Inside Lines: Saturday 2nd July, 2011

Daily briefing notes from the Press Office at Henley Royal RegattaToday at HenleyToday’s racing includes a full programme of semi-finals starting at 09.30 and finishing at 19.30. There will be 42 races featuring world and Olympic champions and medallists as well as leading crews from Universities, Colleges, Schools and Clubs across the 19 events.Yesterday at HenleyIt was a stunning day at Henley and the crews racing here took every opportunity to set a hatful of new records. The women of Princeton Training Center showed what has made them the reigning Olympic champions by smashing their 2006 finish time by a full six seconds in the Remenham Challenge Cup.University of California, Berkeley’s sensational freshman crew continued to impress breaking both barrier and Fawey records early on. But they were reminded that this event is far from over, when their rivals from Harvard, later set a new finish record of 6.12.The morning’s session also saw the Silver Goblets and Nickall’s Challenge Cup come alive, with Carboncini and Mornati of Italy nipping a second off Redgrave and Pinsent’s old Fawley time.Not to be outdone, Triggs-Hodge and Reed stormed to the Barrier at a rating of 41, breaking that record by two seconds.As the morning session progressed, it was hard to keep up with the records falling. The British double of Bateman and Wells had always looked set to break the Barrier record in their race in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup and it duly went. Their main opposition here, the reigning Olympic champions from Australia, didn’t break any records but still looked impressive.Later in the afternoon another British squad four wrote their names in the record book when they set new Barrier and finish records against a strong Australian lightweight crew in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup. The Australian’s top four here, who could face the British in Sunday’s final, were pushed all the way by the Swiss lightweights.Steering was a problem for both women’s quads in a heat of the Princess Grace Challenge Cup. The crews from the USA and China clashed just after the start. As the US steerswoman said, “my heart was in my mouth when we stopped because I thought one of us might get disqualified. But the umpire said we’d hit each other in neutral water and ordered a re-start”. The crew from the USA made no mistake the second time around.And there was a superb trademark sprint finish from the Aussie Dan Noonan, as he stroked his quadruple scull past the might of Poland’s Olympic champion crew – albeit without their usual stroke man Adam Karol – to win by 3/4 of a length in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup.But there were much closer finishes than that, which thrilled the crowd. Hampton School’s brave effort in the Princess Elizabeth was ended by St Andrews School of the USA, who rowed through the Surrey school to win by a canvas. And Agecroft and Durham’s quad took their heat from Sport Imperial and Reading by just two feet in the Prince of Wales. In the process, they equalled the finish record – it was that sort of day!Redgrave records brokenThere aren’t many records in rowing that the five times Olympic champion, Sir Steve Redgrave, hasn’t broken.  The records which held a special place in his heart were the  times the Henley Steward had set at the Royal Regatta. Up until yesterday he still held four records in both double sculls and pairs. By 1220 on Friday 1 July, 2011, he had lost three and all that remained was the finish time of 6:56, that he and Matthew Pinsent set in a heat of the Silver Goblets in 1995.Earlier in the day, Redgrave had looked at the fast conditions, thought about the quality of the entries in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup event and reflected: ‘My old double sculls record is bound to go today.’ He’d set the time to the Barrier of 1:58 with Adam Clift way back in 1982. In fact it was the longest standing record in the book.It was fitting that he heard the news his record had fallen to Wells and Bateman, the British double scull, from Jurgen Grobler his old coach. But Britain’s Chief Coach for Men also had some surprising news for his former protégé.“It was about time that record went”, explained Redgrave to Grobler. The 49 year old then confidently added: ‘I think it will be a bit longer before my Goblets records go though.’ Quick as a flash, Grobler shot back: “You’ve lost one of them already. The Italians just took your Barrier record by a second”.Lorenzo Carboncini and Niccolo Mornati have impressed here this week with their superb pace and fluency of movement. Afterwards, they said: “We weren’t trying to break the record but conditions were very good at the start”. Then a couple of hours later their likely opponents in Sunday’s finals, Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge, made their own smash and grab raid on another of Redgrave’s records.“We’d done 2:01 to the barrier without trying yesterday”, said Pete Reed. The British pair kept the rating high at 41 strokes per minute this morning, in a deliberate  attempt to both break Redgrave and Pinsent’s record and send a signal to the Italians. They succeeded, breaking the time by two seconds. It now stands at 1:56. And to make it all the more sweet, their race – which they won comfortably – was umpired by none other than Sir Matthew Pinsent.Other records also tumbledRecords tumbled again at Henley yesterday and more could follow as two of the record-breaking American crews go head-to-head in the Temple.The University of California broke the records they set on Thursday to the Barrier (1:44) and Fawley (2:58) yesterday and today face the Harvard University freshman crew who broke the overall course record for the Temple Challenge Cup, yesterday finishing in 6mins 12 secs.George Gebhard from the Cal crew said: "We had a real nice tailwind. It was a good race. We knew Imperial were a really…