REDGRAVE & PINSENT REUNITED, BRIT CHAMPS LIVE, HAMPTON'S HOPES October 16 2014
The last edition of the Rowlup covered Katherine Grainger’s comeback. How do you better that? How about the reunion of British rowing’s two knights of the realm, Sirs Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent, who will race together for the first time in 14 years at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, USA?
Molesey's @hocr 50s & 40s crews just starting their last weekend session before the race pic.twitter.com/EL2kbd0UjS— Molesey Boat Club (@MoleseyBoatClub) October 11, 2014
Regular readers of The Rowlup will have noted the summer spottings of Steve and Matt, back in a pair together, around the Thames Valley. They’ve been turning heads on the Molesey reach recently as part of the MBC “Leg-ends” eights featuring former internationals, which regularly rumble on weekend mornings.
@andrewthodge I've had a special undershirt made this year - otherwise the Black leaves me with a nasty rash ;)— Matthew Pinsent (@matthewcpinsent) October 15, 2014
The two Leander members are in the Senior Masters event for crews with an average age of over 50. The Molesey over-40s crew features Alex Partridge and Jonny Searle and there is an MBC women’s eight that includes the likes of Grainger and fellow Olympic medallists Cath Bishop and Gillian Lindsay.
The Head of the Charles celebrates its 50 th running this year. Here’s a quick run-down for novices on the Boston Globe website. And here is the full list of the 1,200 crews entered.
In the Championship categories - as Bryan Kitch excitedly points out on his Rowing Related blog -there’s a Craftsbury Great Eight featuring scullers so strong that double Olympic champ Olaf Tufte can only make the two seat plus a Taurus Boat Club “Sweet Eight” of sweepers that includes Hamish Bond from the Kiwi pair (of whom, video below). And there’s a Cambridge Boat Club women's crew including Olympic scullers Kim Crow and Mirka Knapkova.
Eton College, Radley, Shrewsbury and St Paul’s (for the second successive year) are among the British schools making the trip. Pairs Head winner and junior international medallist Sam Meijer of Westminster School is also in Boston, contesting Youth Singles.
Brit Champs – live on video
Grainger is the only current member of the GB squad in action in Boston because anyone else aiming for international selection this season is required to be at the British Rowing Senior Championships in Nottingham. Some people would maybe rather not take part.
One thing you can’t argue with, though, is the quality of the field. Here’s a quick run-down:
3 days until the #DTFR (David tanner fun regatta)! Everyone getting excited?! Anyone?!— Andrew Triggs Hodge (@andrewthodge) October 15, 2014
Men's doubles: Half the GB quad (Leander A) take on the GB double (Leander B)
Women's doubles: Three GB squad crews face an Imperial crew featuring world singles champion Emma Twigg of New Zealand, plus three strong lightweight combinations
Men's fours: Three of the current GB four race for Molesey, while Leander A features two of the London 2012 four
Women's fours: Helen Glover and Heather Stanning are in a composite, against squaddies for Imperial and Leander
Women's eights: Leander and Imperial share the current GB eight plus aspiring others
Men's quads: Leander A take on a host of Under-23s
Women's quads: The Glover/Stanning composite swap one stick for two, and take on a Wallingford composite - the 2014 GB lightweight quad
Men's eights: Molesey and Leander each have four Olympic medallist rowers and Leander have an Olympic medallist cox too
There's a full range of Para-rowing singles events too
It’s also nice to see a few Olympic medallists turning out in full club crews – Kat Copeland races for Tees and Alan Campbell is in two Tideway Scullers sweep boats.
The whole event will be shown live on British Rowing’s YouTube channel – a first for this event produced by the company that has done with same for Henley Women’s Regatta over the last two years at.
Rotting in Rio
Many of the British squad are just back from a recce trip to Rio de Janeiro, two years out from the Olympic Games. Reports they were being kept off the polluted rowing lake were initially treated cautiously, then an estimated 65 tonnes of dead fish turned up.
Want to see how construction is going @Rio2016 Athlete Village? My drone shots from 1hr ago --> @GBRowingTeam @GoPro pic.twitter.com/APIhA2fUbW— N. Reilly-O'Donnell (@nrodtweets) October 1, 2014
Oxford University have been publishing some coffee-table style video about their rowing programme, which has won 10 of the last 15 Boat Races and there is some simple yet revealing insight from coach Sean Bowden on how the dark blues bring their crews together.
“Instead of treating all the athletes the same,” he says, “it's to find the best mechanism to develop the individual so he reaches his potential and can make the kind of contribution that's needed for the race.”
Hampton’s hopes for 2015
Hampton School's director of rowing Colin Greenaway has his fingers crossed that the weather will be kinder to his boys this year, but he will be happy if they replicate the successes of last season.
Hampton blazers are out: Thanks to all of you who are supporting the Hampton crew at Henley pic.twitter.com/lNjywraVK2— Hampton School (@HamptonSchool) July 4, 2014
Flooding kept Hampton off their home reach in Molesey for three months last season, from December to March, but they bounced back to finish fourth in the medal table at National Schools Regatta. Their top boat came third in Championship Eights then reached the weekend at Henley Royal Regatta for the third successive year.
"The highlights last year were Nat Schools, especially the bronze for the 1st VIII. Given the difficulties through the winter we were very pleased," Greenaway told The Rowlup. "We were also pleased with the J16s, who won the GB-France match and Nat Schools in the coxless four."
Hampton were off the pace at Schools Head, finishing seventh overall after weeks of land training, interspersed with occasional trips to the Tideway when rules allowed.
"We didn't give the Schools Head a lot of emphasis but it seemed that schools from the Tideway and the North did well; crews from the Thames Valley not so well," Greenaway says.
"We spent half term on the Tideway then the Thames Regional Rowing Council tried to stop visiting crews because of conditions. They need to sort out the rules because it seemed to me that those who had travelled there took the conditions more seriously than people based there did."
Greenaway has two main markers for a successful season: boats at all levels making their finals at National Schools - with a target of a top-four place for each - and the 1st VIII making the weekend at Henley, ideally the final. This year he is confident the senior squad will maintain the successes of recent years.
Each issue of The Rowlup will feature clubs, universities and schools looking forward to the new season. If you would like your club to be included, get in touch.
Running out of space
There’s not very much room left but we have to mention the announcement that the British Rowing Indoor Champs will take place at the Olympic Velodrome in February.
Mike Rosewell is retiring as rowing correspondent of the Oxford Times after 38 years, at the age of 77, and has plenty of stories to tell about a life on the river, coaching, the Boat Race and pulling up drowners with his grandfather.
Megan Kalmoe has been publishing an increasingly renowned list of the world’s hottest male rowers annually for the last few years. This year she has decided not to, and explains why in her blog.
And if you still have a few minutes, take a look at this blog about taking part in the Tour du Leman - a 160km Lake Geneva. It’s a reminder that rowing isn’t all about regattas and head races in find shells.
What’s that? Pairs Head? Yes, that too. There’s a report here, and even more reaction in next month’s Rowing & Regatta magazine.
You know when someone takes a photo of you looking a bit odd and you have to try and convince people the expression was intentional? Well that.
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