The trials of the British Olympic team here yesterday culminated in races of the highest quality. The ever-gold pair of Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent finished with one of their most brutal sprints to rise from fifth to third over the last 200 metres of the coxless pairs.
The men's team will be led by a coxless four and a pair, with the eight, which last year finished second in the World Championships, made up from the next 10. A measure of the quality of the field is that the last time Pinsent and Redgrave failed to win a pairs race was here in 1992 when they were beaten by the other Olympic champions, the Searle brothers. The sixth-place finishers, Fred Scarlett and Steve Williams, were sixth in the World Championships two years ago.
Yesterday the lead was seized by Tim Foster and James Cracknell off the start from Ed Coode and Greg Searle and these two led the field all the way. Behind them was a dog-fight with Pinsent and Redgrave swapping fourth and fifth places with Simon Dennis and Ben Hunt Davies. For all but the last 100 metres, when Pinsent had raised the rate to 42 strokes to the minute, Andrew Lindsey and Lewis Attrill held a close third place, but then succumbed to the still awesome power of the four-times Olympic champion and his partner, the possessor of a mere two Olympic golds.
The result will have suited the national coach, JÃ¼rgen Grobler, who wants to pick the coxless four from among the five men who have raced in it over the last three years plus Greg Searle, who has spent that time in the single sculls. He is likely to plump for Foster and Cracknell to row once again with Redgrave and Pinsent leaving the pair which finished second here, Ed Coode and Greg Searle, to go to the first of the FISA World Cup races in Munich at the beginning of June.
BRITISH OLYMPIC TRIALS (Nottingham) Finals: Men: Lightweight coxless pair: 1 Haining and Strange 6min 39:36sec; 2 Beechey and McNiven 6:39:90; 3 Kittoe and Middleton 6:44; 4 McGarva and Davis 6:45:00; 5 Collins and Lee 6:45:81; 6 Baker and Wakefield 6:51. Heavyweight single scull: 1 Wells 7min 01sec; 2 Webb 7:05; 3 Lawson 7:10; 4 Goodbrand 7:11; 5 Greenaway 7:15; 6 McAdams 7:30. Coxless pair: 1 Foster and Cracknell 6min 33sec; 2 Coode and Searle 6:36; 3 Pinsent and Redgrave 6:37; 4 Attrill and Lindsay 6:38; 5 Dennis and Hunt Davis 6:38; 6 Williams and Scarlett 6:39. Women: Single sculls: 1 Laverick 7min 52sec; 2 Romero 7:57. Coxless pair: 1 Blackie and Bishop 7min 22sec; 2 Mackenzie and Beever 7:32; 3 Sanders and Carroll 7:45. Double sculls: 1 Houghton and Lindsay 6min 56sec; 2 Winckless and Grainger 6:57; 3 Mowbray and Eyre 7:11. Single scull: 1 Langlands 7min 48sec; 2 Birch 7:52; 3 Nitsch 7:52; 4 Casey 7:52; 5 Jones 8:01; 6 Myers 8:07.