With nearly 30 entries, it is necessary to change the way you race. Positions in the AB semi could be separated by less than a second with this proliferation of crews. For many pairs, especially from less established programs, they will have to race the time trial perhaps as if it were their final, if they want a shot at one of the six A final places.
One to watch will certainly be Westminster School, whose top pair has been extracted from their Championship quad. They placed 2nd at April trials, ahead of the King’s Chester pair, also racing come Sunday.
Walton are entering the pair which easily dispatched France at the Anglo-French match, and showed they have plenty of surprises up their sleeve, after a brilliant row to come through from 4th place to win gold in 16 pairs last year. Matthew Heywood raced successfully at Munich with the GB team, but raced without his teammate in a composite pair with Molesey at April trials, placing 5th in the B final.
However, without doubt, the ones to beat are Aberdeen. A very experienced pair, having won gold and bronze in the Coupe 8+ last year, they have stepped on and placed third at April trials. No other A finalist from trials is entered on Sunday, so they will be looking to dominate the field to impress the GB coaches.
Anything other than a decisive victory, with clear water, may not be what this pair was hoping for, considering past results. Having said this, the pressure is certainly on, and a pairs race is nothing without some spectacular fight.