The World Rowing Championships are in full swing in Amsterdam as the crews make their way through early rounds. Given the weather this week, though, perhaps “full splash” would be more appropriate.

Here’s a crew-by-crew preview for the Great Britain team written at the start of the event. Of course Daniel “Fatsculler” Spring did a far more comprehensive job on his blog.

The story of the championships so far has been the attempt of the Kiwi Pair +1 to become the first crew to win the coxed and coxless events since 2001 (GB’s Pinsent, Cracknell and Chugani). Hamish Bond, Eric Murray and cox Caleb Shepherd spoke to TVNZ this week, Bond sweetly saying of the crew’s latest addition: He weighs us down, makes us slow, makes it a little bit harder to push …”

The challenge *has* so far made them slower, though, as they attempt to spread their energy over five races in seven days on the Bosbaan, and British crews have gone faster than the men in black in heats of both events. James Foad and Matt Langridge were fastest qualifiers in the coxless pair while the three stars of that GB coxed pair video - Alan Sinclair, Scott Durant and cox Henry Fieldman – were fastest qualifiers in the bigger boat.

Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning are the dominant pair in women’s rowing and that continued as they won their heat by 11 seconds from their Irish rivals. However, Americans Megan Kalmoe - yes *that* Megan Kalmoe - and Kerry Simmonds were a couple of seconds faster than the Brits in a closer second heat.

Army captain Stanning’s comeback from a year away on active duty may have seemed simple enough from the outside but she talked BBC Sport’s Lawrence Barretto through her year, including some searing honesty about her struggles in early long-distance trials in Boston: 

"All sorts of questions started to fill my head. Have I taken on too much? Can I do this anymore? Will I be able to get back to where I was?"

Everyone knows Kat Copeland because she got her photo on a stamp but some have been struggling to identifiy her partner, Imogen Walsh, even though the crew look like favourites to win the lightweight women’s doubles.

Walsh, a diminutive Scottish former charity worker, and Thomas, the buxom Welsh former mistress of Ryan Giggs, don’t even share the same hair colour!

Duly chastened, Times journalist Alex Lowe performed his penance on an ergo. Unfortunately he didn’t take the photo after completing the piece so no concrete record exists of the time taken.

Great Britain’s men’s eight knew that the US, Russia and Germany would challenge them for a podium spot in Amsterdam but the Polish crew – who GB beat back in June at the European Champs – shocked both the US and Mike Spracklen’s Russia in the opening heat, setting up a potentially thrilling final on Sunday. They will all have to turn up on time, though – eight out of the 12 eights received yellow cards for arriving late to their first race.

GB’s John Collins and Jonno Walton were the second fastest men's double in the heats. Trouble was, the fastest crew were in their heat too. It took a photo finish to separate them, the Germans taking it by 0.04 seconds. Collins’ request to the organising committee for the photo was turned down as, apparently, they only make photos available if the verdict is less than … 0.04 seconds.

Conditions were faster on Sunday when French lightweight double Stany Delayre and Jérémie Azou – conquerors of Collins and Walton in the Henley final – set a new world best of 6:08.64, lowering the previous mark by nearly two seconds.

Things didn’t go quite to plan, though, for the favourite in the lightweight men’s single sculls. American Andrew Campbell Jr, the reigning Under-23 world champion, was widely tipped for a senior gold, until he caught a buoy 500m into Wednesday’s quarter-final and tipped out of his boat.

Campbell managed to get back in, though, and rowed through the finish line in 11min 47sec, just over four minutes behind the fifth-place finisher. 

Three British crews have made it through to the Para-rowing finals: a rejuvenated Tom Aggar (the 2008 Paralympic champ who has been out of the medals over the last two years), Paralympic handcycling medallist Rachel Morris - in just her second international rowing event - and the mixed coxed four. Meanwhile Laurence Whiteley is back in Blighty, still waiting for a suitable woman to make his mixed trunk-and-arms double quorate.

Para-rowing finals take place on Thursday in Amsterdam, non-Olympic class finals on Friday and finals in the Olympic classes over the weekend. There is a full schedule here. The World Rowing site has its usual live audio until the A-finals, when they upgrade to video, and there are two live programmes on BBC Two over the weekend.


Competition time

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Warwick’s bucket rig

The world has gone ice bucket mad over the last few weeks, raising money for charity while getting thoroughly wet and cold. At least rowers are used to the second bit. Here’s one of our favourite videos from Warwick Boat Club, although it’s not entirely clear whether this was an intentional “ice bucket” dunking or whether they just took advantage of the results of an outing in the rain. 


Set for new season

After our appeal a fortnight ago for info from clubs organising the start of the new season, we’ve spotted a few more. Do drop us a tweet or leave a comment below if you want to publicise your club’s activities.


City of Oxford RC 

Curlew RC

Derby University RC

Doncaster RC


Grosvenor RC

Putney Town RC 

Good times in a rat-infested shack

History blog Hear the Boat Sing has had a revamp, which means it’s a lot easier to find some of the gems their team of writers have come up with over the last year or so.

One of my favourites is Tim Koch’s story of Tom Green’s boathouse, which used to stand next to Barnes Bridge, near to where Thames Tradesmen’s RC is now. Green’s was home to anyone who didn’t fit in anywhere else – the women of Alpha RC were among the residents.

“Tom Green was one of the river’s great characters; a professional boatmen, he was given to binge drinking and frequently disappeared for days at a time, before being brought back much the worse for wear on the ferry that ran between Barnes and Chiswick.

“Ma Green was forever purloining our sweaters and shoes while we were out on the water. Yet, if you enquired about the whereabouts of a missing item of clothing she’d swear blind that she’d never seen it, even when she was standing before you actually wearing it …”



Those who need to fine-tune their crew rowing to the nth degree will know all about telemetry, measuring when, where and how much force each rower puts through his or her pin. There are a wide range of options (Rowlup reader Tom Carter put together a spreadsheet to compare the systems). Most are complicated, expensive and involve wiring, though.

Some of those issues are solved in a new initiative from Australian company Oar Inspired. Now they just need to raise some cash to make it happen. The company have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise A$70,000 (£39,500) to go into production. They raised over A$5,000 on Wednesday alone, so there’s clearly some interest.


High-water mark                                                                    

If the recent bad weather is bringing back memories of last winter’s flooding, you can either take comfort or be forewarned using a new interactive map, called Gaugemap, which tracks water levels from over 2,400 Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales gauges in England and Wales. 

You can even follow your local lock on Twitter, to find out when things are getting a bit much for it to handle.




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