Six titles for Campbell, Reed and Hodge whilst Grainger takes ninth career GB Rowing Team Senior Trials win
Alan Campbell, Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed all took sixth titles at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials in Hazewinkel, Belgium, today whilst Katherine Grainger won the women’s single to take her career Trials tally to nine.
Zac Purchase, Olympic champion in 2008 in the lightweight men’s double scull, shouted that he was back after a year out by winning the lightweight men’s single scull in some style.
Some close racing, won by Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve, in the women’s pair signalled an emerging strength in this section of the GB squad.
Andrea Dennis triumphed in the lightweight women’s single scull from Beijing Olympian Hester Goodsell.
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Alan Campbell won his sixth successive title at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials in Belgium today. He was led early in the final by Matt Wells, Beijing Olympic bronze medallist in the double scull, as the duo renewed their traditional, annual rivalry.
By 1000m gone, however, it was clear that Campbell would win. Behind Wells, Bill Lucas and Marcus Bateman – both products of the GB Rowing Teams’ “Start” programme, sponsored by Siemens and backed by the lottery – battled each other with Lucas coming off better. Charles Cousins and Sam Townsend were fifth and sixth respectively.
“There’s no good place for me to finish here”, said Campbell afterwards. “That’s where the pressure comes from.
“It’s getting harder every year as the standard in the men’s sculling group is going up all the time. So I’m quite relieved to have won, to be honest”.
Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed, by contrast, seemed unfazed by their role as favourites in the men’s pair once more. They were beaten to the 500m mark by a fast-moving combination of Tom James, back from a year out after winning men’s four gold in Beijing, and Tom Ransley.
The latter duo had a good race holding onto their early pace to take third in 6:48.46 thereby splitting the world champion men’s four pairings with Ric Egington and Matt Langridge taking second, just over a second ahead of them and Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory finishing fourth.
Once Reed and Hodge had moved into a comfortable lead before halfway, the battle behind them was intense, although Egington and Langridge always looked primed to win it.
“I didn’t feel under pressure at all”, said Reed afterwards. “We had a great Varese camp and still have the motivation from last year’s worlds”. GB were silver medallists there behind New Zealand.
“To execute today’s race plan we had to be very confident of ourselves physically”, he added.
Hodge said: “We had a good lead-up to the Trials, what we’ve done here will give us confidence and we’re sure that this pair can beat anyone out there”.
Katherine Grainger, meanwhile, was briefly challenged by Anna Watkins (formerly Bebington) in the opening 500m of her women’s single scull final before moving away to a lead of some lengths which she held to win in 8:00.69.
“A lot of people focus on history and number of titles but for me it’s all about the next race. So winning here marks the end of winter training and it’s exciting now to move onto the next phase. I truly don’t know what that will be which makes it exciting. There are several people to talk to about what comes next”, added the Scot who competed in the single scull last year but in crew boats in previous years.
Behind Grainger the main surprise was that Katie Solesbury, who transferred from sweep rowing to sculling only last year, overhauled Olympic medallist Annabel Vernon to take third place behind Watkins and Grainger.
Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve also started as race favourites in today’s women’s pair final. They duly won in 7:41.47 but in more competitive racing than in previous years. Jess Eddie and Alison Knowles were second with Jo Cook and Lindsey Maguire emerging in the final 500m to pip Natasha Page and Vicky Thornley to third place.
“There’s a real buzz about our group in the squad”, said Whitlam. “We’re all going for it”.
“It’s a lot nicer to have everyone racing competitively”, added Reeve. “Today we just got out and raced to plan and we got some good practice at racing to the line in our semi which gave us a marker for today”.
Zac Purchase flew out of the blocks in his lightweight men’s single scull final today like a startled duck from the bank. Small wonder ,then, that he had clearwater over his rivals by half-way and seemed to race in a zone from which no-one was going to claw him back. His winning time was 7:26.09.
In his wake, Peter Chambers set the pace in the chasing pack. He was second to 1500m but was overhauled by Rob Williams in the final few hundred metres. Williams’ 2009 lightweight men’s double team-mate Paul Mattick was fourth.
Hester Goodsell and Andrea Dennis were always the main contenders for the lightweight women’s single scull title here. Dennis was the more in-form today and put her name on the event in 8:26.97.
The comfortable win came after Dennis had led throughout. Behind here Goodsell and Stephanie Cullen tangled for second and third with Goodsell emerging from halfway onwards.
“I was confident today that if I did my thing that I could win”, said Dennis. “But Hester is an unbelievable athlete and an unbelievable racer so I wasn’t going to underestimate her.
“The good thing now is that as a group we are all pushing each other on. We want to put our group on the map and show our worth”. The lightweight sculling group in Belgium was missing three other potential top names in Sophie Hosking, Laura Greenhalgh and Jane Hall.
One of the more keenly observed B finals today was the men’s single scull featuring Greg Searle. The Molesey club rower is making a comeback to the sport after a nine year break since finishing an Olympic career in 2000 which had featured a gold medal in 1992 in Barcelona. Today he was pipped to victory by Brendan Crean – a reversal of the February Trials result.
“Whilst I’m disappointed with the ultimate result here, I’m satisfied that I’m continuing to make progress”, he said. “I’ve demonstrated in the last few months that I can train and that I can race without falling over”.
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1. Olivia Whitlam/Louisa Reeve (Agecroft/Leander) 7:41.47
2. Jess Eddie/Alison Knowles (Uni of London/Thames) 7:42.66
3. Jo Cook/Lindsey Maguire (Leander/Wallngford) 7:44.96
4. Natasha Page/Vick Thornley (Reading Uni/Minerva Bath) 7:45.05
5. Helen Glover/Heather Stanning (Reading Uni/Army) 7:50.51
6. Rachael Jefferies/Gemma Akers (Leander/Reading Uni) 8:01.13
1. Katherine Grainger (St Andrew) 8:00.69
2. Anna Watkins (Leander) 8:04.91
3. Katie Solesbury (Leander) 8:16.03
4. Annabel Vernon (Marlow) 8:23.49
5. Mel Wilson (Imperial College) 8:25.06
6. Debbie Flood (Leander) 8:25.83
1. Peter Reed/Andrew Triggs Hodge (Leander/Molesey) 6:41.72
2. Richard Egington/Mattew Langridge (Leander) 6:47.19
3. Tom James/Tom Ransley (Molesey/York City) 6:48.46
4. Alex Partridge/Alex Gregory (Leander) 6:49.35
5. James Foad/Moe Sbihi (Molesey) 6:52.11
6. James Clarke/Tom Broadway (London/Leander) 7:01.80
1. Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 7:09.54
2. Matthew Wells (Leander) 7:14.73
3 Bill Lucas (Reading Uni) 7:16.78
4. Marcus Bateman (Leander) 7:19.06
5. Charles Cousins (Reading Uni) 7:28.75
6. Sam Townsend (Reading Uni) 7:34.19
1. Andrea Dennis (Reading Uni) 8:26.97
2. Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni) 8:36.51
3. Stephanie Cullen (London) 8:39.06
4. Imogen Walsh (Clyde) 8:47.33
5. Kelly Limond (Strathclyde Park) 8:59.32
6. Ruth Sander (Mortlake Anglian & Alpha) 9:15.05
1. Zac Purchase (Marlow) 7:26.09
2. Rob Williams (London) 7:31.83
3. Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes) 7:35.18
4. Paul Mattick (Wallingford) 7:37.54
5. Ben Rowe (Tees RC) 7:40.18
6. Will Fletcher (Durham Uni) 7:56.31
1. Leonora Kennedy/Zoe Lee (Imperial College/Sport Imperial) 7:56.94
2. Lottie Howard-Merrill/Polly Swann (Imperial College/Glasgow) 8:00.52
3. Jenny Farmer/Jacqui Round (Molesey/Leander) 8:04.53
4. Karen Bennett/Imogen Evans (Clydesdale/Rhwyfo Cymru) 8:14.41
1. Ro Bradbury (Jesus College) 8:14.67
2. Rachel Gamble-Flint (Yarm School) 8:17.72
3. Ruth Walczak (Molesey) 8:21.82
4. Emily Taylor (Durham Uni) 8:28.35
5. Vicky Meyer-Laker (Nottingham) 8:34.48
6. Anna Railton (Cambridge Uni) 8:45.85
1. Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/Dan Ritchie (Leander/Herne Bay) 6:41.72
2. Tom Wilkinson/Tom Burton (Leander) 7:02.60
3. Chris Bartley/Richard Chambers (Leander) 7:02.80
4. Tom Solesbury/James Orme (Molesey/Leander) 7:06.16
5. George Nash/Fred Gill (Cambridge Uni) 7:08.84
6. Adam Freeman-Pask/Chris Boddy (Imperial College/Leander) 7:12.74
1. Brendan Crean (Agecroft) 7:17.66
2. Greg Searle (Molesey) 7:18.12
3. Jonathon Walton (Loughborough Uni) 7:33.58
4. David Marshall (Reading Uni) 7:34.77
5. John Collins (Reading Uni) 7:35.33
6. David Read (Leander) 7:37.34
1. Charlotte Burgess (Reading Uni) 8:35.41
2. Katherine Twyman (Oxford Uni) 8:38.35
3. Anna Townsend (Mortlake Anglian & Alpha) 8:43.40
4. Katherine Copeland (Uni of London) 8:50.90
5. Nicola Spencer (Nottingham) 8:53.09
1. Jonno Clegg (Leander) 7:46.29
2. Jamie Kirkwood (Imperial College) 7:46.92
3. Alex Cawthorne (London) 7:51.12
4. Dave Jones (Leander) 7:51.35
5. Jamie Watson (Durham Uni) 7:52.57
6. Bob Hewitt (Leander) 8:14.06