A TOTAL of 26 Leander athletes have been selected for the European Championships, to be held in Belgrade in two weeks’ time, with Olympic champion Alex Gregory returning to the boat in which he won gold at London 2012.
Gregory’s commanding performance in GB trials, where he partnered Mo Sbihi of Molesey in the men’s pairs, has earned them both places in the boat where they are joined by two more Olympic medallists from Molesey — George Nash and Andy Triggs-Hodge.
The third boat in the trials final, Al Sinclair of Leander and Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell of University of London, has been selected for the men’s pair.
Leander’s Pete Reed and Will Satch retain their places in the men’s eight, in which they won the world title in South Korea. Joining them in the new look crew will be Leander’s Matt Langridge, Matt Gotrel and cox Phelan Hill.
Among the scullers the men’s quad GB is unchanged from the 20013 bronze medal crew which includes Charles Cousins and Pete Lambert of Leander, with Graeme Thomas of Agecroft and Sam Townsend of Reading University. There was good news for emerging talent Jonny Walton and John Collins, both Leander athletes, who are selected into the men’s double. Another new combination is the two Leander athletes in the men’s lightweight double, Jamie Kirkwood and Will Fletcher, who took first and second place in GB trials, while the lightweight four includes three of the 2012 Olympic silver medal winning crew.
Brothers Pete and Richard Chambers, of Oxford Brookes and Leander, are reunited with Leander’s Chris Bartley and newcomer Mark Aldred, of London, who won world bronze in the lightweight pair last year.
Heather Stanning’s withdrawal from Belgrade on medical advice means that Leander’s Polly Swann steps back into the pair with Helen Glover from Minerva Bath, to reform the gold medal-winning crew from Korea.
Meanwhile Leander’s Vicky Thornley joins forces with her veteran clubmate Frances Houghton in the new-look women’s double scull.
Two more Leander athletes, Lucinda Gooderham and Vicki Meyer-Laker, line up alongside Gloucester’s Beth Redford and Tina Stiller from Tees in the women’s quad.
The women’s eight is another crew with a new feel for the new season and with final selections still to be announced, could include five Leander athletes - Lou Reeve, Katie Greves, Monica Relph, Ro Bradbury and cox Zoe de Toledo.