Saturday, 31 July 2021

Leander athletes take to home waters for last time before Rio

LEANDER has entered 48 club athletes across nine events at this year’s regatta, which will also

LEANDER has entered 48 club athletes across nine events at this year’s regatta, which will also showcase the club’s GB internationals for the last time on home water before next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The early scheduling of Rio 2016 means that the GB team will be away at training camp in early July, missing next year’s regatta completely.

The lead boat amongst Leander’s club entries is the Ladies’ Plate eight, stroked by Matt Rossiter and coached by former GB lightweight international Matt Beechey. A strong domestic season, including a notable win at the Metropolitan regatta, has given the crew confidence in the run-up to the season’s highlight.

The Leander crew in the Thames Cup consists of young athletes with very little former rowing experience — all the athletes bar Sam Royston, their cox, are just 19 years old.

The third club eight is the women’s crew in the Remenham Cup, stroked by former U23 international Katherine Douglas, and steered by former OUWBC cox Erin Wysocki-Jones. Lead women’s coach Jane Hall started her crew with a pennant win at the women’s head, since when they have gone from strength to strength. Also taking part in this event will be a number of international crews, including the GB women’s eight, in which five more Leander athletes are currently racing.

Promotion of several Leander athletes to the GB team â?? one of the prime purposes of the club â?? has meant that the crew looking to defend the Prince of Wales Cup has changed over recent weeks. Former U23 medallist Jack Beaumont will now stroke the crew, which is looking to win the trophy for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year.

The strength of the club’s junior squad has generated two entries in the Fawley Cup, in which both crews will race as Leander, the athletes having already achieved sufficient to move up from the development status of Star and Arrow. Tom Mortimer will stroke the lead boat, whose recent wins include Reading amateur two weeks ago.

Double Olympic medallist and former Leander captain Debbie Flood is back in action again, leading the club quad in the Princess Grace Cup, where the crew is stroked by Fran Rawlins, a former captain of Cambridge University lightweight women’s crew.

Meanwhile former GB junior international and Prince of Wales’ winner Seb Devereux is home from university in the USA and will race in the Diamond Sculls. The Leander presence at Henley is completed by a full line-up of the GB men’s heavyweight team, fresh from their success at the European Championships and the World Cup regatta in Italy.

“It’s the final Henley appearance for a lot of our internationals, which gives the regatta an added dimension, and makes it even more exciting,” said Leander chief coach Mark Banks.

“Our development academy is looking very strong indeed, and I’m pleased to include so many of our women athletes and juniors in the programme â?? we’re hoping for another vintage year,” he added.

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