Pinsent and Redgrave’s records fall at Henley Royal Regatta

GB Rowing Team members gave the home crowd something to celebrate today at Henley Royal Regatta when they broke long-standing records held by Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matt Pinsent.Current world silver medallists Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells were two seconds quicker to the Barrier, at 1:56, than Redgrave and Adam Clift’s time set in 1982 in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup.In the same morning session, their GB team-mates and Olympic men’s four champions Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed also reached the Barrier in 1:56 in their quarter-final of the Silver Goblets and Nickall’s Challenge Cup for men’s pairs, shaving two seconds off the mark set by Redgrave and Pinsent in 1993.Britain then clocked up a trio of record-breaking performances when the current GB men’s four, rowing as Leander and Molesey Boat Club, smashed the Barrier record in their event, the Stewards’ Challenge Cup, posting 1:50.  They equalled the Fawley record of 3:05 and set a new record at the finish of 6:20 for the event.The four were racing a top pedigree lightweight Australian men’s four with whom they clashed just before the finish.Matt Langridge, Beijing Olympic silver medallist in the men’s eight, said:  "We got on top early on but they were never going to let us walk away," he said. "I suspect they got caught in our wash and sucked over at the end”.Italy also set a record to Fawley in the men’s pair event, showing that they could provide stiff opposition to Reed and Triggs Hodge should the pairs meet in Sunday’s final. First, though, Reed and Triggs Hodge will face the Gkountoulas twins from Greece in tomorrow’s semi-finals. The Greeks were bronze medallists behind winners Reed and Triggs Hodge at the season’s opening world cup in Munich.  “We will have to race hard to beat the Greeks”, said Reed.The Freshmen from University of California, Berkeley, again turned heads today when setting Barrier and Fawley records in the Temple Challenge Cup for University eights. Not to be outdone, their main rivals, Harvard, set a record to the finish in their quarter-final of the men’s eight whilst the American national women’s eight looked stunning when they set a record to the finish in the heats of the Remenham Challenge Cup in which they are racing as Princeton Training Center.Racing begins tomorrow in the Grand Challenge Cup for men’s eights. Australia, racing here as the Australian Institute of Sport, will seek to spoil the party for the GB men’s eight and stop them reaching Sunday’s final.  Britain is the reigning world silver medal crew but Australia cannot be underestimated.  The winner will probably face Germany, the world champions, on Sunday.Olympic champions Poland went out of the Queen Mother Challenge Cup for men’s quadruple sculls in the afternoon session today to the Australian Institute of Sport combination who now go through to face Croatia, the world champions, tomorrow.Britain also enters the fray for the first time in this event tomorrow taking on the Americans.Tomorrow’s racing includes a full programme of semi-finals starting at 09.30 and finishing at 19.00. There will be 44 races featuring world and Olympic champions and medallists as well as leading crews from Universities, Colleges, Schools and Clubs across the 19 events. The Finals take place on Sunday starting at 11.30am.Tomorrow’s tickets are sold-out but some places remain for Sunday.For further information contact the Henley Royal Regatta Press Office on (01491) 572 153 or (01491) 579387

Inside Lines: Friday 1st July, 2011

Daily briefing notes from the Press Office at Henley Royal RegattaToday at HenleyRacing starts at 08.30 with a full programme of quarter-finals. There are 64 races in store today finishing at 18.50.Temple crews steal big guns thunderOn the surface, yesterday was a day that should be remembered for the first appearance of some stellar international names. Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Pete Reed disposed of their opponents with some ease in the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup.Earlier, Matthew Pinsent had supposed that his Barrier record of 1:58 might be under threat from the new British pair. In fact, Hodge and Reed’s time to the barrier was 2:01 and their coach confirmed that record-breaking had not been on his crew’s radar.The British pair’s most threatening opponents from Greece and Italy both looked impressive defeating pairs from Molesey Boat Club in a commanding fashion. With the Italians looked particularly impressive off the start.Alan Campbell controlled his race in the Diamond Sculls in a similar fashion – the British sculler explained that he is coming back into form after a disappointing result in the Munich World Cup last month. But while those British crews will undoubtedly set pulses racing at the weekend, yesterday it was left to the Freshmen of California, Berkeley to leave the enclosures breathless. The crew disposed of a very strong Dutch crew, breaking the Barrier and Fawley records on the way. Even more spice was added to the event when just one hour later another Dutch student crew, this time from Amsterdam, equalled the new Barrier record.There was no doubt that the first half performance of the Upper Yarra Rowing Club eight in the Thames Challenge Cup was little short of sensational. The Alex Henshilwood trained crew swept their American opponents aside, setting a mark of 1:47 to the Barrier. In a tight race in the same event, the unselected Molesey crew impressed in their 3/4 of a length victory over London ‘A’.There were surprises too in the junior events, with Canford School’s eight, nearly toppling the might of Eton College in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, going down by just half a length. On the other side of the draw, St Edwards’ School proved they are on the comeback trail with their victory over Kingston Grammar.But many of the cogniscenti will have been excited by sight of Australia’s top crews on the water at Henley for the first time. Unsurprisingly the experience of Henley had its own impact on the Australians, as the legendary Aussie Drew Ginn tweeted about his young crew’s practice: ‘Walked through a 1000m start practice and we went as straight as a die. Young guns loving the culture.’ Ginn’s crew open their account against the Swiss lightweights today.A record-breaking habitThe ghost of a smile crept across the mouth of Wyatt Allen when he heard that his Freshman crew had taken both Barrier and Fawley records on the way to defeating a strong Dutch eight. Not only was Cal Berkeley’s row in the Temple the day’s stand-out performance, it confirmed their status as one of the strong favourites to take the Temple Challenge Cup.Allen’s smile may have had something to do with the fact that he knows a thing or two about breaking record. In fact, he rowed in the ‘2’ seat of the US eight which set the world’s best time, while defeating their Canadian rivals in a heat at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Allen’s crew went on to become Olympic champions and the time his crew set then of 5:19.85 still stands today.“I remember that day as being really windy and rough”, recounted Allen, who went on to explain: ‘We hit the water a few times but finished in front. That’s what counted.’ It was enough for Allen’s then coach, the legendary Mike Teti, to ask his former crew member to help him coach at the University of California.“It’s been great working with Mike. He gives me enough space to do my thing. I have a very different coaching style to him”, said Allen.Andy HolmesToday, the greatest rower that the world has ever seen will paddle down the Henley Royal Regatta course in a Kingston Rowing Club four in a heartfelt tribute to the memory of the man who helped make him into the sporting legend he has become. Last November, Sir Steven Redgrave was a pall bearer at the funeral of Andy Holmes, the man who partnered him for two of his Olympic victories.Tragically, Holmes died from a waterborne disease aged just 51.  His premature death was not only a terrible blow to his family and friends but also to the world-wide rowing community. Amongst those men and women, the quietly spoken Holmes was known as British rowing’s tough man, someone who had a strong belief that British crews could compete with the very best and win gold medals.Holmes’ legacy, which he crafted with Redgrave, first in the coxed four in Los Angeles in 1984 and then four years later in the pair at the  Seoul Olympics has had a massive impact on British rowers since then – a fact acknowledged by Andrew Triggs Hodge and Katherine Grainger, when they recently visited Latymer Upper, Holmes’  old school.But Holmes was already making waves before he struck up his partnership with Redgrave. In 1981, he stunned the world as part of a Kingston Rowing four, which fearlessly led the formidable world champions from East Germany through the 1000m mark at the 1981 World Championships. Before that, they’d lifted the Prince Philip Cup at Henley.It was a 30th anniversary that Holmes would have relished. Now, his old crew have re-formed, with Redgrave, to mark the anniversary of their remarkable year and the passing of an amazing rower.View from the Press BoxHer Majesty's Press has once again walked on water as eager scribblers braved the elements to perch in the eyrie that shall be known as "The Box". Hovering above the river at the end of the course in line with the Berkshire station booms it is…