GB Rowing Team opens 2012 racing account this weekend

Winter training is over and the GB Rowing Team travels to Belgrade this week to open its racing account for the Olympic season.

The 57-strong team (23 women and 34 men) will race in the opening of three 2011 World Cups from May 4-6th.

Since their training camp in Italy some final tweaks have been made to the crews who will race for Britain in a team which Performance Director David Tanner described as our “most ambitious yet to take to the water”.

Devon’s Marcus Bateman, world double scull silver medalist in 2010, has been named to join Hexham’s Matt Wells, Somerset’s Stephen Rowbotham and Charles Cousins of Cambridge in the men’s quad in Serbia.

Londoner Tom Solesbury was due to race in a second single scull for GB in an event already featuring Northern Ireland’s Alan Campbell, three times a world medalist, but has withdrawn with illness.

Reading’s Sam Townsend and Devon’s Bill Lucas had earlier been selected into the men’s double scull – although Townsend’s fiancée, Natasha Page, is recovering from illness over the winter and is battling back to full fitness. She is the Belgrade reserve.

“It is a different dynamic being in a double than in a quad”, said Lucas. “We know each other very well and it’s been working. The big one was getting into the year 2012. Now the Olympics is really on the door step.”

In Italy, Olympic Champion Tom James was named in the men’s four alongside his Beijing gold medal crew-mates Andrew Triggs Hodge of Yorkshire and Gloucestershire’s Pete Reed as well as reigning World Champion Alex Gregory. The new combination will be stroked by Hodge in Belgrade.

“The World Cups are stepping stones but they are very significant stepping stones”, said Hodge. “There will be a lot of tactics and it will be hard to know what each nation is doing and what their objectives or targets are. It is the same game every year but the prize at the end of this year is the big one, the Olympics.”

Alex Partridge, now Henley-based but originally from Hampshire, underlined his desire to race in the men’s eight whilst on training camp in Italy and has joined that crew which is stroked by newcomer and Londoner Constantine Louloudis.

The eight also features Beijing silver medalists Ric Egington and Matt Langridge, both from the North West, and is coxed by world silver medalist Phelan Hill from Essex. The crew also contains four other 2011 world silver medalists in Surrey’s Greg Searle and Moe Sbihi as well as Kent’s Tom Ransley and James Foad of Southampton.

World U23 medallists George Nash of Guildford and Will Satch of Henley are the leading GB men’s pair entry but Somerset’s Cameron Nichol will race in the second men’s pair with Durham’s Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell after Dan Ritchie was forced to withdraw with injury.

Scot Katherine Grainger and Staffordshire’s Anna Watkins remain the headline act in the open women’s squad, racing the double in Belgrade – an event in which they have twice been World Champions.

Frances Houghton, the 2010 World Champion, returns this season to the women’s quad and races with Gloucester’s Beth Rodford, Londoner Mel Wilson and Welsh rower Victoria Thornley.

Annabel Vernon, Olympic silver medal winner with Houghton in Beijing has been withdrawn from the women’s single as she continues to fight for fitness after injury.

Thornley, who was identified into the sport by the lottery-funded Sporting Giants programme and progressed through the Siemens and lottery-backed GB Rowing Team Start programme was unaware of rowing until 2007.

“All I knew in 2007 was Steve Redgrave’s name. It’s quite strange how one advert in the paper led to my life changing. I watched the Beijing Olympics while I was on a Start training camp and it was amazing and I think at that point it hit home how far off that standard I was and how much work I had to do.

“It was always the aim but I knew it was going to be hard and it turns out there are only two of us (Thornley and Helen Glover who races in Belgrade in the women’s pair) from however many thousands they tested that have made it this far.

“When I was younger I loved horses and loved show jumping and always thought in my dreams I would go to the Olympics on a horse because it is the best thing you could ever do. So it’s quite funny now that I might be going in a rowing boat.

“But I never really thought it’s something I could aspire to do until I found rowing.”

Cornwall’s Glover will be amongst the favourites to win the world cup in Belgrade with former World U23 Champion and fellow “Start” rower Heather Stanning, from Lossiemouth and a Captain in the Army.

The GB Rowing Team women’s eight will race with two new names on board this weekend in Belgrade after injury ruled out both Louisa Reeve and Polly Swann.

Westminster-born former world junior women’s four medalist Olivia Carnegie-Brown and Barnstaple-born but Scotland-based Vicki Meyer-Lake step up to the crew which will be looking to create a good start to their Olympic season. The crew will be stroked by Lindsey Maguire and coxed by Caroline O’Connor and features several of the rowers who won bronze at the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

There are no changes to the previously announced personnel in the lightweight men’s and women’s crews – which provide a strong section of the GB Rowing Team squad.

Olympic champions Zac Purchase, of Tewkesbury but now based in Marlow, and Mark Hunter, from London, will race the lightweight men’s double.

“It is exciting to be back in the double full time. We will just use the world cup season as a platform to build up to the Games. The world cup season is about seeing where you are and what you’ve got to improve on so you are totally informed in what you need to do. It’s about continual improvement”, said Hunter.

Coleraine brothers Peter and Richard Chambers, at bow and the three-seat respectively, feature in the lightweight men’s four – a boat in which GB were world champions in 2010 and bronze medalists in 2011. This crew is stroked by Welshman Chris Bartley, with Maidenhead’s Rob Williams in the two-seat.

Teesside’s Kat Copeland makes her senior world cup debut after a stunning 2011 season in which she was crowned World U23 Champion the women’s single. She races in Belgrade with London’s 2009 and 2011 World bronze medalist Sophie Hosking.

Stoke Mandeville’s Mike Mottram, an emerging U23, has been added to the GB Rowing Team line-ups for Belgrade. He is given the chance to experience the senior world cup scene with a place in the lightweight men’s single scull.

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SAMSUNG WORLD ROWING CUP I
Belgrade, Serbia, 4-6 May, 2012

GB ROWING TEAM CREWS LIST
(See home-towns, clubs and dates of birth in list below. Named here in crews bow to stroke unless indicated. (Coach in brackets).

OPEN

WOMEN

Pair

Helen Glover/Heather Stanning
(Robin Williams)

Eight

Jo Cook/Olivia Carnegie Brown/ Olivia Whitlam/Vicki Meyer-Lake/Jess Eddie/Emily Taylor/Katie Greves/Lindsey Maguire/Caroline O’Connor (cox)
(Nick Strange)

Single scull

Rachel Gamble Flint
(Jane Hall)

Double scull

Anna Watkins/Katherine Grainger
(Paul Thompson)

Quadruple scull

Beth Rodford/Melanie Wilson/Frances Houghton/Victoria Thornley
(Ade Roberts)

MEN

Pair – two boats

George Nash/Will Satch
(Paul Stannard & Christian Felkel)

Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/Cameron Nichol
(Paul Stannard)

Four

Tom James/Alex Gregory/Peter Reed/Andrew Triggs Hodge
(Jurgen Grobler)

Eight

James Foad/Alex Partridge/Ric Egington/Tom Ransley/Moe Sbihi/Greg Searle/Matt Langridge/Constantine Louloudis/Phelan Hill (cox)
(John West & Christian Felkel)

Single scull – two boats

Alan Campbell
(Bill Barry)

Tom Solesbury
(Mark Banks)

Double scull

Bill Lucas/Sam Townsend
(Mark Earnshaw)

Quadruple scull

Matt Wells/Stephen Rowbotham /Charles Cousins/Marcus Bateman
(Mark Banks)

LIGHTWEIGHTS

WOMEN

Single scull

Kathryn Twyman
(Paul Reedy)

Double scull – two boats

Sophie Hosking/Kat Copeland
(Paul Reedy)

Imogen Walsh/Andrea Dennis
(Paul Reedy)

MEN

Pair

Paul Mattick/Adam Freeman-Pask
(Rob Morgan)

Four

Peter Chambers/Rob Williams/Richard Chambers/Chris Bartley
(Rob Morgan)

Single

Mike Mottram

Double scull

Zac Purchase/Mark Hunter
(Darren Whiter)

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HOME TOWN LISTS

WOMEN

PAIR
Helen Glover Minerva Bath Penzance 17/06/86
Heather Stanning Army RC Lossiemouth 26/01/85
Coach: Robin Williams

Eight

Jo Cook Leander Club Sunbury-on-Thames 22/03/84
Olivia Carnegie-Brown Oxford Brookes Univ BC Oxford 28/03/1991
Olivia Whitlam Agecroft RC Warrington 16/09/85
Vicki Meyer-Lake Leander Club Premnay 18/03/1988
Jessica Eddie Univ of London BC Durham 07/10/84
Emily Taylor Leander Club Lincoln 28/06/87
Katie Greves Leander Club Oxford 02/09/82
Lindsey Maguire Wallingford RC Edinburgh 15/01/82
Caroline O’Connor (cox) Oxford Brookes Univ BC Ealing, London 25/04/83
Coach: Nick Strange

Single Scull
Rachel Gamble-Flint Leander Club Darlington 13/09/91
Coach: Jane Hall

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
Beth Rodford Gloucester RC Gloucester 28/12/82
Melanie Wilson Imperial College BC London 25/06/84
Frances Houghton Leander Club Oxford 19/09/80
Victoria Thornley Leander Club Wrexham 30/11/87
Coach: Ade Roberts

MEN

Pair (Boat 1)
George Nash Molesey BC Guildford 02/10/89
Will Satch Leander Club Henley-on-Thames 09/06/89
Coaches: Christian Felkel & Paul Stannard

Pair (Boat 2)
Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell Uni of London BC Durham 13/04/88
Cameron Nichol Molesey BC Glastonbury 26/06/87

Four
Tom James Molesey BC Wrexham 11/03/84
Alex Gregory Leander Club Wormington 11/03/84
Pete Reed Leander Club Nailsworth, Glos 27/07/81
Andrew Triggs Hodge Molesey BC Hebden, N. Yorks 03/03/79
Coach: Jürgen Grobler

Eight
James Foad Molesey BC Southampton 20/03/87
Alex Partridge Leander Club Alton, Hants 25/01/81
Richard Egington Leander Club Knutsford 26/02/79
Tom Ransley York City RC Cambridge 06/09/85
Mohamed Sbihi Molesey BC Surbiton 27/03/88
Greg Searle Molesey BC Marlow 20/03/72
Matthew Langridge Leander Club Northwich 20/05/83
Constantine Louloudis Leander Club London 15/09/91
Cox – Phelan Hill Leander Bedford 21/07/79
Coaches: John West & Christian Felkel

Single Scull
Alan Campbell Tideway Scullers School Coleraine 09/05/83
Coach: Bill Barry

Double Scull
Bill Lucas London RC Kingswear 13/09/87
Sam Townsend Reading Univ BC Reading 26/11/85
Coach: Mark Earnshaw

Quadruple Scull
Matthew Wells Leander Club Hexham, Northumberland 19/04/79
Stephen Rowbotham Leander Club Winscombe, Somerset 11/11/81
Charles Cousins Reading Univ BC Willingham, Cambs 13/12/88
Marcus Bateman Leander Club Torquay 16/09/1982
Coach: Mark Banks

LIGHTWEIGHTS

WOMEN

Single Scull
Kathryn Twyman Wallingford RC Oxford 29/03/87
Coach: Paul Reedy

Double Scull (Boat 1)
Sophie Hosking London RC Wimbledon 25/01/86
Katherine Copeland Tees RC Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees 01/12/90
Coach: Paul Reedy

Double Scull (Boat 2)
Imogen Walsh London RC Inverness 17/01/84
Andrea Dennis Imperial College BC Oxford 03/01/82
Coach: Paul Reedy

MEN

Pair
Paul Mattick Leander Club Frome, Somerset 25/04/78
Adam Freeman-Pask Imperial College BC Windsor 19/06/85
Coaches: Rob Morgan & Darren Whiter

Four
Peter Chambers Oxford Brookes Univ BC Coleraine 14/03/90
Rob Williams London RC Maidenhead 21/01/85
Richard Chambers Leander Club Coleraine 10/06/85
Chris Bartley Leander Club Chester 02/02/84
Coach: Rob Morgan

Single
Mike Mottram Leander Club Stoke Mandeville 08/06/1990

Double Scull
Zac Purchase Marlow RC Tewkesbury 02/05/86
Mark Hunter Leander Club Romford, Essex 01/07/78
Coach: Darren Whiter

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TIMETABLE OF RACING

Friday 4 May

Heats and repechages 09.00 – 18.30

Saturday 5 May

Quarter-finals, semi-finals:

09.00 – 16.30

FINALS (International classes only)

17.00 – 18.00

Sunday 6 May

09.20 – 10.30

B Finals – (Olympic classes)
FINALS – (Olympic classes)

The dates and venues for the other two world cups are:

SAMSUNG ROWING WORLD CUP II
Lucerne, Switzerland, 24-26 May

SAMSUNG ROWING WORLD CUP III
Munich, Germany, 15-17, June
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CONTACT DETAILS
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Caroline Searle on (01225) 443998 or e-mail us on press@matchtight.co.uk

GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk

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and Twitter: @gbrowingteam

Pictures available for media editorial use via: press@matchtight.co.uk

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

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