The independent voice of rowing in Britain

From the gun to the line, 10 out of 10 (W2- final Munich)

Posted by rowingvoice on June 21, 2012

The only negative thing you can say about Helen Glover and Heather Stanning is that they are not star struck, in the sense that they are not into Face book-Twitter-Limelight kind of stuff. They do not wear, in the words of their coach Robin Williams, the glamour of the Olympic halo.

This pleases him. After watching them win their third world cup final of the year, a year in which they are gathering star status without making a song and dance about it, he said it was ‘a real top drawer race, close to a ten out of ten. From the gun to the line, I thought it was technically really, really good, and tactically they made sure they stayed there. So from my point of view I was highly delighted.’

Glover and Stanning led all the way ahead of the comeback Kiwis Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown, Olympic champions in 2004 and 2008. Georgeta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu, also returnees this season from Roumania, finished third. Stanning was distracted on the start but turned the unexpected into positive experience: ‘It was good to not get a perfect start — I quite enjoyed being able to deal with it. It is really enjoyable racing the Kiwis. They’re obviously a very good crew having won in Beijing. It was also our first experience of not having to row a semi-final. We had a day off! We chilled out at the hotel and I found a four-leaf clover.’

What does a crew who score a golden ten out of ten do in the five and a half weeks before the Olympics? Go back into some basics and de-construct the stroke a bit, says Williams. ‘During the racing season you tune up racing-wise, but you always make sure you keep that strong basic fitness in place before the Olympic final. In my day you just used to race, race, race, race, race and go over the top; nowadays we’re more canny about what we do. With Olympics it’ll be first and second race straight through. They still have to keep their feet on the ground.’

Williams, a successful lightweight international in his day, occasionally steps into the boat. Last week he was tub-pairing with Glover and Stanning at Thames Valley Park. ‘It’s quite a useful thing to do. You can feel how they are going about the stroke. I’m similar in size and weight so I can still just get away with it. It’s good fun apart from anything else.

‘We love working with Robin. He’s so experienced as a coach, and has so much knowledge,’ Stanning says.

Christopher Dodd

Gold Great Britain, silver New Zealand, bronze Roumania; GER1, CAN, ARG.


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