HOPES of adding another crew to GB’s Olympic fleet of 12 slipped away in Lucerne on Tuesday where the women’s quad missed one of the two final qualifying slots
HOPES of adding another crew to GB’s Olympic fleet of 12 slipped away in Lucerne on Tuesday where the women’s quad missed one of the two final qualifying slots.
Most of the qualifiers were decided at last year’s world championships in France, with only the quad falling short. But it was a revised crew which contested the ‘regatta of death’ in Switzerland, where they were joined by contestants from around the world, all eager for the remaining places in Rio.
Leander athletes Jess Leyden, Holly Nixon and Ro Bradbury, with Tina Stiller of Tees RC, had built up their race experience at the World Cup regatta in Varese, and at the European Championships, where they were twice beaten by Ukraine.
In Lucerne the new Chinese line-up proved the crew to beat when they won Sunday’s heat, while GB finished second to New Zealand in the other half of the draw.
In Tuesday’s final Ukraine made the early running, ahead of Romania, with GB in fifth place. But China worked their way up through the field to win and qualify for Rio with second-placed Ukraine.
The focus now moves to the World Cup regatta this weekend, at the same Lucerne venue, where a revised GB team has been announced following illness in the camp. Leander’s Callum McBrierty moves into the GB four to replace Constantine Louloudis, while Al Sinclair takes Pete Reed’s place in the men’s eight. With Stewart Innes also on the bank, the men’s pair slot will be taken by spares Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell of University of London and Matt Tarrant of Oxford Brookes.
Other crews given the chance to race on the Rotsee include Vicki Meyer-Laker and Donna Etiebet in a second women’s pair, while another men’s double will be occupied by Leander Nick Middleton and Jack Beaumont, now fully recovered after a back injury sustained during winter training camp.
The European champion women’s eight, which timed their finish to perfection to take the gold medal in Brandenburg, has been left unaltered despite the dissolution of the women’s double of Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley. The GB women, having proved themselves the best in Europe, are now keen to see how they match up against the USA, the Olympic champions, and the selectors have left any decision about the crew until the squad return from Switzerland.
The lightweight men’s double of Will Fletcher and Richard Chambers, last year’s world silver medallists are fully recovered after missing the Europeans.