Olympic Countdown: Rowing: Fine outlook for Britain

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The Independent Online
THE British team is the strongest ever, in all the boat classes, and is the first where the women's crews have real opportunities to win medals. It arrives in Banyoles, 124 kilometres north of Barcelona, for the Olympic regatta without the help of a major commercial sponsor. The preparation has been thorough and intense, and much of it paid for by the athletes, most of whom had to give up work for up to two years to undertake the huge training load.


Coxed four: Fourth in the world in 1991 by 0.2sec, the 'physiological four', selected for their huge power output, only have to harness their strength and apply it without distraction to pull themselves into the medals.

Coxless pair: World champions in 1991, Matthew Pinsent and Steven Redgrave are no longer clear favourites after a bout of colitis, picked up when training at high altitude in South Africa, resulted in a poor performance at the Essen regatta. But training has gone well since then and they are happy to be under less pressure. If all goes well, Redgrave, aged 30, should pick up his third successive Olympic title.

Coxed pair: The Searle brothers, Greg and Jonny, shot to fame by beating Pinsent and Redgrave in the Olympic trials in April and have since consolidated a position in the top four in this event. If they can beat the Italians Giuseppe and Carmine Abbagnale, now in pursuit of their third Olympic gold medal, they have every chance, but realistically third or fourth place is more likely.

Coxless four: Formed less than a month ago, the four have no past record. A place in the top six is attainable but a medal seems unlikely.

Quadruple scull: After opening the season by pushing themselves among the world medallists at the Koln regatta. The quad have not sustained the breakthrough and will do well to achieve a final place.

Eight: Formed after the Lucerne regatta, the eight have suffered from a succession of injuries and go to Banyoles with no racing experience behind them. Provided they are not tripped up while learning how to pace themselves in the heats and repechages, the eight have the capacity to beat Denmark and perhaps rise as high as bronze in the final. But they are more likely to finish toward the back of the big final.


Double scull: Ali Gill and Annabel Eyres finished third in Lucerne five weeks ago behind two German doubles, only one of which can race in the Olympics. Since the collapse of the old regimes in eastern Europe the women's events have opened up and for the first time Britain have a competitive crew sculling boat.

Coxless pair: Miriam Batten and Fiona Freckleton won Britain's first openweight world medal when they finished third in the 1991 world championships in Vienna. Batten has a strong new partner, Jo Turvey, since Freckleton was diagnosed as having glandular fever and the pair have gone well in training although they need a good draw to build up the right kind of racing experience before the final.

Single scull: Tish Reid has improved steadily in three years of a relentless campaign for selection. She should finish well up in the small final (places 7-12).

Coxless four: A new line-up with some of the younger women who are expected to form the basis of the team for the next Olympics.

Eight: An amalgamation of the eight and four who both raced well, but outside the medals, through the summer. The eight are a calculated gamble that the extra power coming from the members of the 1991 four will be enough to push the crew up into the top three in an event that will have a small entry.

GREAT BRITAIN (Club and home town in brackets): Men: Coxless pair: M Pinsent (Leander, Portsmouth); S Redgrave (Leander, Marlow). Coxed pair: G Searle (Molesey, Chertsey); J Searle (Molesey, Chertsey); G Herbert (cox, Leander, Chiswick). Coxless four: G Stuart (Molesey, London); J Garrett (Leander, London); S Hassan (Walton, London); R Stanhope (Leander, Chester). Coxed four: T Dillon (Leander, Henley); S Berrisford (Leander, Reading); N Burfitt (Leander, London), P Mulkerrins (Star, Bedford); A Ellison (cox, Tideway Scullers, London). Quadruple sculls: P Haining (Notts Co, Nottingham); G Pooley (Leander, London); R Brown (Notts Co, Tyne and Wear); M Harris (Notts Co, Nottingham). Eight: R Obholzer (Leander, London); S Turner (Leander, Henley); R Phelps (Leander, Hampton); J Singfield (Star, Bedford); B Hunt-Davis (Leander, Warminster); J Walker (Molesey, London); M Cross (Thames Tradesmen, Hampton); T Foster (Star, Bedford); cox to be announced.

WOMEN: Single scull: T Reid (Lea, London). Coxless pair: M Batten (Thames, London); J Turvey (Putney Town, Twickenham). Double scull: A Gill (Upper Thames, Henley); A Eyres (Tideway Scullers, Henley). Coxless four: G Lindsay (Clydesdale, Paisley); S Kirk (Tideway Scullers, London); K Thomas (Weybridge, Ottershaw); A Barnett (Kingston, Addlestone). Eight: K Brownlow (Thames, Putney); P Cross (Thames, London); S Smith (Tideway Scullers, New Malden); R Hirst (Notts Co, London); F Freckleton (Westminster, London); K Grose (Norwich, Norwich); K Marwick (Tideway Scullers, London); D Blackie (Thames, London); A Paterson (cox, ULW, London).