BIRC 2002

Birmingham Indoor Arena, Sunday 17th November 2002

The Rowing Service

Full results and pictures will be uploaded to the Concept 2 UK website during the day's racing.

Live-written reports on this webpage will be shown in reverse race order.

Earlier races now archived separately so that this page remains small.

Race 26:Men 30-34L, 35-39L
Last two sets of medals to be decided, these two lightweight events. In the 30-34L category it's Richard Young from Tim Donovan, while for 35-39L it's Duncan Paterson and Martin Keogh. Fabio Calvelli of Italy's coming up the rankings fast, and Mike Simpson also battering through. Calvelli's one of the 42 Italians who have made the trip over here, and now he's in fourth overall and second for his group. 30-34L it's Young, Simpson and then Donovan, 35-39L it's Paterson and Calvelli, Neil Staite in third. Everyone's splitting very evenly at the moment, only Calvelli and Simpson really doing any damage. 750 to go, Simpson ahead of Young for the lower ages, Calvelli has overtaken Paterson and now closing on the youngsters too, despite his age difference. Last 500, Calvelli still undersplitting and now in second overall, well ahead of Paterson, Donovan closing on Young in the 30-34L, looks likely for silver here. 300 to go, can Calvelli catch Simpson to rumble the other age-group as well, Donovan gets Young, and Neil Staite is closing once more on Paterson. Down to the last 10 strokes, Simpson holding on to first, just. But, as we listen to the interviewers, it emerges that Simpson was not racing at the light weight, and so can't take the medal. We'll get the medals checked and put them in shortly.
30-34L Gold Tim Donovan, 6:24.1, silver Richard Young, 6:25.8, bronze Geoffrey Klingsporn, 6:32.1
35-39L Gold Fabio Calvelli, 6:18.6, silver Neil Staite, 6:25.3, bronze Duncan Paterson, 6:26.8.

Race 25:Men 30-34H (Heat 2)
Eric Mueller from the US national team gets himself organised, and Nik Fleming's here with Tony Larkman, while Chris Rushton isn't in this time. Tim Wooge, President of CUBC is meant to be in, but his erg is empty. A good start, four ergs on the front empty, Chris Brett storms off with Phil Rogers, while Larkman/Mueller/Fleming sit around third, taking the sensible route. Mueller starts to edge past Fleming and Larkman, and as a member of this year's US champion eight, is a strong competitor in this age-group. Brett still in front, Mueller second now, Rogers third and Larkman closing on him with Fleming also coming up fast. Mueller pushing to the lead, takes first, still undersplitting everyone in this race. Now he begins to move away, Fleming past Larkman into third and both of them hunting down Brett. 900 to go, Mueller has stopped moving, Fleming and Larkman past Brett, and Fleming notching the split down to 1:29 to go for Mueller. The big US oarsman gets a second wind though, now he's meeting the challenge, and here goes the British assault. Mueller cracks on again, he's not going to be caught, 300 to go, and now it's a Larkman/Fleming battle for second place. Larkman into second, 1 metre up on Fleming, both undersplitting Mueller but he's uncatchable. Nobody else in the medals at all.
Gold Eric Mueller 5:55.6, silver Tony Larkman 5:57.1, bronze Nik Fleming 5:57.7. Great going from the slightly older guys. Not bad from the squaddies too - it's so early in their seasonal cycle that they won't be intending to show best form right now. Tony Larkman manages to sound depressed that he's only gone half a second inside his PB, and also squeezes in an advert for his favourite drink while being interviewed!

Race 24:Men 35-39H (Heat 2)
More sales talk from everyone with a microphone - for the machines (which are sold off cheap after the racing), for the FISA DVD disc of the World Champs, and by the winner of that race for the Breathe-Rite nose-tape, which he says is brilliant. Just a few minutes to the next heat, and in the meantime we get to see closeup of some very dodgy rowing and sculling from all sorts of medallists at the 2002 Worlds. Amazing how many different styles there are which win medals... Three more races to go, and this lot are off. False start for the front row, lane 15 (Gary Lee, with a wry smile on his face). James Cracknell turning heads as he walks around the spectating area with new wife Beverley. They're off again, and this time it's clean. Julian Tomkinson leads off, Rik Yapp behind, and Gary Lee making up for his error. Nigel Mayglothling's getting excited about Nick Fitzpatrick in the back lines, who seems to be going pretty well. Now it's Tomkinson leading from Marek Hebda of Maloney's Gym, and Hebda's coming through hard into first now. Lee's still in third, Yap in fourth, and out of the pack, Neil Ridge starting to move up. Hebda is splitting 1:31's, Lee fading, Ridge comes into third place. This lot are just outside 6-minute pace, and surely will share the medals. Hebda cruising a little more now, Tomkinson matching his power, , and Ronnie Fraser beginning to sneak up on Ridge and challenge for third. Tomkinson coming back on Hebda now, much more solid power on every stroke. Hebda failing, Tomkinson takes the lead by a sniff, starts to move away, and Ridge is still in third, having been overtaken by Fraser and then coming back. Tomkinson from Norwich drops the split to 1:31, with 200m to go, Hebda rallies and moves away from Ridge, Fraser makes another attack and pushes into bronze.
Gold Julian Tomkinson 6:07.9, silver Marek Hebda 6:14.6, Ronnie Fraser bronze 6:15.7.

Race 23:Men 35-39H (Heat 1), 30-34 H (Heat 1)
While they're waiting for the next batch to warm up, the organisers show a film of the triple dead-heat between Nick Fleming, Chris Rushton and Tony Larkman at the World Indoor Champs last year. They're up not in this heat, but in the next race: first we have the slower end of the 30-39H categories, so they are unlikely to be racing for medals. Pat Rudaz blasts off in the lead, must be something to do with his cycling all the way from Oxford to Leander each day last summer. [Don't think I haven't spotted you going up Rose Hill past me, Pat!] Soon Andy Wilson comes through into first place, wtih Jim McGuire, Chris Smith and Sean Slaney closing in too. For the older age-group, Steven Hammonds is creeping up the ranking, with Emanuele Boso next. Nearly at halfway, and it's 30-34H Wilson from Smith from Slaney of the Royal Navy, and 35-39H it's Hammonds from Richard Mason, from Boso. Smith pushes through into the lead, getting plaudits from the organisers on his technique, and now several metres ahead of the rest. Hammonds looks particularly good, coming up to challenge the younger guys in the event. Smith moving away from the rest, 450 to go and doesn't seem to look as if he's having to push hard, though effortlessly holding 1:33. There's some action in the row behind, and the commentators get excited as it appears someone not in the front row has won this heat. It's Clive Kennedy-Burn of Wimborne in 6:11.5. A reminder again that this lot probably won't be winning medals if the next heat goes faster as expected.

Race 22:Women 30-34H, 30-34 L, 35-39H, 35-39L
This race will be off in about ten minutes, after the medals currently being presented by Monsieur Cracknell. Right, they start, seems to be clean, and with Leonie Barron and Naomi Ashcroft, world champions in LW2- this year, it's a top-class field. Kate Hewitt leads off, with Ashcroft following and Michelle Parsons leading the 35-39L category. So although we can't see any 35-39H people in the front row, there are plenty of ltwts about. First three in the 30-34H class are Hewitt, Nicky Bethell and Liz Hanshaw, while in the lightweights Ashcroft leads, followed by Melanie Moore. Christina Nugent and Michelle Parsons head up the 35-39L class. Hewitt just grinned at the camera for a stroke when they began to film her, but she hasn't built up a 30-metre lead by accident, so it was immediately head down again. 30-34H it's Hewitt from Hanshaw and Bethell, the other two very close. 30-34L Ashcroft from Moore and Sharon Colley, then 35-39L Nugent from Parsons and Tracey Haseldine. 600 to go, Hewitt can only lose the 30-34H gold if she stops, while we discover that all the references to Liz Hanshaw are actually Rachel Scott. Ashcroft now under pressure from Christina Nugent, but they're in different categories, Nugent being older. Three categories we can see the medals for, 35-39H we're not sure.
30-34H gold Kate Hewitt 6:59.3, silver Rachel Scott 7:10.5, bronze Nicky Bethell 7:15.2
30-34L gold Naomi Ashcroft 7:14.9, silver Melanie Moore 7:20.7, bronze Sharon Colley 7:26.1.
35-39L gold Christina Nugent 7:17.2, silver Michelle Parsons 7:24.5, bronze Tracey Haseldine 7:33.6.
35-39H gold Tracey Axten, 7:02.9, silver Eeva Nurminen, 7:19.1, bronze Sally Horrocks, 7:21.4.

News - while they do the medals presentation for the main open categories, two announcements. First, that Michelle Dollimore, sitting in the second row for the lightweight race, dead-heated for third in her category. Also that Lisa Schlenker, winner of the Open Ltwt women, has been awarded the Champion of Champions cup for the best performance by an open athlete at the Championships.

Race 21:Men U23 H (Heat 2)
This is the real deal: now we have Britain's strongest students and youngsters on the machines. They're giving the Cambridge lads a good bit of motivation by showing the 2002 Boat Race on the big screen while they warm up: points to prove for the Light Blues, and honour to defend for the Dark Blues. Off we go, Steve Rowbotham of Royce's Gym leading off with 1:19's, Matt Langridge second, and Nick Quirke in third. As they settle down, it's Rowbotham of Durham University holding first, the other two following. Nicholas Walter has come into third now, with Alan Campbell fourth ahead of Quirke, and Alex McGarel-Groves coming up fast too. Rowbotham is really surging ahead, Langridge slipping backwards under the assault from the pack. It's halfway through, Rowbotham from Walter from McGarel-Groves, and Nate Kirk coming up too with 1:31 splits. Rowbotham looks unassailable, moving away steadily, but McGarel-Groves is putting in the odd big stroke, and with Walter suffering, Campbell is going to go through into third. 500 to go, Rowbotham right up in front, and as he and McGarel-Groves sprint, here comes Langridge, tugging away and getting back into fourth. On he comes, undersplitting Campbell and nearly matching him. Langridge into third, Rowbotham still first with half a minute to go. Campbell pushing for the line and finding a little extra, taking back third, gets Langridge by 0.1 second.
Gold Steve Rowbotham of Durham University in 5:58.2, silver Alex McGarel-Groves 6:02.7, bronze Alan Campbell 6:04.8, while we have CUBC in 2nd/5th/6th/9th place, OUBC in 7th/8th/11th/12th places off the front line - seems like a Light Blue afternoon all told, especially if you include the women's and lightweight's results.

Race 20:Men U23 H (Heat 1)
This race is only the first heat of two, and unfortunately however well they do, the leaders from this race are expected to be several seconds off the pace for the medals. However, they're going to go balls-out anyway, and start in two minutes. This is again a big OU/CU pack, but with a sprinkling of IC and Notts County oarsmen in between. Peter Reed from UWE leads off , with a big bunch chasing him hard at lower splits, and Sam McLennan from OUBC moving through. McLennan takes the lead, Reed in second, Chris Le Neve Foster (CUBC) and Matt Smith (OUBC President) in third and fourth. Smith pushes into third, then James Burkitt of NCRA comes past. Slight server hiccup, now with 500 to go, it's Reed from McLennan, with Burkitt third, and Jon Alexander coming into fourth. Reed doing a fantastic job out in front, Alexander dropping his split to 1:31 as Burkitt comes into second, and McLEnnan responds. Reed, from McLennan, from Burkitt, Alexander closing fast, McLennan still surging, can't quite catch Reed, but giving it the most tremendous go.
First Peter Reed of UWE 6:08.7, second Sam McLennan of OUBC 6:09.8, third James Burkitt of NCRA 6:11.5. Note that because there is another heat with stronger competitors to come, this lot are unlikely to feature in the medals.

Race 19:Men U23 L
They're livening up the wait between races with a short ad from sponsors Axa PPP Healthcare (slogan - "just axxx"). Apologies for any slowness in the server - it does sometimes get a bit twitchy and appear to 'freeze' for a few seconds. Anyway we're nearly off with this final, and it's a wide-open field including most of the OULRC and CULRC squads. Alasdair Stuart, the excellent sculler who succumbed to asthma at the Under-23's, is off early, chased by Tancred Finke of OULRC and Alex Hamilton of CULRC. The top end is vedry close, Tom Hanna is coming up, closing into third place, and Alistair Brown of the GB squad is also looking good. Tom Hanna is now in the lead, splitting 1:34, and Alex Hamilton at the other end of the row is dropping to Lawrence Taylor who barges past him. Taylor's now matching Hanna on splits, Hamilton seems to have blown and is shaking his head in annoyance. Alistair Brown moves past Hamilton into third as Hanna knocks his split down to 1:34/1:33 for the final 750. Taylor's trying to keep up, but Hanna has the edge. Finke has stopped, but the battle for bronze is really heating up. There are five in the game, with Paul Holdaway and Aron Beekman both pushing through, Hanna holding on to first with 200 to go. Beekman into third, Taylor closing on a suffering Hanna but running out of room, and he just can't quite get there.
First Tom Hanna 6:21.4, second Lawrence Taylor 6:22.4, third Aron Beekman 6:26.6. Mixed honours for the CU/OU squads, with one very good CULRC result from Taylor, and a set of three slower OU oarsmen behind.

Race 18:Women U23 H (Heat 2)
And this is the serious heat for the women's U23 heavyweights. On the British team is Rebecca Romero, stroke of the GB quad, out in front already and being charsed by Marlies Smulders from the Dutch quad, who finished three place down on GB in Seville. Behind the front line is Rebecca Rowe from Loughborough Students, who is matching the top pullers and may well finish in the medals. Romero and Smulders still leading, with Annie Vernon of CUWBC in third, moving well away from the pack behind. Smulders just beginning to creep up on Romero now, undersplitting, and now within a few metres of the British girl. 800 to go, and Rebecca Rowe is also in contention but off the board, while Vernon begins to close on the front two oarswomen. Romero responds to the challengers, 250 to go, and Romero's split drops again as she lifts for the finish and Smulders begins to flounder. Rebecca Rowe in the line behind could still be on for the medals in her third erg row _ever_. Romero's going to win, Smulders is slowing down, Vernon nearly catching her, well clear of Ruth Harbitt in fourth. Smulders hangs on, but Rebecca Rowe behind coiuld be in the medals. We're going to wait until we're sure about hte medals before putting anything in. Romero quite pleased with her effort but says she needs to go under 6:50.
Gold Rebecca Romero 6:53.1, silver Marlie Smulders 6:57.6, bronze Rebecca Rowe 6:58.3 brilliantly from the back lines. Rowe is a swimmer, and has been erging only a few weeks, and could be on the list of certain coaches once she's recovered her breath!

Race 17:Women U23 L, U23 H (Heat 1)
Before this gets going, there is another medal ceremony, for the junior categories this time, so there will be a bit of a break before we begin commentating again. Right, finally we're on again. We have missed doing most of this race live, since the server (and then my computer) shut down, but back on. Just in time to see Jo Hammond of Rob Roy BC winning this race by a mile, 30+ metres ahead of Sally Orr in second place, and Sarah Mee in third. Alison Elsey shot off well in front at the start, but soon faded, and Hammond pulling remarkably consistent splits hauled her way through. Julie Gray, Sally Orr and Mee were in a big pack for the minor medals, and then as Orr went out into 2nd, Mee came through to take bronze in the last few hundred metres.
First Hammond 7:07.4, second Gray 7:24.8, third Mee 7:25.5.
And they've said that Hammond would have taken silver had she been racing in the open LW category, and not that far behind the amazing Lisa Schlenker. A superb improvement on her 7:16 record of last year.

Race 16:Men Open L
This event sees Eskild Ebbeson, the world indoor record holder, trying to retain his title from last year. He'll be racing against a huge range of competors; Filippo Manucci from Italy, Robert Sycz from Poland, Vassilios Polymeros from Greece, Lubos Podstupka from Solvakia. A fair few Brits as well, Tom Kay, Richard Wilder and Mark Hunter.

Ebbeson rates very high - 40spm and 1:16 on the split to lead the pack off. Juan Zunzunegui goes strongly and actually takes the lead from Ebbeson. Richard Wilder holds his own with the Internation field here. Still Zunzunegui in the lead, but Tom Kay is matching him for splits, and has moved into 5th, and now moving into 4th. All the leaders holding position, splitting mid 1:30s, with Tom Kay still a second or two ahead, now in fourth overtaking Richard Wilder, and now in third ahead of Stefan Steiner. Ebbeson starts to move back towards Zunzunegui, both of them close for the lead. Steve Warner and Gabe Winkler are both down in the field, but both splitting lower and will move up over time. Tom Kay and Ebbeson moving towards Zunzunegui. Steve Warner just has gone through everyone, splitting 1:31 in a big push to take him into first place. Winkler follows him through, and is now in second place. ebbeson in third place, equal splitting with Kay. Everyone has shortened up, with 100m left to go. It's still Warner, Winkler then Ebbeson, with Tom Kay in forth.

Final times are 6:10.0 for Steve Warner, 6:11.9 for Gabe Winkler in second for a US 1-2. Eskild Ebbeson failed to retain his title, finishing third with 6:13.0. Tom Kay finishes fourth as the top Brit, 6:13.4.

Race 15:Men Open H (Heat 3)
This is the main Men's Heavyweight open event, and although James Cracknell is not competing today, there are plenty of other stars to look for. Josh West leads the British charge, along with Steve Williams. However, the World Indorr Championship holder, James Schroeder, from the US team is here with Dave Simon.

Rick Egington gets the quickest start, but James Schroeder picks up the pace, and takes the lead, undersplitting the rest at 1:24 at 350m gone. Niksa Skelin is pulling some good splits, but a way back from the leaders. David Simon in second place, taking ground off Schroeder, and just nosing in front. Skelin and Palmisano battleing for third and forth. Simon now has a slight lead built up, with both him and Schroeder moving away from the chasing pack. Jurgen Grobler has just been told off for coaching Steve Williams, who is currently leading the Brits, but back in about 8th place. The Americans are starting to slow up a bit, with Palmisano closing the gap up to the leaders. Simon now finds it hard going, but moving up the ranking is Endrekson with 1:24s, West moving up, now Simon hits 1:35 under pressure. West moving into 5th, Palmisano now in second, challenging for the lead, but Schroeder takes it just on the line.

James Schroeder takes the win with 5:47.6, the same time as James did last year. Mario Palmisano with 5:48.0 comes in second. Tonu Endrekson picks up the bronze with 5:49.6. Out of the Brits, Josh West came fifth with 5:57.3, but all the Brits look quite slow for the time of year. Maybe some re-testing at Leander will be needed. Sitting on the second row, Graham Benton from Portsmouth came in with 5:57, which puts him level with the Josh West as the top Brit here.

The Rowing Service also has last year's commentary, together with previews of the Open Hwt men from this year.