After missing last season through a back injury sustained on the way to the start line of the final of the 2017 World Rowing Championships, Pete Lambert sees a return to racing on the Rotsee in Lucerne. Lambert is joined by Jack Beaumont, Jonny Walton and Angus Groom in a new-look quad for the first major test of the 2019 season. Great Britain’s men’s quad experienced a mixed season in 2018, winning the yellow jersey for the World Rowing Cup series but failing to make the A final at the World Rowing Championships later that summer.
Lambert is determined that the GB men’s quad finds a consistency that was missing last summer and said: “The 2018 racing season was a bit frustrating, not just for the quad but for the men’s sculling squad as a whole. There were moments when everything went exactly to plan and the boats were moving really well and then other times when the speed just wasn’t there.”
“It was hard to watch this happen from the side-line but it provided me with the motivation to push through rehab and get ready for this season. We’ve had another long winter of training and, as a group of athletes and coaches, have looked closely at why things didn’t always go to plan last year but also reflect on the moments that did.
“Expectations on GB boats are always high, but we welcome the challenge and feel like, as a crew, we have got something to prove again. As a group of athletes and friends, we are as close as we have ever been and there is a fire in our bellies to get racing again.”
In another change for 2019, following a year sculling in the GB women’s quad, Zoe Lee has moved back into the women’s eight, the boat in which she won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The women’s eight took silver at the 2018 European Rowing Championships in Glasgow but failed to re-capture that form later in the season at the World Championships where they finished in sixth place.
On her return to the women’s eight for 2019, Lee said: “I’m really happy to be back in the eight. It’s such a fast boat and with the crew we have racing in it for the European Championships it will make for exciting racing in Lucerne.
“I enjoyed sculling last year and learnt a lot about myself as it developed my technique and gave me a fresh challenge. With the option to choose between disciplines, it just felt right to move back to sweep. “We’ve got such a strong group of girls, across both the sweep and sculling squads, and we all want to perform to our potential in Lucerne. This is an important season for everyone in the GB Rowing Team with Olympic qualification on the line at the World Championships in August, so we are looking forward to getting out there and racing in our first test of the season.”
Plenty of top-level race experience runs through the squads with both the men’s and women’s eights boosted by Olympic medallists. Reigning Olympic champion in the men’s four, Moe Sbihi is the powerhouse in the men’s eight, while Olympic silver medallists Karen Bennett and Zoe Lee bring a wealth of knowledge to the women’s eight. The Hodgkins Byrne sisters team up in a new-look women’s quad for 2019, while Will Fletcher makes an exciting return to the GB Rowing Team, partnering Zak Lee-Green in the lightweight men’s double following a win at the GB Rowing Team Final Trials in April.
Brendan Purcell, British Rowing Director of Performance added: “Amongst the 55 athletes selected for the European Rowing Championships, we have athletes with proven Olympic and World Championships pedigree alongside a host of fresh talent. “The competition amongst the athletes to get selected for the Europeans has been fierce, which goes to show the depth we are starting to build across both the men’s and women’s squad.
“Our main focus this season is definitely on the World Rowing Championships at the end of August as we aim to qualify as many boats as possible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, but the European Rowing Championships will provide us with a good indication as to our speed and how that compares to some of our biggest rivals.”
You can follow the GB Rowing Team at the European Rowing Championships from 31 May – 2 June live across British Rowing’s social channels and also watch them in action on BBC2 from 12.00 to 14.15 hours on Sunday, 2 June.
Coach: Christian Felkel
Josh Bugajski (Oxford Brookes Univ. BC / Stockport)
James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ. BC / Litchborough)
Mat Tarrant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC / Shepperton)
Tom George (Leander Club / Cheltenham)
Moe Sbihi (Molesey BC / Surbiton)
Oliver Wynne-Griffith (Leander Club / Guildford)
Jacob Dawson (Leander Club / Plymouth)
Tom Ford (Leander Club / Holmes Chapel)
Henry Fieldman (cox) (Leander Club / Barnes)
Coaches: Jürgen Grobler / Steve Trapmore
Men’s single sculls
Men’s double sculls
Lightweight men’s single sculls
Lightweight men’s double sculls
Caragh McMurtry (Southampton Coalporters ARC / Southampton)
Sara Parfett (University of London BC / Rochester)
Emily Ford (Leander Club / Holmes Chapel)
Rebecca Girling (Molesey BC / Fareham)
Coach: Tom Pattichis
Karen Bennett (Leander Club / Edinburgh)
Harriet Taylor (Leander Club / Sunningdale)
Fiona Gammond (Leander Club / Bicester)
Zoe Lee (Imperial College BC / Richmond, N. Yorks)
Jo Wratten (Leander Club / Middlesbrough)
Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College BC / Belfast)
Rowan McKellar (Leander Club / Glasgow)
Holly Norton (Leander Club / Johannesburg, RSA)
Matilda Horn (cox) (University of London BC / Windsor)
Coach: James Harris
Women’s single sculls
Women’s double sculls
Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne (Reading Univ. BC / Hereford)
Melissa Wilson (Cambridge Univ. Women’s BC / Edinburgh)
Jess Leyden (Leander Club / Todmorden)
Charlotte Hodgkins Byrne (University of London BC / Hereford)
Coach: Jane Hall
Lightweight women’s single sculls
Lightweight women’s double sculls
Image – of Matt Rossiter © Naomi Baker.