Single sculls:
Mahe Drysdale v Alan Campbell

This final shapes as one of the highlights of the regatta. The Kiwi and the Northern Irishman go back a long way as mates - there's even talk of a barbecue being organised beforehand for a catch-up at Drysdale's Cambridge property. They became friends when coached together by Bill Barry at the Tideway Sculling School on the Thames.

When mixed with other perennial contenders such as double Olympic champion Olaf Tufte of Norway and Czech Ondrej Synek it makes for a formidable contest. The quartet have been fighting out this title for five years with Drysdale or Tufte always ending up with the honours. Synek is regularly guilty of training too hard too early during the season but he did win the last world cup as Drysdale recovered from his back injury. Campbell has a tendency to fly off on an aggressive break but that can tend to burn him in the final 500m. Don't rule out German Marcel Hacker either. He's been known to let go a bloodcurling scream in the starting blocks to put his competitors off.

Men's double sculls:
Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan v Marcus Bateman and Matthew Wells

Advertisement

Cohen has been in this boat four years with three different partners - Matthew Trott in 2007 and 2009, Rob Waddell in 2008 and now Sullivan. While the boat has medalled at World Cup events, it is yet to do it at the Olympics or world championships - fourth is the best result at both.

Cohen and Sullivan got third at the final World Cup this year in Lucerne. They were beaten by what is known in the British team as the "Red Express"; courtesy of Bateman and Wells' hair colour. They took silver; the French crew won. France look the favourites despite the Brits winning the first two World Cup events of the year. Wells is a bronze medallist in this discipline from Beijing so his experience will be vital but, even at 24, Cohen can play the veteran card too.

Lightweight men's double sculls:
Storm Uru and Peter Taylor v Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter

This battle is as much about diet and scales as it is about water and oars. Crews must stay at a maximum weight of 140 kg or less, meaning quizzical glances are often shared when an extra dollop of chocolate pudding makes its way onto dessert plates. These are the two favourite crews. The New Zealanders are the defending world champions after Purchase and Hunter opted out of the event last year - the Kiwis also won the last World Cup regatta in Lucerne where the Brits finished fifth. Purchase and Hunter, however, carry the mantle of Olympic champions. Uru and Taylor disappointed at Beijing when they failed to qualify for the final - but expect them to shine on home water.

Women's double sculls:
Emma Feathery and Fiona Paterson v Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins

The New Zealanders have spent limited time in this discipline for the world championships after competing in the quad during the year. They face demanding opposition in the British who secured all three World Cup wins this year. The class has been opened up since the retirement of the Evers-Swindell twins in 2008. Grainger is Britain's most successful female rower with four world championships and three Olympic silver medals.

The Brit duo are also talented individuals beyond the realm of a rowing lane. Scots-born Grainger has a degree and a masters in law and is now studying homicide for a PhD. Watkins, when she's not chained to the stove baking, likes to nip out and clock up her flying hours at the local airfield. However, it's not like the Kiwis have not faced adversity or challenges. Paterson survived cervical cancer and Feathery was omitted for Juliette Haigh in the pair this year, despite getting bronze with Rebecca Scown in the same boat last year.