Easter weekend sees the British Rowing Team hold their final trials on the Redgrave Pinsent Lake at the team’s training base at Caversham in Reading.
Whilst in countries like the USA, winning trials is a “black and white” affair, you win trials you’re in the boat, in the GB team trials merely form part of the overall testing process (and there have been several examples, especially among the lightweights, where the winner of final trials isn’t selected for the top boat). It’s also worth mentioning that whilst these are nominally called “final trials”, there are a large number of athletes who are not competing, particularly those who are currently studying in the US so there will, especially for the U23 team, be a lot more names in contention form places come the summer.
So, who’s in contention?
(Those names in italics are eligible for the U23 team)
Favourite will be Vicky Thornleyof Leander Club. The 2017 World W1X silver medallist had a miserable 2018 which, it turns out, was due to overtraining. Now back to full health she’ll be looking to stamp her authority on the rest of the team and secure selection for the single for the 2019 season and beyond.
Chasing Thornley will be the Hodgkins-Byrnesisters, Mathildaand Charlotte. Mathilda, from Reading Rowing Club, was in the GB W4X last season that won bronze in 2017 and then finished 5thin 2018. Younger sister Charlotte, from the University of London Boat Club, won gold in the BW2X at the 2018 U23 World Championships and then took a superb 4thplace at the senior World Championships (tragically her partner in that boat, Anna Thornton, suffered a severe head injury whilst at College in the USA and is still on the long road to recovery).
Making her return to the GB team since winning silver in the W8 in Rio is Polly Swann, racing for Edinburgh University Boat Club. It’s great to see the 2014 World Champion back in a GB vest although she’s more known as a sweep rower than a sculler.
Runner-up to Thornley at the 2018 Trials was Lucy Gloverof Edinburgh University Boat Club. The 21-year-old is one of the most exciting young scullers in the GB team. She won gold in the U23 BW4X in 2017 and bronze in 2018. 2019 could see her make her senior debut.
Another member of the 2018 W4X racing is Melissa Wilsonof Cambridge University Boat Club. Wilson raced in the sweep squad in 2017 culminating in an excellent 4thplace in the W2- at the World Championships. For 2018 she switched to the sculling team sitting in the 2 seat of the W4X. Another Leander Club athlete is Ruth Siddorn.She finished 5thin the BW1X at the U23 World Championships last season but now 23 she will be looking to make the step up to the senior squad to secure a berth for the Olympic team.
Other athletes racing are:
Lola Anderson(Newcastle University Boat Club) – a Junior world medallist in 2016
Fiona Bell(Queens University Belfast Ladies Boat Club) – a member of the 2017 U23 team
Georgina Brayshaw(Leander Club) – 5thin final trials last year
Emily Carmichael(Leander Club) – who raced in the W2X at the Lucerne World Cup in 2017
Gemma Hall(Reading Rowing Club) – 5thin the LW4X at the 2018 World Championships
Molly Harding(Molesey Boat Club) – A junior World medallist in 2015
Nicole Lamb(Sheffield University Boat Club) – A bronze medallist in the U23 BW8 in 2014 & 2015.
Imogen Magner(Molesey Boat Club)
Katherine Maitland(Leander Club) – An alumnus of Duke University in the USA
Alex Rankin(Edinburgh University Boat Club) – A member of the U23 team last season
Samantha Redgrave(Norwich Rowing Club) – Who sculled for England at the Home International Regatta in 2018
Georgie Robinson-Ranger(University of London Boat Club) – Who sculled for GB at the 2018 Youth Olympics
Jack Beaumont(Leander Club) will be anxious to avoid a repeat of the 2018 final trials when he missed out on an A Final place altogether. He and Angus Groom(Leander Club) formed a highly effective M2X winning medals at the World Cups and European Championships but just missing out at the World Championships.
Tom Barras(Leander Club) won the 2018 trials after a spectacular 2017 season that saw him win individual bronze at the World Championships. In 2018 he moved into the M4X that finished out of the A-Final. Barras’s team mates from the quad John Collins(Leander Club) and Graeme Thomas(Agecroft Rowing Club) are also racing, although the 4thmember of the 2018 crew, Jonny Walton, is out on medical grounds. Making a welcome return to racing is Pete Lambert(Leander Cub). He spent the whole of last season on the sidelines following hip surgery and will be hoping to make a positive return to racing. Ollie Cook(University of London Boat Club) is more used to sweep than sculling (he finished 8thin the M2- last season). He was due to pair with Will Satch at trials (and Satch posted a brief video of them in the pair on Instagram) but Satch is still not fully recovered following heart surgery so misses out on trials.
One of the most exciting young scullers racing this weekend is Josh Armstrong(Edinburgh University Boat Club). The young Scot (who turned 21 at the start of the month) was a member of the outstanding GB U23 BM4X that won gold at the World Championships last year. A strong showing this weekend could see him fighting for a spot in the senior team.
Other scullers racing:
Joseph Adamson(Chester-Le-Street Amateur Rowing Club) – just 18 and a member of the GB Junior team in 2018
George Bourne(Durham University Boat Club) – A member of the GB U23 European Championships team
James Cartwright(Leander Club) – Another 18 year-old and winner of a silver medal at the 2018 Junior World Championships.
Oliver Dix(Leander Club) – Winner of a gold medal (racing for Reading University) at the European Universities Games in 2018
Cameron Harrison(Reading Rowing Club)
Nathan Hull(Queen’s University Belfast) – finished 5thin the M2X at the European Universities Games.
Jens Hullah(Molesey Boat Club) – A member of the World Class Start programme and medallist from the 2018 Coupe de la Jeunesse.
Victor Kleshnev(Leander Club) – 18 years old and a two-time junior world medallist
George Lawton(Reading University Boat Club) – A member of the 2016 GB Junior World championship team and gold medallist from the European Universities Games last year.
Sam Mckeown(Queen’s University Belfast) – winner of a gold medal at the World University Games in Shanghai in 2018.
Jake Offiler(Edinburgh University Boat Club) – A junior world medallist from last year in the JM4X
Oliver Stephens(Leander Club) – A former Kiwi and winner of a silver medal at the U23 World Championships in 2016 (for New Zealand).
Last year’s winner of Trials, Emily Craig, is on the injured list so won’t be defending her title. In her place the favourite will probably be Imogen Grantof Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club. The 2017 and 2018 Cambridge Blue won gold in the BLW1X at the U23 World Championships last year and followed that up with bronze at the senior Worlds. 2ndat last year’s trials was Ellie Lewis(Reading Rowing Club), she went on to represent Great Britain in the LW4X at the World Championships finishing 5th. A crewmate of Lewis’ in the 2018 LW4X was Maddie Arlett(Edinburgh University Boat Club). She raced in the LW2X with Emily Craig at the 2017 World Cup in Belgrade winning bronze and then took silver in the LW4X at Lucerne the same year.
Ellie Piggott(Wallingford Rowing Club) was a member of the gold medal winning LW4X at the 2016 World Championships, she raced in the same boat class in 2017 before forming a LW2X with Emily Craig for the 2018 season. This duo took a strong bronze in their first race at the Belgrade World Cup and ended up 5that the World Championships.
Looking to make her senior debut this season is Flo Pickles(Reading Rowing Club). The 22 year old has spent the last three years as a member of the U23 squad finishing 4thin the BLW4X in 2015, 8thin the BW4X in 2016 and 5thin the BLW4X in 2017.
Also racing are three U23 contenders Fiona Chestnutt(Newcastle University Boat Club) – winner of championship LW1X at Henley Women’s Regatta last year, Susannah Duncan(Exeter University Boat Club) – bronze medallist in the BLW2X at last year’s U23 Worlds, and Chloe Knight(Reading University Boat Club) who was a member of the winning BUCS Champ W4X last season.
Jamie Copus(Oxford Brookes University Boat Club) is back to defend the title he won in 2018. He spent the 2018 season in the LM2X finishing 3rdin the B-Final (9thoverall). Copus was partnered in the LM2X by Zak Lee-Green(Agecroft Rowing Club), in 2017 Lee-Green was a member of the LM4X that won a silver medal at the World Championships. A crew mate of Lee-Green in that 2017 boat was Pete Chambers(Oxford Brookes University Boat Club). The most experienced lightweight in the GB team, Chambers rowed in the LM4- at both the London and Rio Olympics (winning silver in London). He missed the whole of the 2018 season and will be looking to win a seat in the Olympic class LM2X boat for this season and beyond. Another athlete making a return after missing the whole of the 2018 season is Will Fletcher(Leander Club). He raced with Pete Chambers older brother Richard in the LM2X at the Rio Olympics, finishing 7th(having been world championship silver medallists the year before). Last year’s LM1X representative, Sam Mottram(Leander Club) is back racing trials. He won bronze at the European Championships in Glasgow and followed that up with an 8thplace at the World Championships in Plovdiv. 21-year-old Gavin Horsburghhas world championship gold medals at both junior and U23 level and followed that up with a senior World silver medal in 2017 as part of the LM4X. In 2018 he raced in the BLM2X at the U23 World Championships with James Temple (not racing this weekend on medical grounds) finishing 7th. There are three members of the 2018 BLM4X that finished 9thracing this weekend, Dom Jackson(Tyne Rowing Club), James Stevenson(Newcastle University Boat Club) and Dale Flockhart(Edinburgh University Boat Club). Other U23 scullers racing are Franklin Hamilton(Reading University Boat Club) he won silver at BUCS and raced at the European University Championships. Callum Prosser(Lea Rowing Club) who sculled for England at the Home International Regatta and Tom Smith(Imperial College Boat Club) a junior world championship silver medallist from 2017.
With the return of Pete Chambers and Will Fletcher the GB men’s Lightweight team will be massively competitive this year, and it’ll be really interesting to see who gets the all-important LM2X seats.
Karen Bennett& Holly Norton(Leander Club) – Bennett was a member of the Olympic silver medal winning crew in Rio. Norton raced in the W4- at the 2016 World Championships winning gold. They were both members of the GB W8 that finished 6that the 2018 Worlds
Fi Gammond(Leander Club) & Zoe Lee(Imperial College Boat Club). Lee is another member of the Olympic silver medal W8 from Rio. After a break in 2017 she returned to the squad in 2018 and stroked the W4X to a 5thplace finish. Gammond was a crewmate of Norton’s in the gold medal W4- from 2016 and was in the W8 for 2017 and 2018.
Rowan McKellar& Hattie Taylor(Leander Club). These two were the GB W2- for the 2018 season finishing 1stin the B-Final at the World Championships (7thoverall).
Anastasia Posner(nee Chitty) & Rebecca Shorten(Leander Club). Both these athletes have been members of the GB W8 for the last couple of seasons finishing 5thin 2017 and 6thin 2018.
Caragh McMurtry(Southampton Coalporters Amateur Rowing Club) & Rebecca Girling(Molesey Baot Club). McMurtry raced in the W4- last season finishing 7thand Girling raced in the W8 last year.
Josephine Wratten& Katherine Douglas(Leander Club). Douglas has been a member of the W8 throughout the 2017 and 2018 season with a best performance of a silver medal at the European Championships. Wratten raced in the W8 at the 2017 Worlds and then moved to the W4- for the 2018 World Championships that finished 7th.
Emily Ford& Sara Parfett(Leander Club) Parfett was a crewmate of Wratten’s in the 2018 W4- and Ford won silver in the U23 BW8 in 2016 and made her senior debut in 2018 racing at the first and 2ndWorld Cups.
Patricia Smith& Pippa Whittaker(Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club) Both members of the victorious Cambridge Blue Boat this year.
Annie Withers&Sam Courty(Leander Club) Both experienced squad members. Withers won medals in the W8 at both the 2ndand 3rdWorld Cups in 2017. Courty raced in the W4- at the 2017 World Championships and then in the W8 at the 2ndWorld Cup last season.
Rebecca Edwards(Molesey) & Oonagh Cousins(University of London Boat Club)
Charlotte Fennell & Rachel Heap(Leander Club)
Georgia Francis (Imperial College Boat Club) & Sophia Heath (Oxford Brookes University Boat Club)
Nuala Gannon& Alice Davies (University of London Boat Club)
Natasha Harris-White & Susie Dear (Leander Club)
Lauren Irwin(Durham University Boat Club) & Esme Booth (Oxford Brookes University Boat Club)
Helen Kirkpatrick(Imperial College Boat Club) & Beth Bridgman(Oxford University Women’s Boat Club)
Emily Lindberg(University of London Boat Club) & Joanna Groom(Oxford Brookes University Boat Club)
Juliette Perry& Olivia Caesar(Leander Club)
Iona Riley & Lucy Primmer (Molesey Boat Club)
Moe Sbihi(Molesey Boat Club) & Matt Rossiter(Leander Club). Sbihi is seen as the figurehead of the GB team, Olympic gold medallist from Rio and a member of the GB M8 in 2017 and 2018. Rossiter won bronze in the M4- in 2017 and then raced in the M2- in 2018 finishing 8that the World Championships
Jacob Dawson&Tom Ford(Leander Club) Dawson was in the M8 for 2017 before moving to the M4- for 2018 taking silver at the Europeans and bronze at the World Championships
Tom Jeffery&Sholto Carnegie(Leander Club) Jeffery finished 5thin the W2- at the 2017 Worlds and then moved into the M8 that finished 5that the 2018 European Championships. Yale graduate Carnegie won silver medals at the U23 World Championship in 2016 and 2017 and made his senior debut last season finishing 4thin the M4- at the Lucerne World Cup.
James Johnston& Adam Neil(Leander Club) Johnston is a graduate of Harvard and made his senior debut in 2017 racing in the M4- he took silver in this boat at the European Championships and followed that with bronze at the Worlds. Neill raced in the M8 in 2017 before joining Johnston in the M4- for 2018.
Tom Ransley&Ollie Wynne-Griffith(Leander Club). Ransley is the only remaining member of the GB Olympic gold medal 8 racing at trials (Will Satch being on the injured list) and he’s been a key member of the M8 throughout the Tokyo Olympiad. Wynne-Griffith was a member of the M8 throughout the 2018 season.
James Rudkin(Newcastle University Boat Club) & Josh Bugajski(Oxford Brookes University Boat Club). Rudkin won silver in the BM4- in 2016 and made his senior debut in 2017 in the M8 and throughout the 2018 season. Bugajski made his senior debut in 2018 winning a silver medal in the M8 at the 1stWorld Cup.
Barney Stentiford& Callum McBrierty(Leander Club) Stentiford has been on the verge of the senior squad for a number of years, having a single U23 appearance from 2013. McBrierty won the M2+ at the world Championships in 2016 and raced in a variety of boats during 2017 (including taking gold in the M4- at the 1stWorld Cup) and racing in the M8 at the World Championships. He finished 5thin the M4- at the Linz World Cup in 2018 and 10thin the M2- in Lucerne.
Matt Tarrant(Oxford Brookes University Boat Club) & Tom George(Leander Club) Tarrant has been a member of the senior team since 2012 winning gold in the M8 in 2014 and the M2+ a year later. Throughout 2017 he raced in the M4- winning bronze at the World Championships before moving into the M8 for 2018. George made his senior debut in 2017 having won silver in the U23 team in 2016. He finished 5thin the M20 in 2017 and moved into the M8 for 2018.
Harry Glenister&George Rossiter(Leander Club) Both Glenister & Rossiter made their senior debuts in 2018 racing at all three World Cups taking 4thin the M4- at Lucerne.
There are no fewer than 8 pairs from Oxford Brookes University Boat Club racing:
Michael Dalton& Matt Aldridge– Aldridge is a double U23 medallist
Rory Gibbs& Morgan Bolding– Both former members of the GB U23 team
Michael Glover& Sam Nunn– Glover is an U23 medallist from 2017 and Nunn from 2018
Seb Newman& James Snowball
Matthew Rowe& Henry Blois-BrookeBoth members of the U23 BM4+ that finished 5thin 2018
Cameron Spurling& Sam Bannister
Henry Swarbrick& Oliver Wilkes– Both former members of the GB U23 team
Max Thompson& Connor Sheridan
Other pairs racing are:
Cam Buchan& James Robson(Leander Club)
Alastair Douglass& Oliver Salonna(Molesey Boat Club)
Dan Graham& David Willcox(Newcastle University Boat Club)
Reggie Mitchell& Rob Harris(Cambridge University Boat Club)
Jonty Page& Tom Strudwick(Cambridge University Boat Club)
Tobias Schroder& Felix Drinkall(Oxford University Boat Club)
Will Stewart& Cormac Molloy(Newcastle University Boat Club)
Freddie Strawson& Freddie Allinson(Newcastle University Boat Club)
Callum Sullivan& Freddie Davidson(Cambridge University Boat Club)
Charlie Waite-Roberts& Ryan Todhunter(Leander Club)
Casper Woods(Imperial college Boat Club) & Oscar Lindsay(Durham University Boat Club)