Two exceptional performances but a challenging day in Lucerne
Whilst GB Rowing celebrated two exceptional performances – gold from Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase in the Siemens-backed lightweight men’s double scull and silver from the men’s open double scull of Matt Wells and Steve Rowbotham – at the season’s second of three world cups in Lucerne, Switzerland, there was a general sense of a rising challenge from the rest of the world as Beijing approaches.
The Camelot-sponsored women’s quadruple scull of Katherine Grainger, Frances Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon took bronze but, as world champions, it was not the result they coveted. The newly-strengthened GB men’s eight also took bronze in a great finish to the regatta but they, too, have their sights set higher.
Alan Campbell, a world cup winner three weeks ago in the men’s single scull, was fourth here and the world champion lightweight men’s four were fifth. GB’s men’s four, racing here in a different line-up because of injury, were eighth.
"We did not get carried away with our five golds from the world cup in Munich last month and today shows why", said David Tanner GB Performance Director today. "There are crews here that weren’t in Munich and different combinations in some events from other nations. The world has moved on and we know we need to work hard before, during and after the next world cup in Poznan to do the best we can in Beijing".
Full results: www.worldrowing.com
France were the early leaders in the lightweight men’s double scull final but New Zealand and France weren’t far behind them at 500m and 1000m. Just past the halfway point Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, in the Siemens-sponsored GB combination, turned on the power and moved out to lead by about half a length. At the 1500m mark they were a second up on New Zealand with the French in third.
The battle as the crews came past the grandstand was intense. New Zealand tried their hardest to come back but Hunter and Purchase were determined that gold would be theirs. It came in a time of 6:16.62 with the New Zealanders second and France third.
"Our mindset continues to be good. We are confident we can make a move when we need to", said Hunter afterwards.
Purchase, too, talked of their confidence and concentration as a unit: "We are totally focussed on our own boat and what we need to do", he added.
Confidence may well be in short supply for the British quartet of Richard Chambers, James Lindsay-Fynn, Paul Mattick and James Clarke after today’s final in Lucerne. The world champions seemed unable to find the pace and rhythm to come back at the early leaders from China. That task was left to Denmark and France who chased them down, albeit without success, in the final 250m metres. Meanwhile the GB crew were left unable to respond.
GB women’s quadruple scull of Katherine Grainger, Frances Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon, backed by Camelot, needed to rebuild their confidence here after their defeat to China in the seeding race two days ago. Their attempt to make amends became clear tactically from the outset. They blasted out to an early lead of two seconds at the 500m mark and of three seconds at halfway. China though had pegged them back to just over a second by 1500m with Germany and the USA also in contention.
With 300m to go, the tactics proved unsustainable. China had timed their attack to perfection and moved through to win in 6:21.14 with the USA coming through to take silver by just under three tenths from the Great Britain.
"We tried to kill them off early but it didn’t work", said Vernon afterwards. "We didn’t have anything left at the end".
"When the challenge came we didn’t have the answers", agreed Grainger. Now it will be back to the drawing board with coach Paul Thompson to see what can be done before Poznan and, more importantly, before Beijing.
By contrast, Matt Wells and Steve Rowbotham felt as if they had made a "massive step on" here in Lucerne in the men’s double scull despite taking silver to their gold three weeks ago in Munich. They were beaten today by top-flight New Zealander Rob Waddell and Nathan Cohen in a race during which the British duo went head to head with China in the first 500m, took the lead by the 1000m mark but did not have quite enough left in the tank with 750m to go. Australia took bronze, China were fourth, France’s world best time holders were fifth and reigning world champions Luka Spik and Itzok Cop of Slovenia were sixth.
"We are steadily improving and don’t want to peak too early", said Wells afterwards. "But this is a massive step on".
"We got a really good start today but then we felt we were playing catch-up in the third 500m", added Rowbotham. "We know what we’ve got to do. The event has moved on".
GB Rowing’s men’s eight took bronze in a superbly fast finish behind Canada, stand-out leaders of the race, and China. To collect their reward, the GB crew had to hold off Australia at the end. They did so with style and were fast closing on the eventual silver medallists from China as the line approached.
The top of the world is a tiny space in men’s single sculling terms. There are five or six scullers capable of winning world golds. Today it was the turn of Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic who had been beaten by Britain’s Alan Campbell three weeks ago.
Synek’s prize only came, though, after a tantalising, closely-matched and tactical battle.
Alan Campbell was the early leader. He led through 500m and 1000m. That was the moment when Synek made his move and world champion Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand moved up to second from fifth place. Sweden’s Lassi Karonen, the eventual bronze medallist was in the fray, too, but as the boats moved past the grandstands it became clear that the day was Synek’s. Campbell’s power was spent, Drysdale didn’t have enough to catch Synek and Karonen took bronze.
Elise Laverick and Anna Bebington got a reasonable start to their women’s double scull final and were tucked into the pack which were chasing the early leaders, eventual winners and world champions Qin Li and Tian Liang of China until the 500m mark. By the halfway point, though, they weren’t where they wanted to be, even given Bebington’s recent illness from which she is still recovering. By the 1500m mark the British duo were ten seconds down on the leaders and locked in their own private battle with the French to take fifth place – a tussle won by GB in 7:05.95. Germany took silver and the second Chinese double picked up the bronze.
"Overall we’re disappointed with how things have gone this weekend", said Laverick. "We know what we’re capable of producing and we haven’t done that here".
"In training we’ve been going well but we haven’t been spot on in racing", added Bebington.
The GB women’s eight has not yet found its pace and spark this season after winning bronze at the world championships last year. Today, in the final, they were in contention at 500m but by 1000m had left themselves too much to do. At the finish they were sixth in 6:18.32 in a race won by the USA in 6:07.49.
The GB men’s four could be forgiven for a sense of deja vu here this morning. Beaten in the sprint to the line in yesterday’s semi-final after leading throughout, the pattern repeated itself today in the B final. This time it was Germany who overhauled them in the final 500m to win by two tenths of a second despite a spirited fight-back by the British quartet of Peter Reed, Steve Williams, Tom Lucy and Colin Smith – the latter duo on board as replacements for the injured Tom James and Andy Hodge respectively.
Young rower Laura Greenhalgh has come into the lightweight women’s double scull line-up for this world cup regatta alongside the experienced Helen Casey as GB continues to experiment with its potential Olympic combinations in this boat category. The duo narrowly missed getting into the A final yesterday and today led the B final in the early stages before Denmark emerged in the second half to take the lead and win. Casey and Greenhalgh were second in 7:16.30.
Britain has not yet qualified a women’s single scull or pair for Beijing. 20 year-old Tina Stiller has been vying for the right to contest the final Olympic qualifying regatta in the single and today was fifth in the B final making her eleventh overall at this world cup.
GB Rowing fielded a new women’s pair here of Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve. They were twelfth overall here after a battling first 500m of their B Final.
GB Rowing is set to make its decision this coming week as to whether to enter these two crews plus the men’s quadruple scull for the final Olympic qualifying regatta in Poznan, Poland, later this month. The men’s quad were unable to compete here due to an injury to Alex Gregory. GB has already qualifed 11 boats for Beijing.
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(Races featuring GB rowers only. For full
1. USA 6:07.49
2. Australia 6:07.91
3. Canada 6:08.23
4. Netherlands 6:09.77
5. Germany 6:11.90
6. Beth Rodford/Carla Ashford/Alice Freeman/Natasha Page/
Natasha Howard/Alison Knowles/Katie Greves/Jess Eddie/
Caroline O’Connor (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:18.32
1. Li Qin/Tian Liang (China) 6:56.10
2. Annekatrin Thiele/Christiane Huth (Germany) 6:58.29
3. Zhu Weiwei/Zhang Yangyang (China) 6:58.80
4. Megan Kalmoe/Ellen Tomek (USA 1) 7:00.11
5. Elise Laverick/Anna Bebington (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:05.95
6. Caroline Delas/Marie Le Nepvou (France) 7:06.36
1. China 6:21.14
2. USA 6:24.10
3. Annie Vernon/Debbie Flood/Frances Houghton/Katherine
Grainger (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:24.38
4. Ukraine 6:25.75
5. Germany 6:25.93
6. Australia 6:32.80
1. Canada 5:31.89
2. China 5:34.96
3. Alex Partridge/Tom Stallard/Matt Langridge/Tom Solesbury/
Josh West/Richard Egington/Robin Bourne-Taylor/Alastair
Heathcote/Acer Nethercott (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:35.87
4. Australia 5:37.82
5. Germany 5:42.19
6. Poland 5:42.82
1. Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 6:47.81
2. Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand 1) 6:49.20
3. Lassi Karonen (Sweden) 6:52.18
4. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:52.64
5. Olaf Tufte (Norway) 6:57.91
6. Andre Vonarburg (Switzerland) 7:01.20
1. Rob Waddell/Nathan Cohen (New Zealand) 6:14.04
2. Matt Wells/Steve Rowbotham (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:15.80
3. David Crawshay/Scott Brennan (Australia) 6:17.53
4. Su Hui/Zhang Liang (China) 6:21.62
5. Jean-Baptiste Macquet/Adrien Hardy (France) 6:22.22
6. Luka Spik/Iztok Cop (Slovenia) 6:22.46
1. China 6:00.89
2. Denmark 6:01.33
3. France 6:01.99
4. Germany 6:02.64
5. Richard Chambers/James Lindsay-Fynn/Paul Mattick/
James Clarke (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:04.86
6. Ireland 6:07.89
1. Mark Hunter/Zac Purchase (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:16.62
2. Uru Storm/Peter Taylor (New Zealand) 6:17.83
3. Maxime Goisset/Federic Four (France 1) 6:19.03
4. Zhang Guolin/Sun Jie (China) 6:19.69
5. Zsolt Hirling/Tamas Varga (Hungary) 6:22.66
6. Jeremie Azou/Remi Di Girlamo (France 2) 6:22.79
1. Yuliya Bichyk/Natallia Helakh (Belarus) 7:16.11
2. Yan Yanfeng/Zhao Yuqin (China) 7:21.73
3. Kaylan Vander Schilden/Sabrina Kolker (Canada) 7:21.97
4. Robyn Selby Smith/Phoebe Stanley (Australia 2) 7:23.38
5. Kerstin Naumann/Katerin Reinert (Germany 2) 7:26.63
6. Louisa Reeve/Olivia Whitlam (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:29.68
1. Julia Michalska (Poland) 7:39.62
2. Frida Svensson (Sweden) 7:42.18
3. Sophie Balmary (France) 7:46.33
4. Annick de Decker (Belgium) 7:47.16
5. Kristina Stiller (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:49.11
6. Sanne Beukers (Netherlands) 7:50.02
1. Germany 6:00.62
2. Tom Lucy/Steve Williams/Peter Reed/Colin Smith (GREAT
3. Canada 6:06.76
4. Ireland 6:07.00
5. Argentina 6:13.50
6. Egypt 6:15.33
1. Katrin Olsen/Julianne Rasmussen (Denmark 1) 7:14.02
2. Laura Greenhalgh/Helen Casey (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:16.30
3. Candice Hammond/Louise Ayling (New Zealand) 7:17.96
4. Ismaray Arias Marrero/Yaima Valezquez Falcon (Cuba) 7:21.09
5. Cecilia Lilja/Karin Hoegberg (Sweden) 7:22.22
6. Marie Gottlieb/Sine Christiansen (Denmark 2) 7:22.57
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GB CREW LISTS (with clubs/home towns/dates of birth)
Munich World Cup 2008
Olivia Whitlam( Agecroft/Warrington 16.09.85)/Louisa
Coach Rob Morgan
Beth Rodford (Thames RC/Burton-on-Trent/ 28.12.82)/Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes BC/Northallerton/13.03.79)/Alice Freeman
(Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.09.78)/Natasha Page (Reading Uni/
Hartpury/30.04.85)/(Tideway Scullers/West Runton/3.9.80)/Natasha
Howard (Tideway Scullers/Norfolk)/Alison Knowles (Thames RC/
Bournemouth/27.3.82)/Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/
02.09.82)/Jess Eddie (Uni of London/Durham/07.10.84)/Caroline
O’Connor (Oxford Brookes/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)
Coach: John Keogh
Single scull (two boats)
Sarah Winckless (Walbrook & Royal/Henley/18.10.73)
Coach: Eira Parry
Tina Stiller (Nottingham/Yarm, N.Yorks/23.6.87)
Coach: Miles Forbes-Thomas
Elise Laverick (Thames RC/Poling, W.Sussex/27.07.75)/
Anna Bebington (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.2.83)
Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas
Annie Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/Debbie Flood
(Leander Club/Leeds/27.02.80)/Frances Houghton
(Tyrian Club (Uni of London)/Oxford/19.09.80)/Katherine
Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)
Coach: Paul Thompson
Pair (two boats)
Toby Garbett (Leander Club/Woking, Surrey/14.11.76)/Marcus
Bateman (Leander Club/Torquay/16.09.82)
Oli Moore (OUBC/Burford/22.12.85)Tom Parker (Oxford
Coach: Jonny Singfield
Four (2 boats)
Tom Lucy (Oxford Brookes/Monmouth/01.05.88)/Steve Williams
(Leander Club/Cheltenham/15.04.76)/Peter Reed (Leander Club/
Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/Colin Smith (Leander/Henley on
Will Laughton (Uni of London/Douglas IOM/18.6.87) Cameron
Nichol (Uni of London/London/26/06/87) Dan Ritchie (Reading Uni/
Herne Bay Kent/06/01/87) Moe Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Robin Bourne-Taylor (Army RC/Oxford/22.07.81)
Tom Stallard (Leander/Welwyn, Herts/11.09.78)/
Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/
Tom Solesbury (Molesey BC/Petts Wood, Kent/23.09.80)/
Josh West (Leander/Santa Fe, USA/25.03.77)/
Richard Egington (Leander/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Alastair Heathcote (Army RC/London/18.8.77)/
Acer Nethercott (University College Oxford BC/Harlow/28.11.77)
Coaches: Mark Banks, John West
Single Scull (two boats)
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Coach: Bill Barry
Matt Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)
Coach: Mark Earnshaw
Coach: Adrian Cassidy
Andrea Dennis (Wallingford RC/Oxford/03.01.82)
Helen Casey (Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.02.74)/
Laura Greenhalgh (Reading Uni/Oxford/02.09.85)
Coach: Rob Morgan
Chris Bartley (Leander/Chester 2.2.84)/Rob Williams
Coach: Robin Williams
Richard Chambers (Oxford Brookes/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
James Lindsay-Fynn (London/Trim/29.09.75)/Paul Mattick
(Wallingford/Oxford/25.04.78)/James Clarke (London RC/
Coach: Robin Williams
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury, Glos/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)
Coach: Darren Whiter