Fourteen crews will demonstrate why rowing is among Britain's most successful Olympic sports at the finals of the world championships here this weekend. The total could grow to 16 after the repêchages for adaptive events today. It is a rare opportunity to see the cream of Britain dicing with the best in the world on the course, billed as the venue for the 2012 Olympics.
Yesterday the men's eight came from sixth to second to claim a place in tomorrow's final, with an eye-watering burst of speed over the last 1,000 metres. The lightweight four, the lightweight double scullers Jane Hall and Helen Casey and the light pair Chris Bartley and Richard Chambers also stormed into finals. Only the lightweight double scullers James Lindsay-Fynn and Mark Hunter missed out when the Poles Tomasz Kucharski and Robert Sycz, Olympic champions in 2000 and 2004, pipped them on the finish line.
Today the coxless four, who in Peter Reed boast the man with the biggest lung capacity in the sport, line up for their 24th race, having won the first 23. World champions last year, they are favourites to take the title again.
The single sculls has Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand), Marcel Hacker (Germany), Olaf Tufte (Norway), Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) and Alan Campbell, the most exciting newcomer this season and winner of the world cup.
In the lightweight sculls Zac Purchase is also at the front of the medal hunt.
Colin Smith and Tom James have surpassed themselves and many other pairs here. The double scullers, Annie Vernon and Anna Bebington, have performed a similar feat during the season. Matt Wells and Steve Rowbotham, also double scullers, have also been impressive.