European selections point to aiming high at Rio Olympics

British Rowing signalled its intention to aim high in Rio when it named its top-flight boats for the European Championships today.

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Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were announced in the women’s pair in which they are the reigning Olympic, World and European Champions.

Glover said:  “It’s always fantastic to be selected to represent Great Britain, and never more so than in Olympic year. The European Championships are our first opportunity to test our early season speed against international competition.”

And one of the strongest open men’s sweep* rowing squads in the world has been deployed across the men’s eight and four, as well as a new-look men’s pair, for the event which takes place in Brandenburg, Germany from May 6-8.

Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “We are clearly ambitious to do well in Rio and will race and then review the Europeans combinations announced today. We will also enter six crews for the Varese World Cup regatta in ten days’ time.”

Double Olympic men’s four champions Pete Reed and Andrew T Hodge have been selected into the men’s eight in a line-up which includes Scott Durant and 2012 men’s eight medallist Matt Langridge alongside multiple World Champions Paul Bennett, Matt Gotrel, Tom Ransley, stroke Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill. Ransley, Satch and Hill are also 2012 medallists.

Alex Gregory, 2012 gold medallist in the four, returns to that boat and races with his Trials winning partner, Mohamed Sbihi, plus George Nash and stroke Constantine Louloudis. The quartet are all reigning World Champions in the men’s eight.

Gregory said:  “Everything we do aims towards the Olympics and now finally we are starting to form the crews that will make up the Olympic team. With the European Championships as the first test, I can’t wait to get the 2016 racing season underway. It’s a privilege to race for our country and the feeling of pride and excitement never diminishes.”

Having laid down a strong marker with a top-four finish at the recent GB Trials, Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes are named as the men’s pair.

It is the first major step conquered on the way to fulfilling my dream of competing in my fifth Olympic Games – Frances Houghton

Relative rookie Angus Groom has forced his way into the open men’s quadruple scull* in the absence of the injured Charles Cousins, to join 2013 and 2014 World medallists Sam Townsend, Graeme Thomas and Peter Lambert.

Lambert said:  “I am extremely happy with my selection for the Europeans. This regatta is an exciting start to our Olympic season. The men’s quad at the Europeans is an extremely high competition. Out of the eight crews that qualified last year for the Olympics, seven of them are European countries. We are looking forward to it.”

2012 bronze medallist Alan Campbell, whose Trials’ win showed that he is back on form, races the single scull and Jonny Walton and John Collins, contest the double scull – they qualified that boat for Rio at last year’s World Championships.

Four-times Olympic medallist Katherine Grainger is named in the open women’s double scull with Trials winner Vicky Thornley in a reprise of their 2015 partnership which finished its debut season with a place in the World final.

Like Grainger, Frances Houghton, will race a fifth Olympic Games if selected later this summer for Rio.  She has switched from sculling to sweep rowing and has won a seat in the women’s eight that came so close to winning a medal at last year’s World Championships.

Grainger said:  “The idea of ever competing at the Olympic Games was once just a dream and so it was incredible when I made the team in 2000. Now 16 years on and looking to my fifth Games I still have the same excitement I did back then, it’s the most amazing event to be part of and that doesn’t change whether it’s the first time or the fifth.”

Houghton said:  “I feel almost overwhelmed to be selected for the European Championships in the women’s eight. It is the first major step conquered on the way to fulfilling my dream of competing in my fifth Olympic Games.

“It has at times seemed like an insurmountable mountain to climb and now it is just sinking in that all the hard work and deep belief in the darkest of times of illness and injury has paid off.”

Olympians Jess Eddie, Katie Greves and Melanie Wilson as well as 2013 World pair champion Polly Swann, back after a year out with injury, will be joined in the line-up by Zoe Lee, Karen Bennett, Olivia Carnegie-Brown and cox Zoe de Toledo.

It’s a privilege to race for our country and the feeling of pride and excitement never diminishes – Alex Gregory

World silver medallists Kat Copeland and Charlotte Taylor will once more race the lightweight women’s double scull having taken the top two spots at the Trials from a strongly contested lightweight sculling group. Imogen Walsh, therefore, races the single in which she won World silver in 2015.

Richard Chambers is on his way back after a recent hand injury and will race the lightweight men’s double, if fully fit, with Will Fletcher. Just like Olympic Champion Copeland and Taylor, they won World silver last year in their debut season together.

Further post-Trials testing was needed to establish the crews for the lightweight men’s sweep boats.  2012 silver medallists Peter Chambers and Chris Bartley have made the cut and will be joined by Mark Aldred and Jono Clegg, both now experienced internationals.  Sam Scrimgeour and Joel Cassells are GB’s choice in the pair. They won World gold last year.

Jamie Kirkwood, a World finalist last year, takes up the GB slot in the lightweight men’s single once more.

British Rowing will also race six crews at the Varese World Cup from April 15-17, including the women’s quadruple scull, announced in the European squad today as Holly Nixon, Jess Leyden, Tina Stiller and Rosamund Bradbury as the campaign begins to qualify this boat for Rio.

Click the expander ‘Crew List’ box below to see the squad in full.

*Sweep = one rower, one oar / Scull = one rower, two sculls

RACING TIMETABLE – 2016 European Championships, Brandenburg, Germany

  • Friday 6 May – all heats a.m.; some repechages p.m.
  • Saturday 7 May – All further repechages and semi-finals.
  • Sunday 8 May – All finals (09.33 – 13.33 UK Time).

GB ROWING TEAM MEDALISTS – 2015 European Championships, Poznan, Poland

Gold:

Silver:

Bronze:

Open All

Crew List

European Championships, Brandenburg, Germany, May 6-8, 2016

(Crews listed from bow to stroke with cox and with club, home town and date of birth)

OPEN WOMEN

Pair

Helen Glover (Minerva Bath RC/Penzance/17.06.86)

Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)

Coach: Robin Williams

 

Eight

Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)/

Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/25.06.84)/

Frances Houghton (Univ of London Tyrian Club/Oxford/19.09.80)/

Polly Swann (Leander Club/Edinburgh/05.06.88)/

Jess Eddie (London RC/Durham/07.10.84)/

Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Henley-on-Thames/28.03.91)/

Karen Bennett (Leander Club/Edinburgh/05.02.89)/

Zoe Lee (Imperial College BC/Richmond/15.12.85)/

Zoe De Toledo (Leander Club/London/17.07.87) (cox)

Coaches: Paul Thompson/James Harris

 

Double scull

Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Glasgow/12.11.75)/

Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham/30.11.87)

Coach: Paul Thompson

 

Quadruple Scull

Kristina Stiller (Tees RC/Yarm/23.06.87)/

Jessica Leyden (Leander Club/Todmorden/22.02.95)/

Holly Nixon (Leander Club/Enniskillen/07.12.93)/

Rosamund Bradbury (Leander Club/Banstead/17.12.88)

Coach: Peter Sheppard

 

OPEN MEN

Pair

Alan Sinclair (Leander Club/Inverness/16.10.85)/

Stewart Innes (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/20.05.91)

Coach: Rob Dauncey

 

Four

Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington/11.03.84)/

Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/

George Nash (Molesey BC/Guildford/02.10.89)/

Constantine Louloudis (OUBC/London/15.09.91)

Coach: Jurgen Grobler

 

Eight

Matt Gotrel (Leander Club/Chipping Campden/01.03.89)/

Scott Durant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Lancaster/12.02.88)/

Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth/27.07.81)/

Paul Bennett (Univ of London BC/Leeds/16.12.88)/

Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Ashford/06.09.85)/

Andrew T Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden/03.03.79)/

Matt Langridge (Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/

Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/09.06.89)/

Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)

Coaches: Jurgen Grobler/Christian Felkel

 

Single Scull

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)

Coach: John West

 

Double Scull

John Collins (Leander Club/Twickenham/24.01.89)/

Jonny Walton (Leander Club/Leicester/06.10.90)

Coach: Mark Banks

 

Quadruple Scull

Angus Groom (Leander Club/Glasgow/16.06.92)/

Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC/Reading/26.11.85)/

Graeme Thomas (Agecroft RC/Preston/08.11.88)/

Peter Lambert (Leander Club/Maidenhead/03.12.86)

Coach: Paul Stannard

 

LIGHTWEIGHT WOMEN

Single scull

Imogen Walsh (London RC/Inverness/17.01.84)

Coach: Paul Reedy

 

Double Scull

Charlotte Taylor (Putney Town RC/Bedford/14.08.85)/

Kat Copeland (Tees RC/Ingleby Barwick/01.12.90)

Coach: Paul Reedy

 

LIGHTWEIGHT MEN

Pair

Sam Scrimgeour (Imperial College BC/Kirriemuir/28.01.88)/

Joel Cassells (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Coleraine/15.06.94)

Coach: Hamish Burrell

 

Four

Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)/

Mark Aldred (London RC/Birmingham/18.04.87)/

Jono Clegg (Leander Club/Maidenhead/14.07.89)/

Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Coleraine/14.03.90)

Coach: Hamish Burrell

 

Single Scull

Jamie Kirkwood (Leander Club/Cresswell/30.08.89)

Coach: Darren Whiter

 

Double Scull

Will Fletcher (Leander Club/Chester-le-Street/24.12.89)/

Richard Chambers (Leander Club/Coleraine/10.06.85)

Coach: Darren Whiter

Contact Info

For background information about the The GB Rowing Team contact the Press Office via comms@gbrowingteam.org.uk or 07831 755351

For picture requests please contact: GBRTpressoffice@gbrowingteam.org.uk

GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk

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