The countdown to this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio continued today with British Rowing naming their team for next month’s European Championships in Germany.
Following on from March’s Olympic Trials, the European Championships in Brandenburg from May 6-8 will form another vital stepping stone on the Road to Rio.
And British Rowing have signalled their intention to aim high with a number of familiar top-flight boats being announced.
One of those includes reigning Olympic, World and European champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in the women’s pair while four-time Olympic medallist Katherine Grainger is named in the open women’s double scull with trials winner Vicky Thornley in a reprise of their 2015 partnership.
Glover said: "It's always fantastic to be selected to represent Great Britain, and never more so than in an Olympic year.
“The European Championships are our first opportunity to test our early season speed against international competition.”
Double Olympic men’s four champions Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge have been selected in the men’s eight alongside Scott Durant, Matt Langridge, Paul Bennett, Matt Gotrel, Tom Ransley, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill.
Alex Gregory, London 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the four, returns to the boat alongside his trials winning partner Mohamed Sbihi with George Nash and Constantine Louloudis – the quartet having all won gold in the men’s eight last year.
Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes are named as the men’s pair and Angus Groom, Sam Townsend, Graeme Thomas and Peter Lambert make up the men’s quadruple scull.
Lambert said: “I am extremely happy with my selection for the Europeans. This regatta is an exciting start to our Olympic season.
“The men's quad at the Europeans is an extremely high competition. Out of the eight crews that qualified last year for the Olympics, seven of them are European countries. We are looking forward to it.”
Trials winner Alan Campbell races the single scull and Jonny Walton and John Collins contest the double scull.
Richard Chambers is on his way back after a recent hand injury and will race the light men’s doubles if fully fit with Will Fletcher, while 2012 silver medallists Peter Chambers and Chris Bartley have made the light men’s sweep boats alongside Mark Aldred and Jono Clegg.
Sam Scrimgeour and Joel Cassells are GB’s choice in the pair and Jamie Kirkwood takes up the GB slot in the lightweight men’s single.
Elsewhere for the remainder of the women’s team, the eight boat will be made up of Frances Houghton, Jess Eddie, Katie Greves, Melanie Wilson, Polly Swann, Zoe Lee, Karen Bennett, Olivia Carnegie-Brown and cox Zoe de Toledo.
World silver medallists Kat Copeland and Charlotte Taylor will race the lightweight women’s double scull while Imogen Walsh races the single, and the women’s quadruple scull is made up of Holly Nixon, Jess Leyden, Tina Stiller and Rosamund Bradbury.
British Rowing will also race six crews at the Varese World Cup from April 15-17, including the women’s quadruple scull who will start their campaign to qualify the boat for Rio.
Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing team performance director, said: “We are clearly ambitious to do well in Rio and will race and then review the Europeans combinations announced today.
“We will also enter six crews for the Varese World Cup regatta in ten days’ time.”