Kiwi Pair go coxed

The rumours are true: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond are experimenting with a passenger in the run-up to the World Championships in Amsterdam in just under a month’s time.

Rowing Canada development coordinator Chuck McDiarmid tweeted (and friend of The Rowlup @fatsculler spotted) a pic of his juniors in training near a Kiwi pair that looks considerably heavier than normal.

Olympic champions and four times world champs in the coxless pair (and once in the coxless four), Murray and Bond have gone unbeaten through their last 18 races so are perhaps looking for another challenge. Seasoned observers think the cox could be Caleb Shepherd, who steered the New Zealand eight to victory at the World Under-23 Champs last weekend. 

There is no official word yet, though, as to whether the Kiwi Pair will double up at the Worlds. The crew isn’t in the latest team list (and neither, surprisingly, is that U23 eight).

Thirteen years ago, Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell took gold in both pairs events, in two nail-biting finals held just two hours apart. Cracknell said afterwards: "We'll stay unbeaten in the coxed pair because I don't want to do that again."


GB 23s drop down medal table

That gold in the eight was one of three for New Zealand at the Under-23 Worlds in Varese, Italy. Wins in the women’s pair and light women’s double put them top of the medal table, just ahead of the United States.

Meanwhile Great Britain finished 14th in the table, missing out on a gold medal for the first time since Belgrade in 2003 but bagging three silvers and a bronze. 

British U23 crews often have little time together to prepare for this event. As the Rowing Related blog notes, the GB mens’ eight – which finished sixth in a tight final - featured six athletes currently at university in the US.

Here’s some video from one of the British-based oarsmen – Ed Grisedale of Oxford Brookes – from the short Caversham camp before the event.


Scotland pop champagne in Cork

While the home nations did battle in other sports at the Commonwealth Games back in Glasgow, Scotland dominated the annual Home International Regatta in Cork with their best ever performance.

The Scots won 17 of 36 events to win the senior men’s and women’s matches in the same year for the first time since 1990. England won both junior matches – there is a full list of results on the official website.

The Scots also dominated on social media, with their #hirselfie hashtag.

Here’s a short video of the action from an Irish perspective.

Great Britain’s second-tier juniors compete in the Coupe de la Jeunesse – a European team event – this weekend. The official website is here and there will be updates on Twitter @CoupeJeunesse


It takes a while, Crocodile

Alex Woods – Oxford bow man in that headline-grabbing Boat Race of 2012 – is back in training for an even bigger challenge in less than a fortnight’s time: the Kariba Moon Row expedition aims to row 250km non-stop through the night along Lake Kariba in Zambia, then do a further 250km through the Lower Zambezi game reserve, in a trip lasting seven days in total.

Avoiding fishermen and ferries is usually the biggest problem a rower faces but this 12-strong team – rowing three specially made “triples” – will have to dodge crocodiles, hippos and forests of dead trees en route. The first part of the trip will be lit by a “supermoon” – when the sun and moon align to make the moon appear larger and brighter than normal.

The aim is to raise money and awareness of the need for fresh water and conservation - supporting two Zambian charities – and to increase participation in rowing in southern Africa as they are running a learn-to-row course before departure.

Alex, whose time at Oxford lasted longer than most rowing careers, has had to juggle training for this project with work as a junior doctor at a hospital in Slough.

He told me: “The usual 12-hour days, nights and 12-day weeks of a junior doctor have made training a little tricky. I haven't been able to get to a boat club to go sculling more than a couple of times. Otherwise for me it's been getting reacquainted with the ergo, doing regular 20k sessions, and then interspersing that with long runs or bike sessions. 

“As the temperature is so high out there and exposure high, heat stroke is a serious risk, so I've been encouraging everyone to do the sessions wearing much more kit than they would do usually, to try to help prepare the body for exercising at high temperatures. Quite a sweaty experience I can tell you, bringing back many haunting memories of my lightweight rowing days.”

The expedition starts on 10 August. You can find out more – and follow the progress of the crews via GPS transmitters – on their website. The team are aiming to raise £25,000 in sponsorship – their Just Giving pages are here.


Gloriana argy-bargey

She pootles up and down at Henley each summer and is regularly used to promote rowing around the Thames Valley but the Queen's royal barge, Gloriana, needs a home and proposals to build her a new one in Twickenham have raised tempers in the borough.

Richmond Council wants to redevelop the historic boat house at Orleans Park. Locals are upset that work would involve demolishing a children’s playground, although the £2.5m project proposes to rebuild it elsewhere.  (There’s a feasibility study here with all the details).

A public consultation period ended this week, with final decisions expects next month.


Tears in Lucerne

We missed this gem at the time but rowing journalist and historian Chris Dodd celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first trip to Lucerne during the recent World Cup regatta and reminisced about that first trip on the Rowing Voice blog. 

“The 1974 World Championships ended with a flourish when the Swiss police, calculating that too many athletes were partying in the huge tent by the boat racks beside the Rotsee, attempted to break it up by throwing canisters of tear gas into the marquee.”


And finally...

Perhaps inspired by the GB helicopter filming in Caversham a few weeks ago, Milton Keynes RC have done the same on their home lake, which looks huge from this video but is in fact two 750m lakes joined by a bridge. Very atmospheric, though.

Milton Keynes Rowing Club from Louise Rivett on Vimeo.




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