International Rowing

Entries in Anna Watkins (2)


"It’s on home waters" - an insight into Great Britain’s Olympic Dream

In Beijing 2008, Great Britain surged into the fore as the world’s leading rowing nation. There is no doubt that they have a reputation and a recipe for success. With the Olympics 174 days away, what will some of the world’s most successful coaches do, and in particular, that of Great Briatin's coaches?

The Men

Jurgen Grobler has coached an Olympic Gold Medal at every games since 1972! In 1991 he arrived from the former German Democratic Republic where he took over as Leander Club’s Chief Coach. A year later, he joined British Rowing as the Chief Coach for Men. During this time he has personally coached GB gold medal crews in each of the five Olympic Games: Barcelona (’92) and Atlanta (’96) with the pair of Steven Redgrave and Matt Pinset. Later, in Sydney (’00) they went onto win the 4- with Matt Pinset going onto Athens in 2004 to win yet another gold in the M4-.

In 2008, the Beijing Olympic Games saw the M4- of Pete Reed, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Steve Williams win gold under the watchful eye of Jurgen Grobler.

Modest to the core, he likes to downplay his part in it all. "If they win it's them and, if they lose, it's me”. Yet there is no doubt, Great Britain’s recipe for success, and that of their rowers, lies in the hands of Grobler.

Much speculation about what boat class Grobler will target for the London Olympics. In 2011, the pair of Reed and Hodge lost by 1.5 seconds to the New Zealand Pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. However on closer analysis, the GB pair not only recorded the fastest overall 500m, but were faster in the last two 500m segments of the race! So, maybe, if they can hold the New Zealand pair in the first 1000m, they could better them in the 2nd 1000m? An option for Grobler, or is the risk too great? Reed and Hodge are impressive athletes. That said, so are Murray and Bond.

A more likely option lies in shifting the pair into an already successful M4-. The GB M4- has already proven that they can are a successful unit where in 2009 and 2011, they won gold at the World Championship. If Reed and Hodge are moved into the 4-, the knock-on would only strengthen the eight which lost to Germany by 2 seconds in Bled.

The men’s sculling team will no doubt have some interesting changes. Alan Campbell won a bronze medal in Bled (’11), 5 seconds behind an ever dominant and impressive World Champion Mahe Drysdale, who in turn has unfinished business after falling ill in Bejing. There has been much talk about him strengthening the crew sculling boats.

The M2x of Matthew Wells and Marcus Bateman were over 8 seconds behind Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan, having previously won silver in Karapiro. The M4x were no doubt disappointed with their performance in Bled where they failed to make the A-Final.

This decision as, as illustrated in the most recent Rowing & Regatta Magazine lies in Jurgen Grobler’s hands, and his alone! Too many dreams rest on this decision for it to be any other way.

The Women

Paul Thompson joined the GB team in 2001 and was appointed as the Lead Coach of the Women for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens where, under his guidance, produced three medal boats. After 2004, Paul was promoted to Chief Coach for the Women and Lightweights.

At the 2007 World Championships in Munich, Paul Thompson’s quad won gold, and he was awarded International Rowing Federation Coach of 2007 while the quad was awarded female crew of the year.

In 2008, he coached the women’s quadruple scull to a silver medal. Furthermore, there was a silver in the pair and the bronze in the double.  This was a major breakthrough for the GB Women’s team who’s first Olympic medal was in 2000.

Although there has not been as much speculation as to which boat class Paul will choose as the lead boat, Paul has a number of options available to him. The Double Scull with Anna Watkin’s and Katherine Grainger won by just over a second over Australia’s Kerry Hore and Kim Crow in Bled (‘11), who, a year earlier were beaten by  nearly 6 seconds at Karapiro Lake (’10). Will Kerry Hore and Kim Crow continue to close the gap? Or will Paul look into another option, the W4x, where in 2010, they won in Karapiro by over 2 seconds.

Paul also has interesting decisions to make regarding the W2- and the W8+. Will he strengthen the W8+ with members of the sculling team, a boat which has in recent years been closing the gap on the ever dominant Americans who only narrowly beat the Canadians by 0.7 seconds and the 4th selected British by 2.4 seconds.

The Lightweights:

Darren Whiter has one focus, the lightweight men’s double scull! In 2008 he coached Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter to a gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games. This was Great Britain’s first ever lightweight Olympic Medal.

Mark Hunter has recently been awarded Olympic Athlete of the year for 2011 by the British Olympic Association. Zac Purchase too is a man who needs very little introduction having won numerous world championship medals.

Together the duo are formidable double with a total of 8 World Championship medals and a 2008’s Olympic gold medallists. However the NZL double of Storm Uru and Peter Taylor will no doubt look to make up the 0.3 seconds difference in Bled.

Great Britain:

Under the David Tanner’s management, there is no doubt that the target for the Olympic Games is to ensure Great Britain stay on top of the medal table as they did in Bejing 2008. It is rumoured that GB rowing has been offered the highest budget, well beyond any other GB sport for this Olympic games. No stone will be left unturned when Great Britain race on home waters in their quest for gold.   



Building towards the greatest of events: London 2012 Olympic Games

Latest Update:

Australia: Prospective squad reduced after first round of national trials

Thurs, 21 Dec 11 15:34

Following the conclusion of the first round of national selection trials for the 2012 Australian Rowing Team, the Olympic and Paralympic Shadow Squads have been reduced to 55 athletes. 66 athletes were subject to four days of trials on the Nepean River and the Sydney International Regatta Centre from December 15-18, with the majority of these rowers progressing to the next stage of the selection race.

USA: Unfinished Business: Mike Teti Returns with Olympic Qualification on the Line

Mon, 19 Dec 11 09:23

No one knew for sure what the problem was. The only certainty was that there was one. For the very first time, the United States had failed to qualify the men’s eight for an upcoming Olympics at the preceding world championships. The men’s eight that had gone to Bled, Slovenia, with what most believed was a real chance to medal after finishing fourth at the final world cup stop in Lucerne only weeks before, had failed to make the A final and then finished eighth overall, missing the last qualifying spot for 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Great Britain: GB December trials round up

Sat, 17 Dec 11 15:41

Alan Campbell wins men's single scull while Anna Watkins takes the women's single scull win. Andy Triggs Hodge winner of the men's pair with Alex Partridge. Will Jurgen Grobler stay with the pair's new combination or will he move to another boat class as in 2004? See the GB news page for more while results are here.

Australia: Ginn and Dunkley Smith continue streak at national trials

Thurs, 16 Dec 11 12:37

Drew Ginn (VIC) and Joshua Dunkley Smith (VIC) continued their 100 per cent record in the men’s sweep program this morning at the first round of Rowing Australia’s 2012 national selection trials. It was another near perfect day for rowing at the Sydney International Regatta Centre as Drew Ginn and Josh Dunkley-Smith combined with 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallists Cameron McKenzie-McHarg (VIC) and James Marburg (VIC) to win the first rotation of the men’s coxless fours.

Australia: Rowers Stabe Claim for Olympic Berth

Thurs, 15 Dec 11 09:20

Australia’s elite rowers will aim to impress the national selectors when the first round of trials for the 2012 national team begins today, December 15th. 66 athletes are vying for positions in London next year and will complete a 5km time trial on the Nepean River in Penrith on Thursday morning.

Great Britain: GB Olympic hopefuls on trial at Boston

Wednesday, 14 Dec 11 13:00

The event described recently by Alan Campbell - Britain's top single sculler - as the one "where it all begins for the Olympics" will go ahead this Saturday in Boston, Lincolnshire. Boston perennially hosts the second GB Rowing Team Winter Assessment of the season - an endurance trial on a 5km stretch of water. This is third time lucky for the sport following cancellations in 2009 and 2010 because of snow.

Katherine Grainger talks about the 2012 Olympic Games.

New Zealand: Christmas Thriller At Karapiro As Big Guns Do Battle

Friday, 9 Dec 11 17:10

The Christmas Regatta at Lake Karapiro over the weekend of December 16-18 will pitch the cream of New Zealand's rowers against each other in some fascinating encounters ahead of the New Year and the start of the build up to the Olympic Games. World champion Mahe Drysdale is just one of the stars in action.

Great Britain: Greg Searl: Altitude training helping Team GB prepare for London 2012

Thurs, 8 Dec 11 09:00

Writing exclusively for Metro, rower Greg Searle describes the gruelling training the Team GB athletes are being put through ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. I returned from Spain at the weekend after spending two weeks in what can only be  described as a ‘leisure centre in the sky’ – located up a mountain in the Sierra Nevada range. 

Germany: Robert Sens shows himself at German trials

Tue, 6 Dec 11 16:52

The first stage of Olympic trials for Germany began with a long-distance race in Dortmund, in western Germany. The event had nearly 350 boats taking the test over the 6km distance.

Norway: Olaf, Nils and Kjetil back from High Altitude Camp

Fri, 18 Nov 11 16:52

Olaf, Nils and Kjetil are once again back in Belfast, South Africa 1837masl. The London Olympics are less than 250 days away and the guys are training harder and better than ever.

Canada: Olympic Camp Invitees

Thurs, 17 Nov 11 18:21

Rowing Canada Aviron Olympic Camp invitees - full list here.

Canada: Olympic placing battle starts at Canada’s National Champs

Wed, 16 Nov 11 10:47

Canada’s National Rowing Championships had an extra competitive element to them this year. Competitors hoping to be on Canada’s national team made their first step towards getting into an Olympic boat for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Egypt: Egypt elated after African Olympic qualification

Tue, 8 Nov 11 11:03

Africa’s Continental Qualification Regatta, for the 2012 London Olympic Games saw Egypt take the biggest chunk of the nine spots available.

Australia: First round of Olympic trials on the horizon for rowers

Mon, 7 Nov 11 14:03

Rowing Australia has named its initial Prospective Squad that will go through the selection process in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The returns of Olympians Duncan Free (QLD) and Sam Conrad (QLD) amongst the 63 athletes that have been chosen are the two biggest additions to the Australian team that won a record 10 medals at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Slovenia earlier this year.

New Zealand: Drysdale and Twigg hold Armada Cup

Wed, 2 Nov 11 02:28

New Zealand’s Mahe Drysdale held off nearly 250 single scullers from around the world to cross the line first in Switzerland’s 25th Armada Cup. Making it a double-header for New Zealand, Emma Twigg then finished as the fastest woman and 27th overall.

New Zealand: Drysdale crowd pleaser at Head of the Charles

Tue, 25 Oct 11 12:42

The autumn weather at Boston’s famed Head of the Charles regatta on the East Coast of the United States can be unpredictable. Last weekend the rain stayed away, the temperatures remained mild and crowds flocked to the Charles River to watch nearly 9,000 rowers compete in the two-day regatta.