Searle and Matt Langridge with Louloudis and Hill showed that they have a fantastic turn of speed as they overhauled Canada and began to eat into Germany’s lead in the second half before taking second in 5:27.61 to Germany’s 5:25.52.
The USA, forced to come through the qualifying regatta to take their place at the Games rather than winning a place at the 2011 World Championships, won the opposing heat in 5:30.72.
Britain go into the repechage whilst Germany qualify direct for the final. “So we’ve got to have a really good race in the rep and then put ourselves in a position to go as fast as we can in the final and challenge all the other boats,” said Searle afterwards.
Asked if they could close the gap on the Germans the next time round, cox Hill said: “Without a shadow of a doubt we can do it. After all this is our first race in this combination,” referring to the absence of Louloudis because of injury during the World Cup season.
The British men’s quadruple scull of Charles Cousins, Stephen Rowbotham, Matt Wells and Tom Solesbury were second in their heat today and will now race a semi-final. Germany set the early pace and went on to strengthen their lead before winning in 5:39.69.
The British came through the Ukraine before the halfway point and maintained second to finish in 5:41.75. Switzerland were fourth.
Cousins said: “The race that counts is going to be on Wednesday – our semi-final. Today wasn’t 100% perfect but it was a good start”.
Debbie Flood, Frances Houghton and Beth Rodford are all Olympic or World medallists so have the experience to learn from today’s close fourth place in the women’s quadruple scull heats and make the “tweaks” needed to progress with team-mate Melanie Wilson from the repechage.
Today they were pipped at the finish by New Zealand for third place in a race which was led throughout by an impressive looking Ukrainian quartet who took the only qualifying place for the final. Australia were second.
Rodford said: “We were disappointed but it’s not the final result and we have time to turn it round.”
London 2012 Olympic Games regatta
July 28 – August 4, 2012
Pair (1-2 to A final, 3… to repechage)
1. Helen Glover/Heather Stanning (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:57.29 (Olympic best time)
2. Sara Hendershot/Sarah Zelenka (USA) 6:59.29
3. Georgeta Andrunache/Susanu Viorica (Romania) 7:05.39
4. Kerstin Hartmann/Marlene Sinnig (Germany) 7:10.28
5. Laura Abalo Maria/Gabriela Best (Argentina) 7:12.17
Quadruple Scull (1 to A final, 2… to repechage)
Single Scull (1-3 to quarter-final, 4… to repechage)
1. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:47.62
2. Liang Zhang (China) 6:50.71
3. Michal Sloma (Poland) 6:54.58
4. Dongyong Kim (Korea) 7:05.24
5. Vladislav Yakovlev (Kazakhstan) 7:16.34
Pair (1-3 to semi-final, 4… to repechage)
1. George Nash/ William Satch (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:16.58
2. Niccolo Mornati/Lorenzo Carboncini (Italy) 6:18.33
3. Nikolaos Gkountoulas/Apostolos Gkountoulas (Greece) 6:21.46
4. Anton Braun/Felix Drahotta (Germany) 6:30.42
Eight (1 to A final, 2… to repechage)
1. Germany 5:25.52
2 Alex Partridge/James Foad/Tom Ransley/Ric Egington/Moe Sbihi/Greg Searle/Matt Langridge/Constantine Louloudis/Phelan Hill (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:27.61
3. Netherlands 5:28.99
4. Canada 5:37.91
Double Scull (1-3 to semi-final, 4… to repechage)
1. Nathan Cohen/Joseph Sullivan (New Zealand) 6:11.30 (Olympic best time)
2. Bill Lucas/Sam Townsend (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:11.94
3. Ariel Suarez/Cristian Rosso (Argentina) 6:13.68
4. Juri-Mikk Udam/Geir Suursild (Estonia) 6:33.88
Quadruple Scull (1-3 to semi-final, 4… to repechage)
1. Germany 5:39.69
2. Stephen Rowbotham/Charles Cousins/Tom Solesbury/Matt Wells (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:41.75
3. Ukraine 5:43.46
4. Switzerland 5:45.13
Four (1-3 to semi-final, 4… to repechage)
Crews listed Bow to Stroke followed by
(Club, Home Town, Date of Birth)
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC, Warrington, 16/09/85)
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club, London, 17/05/84)
Jessica Eddie (Univ of London BC, Durham, 07/10/84)
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC, Edinburgh, 15/01/82)
Natasha Page (Gloucester RC, Hartpury, 30/04/85)
Annabel Vernon (Leander Club, Wadebridge, 01/09/82)
Katie Greves (Leander Club, Oxford, 02/09/82)
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club, Wrexham, 30/11/87)
Caroline O’Connor (cox) (Oxford Brookes Univ BC, Ealing, London, 25/04/83)
Coach: Nick Strange
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC, London, 25/06/84)
Debbie Flood (Leander Club, Guiseley, W. Yorks, 27/02/80)
Frances Houghton (Leander Club, Oxford, 19/09/80)
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC, Gloucester, 28/12/82)
Coach: Ade Roberts
Jo Cook (Leander Club, Sunbury-on-Thames, 22/03/84)
Emily Taylor (Leander Club, Lincoln, 28/06/87)
Alex Gregory (Leander Club, Wormington, 11/03/84)
Pete Reed (Leander Club, Nailsworth, Glos, 27/07/81)
Tom James (Molesey BC, Wrexham, 11/03/84)
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC, Hebden, N. Yorks, 03/03/79)
Coach: Jürgen Grobler
Alex Partridge (Leander Club, Alton, Hants, 25/01/81)
James Foad (Molesey BC, Southampton, 20/03/87)
Tom Ransley (York City RC, Cambridge, 06/09/85)
Richard Egington (Leander Club, Knutsford, 26/02/79)
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC, Surbiton, 27/03/88)
Greg Searle (Molesey BC, Marlow, 20/03/72)
Matt Langridge (Leander Club, Northwich, 20/05/83)
Constantine Louloudis (Leander Club, London, 15/09/91)
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club, Bedford, 21/07/79)
Coaches: Christian Felkel & John West
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School, Coleraine, 09/05/83)
Coach: Bill Barry
Bill Lucas (London RC, Kingswear, 13/09/87)
Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC, Reading, 26/11/85)
Coach: Mark Earnshaw
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club, Winscombe, Somerset, 11/11/81)
Charles Cousins (Reading Univ BC, Willingham, Cambs, 13/12/88)
Tom Solesbury (Leander Club, Petts Wood, Kent, 23/09/90)
Matthew Wells (Leander Club, Hexham, Northumberland, 19/04/79)
Coach: Mark Banks
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club, Torquay, 16/09/82)
Cameron Nichol (Molesey BC, London, 26/06/87)
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC, Coleraine, 14/03/90)
Rob Williams (London RC, Maidenhead, 21/01/85)
Richard Chambers (Leander Club, Coleraine, 10/06/85)
Chris Bartley (Leander Club, Chester, 02/02/84)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC, Tewkesbury, 02/05/86)
Mark Hunter (Leander Club, Romford, Essex, 01/07/78)
Coach: Darren Whiter
Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC, Windsor, 19/6/85)
David Tanner: Team Leader
Maurice Hayes: Equipment Manager
Ann Redgrave: Doctor
John Tetley: Boatman
Mark Edgar: Physio / Head of Rowing Medical Service
Caroline Searle: Press Officer
Sally Brown: Physio
Maggie Netto: Asst. Team Leader *
Liz Arnold: Physio
Jo Bates: Administrator *
Karen Burn: Physio *
Mark Homer: Sports Scientist
Craig Williams: Sports Scientist
Chris Shambrook: Psychologist *
Alistair Patterson: Performance Analyst *
* Non-Accredited Team Support
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