It was a perfect Thursday afternoon for the annual Parliamentary Boat Race in front of Big Ben. But it’s never a good day to tip your boat over in the Thames, especially that far downstream.

Details are a little sketchy but it appears the crew from the House of Lords – featuring peers and their staff – beat the Commons crew, who promptly capsized.

Tim Koch, who was there to report for the history blog Hear the Boat Sing, said: “Fortunately they all remained calm, it was a warm day, several rescue boats were very close by and everyone was safe within a few minutes.

“Within 20 minutes the Members of Parliament were taking part in a House of Commons vote.”


Great Britain’s helicopter view

The powers that be in the GB Rowing Team have yet to sanction a fly-on-the-wall documentary from within the walls of their secluded HQ at Caversham near Reading but a minicopter view is the next best thing. Here’s some video shot by Nathaniel “Noddy” Reilly-O'Donnell, giving great insight into who gets to carry the blades for the GB men’s four.

There’s another film coming from GBRT on Saturday, in which they will be answering questions from Twitter users. There may still be time to get your question in to Alex Gregory, George Nash, Louisa Reeve and Zoe Lee using the hashtag #AskGBRowingTeam.

Top questions received so far include: What is your favourite piece of rowing kit? And, erm: What do you make of Belgium's chances in the World Cup?

Noddy and Alan Sinclair, who finished fourth in the GB pair at the European Champs a fortnight ago, will move into a new-look eight for the second World Cup of the season in Aiguebelette, France next weekend.

Other changes to the squad include the reunification of the Olympic champion women’s pair at the expense of the world champion one, Heather Stanning returning to partner Helen Glover, replacing Polly Swann who shifts into the eight. New Zealand’s Olympic bronze medallist Rebecca Scown and her new partner Louise Trappitt look likely to be the pair’s main rivals.

There is also an international rowing debut for double Paralympian Rachael Morris, who has switched to rowing from handcycling after winning a gold medal in Beijing in 2008 then bronze at London 2012 after a memorable side-by-side finish with team-mate Karen Darke.

Handcycling forms part of the squad’s cross-training programme and double rowing Paralympian Tom Aggar is enjoying being challenged by Morris on the bike too.



Packed regattas

Henley Women’s Regatta, which takes place next weekend, will have more competitors than ever before, with 1615 rowers and coxes – including entries from the French and German national federations – taking part. Seven events require Friday-morning time trials to narrow down the fields.

Regatta enclosures are moving to Remenham Club this year as the event looks to put down roots two years after the conversion of Remenham Farm into an office building. The live video stream – acclaimed as a great success last year – should be back again, hitting productivity in offices up and down the country. The regatta is very big on social media – this week showcasing on Facebook photos of competitors, sent in by the athletes themselves.

HWR isn’t the only jam-packed regatta coming up. Henley Masters’ Regatta suspended entries three weeks before the scheduled deadline because “unprecedented demand” meant they were already full. Reading Regatta also closed early but not before they had received twice as many entries as they could handle, with 330 crews entered for each day.  

Reading Regatta also sees the racing debut of the Tideway’s newest boat club, Fulham Reach BC: a community-focused boathouse built as part of the new development opposite Harrods Village, but currently represented by four 30-something refugees from London RC.


All Blacks and old Blues

Could the best crew in the world expand by 50% later this summer? An “unconfirmed rumour” reported on the Rowperfect blog suggests that Olympic champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray could double up in the coxed as well as the coxless pair at the World Champs in Amsterdam at the end of August. 

The duo – who regularly update their Facebook page – haven’t commented on the suggestion as they prepare to start their European season in Aiguebelette. The last pair to do the double (as it were) were  James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent in 2001.

One Kiwi who won’t be joining the team this year is Joseph Sullivan, winner of Olympic doubles gold with Nathan Cohen in 2012 but now off to become a fireman, suggesting he wasn’t given a chance to reclaim his place in the squad after a year off.

Interviewer:  Did you feel you got a fair crack then?
Sullivan: Nah.

Another retired Kiwi, George Bridgewater - 2008 Olympic bronze medallist in the pair and Boat Race winner with Oxford in 2009 - is back in training on the Tideway after announcing his intention to quit a high-paying job with Morgan Stanley in Singapore with the aim of competing in Rio. His next step looks likely to be the Diamond Sculls at Henley Royal.

And on the subject of old blues back in action, Olympic champ Tim Foster has also been back in a boat recently, helping Keble College, Oxford bump up on three days of Eights Week while studying for an MBA.

Interviewer: You are rowing in a boat of a slightly lower standard than you have done in the past, what’s the attraction?
Foster: Well, partly I am a slightly lower standard rower than I was in the past but also it’s been really good fun.


Henleywatch: Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup

Marlow, Headington and Gloucester Hartpury were part of a thrilling girls’ quad sculls final at the National Schools Regatta, with the Gloucester crew rowed down by the other two in the second half and Marlow emerging victorious. How will another month affect their form going into the event with a new name at Henley Royal?

As the Junior Rowing blog notes, Gloucester are likely to be strengthened by the return of Flo Pickles, who was racing for GB at the European Junior Championships on Nat Schools weekend.  However, Marlow will be focused solely on the quad this time - at NSR, half their crew won the double the previous day.

Hartpury and Marlow are at opposite ends of the draw in Junior Quads at Henley Women’s, while Headington will instead compete alongside university crews in Academic Eights – although they will no doubt be back to two sticks shortly afterwards.

Look out for more from The Rowlup next Friday. Got a suggestion or comment? Just want to let us know what you think? Use the comment section below, tweet @martingough22 or use the hashtag #therowlup. 

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