James and Egington impress in heats
Olympic men’s four champion Tom James and his men’s pair partner Ric Egington won the closest race of the morning in the heats of the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials at Eton Dorney this morning.
The duo pipped their rivals but team-mates Alex Gregory and Alex Partridge on the line to win in 6:29.71 with both crews progressing to tomorrow’s final.
Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed won the opposing heat from World U23 champions George Nash and Constantine Louloudis who by taking second consigned a number of their more experienced squad counterparts to the repechages this afternoon.
Elsewhere the winners largely followed the form-book. Alan Campbell and Matt Wells won the men’s singles heats.
In Campbell’s heat former rugby player Graeme Thomas, who has emerged through the GB Rowing Team’s Siemens and lottery-backed talent development scheme called “Start” was eye-catching in third place behind Sam Townsend.
World women’s pair silver medallists Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were dominant winners of their heat. Louisa Reeve and Jess Eddie had an advantage of a length over Emily Taylor and Olivia Whitlam in the opposing heat.
Sophie Hosking is favourite to win the lightweight women’s single scull here. She took victory in the opening heat today but Kat Copeland, world U23 champion, went faster to win heat two.
Both the lightweight men’s single and the women’s open single were conducted as time-trials. Katherine Grainger, Frances Houghton and Anna Watkins were the top three in the latter whilst Adam Freeman-Pask, Paul Mattick and Sam Scrimgeour were the lightweight men’s one-two-three.
This afternoon’s race programme includes semi-finals of the men’s and women’s single sculls as well as repechages of the men’s and women’s pair and the lightweight men’s and women’s singles.
“We have had some good and exciting races this morning with more to come over the weekend”, said GB Rowing Team Performance Director David Tanner.
If you’ve been inspired by today’s racing why not take your own trial? Find out more at www.nationontrial.org
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Helen Glover and Heather Stanning emerged onto the world rowing scene in style in 2010 when they won World Championships silver – a feat they repeated in 2011. Their international pedigree means they start as favourites to win the women’s pair this weekend and there no contrary indications in today’s heat which they won today by seven seconds from Jo Cook and Polly Swann.
The second women’s pair heat was much closer. 2008 Olympic combination Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve are racing here in different partnerships. Reeve emerged the stronger with Jess Eddie to win in 7:12.12. Whitlam and Taylor were down by a length at half-way and had a slight overlap in the final 250m but their final sprint was not enough.
Sophie Hosking was on-task from the outset of her lightweight women’s single. The research scientist clinically stuck to a strategy of getting ahead, staying ahead but probably not pushing herself too hard to conserve energy for tomorrow’s final. Andrea Dennis was her main challenger with Kathryn Twyman in third.
In the opposite heat, Kat Copeland, the world U23 champion, got the better of Imogen Walsh who is a world champion in the lightweight women’s quadruple scull. Copeland underlined her status as the emerging talent in this squad to win in 7:49.79 with Laura Greenhalgh in third.
The Beijing Olympic men’s four gold medallists led by a length for most of the race but were forced to up their pace in the closing stages to hold off a late drive for the line from World U23 men’s pair Champions George Nash and Constantine Louloudis, who finished ahead of James Foad and Moe Sbihi to qualify directly for the final.
World silver medallists in the men’s eight last summer, Foad and Sbihi were neck and neck with Nash and Louloudis for almost the entire race and looked to have edged the contest in the second half until the U23 champions, reserves for the senior squad at the 2011 Worlds, won the sprint for the line.
Tom Broadway and Dan Ritchie – who is recovering from recent surgery – finished fourth, several lengths back from the racing at the front with clear water between them and the final pair of Ben Smith and Dan Ouseley.
In heat two, Tom James and Ric Egington served up a thriller, rowing through race leaders Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory in the last 250 metres.
Partridge, who won World silver in the men’s eight last summer, and Gregory, part of the 2011 World Champion men’s four, took an early lead of just under a length which they held steadily until 500m to go, appearing to hold off Gregory’s team-mates in the four last summer, James and Egington.
But the Cheshire pair produced a stirring finish to qualify first for the final by half a length.
There was an equally compelling race taking place behind the leaders with 1992 Olympic gold medallist Greg Searle and Tom Ransley a length up from Will Satch and Matt Langridge at halfway after some close racing in the early stages.
Searle and Ransley held onto third place until the 1,500m mark when Langridge, also part of last summer’s World Champion four, and Satch caught and overtook them, finishing several lengths clear.
There were no surprises for the winners of the men’s single scull heats with seven-times trials winner Alan Campbell from Coleraine comfortably clear in heat one and Hexham’s Matt Wells, the last man to win the event before Campbell’s emphatic run of successive victories, taking heat two.
With Campbell clear from the start the interest lay in the race for second and third between three graduates from the GB Rowing Team’s START programme for talent identification and development sponsored by Siemens.
Sam Townsend from Reading followed Campbell home, keeping hold of second by a length while Manchester University student Graeme Thomas rowed through Charles Cousins from Cambridge in the final 500m to finish third.
Heat two, won by Beijing bronze medallist in the men’s double scull, Wells, saw a strong showing from Tom Solesbury who trailed in the first half of the race before steadily working his way up to second.
Bill Lucas led the race behind Wells until 1,500m before easing up and dropping to the back of the field while Solesbury raced home against Wells’ partner in Beijing, Steve Rowbotham, who finished a close third.
For the rowers today also presented the first opportunity this year to race on the Olympic course with a lot of favourable reactions.
Helen Glover said: “I love it so far, it’s great being here and it’s good water. It gives me confidence for the Olympics.
Jess Eddie added: “It’s brilliant, really good to come and practice on the Olympic course. We don’t train here often, though, because we want to keep it fresh and special for the Olympics”.
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1. Jess Eddie (Univ of London BC)/Louisa Reeve (Leander) 7:12.12
2. Emily Taylor (Leander)/Olivier Whitlam (Agecroft) 7:14.19
3. Leonora Kennedy (Sport Imperial BC)/Zoe Lee (Sport Imperial BC) 7:33.54
4. Caragh McMurtry (Reading Univ BC)/Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC) 7:55.02
1. Peter Reed (Leander)/Andrew Triggs-Hodge (Molesey BC) 6:22.69
2. George Nash (Molesey BC)/Constantine Louloudis (Leander) 6:23.63
3. James Foad (Molesey BC)/Moe Sbihi (Molesey BC) 6:26.60
4. Tom Broadway (Leander)/Dan Ritchie (Leander) 6:59.58
5. Ben Smith (Molesey BC)/Daniel Ouseley (Molesey BC) 7:02.55
1. Tom James (Molesey BC)/ Ric Egington (Leander) 6:29.71
2. Alex Partridge (Leander)/Alex Gregory (Leander) 6:32.20
3. Will Satch (Leander)/Matt Langridge (Leander) 6:48.96
4. Greg Searle (Molesey BC)/Tom Ransley (York City) 7:15.86
1. Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 7:00.89
2. Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC) 7:03.49
3. Graeme Thomas (Agecroft/Manchester Univ) 7:05.50
4. Charles Cousins (Reading Univ BC) 7:07.30
5. David Read (Leander) 7:15.80
6. Henry Pelly (London RC) 7:21.85
1. Matt Wells (Leander) 7:03.57
2. Tom Solesbury (Leander) 7:10.77
3. Steve Rowbotham (Leander) 7:12.23
4. Jonathan Walton (Loughborough Students) (7:21.88)
5. Alan Sinclair (Leander) 7:22.89
6. Bill Lucas (London RC) 7:31.80
1. Sophie Hosking (London RC) 7:55.25
2. Andrea Dennis (Sport Imperial BC) 8:00.07
3. Kathryn Twyman (Wallingford) 8:09.32
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THE 2011 TRIALS WINNERS
TIMETABLE AND NATURE OF RACING*
Racing takes place on a 2km course in six boat categories and all the top British names will be in action:
Open weight: men’s and women’s pairs; men’s and women’s single scull
Lightweight: men’s and women’s single sculls
Saturday March 10
Time trials and heats* 10.00 – 11.00
Semi-finals and repechages: 16.00 – 17.15
Sunday 11 March
FINALS – for all categories: 09.30 – 11.45
*NB 1 – As the winners of heats in some events will gain direct qualification for Sunday’s finals, not all triallists will be in action on Saturday afternoon.
*NB 2 – Rowing is an outdoor sport. Please check the GB Rowing Team website, facebook and twitter sites before travelling to the venue where any changes to racing timetable, due to the weather or other circumstances, will be indicated.
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Or Andy Sloan – 07714 168391
GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk
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The GB Rowing Squad is supported by the National Lottery