30 March 1999

VETERANS MAKE TOP 20

Marlow's Veteran C crew produced a strong performance on Sunday in the Veterans Head of the River race. The race is run over the Historic Oxford/ Cambridge boat race course from Putney to Chiswick. The 4 ¼ mile event is a severe test to most oarsmen and women, but the popularity of the veteran race continues to grow each year. This year 132 crews from throughout the United kingdom and Europe took on this classic of long distance courses. On Sunday the Thames was at its best with bright sunshine flat water and a slight but consistent head wind greeting the crews.
The Marlow crew is Veteran C which means an average age over 42 amongst the eight athletes. This year the crew was stroked by Nick Gill who was ably supported by Peter Walton, Neil Skipper, John Gill (at 55 the senior member of the crew), Rob Robertson, Mark Billingham, Sean Farrelly, Philip Rhoofthooft and cox Fay Beanland Starting off 41 of the 132 starters, the crew took several minutes to settle before gaining on crew 38 from Exeter RC. Striking 32 they continued to attack and persuade Nottingham BC through Hammersmith Bridge. Round the Hammersmith bend excellent coxing from Fay saw them sweep past Nottingham pushing away to clear water and on through Barnes Bridge to wards the finish. A final push brought Marlow up on to the bows of number 39 from Frankfurter Rudergellschaft of Germany.
Over all Marlow finished 20th of the 132 crews in a time of 19 min 45 seconds.
The Veteran Head was won overall by University of London old boys. The Veteran C category was won by Wallingford with Marlow 6th.
Marlow's two other Veteran crews performed creditably with their second veteran C crew finishing 97th and a mixed crew finishing 104th.

SEAN FARRELLY      01628 531 946

30 March 1999

Marlow Progress in National Rankings

Marlow Rowing Club consolidated its position as a serious player in the top rank of Club rowing in the United Kingdom with a powerful performance in the Eights Head of the River race on Saturday.
The race pits over 400 crews from throughout the United Kingdom and Europe against one another over a 4 ¼ mile course. The course runs from Chiswick Bridge on the Thames, via Hammersmith to Putney.
Saturdays conditions were perfect with bright sunshine, a slight tail wind and flat beautiful water. Fast conditions, which brought out the best of the assembled entries. Each year this event progresses with more and more of the crews producing faster and faster times. Competition is fierce and this most gruelling of events pushes all the athletes no mater what their level to the absolute limit. In an eight oared boat there is no where to hide and this is truly the ultimate team event.
Last year, Marlow's 1st boat progressed up the field to finish 37th overall. At that level improvement amongst Europe's elite is difficult, so a solid row which saw this years eight progress to 34th was a good performance, consolidation the clubs position in the premier league of domestic clubs. U23 International George Smith stroked the Marlow crew. George was supported by, cox Ashley Dean with James Fraser, Richard Aplin, Mark Ruinet, Andy Knee-Robinson, James Walker, Tom Kean and Mark Lewis. The crew could not quite get on terms with Oxford Brookes' University who went off one place ahead, but they pulled away from Nottingham and Union throughout the race.
The clubs second boat coxed by Tamsin Knill did well to finish in the top 100. Cracking the top 100 is a good measure of a crews potential and for many of this crew this was a major step up for athletes who had been in last years third crew. The experience of Ian Pressling, Mike Spencer-Jones, Chris Richards, Neil McCulloch gave the less experienced athletes an excellent lead. Ian Packer, Nick Smith, Simon Huntley, Andy Kervell all produced strong performances on the day. This was a good performance, which their coach Paul Franklin described as encouraging for the coming regatta season.
The club's 3rd crew finished 28 seconds back in 173rd place. Last year half the crew finished 250th in the clubs 4th boat and several others only began to row last summer. The crew was strengthened by experienced veteran athletes Nick and John Gill and former University of London oarsman Tom McGibbon. Stroke Ray Bedder, set an aggressive rhythm for the crew to follow. Mark Billingham, Philip Rhoofthooft, Nick Hoare and Richard Bracey backed up Ray. Cox Anita Springham did her usual excellent job, aggressively steering to overtake Glasgow University on the Hammersmith bend. Marlow then came under pressure from Emmanual school, but the Marlow dug in and pulled away after Hammersmith Bridge. Their finish position matched that of last years 3rd crew and marked a big step up in standard for many of the crew. Very few club 3rd crews get inside the top 200.
The Marlow 4th crew was largely made up of Junior athletes. Supported by the experience of Peter Walton and Mark Windsor the youngsters found the competition stiff, but as scullers new to rowing they will have will have found the experience valuable.
Over Easter, Marlow R C will be taking their senior womens squad and over 30 junior athletes to Ghent in Belgium to race in the two day regatta against some of Europe's best club and international crews.

SEAN FARRELLY      01628 531 946

3 March 1999

BISHOP TRIUMPHS BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC

Cath Bishop of Marlow Rowing club, completed a superb 7 days last weekend. It began when she became the World Indoor Rowing Champion in Boston USA and ended with Cath and her partner Dot Blackie winning the womens' pairs event which contributed to Great Britain winning the FISA team title in Seville, Spain.
Cath went to Boston for the World Ergometer Championships (indoor rowing machine) as the UK title holder. The 2,000 metre event is an excruciating test of power and stamina. The athletes simply race to see who can cover the distance in the fastest time. If you think racing on a rowing machine sounds easy try doing 2,000 meters next time you are in your local gym. See how long it takes you and then think just how much determination and strength these athletes need to push their bodies to the absolute limit in the search of a world title.
In humid conditions Bishop was the fastest qualifier for the finals ahead of an International field. Her qualifying time of 6 minutes 44.8 seconds placing her in the final with 7 other athletes who went under 6.50.
In the final Cath was down at half way on Lauritzen of Denmark and Evers Swindell of New Zealand. Cath is one of the world's leading athletes and in the second half, the strength and sheer determination which carried her to a World silver medal in 1998 kicked in and she powered through her rivals. Cath's finishing pace brought her home in 6 minutes 37 seconds, 4 seconds ahead of Lauritzen. The time was just outside the current world record but that was never on in the heat and humidity of Boston.
Other British winners in Boston included the outstanding junior prospect Frances Houghton who won the junior event in 6.46, and Noel frost of Wallingford who beat the World record in taking the 60-69 age group in 7 min 31 seconds.
Cath then flew to Seville to join the British team and her partner Dot Blackie of Thames rowing Club. Great Britain were taking part in the two day FISA Team championships. The event is an early chance for the European nations to test the early season form of the International crews.
Bishop and Blackie the current world second ranked women's pair comfortably won for Great Britain over 1000 metres on the Saturday and then destroyed the opposition to win by 5 seconds (2 clear lengths )over 500 metres on the Sunday. In the womens' single sculls Sarah Winckless also of Marlow took a creditable 3rd on the Saturday behind the Russian world champion. Sarah was making her debut as Britain senior single sculler.
Overall Great Britain romped home in the event wining 13 of the 20 events and taking the title by a massive 67 points.
Marlow Rowing Club start their domestic season with Reading Head on Saturday. 6 Marlow crews will be competing in this key event in the run up to the Womens' Head of the River Race on the 12th March and the Mens' Head of the River on March 27th. Marlow crews, 3 mens' and 3 womens' will be looking to test their form against some strong opposition from top clubs and universities. The Reading Head which will feature over 100 racing eights will begin at 2pm.

SEAN FARRELLY 01628 531 946