The British Olympic Association announced 11 rowing crews for Beijing yesterday, with a twelfth crew to be announced later. The realistic chance of medals is four, while the optimists' medal count would be seven.
The team is spearheaded by the coxless four of Tom James, Steve Williams, Peter Reed and Andy Hodge, whose silver medal in the world cup last weekend signals progress in recovery from injury, and the quadruple scullers Annie Vernon, Debbie Flood, Fran Houghton and Katherine Grainger, world champions for the last three years.
Four other strong sculling crews are named - the lightweights Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter who are unbeaten this season, the heavyweight double Matt Wells and Stephen Rowbotham who have won two medals in the world cup, double scullers Louise Laverick and Anna Bebington who won last weekend's world cup regatta, and the single sculler Alan Campbell who is among the top six in the world but is currently recovering from injury.
The men's eight has been named in the line-up in which it won gold in Poznan, but the pair which is drawn from the eight's group of athletes is left open for further trials at next week's training camp. The runners are Tom Solesbury, Tom Parker, Robin Bourne-Taylor and the sculler Alex Gregory. The aim, said chief coach Jurgen [umlaut e] Grobler yesterday, was to enter a pair who could also slot into the eight seamlessly in the event of injury. The remaining two oarsmen will be travelling spares who will not enjoy full accreditation.
A women's eight will be formed from nine named rowers, the ninth becoming a spare. The lightweight scullers Hester Goodsell and Helen Casey, the men's lightweight four and the heavyweight pair who qualified for the Games last week, Louisa Reeve and Olivia Whitlam, are also named.
Britain has an outstanding Olympic record in rowing in modern times, winning golds every time since 1984. The British medal count since 1900 is 21 golds, 15 silvers and 7 bronzes.
GB ROWING TEAM
Four - Tom James, Steve Williams, Peter Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge.
Eight - Alex Partridge, Tom Stallard, Tom Lucy, Richard Egington, Josh West, Alastair Heathcote, Mall Langridge, Colin Smith, cox Acer Nethercott.
Single scull - Alan Campbell.
Double scull - Matt Wells, Stephen Rowbotham
Lightweight double scull - Zac Purchase, Mark Hunter.
Lightweight four - Richard Chambers, James Lindsay-Fynn, Paul Mattick, James Clarke.
Eight and spare from - Carla Ashford, Jess Eddie Alice Freeman, Katie Greves, Natasha Howard, Alison Knowles, Natasha Page, Beth Rodford, Sarah Winckless, cox Caroline O'Connor.
Pair - Louisa Reeve, Olivia Whitlam.
Quadruple scull - Annie Vernon, Debbie Flood, Frances Houghton, Katherine Grainger.
Double scull - Elise Laverick, Anna Bebington.
Lightweight double scull - Hester Goodsell, Helen Casey.