All Great Britain crews progress at World Rowing Cup II

The GB Rowing Team made a solid start to the World Rowing Cup II at the Lake of the Gods in Lucerne

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The GB Rowing Team made a solid start to the World Rowing Cup II at the Lake of the Gods in Lucerne with all ten boats still in the fight for A-Final spots.

Comfortably winning their heat and into the final were the men’s four (M4-) of Oli Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie. Speaking after the race, Oli said: “I think we had a good race. It was very controlled so we’re looking forward to having a proper ‘full whack’ down the track in the final. There’s definitely more to come from us.”

Finishing second in their heats and progressing to semi-finals were the GBR1 men’s double (M2x) of John Collins and Graeme Thomas and the women’s single sculls (W1x) of Vicky Thornley. After her heat, Vicky said: “It was a pretty spicy first heat, with the top four from the Europeans in it, so it was probably a bit more of a race than a normal heat. I’ll just recover now and then bring my best for the semi-final tomorrow.”

The women’s four (W4-) of Rowan McKellar, Harriet Taylor, Caragh McMurtry and Rebecca Shorten, the lightweight women’s double (LW2x) of Emily Craig and Imogen Grant and the men’s eight (M8+) of Josh Bugajski, Jacob Dawson, Thomas George, Mohamed Sbihi, Charles Elwes, Oliver Wynne-Griffith, James Rudkin, Thomas Ford and Henry Fieldman (cox) were racing for lanes and each boat finished in second place.

Caragh McMurtry who was brought into the women’s four as a sub just days ago, after Karen Bennett withdrew for personal reasons, said: “I think it was a really solid race and it felt like we got into a good rhythm. We only came together on Tuesday and I think we’ve just improved session by session since then. The girls did such a good job of just projecting real confidence and calmness and it meant that I could just slot in to what they’ve been doing. We’re happy to have one race under our belt, as that’s one race more than the zero that we had and it’s great to also get more good racing experience as that’s really hard to come by at the moment.”

The men’s pair (M2-) of Oliver Wilkes and Matthew Tarrant and the men’s quad (M4x) of Harry Leask, Angus Groom, Thomas Barras and Jack Beaumont each finished second in their respective heats and will race a repechage tomorrow.

The GBR2 men’s double (M2x) of Jonny Walton and Sam Meijer finished fourth in their heat and second after repechage. The lightweight women’s single (LW1x) of Madeleine Arlett also finished fourth in her heat and second after repechage. Both now progress to the semi-finals tomorrow.

Reflecting on Day 1, British Rowing Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said: “World Cup II is really important for us ahead of Tokyo 2020, continuing the strong performances from the Europeans and the racing over the weekend will give us the extra information we need to shape our final Olympic preparations.”


Race by race report

In the heat’s of the men’s pair, the experienced Matthew Tarrant combined with debutant Oliver Wilkes delivering a strong second half of the race to finish in second. With only one crew straight through to the final, they’ll race in tomorrow’s repechage. Tarrant said it had been great to be back racing again but the crew were now focussed on the repechage, “Of all the races this weekend that’s probably the one we have to nail. Today was a good learning block but tomorrow we know we need to race a little bit differently. We’ve got the rest of the day to recover, have some good food, sleep and bolt a second half onto it tomorrow, but it’s great to be back out racing again.”

Following on from their bronze medal in the European Champs, Graeme Thomas and John Collins had a tight tussle with the Polish crew with the British crew just finishing behind the Polish double comfortably securing their place in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Collins was disappointed not to win but pragmatic about the opportunity for the rest of the regatta, “Our plan was to win that [race] and so it’s kind of disappointing in that respect, but we’ve definitely set ourselves up well for the weekend by getting our pattern right, because I think that’s the hard bit.”

In the second men’s double heat for Great Britain, the Irish and French doubles flew out ahead of the rest of the field. With only two crews heading straight to the semi-finals, Jonathan Walton and Samuel Meijer backed off in the second half of the race, eventually finishing 4th. The energy they conserved served them well in the repechage where they finished second qualifying for tomorrow’s semi-finals. Meijer was happy with the learning he could take from his first day of senior international racing, “We knew we needed to put in a pretty solid race to get into the final so we’re pretty happy with it. We got into a good rhythm which kept us in good stead and left something in the second half where we could push it on a bit.”

In a characteristically tight race in the women’s lightweight single, Madeleine Arlett was just edged out of the qualifying spots into 4th place by the French sculler, Susannah Duncan by 21/100ths of a second. Arlett had a composed repechage in the afternoon finishing second and qualifying for tomorrow’s semi-final. Arlett acknowledged racing for the third time in two days tomorrow will be tough, “It’s going to be really hard. There’s so many strong girls again but I’ll take every race as it comes and see what happens.”

There was a late change to the women’s four line-up with Caragh McMurtry stepping in when Karen Bennett had to withdraw for personal reasons. In the race for lanes, the Dutch flew out of the blocks leaving the rest of the crews to battle it out behind them. The British crew held off the Romanian and Polish crews to finish second. McMurtry was pleased with how she’d  been able to slot into the crew, “We only came together on Tuesday, because that was when, obviously Karen had to go out and I think we’ve just improved session by session since then. The girls did such a good job of just projecting real confidence and calmness and it meant that even though I was going into the middle of the boat, I could just slot in to what they’ve been doing and get them a good racing experience, because that’s hard to come by at the moment.”

In the men’s four Olly Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie continued their strong form leading the field from start to finish to take the win. They’ll race again in Sunday’s final. Cook emphasised he felt there was more to come from the crew, “I think we had a good race. There’s definitely more to come, it was very controlled so I’m looking forward to having a proper full whack down the track in the final.”

Vicky Thornley faced a tricky heat with four of the top scullers from the European Championships. With the Russian sculler pulling ahead of the field early on, Thornley battled with the Swiss and Belarussian scullers to finish second and secure her spot in tomorrow’s semi-finals, with second to fourth places only separated by 0.27 seconds. Thornley was pleased with her start to the regatta, “It was a pretty spicy first heat. It was the top four from the Europeans in the heat so it was probably a bit more of a race than normal in the heats of the single. It’s good though because you’re racing pretty good people straight away so it was a good first race.”

Emily Craig and Imogen Grant led out the field to the 1000m mark closely matched by the French crew. In the second half of the race, the Romanians joined the battle and in a tight finish it was the French who crossed the line ahead of the British crew. With the top three crews separated by less than a second, it promises to be a great final on Sunday. Craig was pleased to get the chance to race but was keen to improve in Sunday’s final, “It was definitely not our best rowing so I think we can absolutely step it up on Sunday and show who we really are. We’ve got very limited opportunities between now and Tokyo so every run down the track counts.”

In the heat of the men’s quad, the Italians blasted out of the start aiming to secure the only spot available straight to Sunday’s final. A late sprint from Jack Beaumont, Tom Barras, Angus Groom and Harry Leask wasn’t quite enough to get past the Italians with the British crew finishing in second. Groom emphasised that consistency was key for the crew in the build-up to Tokyo, “I think we’re just trying to build consistency in our racing and for us that’s an improvement. I think if we take our best race from Europeans, this was on the same level, if not a little bit better in my mind so that feels like progress.”

With the Dutch crew withdrawing from today’s men’s eight race for lanes whilst they complete COVID protocols, it was left to the Germans and British eights to have a straight, head to head, Henley-esque race. A charge from the British in the second half of the race wasn’t quite enough to pip the Germans with the British crew of Josh Bugaski, Jacob Dawson, Tom George, Mohamed Sbihi, Charles Elwes, Ollie Wynne-Griffith, James Rudkin, Tom Ford and Henry Fieldman finishing just a bow-ball behind their rivals. Sbihi felt there was more to come from the crew, “That wasn’t our best performance, personally from my side. I feel like there can be a bit of a better rhythm and a bit of better confidence.”


Crews and times

Event Crew Round Position Time
Men’s Pair (M2-) Oliver Wilkes (Oxford Brookes Univ BC)/, Matthew Tarrant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC) Heat 2nd 6:48.77
Mens’ Double (M2x) – GBR1 Graeme Thomas (Agecroft RC), John Collins (Leander Club) Heat 2nd 6:24.99
Mens’ Double (M2x) – GBR2 Jonathan Walton (Leander Club), Samuel Meijer (Elizabethan BC and Tideway Scullers School) Heat 4th 7:13.52
Repechage 2nd 6:34.45
Lightweight Women’s Single (LW1x) Madeleine Arlett (Edinburgh Univ. BC) Heat 4th 7:52.63
Repechage 2nd 8:11.28
Women’s Four (W4-) Rowan McKellar (Leander Club), Harriet Taylor (Sir William Perkins’ School), Caragh McMurtry (Southampton Coalporters ARC), Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College BC) Test Race 2nd 6:36.00
Men’s Four (M4-) Oliver Cook (Univ. of London BC), Matthew Rossiter (Leander Club), Rory Gibbs (Oxford Brookes University), Sholto Carnegie (Leander Club) Heat 1st 6:03.65
Women’s Single (W1x) Vicky Thornley (Leander Club) Heat 2nd 7:36.25
Lightweight Women’s Double (LW2x) Emily Craig (University of London BC), Imogen Grant (Cambridge Univ. BC) Test Race 2nd 6:58.30
Men’s Quad (M4x) Harry Leask (Leander Club), Angus Groom (Leander Club), Thomas Barras (Leander Club), Jack Beaumont (Leander Club) Heat 2nd 5:50.38
Men’s Eight (M8+) Josh Bugajski (Oxford Brookes Univ. BC), Jacob Dawson (Leander Club), Thomas George (Leander Club), Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC), Charles Elwes (Leander Club), Oliver Wynne-Griffith (Leander Club), James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ. BC), Thomas Ford (Leander Club), Henry Fieldman (cox) (Leander Club) Test Race 2nd 5:32.52
Event:
Men’s Pair (M2-)
Crew:
Oliver Wilkes (Oxford Brookes Univ BC)/, Matthew Tarrant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC)
Round:
Heat
Position:
2nd
Time:
6:48.77
Event:
Mens’ Double (M2x) – GBR1
Crew:
Graeme Thomas (Agecroft RC), John Collins (Leander Club)
Round:
Heat
Position:
2nd
Time:
6:24.99
Event:
Mens’ Double (M2x) – GBR2
Crew:
Jonathan Walton (Leander Club), Samuel Meijer (Elizabethan BC and Tideway Scullers School)
Round:
Heat
Position:
4th
Time:
7:13.52
Event:
--
Crew:
--
Round:
Repechage
Position:
2nd
Time:
6:34.45
Event:
Lightweight Women’s Single (LW1x)
Crew:
Madeleine Arlett (Edinburgh Univ. BC)
Round:
Heat
Position:
4th
Time:
7:52.63
Event:
--
Crew:
--
Round:
Repechage
Position:
2nd
Time:
8:11.28
Event:
Women’s Four (W4-)
Crew:
Rowan McKellar (Leander Club), Harriet Taylor (Sir William Perkins’ School), Caragh McMurtry (Southampton Coalporters ARC), Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College BC)
Round:
Test Race
Position:
2nd
Time:
6:36.00
Event:
Men’s Four (M4-)
Crew:
Oliver Cook (Univ. of London BC), Matthew Rossiter (Leander Club), Rory Gibbs (Oxford Brookes University), Sholto Carnegie (Leander Club)
Round:
Heat
Position:
1st
Time:
6:03.65
Event:
Women’s Single (W1x)
Crew:
Vicky Thornley (Leander Club)
Round:
Heat
Position:
2nd
Time:
7:36.25
Event:
Lightweight Women’s Double (LW2x)
Crew:
Emily Craig (University of London BC), Imogen Grant (Cambridge Univ. BC)
Round:
Test Race
Position:
2nd
Time:
6:58.30
Event:
Men’s Quad (M4x)
Crew:
Harry Leask (Leander Club), Angus Groom (Leander Club), Thomas Barras (Leander Club), Jack Beaumont (Leander Club)
Round:
Heat
Position:
2nd
Time:
5:50.38
Event:
Men’s Eight (M8+)
Crew:
Josh Bugajski (Oxford Brookes Univ. BC), Jacob Dawson (Leander Club), Thomas George (Leander Club), Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC), Charles Elwes (Leander Club), Oliver Wynne-Griffith (Leander Club), James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ. BC), Thomas Ford (Leander Club), Henry Fieldman (cox) (Leander Club)
Round:
Test Race
Position:
2nd
Time:
5:32.52

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