Titles spread across clubs but clean sweep for Leander in open doubles

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were in winning form again today. The Olympic women’s pair champions, from Penzance and Lossiemouth respectively, teamed up with Yorkshire’s Zoe Lee and Durham’s Jess Eddie to win the open women’s four event at the British Championships in Nottingham.

Isis BC, led by the GB Rowing Team’s World Champion men’s eight strokeman Constantine Louloudis, pushed the favourites hard in the men’s four final but ultimately ran out of steam in the final 300m.

Victory went to Molesey Club’s Andrew Triggs Hodge, from Yorkshire, Surrey’s George Nash and Moe Sbihi and Southampton’s James Foad. Olympic Champion Triggs Hodge, Nash and Sbihi are World Champions in this event and Foad was a silver medallist in the pair at this year’s World Championships.

“We had challenging conditions out there but we identified a couple of key points that we were going to hang our entire rhythm on and we managed to deliver on them much better in the final than we did in the heat and semi”, said Triggs Hodge.

Jonny Walton, from Leicester, and Twickenham’s John Collins, secured the bragging rights as Leander Club took a clean sweep of the medals in the earlier open men’s double scull final. In an exciting finish they held off two members of the GB Rowing Team’S World silver-winning men’s quad Charles Cousins, from Cambridge, and Pete Lambert, of Henley.

Walton said: “It was a fantastic race. Pete and Charles committed quite early on – Charles is typically a fast starter – and they really asked questions of us. I realised they weren’t pulling away and we were holding, so we stepped it up and started pulling back at them. It was a race right down to the line. We’re back with Charles and Pete for the quad together so we’ll have to make friends with them again”.

Emma Twigg, from New Zealand, raced in her first British Championships and took gold in the open women’s double scull. The World single scull champion teamed up with Melanie Wilson for Imperial College to take victory over Gloucester RC’s Beth Rodford and emerging U23 talent Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne.

Medals were presented by Annamarie Phelps the Chair of British Rowing. Today’s events for fours and doubles will be followed tomorrow by events for eights and quads as well as para-rowing races.

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Emma Twigg and Melanie Wilson, from Imperial College, were comprehensive winners of the open women’s double scull. They led throughout. Beth Rodford and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne always looked sure to win the battle for second. Behind the top two finishers, the Tees RC double of Kat Copeland and Kristina Stiller looked momentarily, with 500m to go, like being overhauled by Emily Craig and Jess Leyden of Leander Club but found enough to hold them off to take bronze.

Emily Carmichael and Jess Leyden, rowing as a scratch pairing here, had a scare early in this race but still came through to take fourth.

Leyden explained: “About five strokes after the start my partner dropped her blade. It went under mine, so I had to grab onto both of mine, pass it back to her and carry on. That’s never happened to me before, it was quite exciting! We came back strongly but just didn’t have that little bit more at the end. 

“I’ve been through two doubles partners already this week. Vicky (Thornley) had to pull out a couple of days ago so me and Emily have only had three outings together. No-one really gets much time together at this time of year, though. I’m in the quad tomorrow and that’s a scratch team as well, I haven’t been out with them yet. The standard at our nationals is so high”.

Jonny Walton and John Collins won the open men’s double scull but only after a scrap to the line with Charles Cousins and Pete Lambert, also from Leander, who led for much of the first half of the race. With 600m to go Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom pressed their suit and sought to overhaul Cousins and Lambert. The effort cost them dear, however, and they tailed off in the final 250m to take third.

In the same race the U23 lightweights Samuel Mottram and Steve Parsonage also turned a few heads by taking fourth. Parsonage said: “This is my first race as a lightweight and it was good fun testing ourselves against the heavyweights. The wind was in their favour a bit but we had a good row and the conditions were definitely better for the final”.

“Our target was just to get into the A final, so fourth place is a bonus. Two of our doubles had to pull out with illness and I think it would have been an all-Leander final otherwise.
We’re back in the quads tomorrow, so it’s nothing to eat tonight ahead of the weigh-in”.

In the women’s four final, by contrast, the result never looked in doubt. Many had predicted a close contest between the eventual winners, a composite crew stroked by Minerva Bath’s Helen Glover World Champion Polly Swann‘s Leander Club four. In the end the race never sparked with Glover’s crew, featuring Heather Stanning, from Army BC, Zoe Lee from Imperial College and Jess Eddie, from London RC, in control throughout.

“It was a really good race because we executed exactly what we wanted to do. Total respect to the teams around us, we train with those girls every day so we knew what they were capable of and what we were capable of. It was mainly about minimising mistakes, especially at the start where it was quite rough. There were a few key things we were working on and we knew if we did them right we’d be in a strong position. 

“This weekend is about getting back into racing and having a bit of fun with it as well. You learn something about the crew and improve with every outing.

“We are in the same crew tomorrow but with the two extra riggers on, so that will be a different experience for me. It will be fun for all of us, giving the sculling thing a bash. We’ll learn something about ourselves and sculling but it probably won’t be a sparkling race, it will be probably be a bit messy”.

Olympic Champion Andrew Triggs Hodge stroked a men’s four from Molesey BC who were always tipped to win – and win comfortably. Triggs Hodge, Moe Sbihi, George Nash and James Foad got ahead early and controlled the race. Behind them, though, Isis BC, made a good fist of chasing them down but did not have the legs in the final phase. The Leander Club crew with Matt Langridge and Will Satch – both World and Olympic medallists – were third.

PENNANT WINNERS

Within the overall races pennants were awarded for the top-ranked lightweight, U23, lightweight U23 and U19 crews. The winners today were:

Open Fours

Lightweights – Leander E
U23s – Newcastle
U23 lightweights – Newcastle

Women’s Fours

U23s Durham University

Open doubles

Lightweights – Agecroft RC
U23s – Leander (E)
U23s lightweights – Leander F
U19s Nottingham Rowing Club

Women’s doubles

Lightweights – Molesey BC/University of London composite
U23s – Cambridge University Women’s BC
U23 lightweights – Edinburgh University “B”
U19s – Marlow RC “B”.

For full results: www.britchamps.org

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THE SEASON AHEAD

KEY DATES

SEPTEMBER

23

Start of Senior Squad training for 2015 season (Men, Women & Lightweights)

24

GBRT visit SAS Analytics in Marlow to see how “big data” can help the boats go faster.

29 Sept – 7 Oct

Olympic Orientation Camp, Rio de Janeiro, BRA

October

18 – 19

British Rowing Championships, NWSC, Nottingham, GBR (M, W, Lwts, U23s)

November

15

First assessment (water), Caversham, GBR (Para-rowers)

15 – 16

First assessment, Boston, GBR (M, W, Lwts, U23s – WRC 2014 rowers exempt)

December

20

Second assessment, Boston, GBR (M, W, Lwts, U23s)

Second assessment (Land), Caversham, GBR (Para-rowers)

January 2015
10-11
First training assessment, Caversham, GBR (Para-rowers)
17 – 18
Second training assessment, Caversham, GBR (Para-rowers)
February
14
Third assessment, Boston, GBR (M, W, Lwts, U23s)
28 Feb – 1 Mar
Third assessment (Water), Caversham, GBR (Para-rowers)
March
14
Women’s Head of the River Race (9:30 prov)
29
Head of the River Race (11:30 prov)
April
4-5
GB Rowing Team Para Trials, Caversham, GBR
17 – 19
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials, Caversham, GBR
26
GB Rowing Team Junior Trials, NWSC, Nottingham, GBR
May
8-10
Rowing World Cup 1 – Bled Slovenia
13 – 26
Varese International Regatta & Training Camp, Varese, ITA (Para-rowers)
23-24
European Junior champs
29 – 31
European Rowing Championships, Poznan, POL (M, W, Lwts)
JUNE
19 – 21
Rowing World Cup II, Varese, ITA
JULY
1 – 5
Henley Royal Regatta
10 – 12
World Cup III, Lucerne, SUI
15 or 16
PROVISIONAL DATE: ANNOUNCEMENT of crews for World Championships
19 – 26
World Rowing U23 Championships, Plovdiv, BUL
30 Jul – 9 Aug
World Rowing Junior Championships, Rio de Janeiro, BRA – NB Olympic test event
31 Jul – 2 Aug
Coupe de la Jeunesse, Hungary (Jnr)
August
30 Aug – 6 Sept
World Rowing Championships & Olympic/Paralympic Qualification Regatta, Aiguebelette, FRA (M, W, Lwts, Para-rowers)

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