The all-Australian Institute of Sport crew of Fergus Pragnell (NSW), Tom Swann (VIC), Bryn Coudraye (SA) and John Linke (VIC) have struck the initial blow in the 2011 Rowing Australia National Selection Trials with a hard fought victory in the first rotation of the men’s four.
On a clear morning of racing at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith, the Pragnell stroked crew held off Francis Hegerty (NSW), Cameron McKenzie-McHarg (VIC), James Marburg (VIC) and Joshua Booth (VIC) by less than a second, with Sam Loch (NSW), Will Lockwood (VIC), James Chapman (NSW) and Tom Larkins (VIC) trailing just behind in third.
A number of rotations will be held in the men’s four to determine seedings ahead of the trials for the men’s eight later in the week, with competition expected to be fierce for seats in the blue ribband event of men’s rowing.
Two-time Olympian Sarah Tait (VIC) combined with her world championship partner from 2010, Phoebe Stanley (VIC), to take the first trial race in the women’s pair ahead of Beijing team mates Kate Hornsey (TAS) and Pauline Frasca (VIC).
Tait and women’s lightweight double scull rower Hannah Every-Hall (QLD) are aiming to become the first mothers to row at an Olympic Games for Australia.
Every-Hall and Alice McNamara (VIC) swept out their cobwebs as they raced against four heavyweight women’s double scull combinations.
Every-Hall and McNamara, who finished fourth together at the 2010 world championships in New Zealand, are in prime position to resume their partnership in 2011 and will aim to further build their speed across the following days of racing.
Kerry Hore (TAS) and Kim Crow (VIC) won the women’s double scull race ahead of Sally Kehoe (QLD) and Brooke Pratley (NSW), with these combinations to be swapped for racing on Sunday.
In the men’s lightweight four, Anthony Edwards (TAS), Sam Beltz (TAS), Blair Tunevitsch (TAS) and Todd Skipworth (WA) recorded the best time, while the men’s quad scull of Daniel Noonan (NSW), Karsten Forsterling (VIC),James McRae (SA) and Chris Morgan (SA) rowed strongly from start-to-finish in their first hit-out at the trials.
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