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…