Rowing Redgrave the record breaker

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Rowing

DANIEL TOPOLSKI

reports from Henley

Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were the toast of Henley after a weekend of exceptional racing and record-breaking performances. An astonishing total of 38 records fell or were equalled during the last two days of racing.

But it was the world and Olympic champions who dominated everything with a record, by four seconds, in the Prince Philip Coxed Four with two Oxford Blues, and a record by an extraordinary 13 seconds in the Silver Goblets and Nickalls Challenge Cup in Saturday's semi-final.

Yesterday they followed this up with a majestic victory sprint home past the enclosures at 43 strokes a minute against the lightweight squad men, Roger Everington and Mark Partridge.

This was a record seventh Goblets title for Redgrave and brought his career total of Henley wins to 15 in what he says is his last Henley. It was a perfect finale for the outstanding oarsman of the century and perhaps the best and most unrecognised athlete that Britain has produced.

The British and US national eights produced an excellent race in the Grand Challenge Cup. The reigning world champions from San Diego led from the start breaking the record to half-way, but Leander/Molesey held them to three-quarters of a length and then began to creep back. Along the Enclosures, the United States had to go to 43 strokes a minute to hold off the British sprint finish by one-third of a length.

Eton found reserves of strength that Hampton just could not quite match in the Princess Elizabeth Cup for school eights. They broke the record to the first signal by one second, half a length ahead, and as Hampton attacked after halfway, James Cazenove, the Eton stroke, accelerated to a courageous 41. It worked and although neither eight dropped below 40 again, Eton drew away to win by a length.

In the Temple Cup, Oxford Brookes lowered the record by two seconds as they left Trinity College Dublin three and a half lengths behind.

The powerful Nottinghamshire eight duly won the Ladies Plate from the Eastern Sprint Champions, Princeton, by an easy three lengths, having equalled the Grand intermediate records in the semi-final.

The lead changed hands three times as Estonia's Juri Jaanson, the 1990 world champion and world cup leader, beat last year's winner and the world record holder, Xeno Muller of Switzerland, in the Diamond Sculls. And the 1993 Women's Sculls winner, Sweden's Maria Brandin, was too fast for Canada's Silken Laumann, the 1991 world champion, lowering the record by 23 seconds over three days.

Russia could not hold the United States national quad in the Queen Mother Cup, but America's selected double scullers were shocked by the finishing power of Peter Anthonie, the 1992 Olympic doubles champion, and Markus Free. From one and a half lengths down at half-way, the experienced Australians launched an attack which took them to a fine 2ft victory.

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