Britain tests new teams

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The Independent Online

The British lightweight rowing team will test revamped crews in the Paris regatta this weekend in defence of its position as the top nation after winning single sculls and eights at the World Championships last year, writes Hugh Matheson from Paris.

The double scull of Carl Smith and Peter Haining is entered with the experienced Smith at stroke. This crew is designed to go through to the Atlanta Olympics where the lightweight double scull is in the programme for the first time.

Smith won the World Championship double sculls in 1986 and Haining won the single scull in 1993 and 1994.

However, the double scull, almost more than any other crew, relies on compatibility. On paper this is the strongest partnership afloat but the best lightweight nations, Italy, Spain, France and Denmark, will provide ferocious resistance.

A four-day training camp in Nottingham produced a new four with Toby Hessian and Tom Kay from the 1991 and 1992 crew as the stern pair, backed by Ian Watson at No 2 and Steve Ellis from last year's eight at bow.

The eight is a reshuffling of last year's winning boat and the record- breaking coxless four, with Niall Gardam winning a seat in a top boat for the first time after a decade in the Notts County group.