Olympic qualifying season begins tomorrow for GB Rowing Team says Tanner

David Tanner, the GB Rowing Team’s Performance Director, says that Britain’s Olympic qualifying season begins in New Zealand when the 2010 World Rowing Championships opens tomorrow on Lake Karapiro and runs until Sunday 7 November.

With only 10 months left to go before GB needs to qualify its 2012 boats at the 2011 worlds in Slovenia, Tanner is also aware of the expectation on his crews in NZ after Britain’s best ever world cup result at the world cup finals this July when they won 11 medals, four of them gold.

“Our Olympic qualifying season definitely begins here. All the rowers are aware of that.  The world championships is also a very different game to the world cups and we know that other nations will raise their performance here in a way that doesn’t always happen at the world cup level”, he said. “But the team has travelled well and is in good shape”.

Scot Katherine Grainger and Staffordshire’s Anna Watkins lead those who might be expected to medal for Britain in New Zealand.

The duo won world cup gold in the women’s double scull three times this season and doubled up to win quadruple scull gold twice.

“The fact that these two are not doubling up in both events here shows how seriously we are taking the level of opposition here. Anna has not yet won a world championships gold and we wanted the focus to be on doing one thing well”, said Tanner.

Three times Olympic silver medallist Grainger added: “We want to finish the season having done what we know we can do. To win here would be brilliant for the team and for us”.

Watkins said:  “The form book has been torn up since the end of the world cup as there has been a longer break in racing than usual.  We want to make sure we re-write that form book in the way we want here”.

Britain’s defending world champions in the men’s four of Ric Egington, Matt Langridge, Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory, were also in good spirit today despite the windy conditions forcing a course closure for several hours during the day.

Ric Egington from the crew said:  “We are ready to race. We have had great preparation and we are fed up with rattling around the hotel. We want to defend the title and move on from where we were last year”.

Matt Langridge, stroke of the quartet said: “We know that this combination is fast.  We won together last year and Ric, Alex Partridge and I were part of the Olympic silver medal winning men’s eight in Beijing. So we know each other very well and that helps when you have bad days as well as good days. It also helps at events like this when the pressure is on”.

The host nation, amongst others, is likely to offer a stern test for GB in several events here.  “We know that the New Zealanders are pumping up the rivalry and we have taken that on board”, said Tanner.

That rivalry will probably be at its toughest in the men’s pair – where Beijing Olympic men’s four gold medallists Andy Hodge and Pete Reed will take on Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, the defending world champions and a combination who have kept the British duo off the top of the rostrum consistently in 2009 and 2010.

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, the Beijing gold medallists who are back in the lightweight men’s double scull again this season after a lay-off,  also have world champions Storm Uru and Peter Taylor to contend with in their event.

The British team has a new-look for late 2010 but nonetheless somewhat familiar women’s quadruple scull line-up.  Fran Houghton and Debbie Flood, both Olympic silver medallists in this boat in Athens and Beijing, are back in the crew. 

Houghton is on her way back to full fitness after hip surgery delayed her intended post-Beijing return to competitive action. Flood has juggled working in the Prison Service with training until returning to the fold full-time in April of this year. They will race here with Annabel Vernon, also a silver medallist in Beijing, and Beth Rodford who has successfully made the switch from the women’s eight squad to sculling in the past two seasons.

Despite David Tanner’s caution that his team are seeking five medals here, proof of British progress on the world stage is that they won three medals on home water at the 2006 World Championships but, on the other side of the world this time round, they are expected to win at least five if not more.

Of the British crews in Olympic events only the women’s pair  and single scull has not visited the podium at world cup level in 2010.  The men’s eight and quadruple scull have both shown significant improvement this season.

The men’s double, of Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells, has won gold twice and the men’s single sculler Alan Campbell has shown considerable consistency at the very top level of his event despite a crash whilst cycling in training  before the season began.

Britain’s lightweight squad is also on song.  2009 world bronze medallists Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell are contenders as are the lightweight men’s four of Rob Williams, Paul Mattick, Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley.

The GB women’s eight will also be determined to prove their mettle here. Coxed by Caroline O’Connor this combination has done consistently better – with a podium place at all the 2010 world cups – than any crew in this boat category for Britain before.  Young crew members like Louisa Reeve, Olivia Whitlam, Jo Cook and Lindsey Maguire have joined the more established crew members this year and there is a buzz of expectation from both inside and outside of this new unit.

There are also some GB newcomers who will lap up the experience in New Zealand.  Heather Stanning and Helen Glover – both identified into the sport through the  Siemens-sponsored and lottery-funded “Start” talent and identification scheme – race in the women’s pair and will be looking to make a step up.

“We also have the Paralympic-event squad here for the first time since the world cup in Bled in May”,  said David Tanner.  “That is a nice difference and we would hope for two medals from this section of the squad, too”.

Tom Aggar, the reigning Paralympic champion, would hope to continue his dominance in the men’s single scull and the newly-formed adaptive coxed four will hope to overcome strong opposition from the Ukraine and Germany to win here potentially.

Helene Raynsford, although the reigning Paralympic champion in the women’s single scull, has limited her own horizon of expectation here, since being diagnosed with a cardiac condition which forced her to retire earlier this year. The condition is being managed by the GB medical team who fought hard to find a way to support Helene’s desire to continue in the sport.
“Just being here and racing is a bonus”, she said. “I know now that I have the condition and I have to be respectful of it. The aim here is to get back into the sport and just see how I do”.

New Zealand, meanwhile, put on a well-received opening ceremony on Lake Karapiro today.  Maori culture came to the fore of a ceremony which also featured local choirs and school-children.

Full racing schedule can be found at: www.worldrowing.com

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2010 World Rowing Championships, Lake Karapiro,
New Zealand, October 31-November 7, 2010
(listed bow to stroke plus cox)




Helen Glover (Reading Uni BC/Penzance/17.06.86)/
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)

Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas


Jo Cook (Leander Club/Sunbury-on-Thames/22.03.84)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club/London/16.05.84)/
Jessica Eddie (Uni of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Victoria Thornley (Minerva Bath RC/Wrexham/30.11.87)/
Natasha Page (Reading Uni BC/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC/Edinburgh/15.01.82)/
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC/Warrington/16.09.85)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes Uni BC/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)

Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas

Double scull

Anna Watkins (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83)/
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)

Coach:  Paul Thompson

Quadruple scull

Debbie Flood (Leander Club/Guiseley/27.02.80)/
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.12.82)/
Frances Houghton (Tyrian Club, Uni of London/Henley/19.9.80)/
Annabel Vernon (London RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)

Coach:  Ade Roberts


Ro Bradbury (Jesus College BC/Banstead/17.12.88)
Katie Solesbury (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82) – racing spare W1x
Melanie Wilson (Molesey BC/London/25.06.84)




Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N.Yorks/03.03.79)

Coach:  Jurgen Grobler


Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Richard Egington (Leander Club/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington, Glos/11.03.84)/
Matthew Langridge (Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/

Coach: Mark Banks


Tom Broadway (Leander Club/Newport Pagnell/21.08.82)/
James Clarke (London RC/London/31.12.84)/
Cameron Nichol (Molesey BC/Glastonbury/26.06.87)/
James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Greg Searle (Molesey BC/Marlow/20.03.72)/
Tom Ransley (York City RC/Cambridge/06.09.85)
Dan Ritchie (Herne Bay RC/Herne Bay/06.01.87)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)

Coaches:  Christian Felkel/John West

Single scull

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83)

Coach: Bill Barry

Double scull

Matthew Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79)
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club/Torquay/16.09.82)/

Coach: Mark Earnshaw

Quadruple scull

Charles Cousins (Reading Uni BC/Cambridge/13.12.88)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Uni BC/Reading/26.11.85)/
Bill Lucas (Reading Uni BC/Kingswear/13.09.87)/
Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)

Coach: Mark Earnshaw


Brendan Crean (Agecroft RC/Lewes/07.02.85)
Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell (Uni of London BC/Durham/13.4.88)
Tom Wilkinson (Leander Club/Reading/04.07.85)/



Double scull

Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni BC/London/27.06.84)/
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)

Coach:  Paul Reedy

Quadruple scull

Jane Hall (Leander Club/Surbiton/20.10.73)/
Stephanie Cullen (London RC/Bury, Lancs/27.11.80)/
Laura Greenhalgh (London RC/Cuddeson,Oxon/2.9.85)/
Andrea Dennis (Reading Uni BC/Oxford/03.01.82)

Coach: Tom Gale




Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC/Windsor/19.06.85)
Chris Boddy (Leander Club/Stockton-on-Tees/16.11.87)/

Coach:  Rob Morgan


Richard Chambers (Leander Club/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
Paul Mattick (Leander Club/Frome, Somerset/25.04.78)/
Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.85)/
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)

Coach:  Rob Morgan

Single scull

Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Uni BC/Coleraine/14.03.90)

Coach:  Darren Whiter

Double scull

Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury/02.05.86)/
Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)

Coach:  Darren Whiter


AS Men’s Single scull

Tom Aggar (Royal Docks RC/London/24.05.84)

Coach: Tom Dyson

AS Women’s Single scull

Helene Raynsford (Guildford RC/Farnborough/29.12.79)

Coach:  Tom Dyson

LTA Mixed Coxed four

Kelsie Gibson (Maidstone Invicta RC)
James Roe (Reading Uni BC/Stratford-upon-Avon/28.03.88)/
Ryan Chamberlain (King’s College London BC/Wandsworth, London/03.04.86)
Kate Jones (Aberdeen BC/Eskdale Green, Cumbria/28.02.86)
Rhiannon Jones (cox) (Reading Uni BC/Hereford/16.09.87)

Coach:  Mary McLachlan



Team Manager and Performance Director: David Tanner
Chief Coach Men:  Jurgen Grobler
Chief Coach Women & Lightweights: Paul Thompson
Assistant Team Manager/Adaptives:  Louise Kingsley

Medical and Sports Science:

Doctor: Ann Redgrave
Lead Physiotherapist: Mark Edgar
Physiotherapist:  Liz Arnold
Physiotherapist:  Sally Brown
Psychologist:  Chris Shambrook
Physiologist: Mark Homer
Nutritionist: Wendy Martinson


Assistant Team Manager (admin): Jo Bates
Assistant Team Manager (logistics): Judi Read
Sponsorship liaison Manager:  Francesca Bullock
Resources Manager:  Maurice Hayes
Boatman:  John Tetley
Press Officer: Caroline Searle

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(Events featuring GB crews only)

Thursday 4 November (local NZ time* 15.30 – 16.30)

Adaptive (“Paralympic”):  Men’s and women’s single, mixed coxed four

Friday 5 November (local NZ time* 14.03 – 15.33)

Open Men:   Four and quadruple scull
Open Women: Quadruple scull
Lightweight: Men’s pair, men’s and women’s double scull

Saturday 6 November (local NZ time* 14.03 – 15.48)

Open Men:  Pair and single scull
Open Women:  Pair and single scull
Lightweight:  Men’s four and women’s quadruple scull

Sunday 7 November (local NZ time* 14.03 – 15.33)

Open Men:  Double and eight
Open Women: Double and eight
Lightweight:  Men’s single

*All times are subject to change. NZ will be 13 hours ahead of
the UK on racing days at the Championships and 12 hours ahead
in the week before racing starts.

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For media enquiries about The GB Rowing Teams please contact:

During the 2010 world championships in New Zealand:

Caroline Searle

(00) 64 274977493 or press@matchtight.co.uk

NB – FROM SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER – New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of the UK.

Caroline Searle

T:  (01225) 443998
M:  (07831) 755351

e:  caroline@matchtight.co.uk

GB Rowing Team website www.gbrowingteam.org.uk – full biogs available
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