GB Rowing Team Men’s four and quad sparkle in heats

The GB Rowing Team’s men’s four and quadruple scull both surged from their heats into tomorrow’s finals at the world rowing cup in Aiguebelette, France.

Dubbed the “machine Britannique” by the local commentators, the four of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Andrew Triggs Hodge were dominant in their heat to win ahead of Canada.

Slightly wary of the bumpy conditions at the start, caused by a downdraft from the considerable hills that surround the course, the quartet were soon into their rhythm.

Sbihi said: “It was bumpy at the start and that was a worry but we had a good warm up and when we went off the start it felt so loose and natural. Then we moved away. Of course, it was a good start to the event but we have more work to do”.

The men’s quadruple scull of Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert found their pace early today. They led at 500m gone and then paced their finish perfectly to win ahead of China.

Rochdale’s Ruth Walczak was the final of three qualifiers today. She was second in her semi-final of the lightweight women’s single scull to book a place in tomorrow’s finals. Zak Lee Green, in the equivalent men’s event, will race a B final having come home sixth.

Elsewhere there were tough races for the lightweight men’s four, second-ranked GB men’s four and the women’s quadruple scull who will race repechages this afternoon. So, too, will the lightweight men’s pair of Jonno Clegg and Sam Scrimgeour who seemed to have a final spot sewn up before a sizzling sprint from the French and Argentines edged them into third place.

This afternoon’s session also includes semi-finals of the women’s pair, featuring Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, the men’s pair, lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls


Oliver Cook, Phil Congdon, Tom Ransley and Daniel Ritchie have been formed up in recent weeks as the second GB men’s four for the world cup with the latter duo returning from injury lay-offs.

They found the pace a bit hot in their heat this morning with Australia, the USA and Germany setting the pace at the front. With only two going through to tomorrow’s final the GB boat finished fourth in 6:20.24 and will now race a repechage this afternoon.

They were followed down the course by the leading GB men’s four of Alex Gregory, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash and Andrew Triggs Hodge.

Dubbed the “machine britannique” by the local French commentator, the GB quartet had an early lead. They were pursued by Canada. These two crews eased away early from the rest of the field fixing their places in tomorrow’s final with GB winning in 5:55.24 to Canada’s 5:59.20. China were third.

The men’s quadruple scull of Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert started well and married that early prowess with a perfectly timed finish to win their heat and reach tomorrow’s final along with China in second place.

Will Satch this morning stroked a GB men’s eight with some changes since this crew last raced in Belgrade at the European Championships.
Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell and Alan Sinclair have come into the crew which is coxed here by Henry Fieldman.

The USA made much of the powerful, early running alongside Poland in by far the quicker of the two heats.

The USA moved to take the lead at halfway with Poland fading as the race moved into its final 500m. In this phase the French seemed to row through the Americans only for the USA to respond with a pacey final 25 strokes to take the win and book passage to the final. The GB boat, fourth at 500m, used their power to move through into contention in third but could not find enough at the end and will now race a repechaage.

Ruth Walczak was the final lightweight rower on the course for GB in the early morning session. The 2013 World Championships bronze medallist went bow-ball to bow-ball with Pan Dandan of China through the first half of the race.

In the second half, Pan took a slight advantage and went on to win in 7:43.87 with Walczak second and not prepared to launch a sprint – secure as she was in qualifying for tomorrow’s final.

Mark Aldred, Peter and Richard Chambers and Chris Bartley were caught up in a quality heat which could have been the final of the lightweight men’s four. Denmark, New Zealand and the GB crew were locked in a three-way battle early in the race from which Denmark emerged to take a strong lead.

New Zealand, seeing that they had secured the second qualifying slot, eased off towards the end with the GB boat also having throttled back once they knew the could not take the second slot. The GB quartet now race a repechage.

Zak Lee Green is racing here at the GB Rowing Team lightweight single sculler. He arrived straight off the back of his dentistry finals. By reaching the semi-finals through yesterday’s heats he had already secured a top-12 finish.

Wang Tiexin of China was the clear leader throughout this semi with Lee Green bringing up the rear of the race, moving into a B final tomorrow.

Earlier Sam Scirmgeour and Jonno Clegg were the first lightweight rowers in action for GB this morning. They were early leaders and looked to have one of the two qualification places, with France, in the bag with 300m to go only to be caught by a sprint finish from Argentina. They now race a repechage having finished third.

The Germans and the USA set the pace in the women’s quadruple scull heats here today, winning a heat apiece in smooth style.

Beth Rodford, Lucinda Gooderham, Tina Stiller and Vicky Meyer-Laker were third behind the USA and Poland in their heat as the race moved towards the halfway mark. America powered onwards to take the only qualifying slot for the final whilst the GB boat closed up on Poland without catching them at the line. Their third placed finish was in 6:27.79 and a repechage now awaits later today.