Rowing: Searle makes heavy weather of Tideway

GREG SEARLE failed to cope with choppy conditions but still took the Sculler's Head of the River Race on London's Tideway by seven seconds on Saturday, keeping ahead of the first lightweight, Ian Watson of the London Rowing Club.

Searle himself was gloomy after the finish saying "It was a rubbish scull, and if I go that badly at the trials next week that'll be the end of my season."

Searle struggled in the conditions caused by a westerly wind and for some time it appeared that he had lost to Peter Haining, the former world lightweight champion, Haining chose the mid-river route along the Harrods Depository reach, using rough water skills to keep up 32 strokes to the minute. As Haining said "If you have only learned to scull in flat water a quarter of this race will defeat you."

Watson, who has taken the challenge of racing this season as Britain's lightweight single sculler after a long career in the coxless four, also demonstrated how the tricky conditions expose scullers such as Searle, who have greater horsepower, but can get entangled in rough water.

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