Frances Houghton

 Frances Houghton

Rio 2016 Olympiad: 2013- 2016
At the 2015 GB Rowing Team Senior and U23 Trials, Frances finished third in the women's single scull. She was selected to race the same boat at the 2015 European Rowing Championships in Poznan, finishing tenth. At the final World Cup of 2015 in Lucerne, Frances raced in the women's quadruple scull with Melanie Wilson, Tina Stiller and Jess Leyden; they finished 6th, just behind Poland, and the same crew placed 8th at the World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette. 

Frances raced in the women's double scull with Victoria Thornley during the 2014 season, finishing fifth at both the European Rowing Championships in Belgrade and the second World Cup in Aiguebelette. Frances came second in the women's single scull at the 2014 GB Rowing Team Senior and U23 Trials.

During the 2013 Season, Frances raced in the women's double scull with Vicki Meyer-Laker.  At the World Cup Regatta in Sydney she won a bronze medal and doubled up into the eight, finishing fourth. Back in the double, Frances and Vicki won gold at Eton Dorney and finished fifth in Lucerne before placing fourth at the World Rowing Championships in Chungju.

London 2012 Olympiad: 2009 – 2012
During the 2012 World Cup season, Frances raced in the women's quadruple scull.  The crew won a bronze medal in Belgrade, finished fifth in Belgrade and won bronze again in Munich.  At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Frances raced in the women's quadruple scull with Melanie Wilson, Debbie Flood and Beth Rodford, finishing sixth.

Frances raced in the single scull at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia, finishing 10th.

In challenging conditions on New Zealand's Lake Karapiro in 2010, Frances and her women's quadruple scull crewmates Debbie Flood, Beth Rodford and Annabel Vernon won a superb gold medal. This was a particularly satisfying result for Frances, who had undergone hip surgery earlier in the year.

Beijing 2008 Olympiad: 2005 – 2008
Throughout the Beijing Olympiad Frances raced in the women’s quadruple scull.

In the 2008 World Cup series, Frances won gold in Munich and bronze in Lucerne.  She was selected in the women's quadruple scull for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where she won her second Olympic silver medal.  The GB boat had led the race until the final 200 metres when they were agonizingly overhauled by China.

In 2007 Frances and her crewmates medalled at each of the World Cups and won the overall quad title for the series, then rounded off the year in style by becoming World Champions for the third time at the World Championships in Munich.

Frances and her crewmates won gold at all three World Cup Regattas in 2006, in Poznan, Munich and Lucerne.  At the 2006 World Rowing Championships at Eton Dorney, the quad fought an intense battle with Russia and were just beaten to the line in the dying metres, finishing with the silver medal.  Early in 2007, the quad were to be restored to World Champions and handed the gold medal when the Russian quad was retrospectively disqualified due to a failed drugs test in 2006.

During 2005 Frances won two World Cup golds at Eton Dorney and Munich, World Cup silver in Lucerne and capped a superb year with World Rowing Championship gold in Japan in September.

Athens 2004 Olympiad: 2001 – 2004
During the Athens Olympiad Frances was unbeaten in the women’s single scull at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials.

She won a superb Olympic silver medal in the women’s quadruple scull in Athens 2004 after a great season in which the crew won gold at the World Cup Regattas in Poznan and Lucerne – they were the first British women's quad to beat the Germans in this event.

In 2003 Frances raced in the quad, narrowly missing a medal at the World Rowing Championships. However, the fourth-placed finish secured a qualifying place for the Athens Olympics.

As part of her studies, Frances had spent 2002 living and training in Seville so the World Rowing Championships host city was well known to her that year.  Here she came fourth in the women’s double scull with Debbie Flood.

At the World Rowing Championships in 2001 in Lucerne Frances raced in the double with Debbie Flood, finishing seventh.

Sydney 2000 Olympiad: 1997 – 2000
Frances represented GB at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, finishing ninth in the double scull with Sarah Winckless.

Frances travelled to Boston, USA, in February 1999 and returned as World Junior Indoor Rowing Champion.  That year she made an impressive U23 debut, winning gold with Debbie Flood in the women’s double scull at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Hamburg, again the first sculling medal of its kind for GB at this level.

Frances rowed in a double with Debbie Flood in 1998, winning bronze at the World Rowing Junior championships. This was the first ever Junior women's sculling medal for GB.

Frances started rowing at the Dragon School in Oxford, aged 11, before moving on to Kings School, Canterbury.  

Beyond the Boat
Frances is celebrating 20 years since she first became a member of the GB Rowing Team, having joined the junior ranks in 1995. If she could swap places with another sportsperson, it would be with “one of those young ones that still have it all ahead of them”.

She has a great love of food and cooking. During a year out from rowing in 2008-9, she spent three months training to be a professional cook at Ballymaloe Cookery School. She then went on to work both as a private cook for a family and at the popular London restaurant, Ottolenghi.

Since returning to rowing Frances has designed a cookery course for athletes who ‘can’t cook, won’t cook’. Her perfect post-competition meal is scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toasted rye bread with loads of veg and the three things she would take to a desert island are a foraging guide, a decent knife and a plate. Her pet hate is inefficiency and queuing, “especially when it culminates in a buffet that doesn't use both sides of the table – one dish, two spoons, two queues, half the time.”

Frances – who has a degree in Spanish from Kings College, London – loves to escape to Cornwall. “It's beautiful and the cream is delicious.” Perhaps unsurprisingly her current favourite TV programme is Poldark and her ideal dinner guest would be Ross Poldark – “does anyone else have to come?”

Frances is Lottery funded through UK Sport.

Current Address: Henley-on-Thames
Home Town: Oxford
Region(s): Oxfordshire
Personal information
Date of Birth: 19th September 1980
Height: 193cm
Education: Dragon School – Oxford, Kings School – Canterbury, King's College – London
Rowing information
Club: University of London Tyrian Club
Boat: Women's Quadruple Scull
Role: Rower

Paul Thompson

Learnt to Row: Dragon School, Oxford
Original Club(s):
GB Competitive Record
This Season's Results
World Cup III - Lucerne 6th W4x
Olympic Games
2012 6th W4x
2008 Silver W4x
2004 Silver W4x
2000 9th W2x
World Rowing Championships
2015 8th W4x
2013 4th W2x
2011 10th W1x
2010 Gold W4x
2007 Gold W4x
2006 Gold W4x
2005 Gold W4x
2003 4th W4x
2002 4th W2x
2001 7th W2x
2001 6th W8+
European Rowing Championships
2015 10th W1x
2014 5th W2x
World Rowing U23 Championships
1999 Gold W2x
World Rowing Junior Championships
1998 Bronze W2x
1997 4th W2-
1996 4th W4x
GB Rowing Team Senior Trials
2015 3rd W1x
2013-14 2nd W1x
2012 4th W1x
2000 - 2003 1st W1x