Rowing: Maclennan's blind run

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The Independent Online
CALMAN MACLENNAN, the Oxford rowing blue turned single sculler, won the men's sculls by nearly a boat's length at the National Rowing Championships at Nottingham yesterday - but he did not know it until a minute or two later. 'It was so close I went into tunnel vision for the last 20 strokes and whacked it as hard as I could,' MacLennan said. 'One look could have cost me the race.'

The winners of the 45 events overcame the stiff head breeze in a succession of close races. Many of the open weight events went to lightweight athletes doubling up, in the absence of the Olympic team now at a training camp in Italy.

The women's eights turned into a tense duel between the Cambridge University crew and Thames Rowing Club. Cambridge led by a few feet at 500 metres, but Thames led at half-way. Cambridge were back in front at 1500 metres - only for Thames to push back into the lead to cross the line a canvas ahead.

The women's lightweight single sculls final proved to be a real test for Phoebe White, who had earlier won the open event. Until the last 50 metres the race was led by Sue Appleboom, the 1991 champion, but White held her form, drawing a strong finish to the stroke in the strong headwind; and Appleboom, who had taken a big risk building up an early lead, had no reply.

The Nottinghamshire County squad, acting as hosts on their home patch, took seven events, ranging from the heavyweight men's fours and quads to the Under-16 women's sculls.

The men's eights was taken at a canter by the national lightweight eight, formed shortly before the Lucerne regatta. It has improved in the three weeks since and gave advance notice of medal-class speed.

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