There were some impressive performances at the British Rowing Indoor Championships at the beginning of February but arguably none more so than by Kieran “The Gun” Wood. The Prestonian covered 1km in 4:19.9 and finished tenth in the Para-rowing Legs-Trunk-and-Arms event.

But, unlike his rivals, Kieran only has full use of one arm and one leg. A former soldier in the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, he lost the use of his right arm and partial loss of use of his right leg after a car crash, which happened on his first day back in the UK on leave from duty in Iraq.

Here’s some video of him in action:


Great Britain’s Para-rowing squad were out in force for the event at the Olympic velodrome. Grace Clough, from Nottingham RC, set an LTA world record of 3:28.6 for 1000m, beating fellow Briton Naomi Riches’ previous mark by 1.5 sec.

Other outstanding displays included Mo Sbihi’s 5:45.4 – three seconds off Matt Pinsent’s British record - after what the rest of the GB squad described as a typically tough week of training.

Debbie Flood retired after the 2012 Olympics but has clearly been doing a bit of keep-fit as she won the open women’s event in 6:53.3. How about a Grainger-like comeback, Debbie? 


Overall some 1,300 rowers and gym users took part. Here’s the official British Rowing take on the day:



Here’s a video diary of the day by University College London BC, who were silver-medallists in the Women's Team Relay and here’s a photo gallery of random erg grimaces from the Guardian.

Disappointingly, there was no live musical accompaniment to the action at the velodrome. Surely a double bass, violin and guitar would have brought something more genteel to the event. Maybe there is something to learn from this gem from the 1930s, spotted by a user on Rowhub. Some elements endure, though: the woman at 33 seconds in has reassuring problems with her separation. 


Back in the present day, how’s this for a 5k score from a 16-year-old? Tom Digby of Abingdon School set a new British Under-19 record and was just two seconds off the world mark. He was part of the British coxed four that won silver at World Juniors last year and clearly has a bright future ahead of him.




Swanning around Lincolnshire

Six days after his indoor exploits, Big Mo Sbihi was celebrating again after he and partner Alex Gregory won the men’s heavyweight pairs at Great Britain long distance trials in Boston Lincolnshire. They were five seconds faster than Pete Reed and Constantine Louloudis, a pairing put together late on, with many of the rest of the squad ruled out, apparently because of illness or injury. 


Helen Glover was 14 seconds clear of the women’s field, with fellow Olympic champ and comeback queen Katherine Grainger second. Trailing in behind was Glover’s erstwhile pairs partner Heather Stanning, who had been forced to spend the previous night on the sofa bed in their shared room at Premier Inn. Glover took to Twitter to ask for ideas to decide who got the double bed, then won the vote on who had made the better towel swan!



Charles Cousins continued his recent domination of the men’s singles, beating Olympic single sculler Alan Campbell. Richard Chambers is “on fire”, according to a fellow lightweight squad member, the 2012 silver medallist winning his event by 20 seconds. Meanwhile Charlotte Taylor – who was in the lightweight quad last year - took the scalp of Olympic champion Kat Copeland in the light women’s singles.


Michael Hill

Members of London RC, Thames RC and Latymer Upper School BC gathered last weekend to remember Michael Hill, who coached at all three and has been missing since apparently falling out of his launch on 2 February. Our thoughts are with his family and those he coached.


Campaigns look for a kick-start 

Sarah Weldon this summer aims to row 3,000 miles along the Thames and around Great Britain, following routes taken by the Vikings 1,000 years ago. Her expedition is expected to take 14 weeks, rowing up to 15 hours a day.

"As well as setting Guinness World Records on this epic adventure (as yet no one has ever rowed solo around Great Britain), I'll use wearable technology and a virtual learning platform to share every whale sighting, geological fault line, and collected scientific data on things like my poo, nutritional intake, and psychological performance," she says.

Sarah says there are over 17,000 children, from 53 countries, already following the project. What she needs now is the cash to kit out her boat for the trip. Her kickstarter campaign is looking for £35k, offering packages from tea and cake on the boat for £40 to sponsor opportunities. Sounds intriguing. 

Meanwhile, a group of Cambridge rowers have launched another crowd-funding campaign to back a team of school children aiming to row the Thames from source to sea.

And while we’re on money-raising, the boys and girls of Liverpool University BC cycled 300km to Henley last week, raising cash for new kit and for Alder Hey Children's Charity.


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