Swansea University rowers go for gold

14th August

Several Swansea University students, who have shown themselves to be consistently excellent at rowing, have been selected to represent Wales and Great Britain this summer at championship level. 

James Roberts, studying BSc Sports Science, rowed for Great Britain at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing and will compete in the mixed adaptive double scull event at the World Rowing Championships in August.     

Kate Evans, a PhD student in the Department of Geography, who will represent British Universities in the European University Sports Association (EUSA) rowing championships in September, came third representing Wales at the recent Home International Regatta.

Daniel John, who has just graduated from Swansea with a BSc in Psychology also represented Wales in the Home International Regatta last month winning the men’s coxless 4’s race.

Hannah Glasson who also graduated from Swansea this year coxed the Welsh men's 8 at the Home International Regatta.  She has trained with the GB team and won a Commonwealth Games medal, also coxing the Swansea University men's 8 to victory against Cardiff in the varsity race in April this year.

James, 23, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, who is in the University’s Sporting Hall of Fame, will compete in the trunk and arms double scull event in the World Championships with team mate Samantha Scowen.  The championship place follows a gold medal win for James and Samantha in the mixed double sculls event at the Munich World Cup regatta in June this year.

Before being asked to take up adaptive rowing by Disability Sport Wales, James swam for the GB Development squad. James was asked to take up adaptive rowing by Disability Sport Wales in February 2006, and by March 2006 had learnt to row, through practicing on the river in Cardiff. 

James is one of eight adaptive (Paralympic class) rowers to be selected for the World Championships’ Great Britain squad which is 65-strong in all. 

He said: “Being selected for my third World Championship means the same as if it were my first, because I take great pride and joy in representing my country.”

“Training around my studies has not been too much of a problem this year as Swansea University allowed me to have the time off to go away on training camps during the winter. Also my department has been very supportive in helping me achieve a balance between my studies and my sport.

“After the championships I will be coming back to Swansea to start my final year of my BSc sports science.”

Kate Evans, 29, from Penarth, represents Swansea University Rowing Club and is a member of Llandaff and Penarth Rowing Clubs.  As a result of winning silver in her event (lightweight women's single scull) at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta in Nottingham in May, she won the chance to represent the British Universities in EUSA.   

Since March 2008, Kate has rowed in thirteen events, winning several, including the Evesham Regatta in May 2008, and this year, the Swansea head of the Tawe in February and the Nottingham City Regatta in April.  She was also a semi-finalist at this year’s Henley Women’s Regatta just missing out on a place in the final in a race which broke the previous course-record. At the Home International Regatta in July, she came third, competing in the lightweight women's single scull, and double scull.

She said: “"Having so many rowers representing the national and regional teams at so many prestigious events is testament to the ''can-do' attitude of Swansea rowers.  There's a genuine sense that if you are passionate about the sport and work hard enough, you can be competitive at the highest levels.  Lack of expensive equipment or the latest boats doesn't necessarily rule you out - you still have to be prepared to sweat if you want to win races!"

Daniel John’s crew won the men’s coxless 4’’s in the Home International Regatta.  He has been asked to train with the Welsh squad full time, in Cardiff, from September.

He said: “Having only rowed for three years I am still a newcomer to the world of rowing, so it’s an amazing opportunity to train alongside people who have the extra bit of knowledge that only comes from experience. Swansea has given me a love for this sport, and now being part of this team brings new training opportunities and challenges. Learning from these athletes and coaches who have spent decades in this area means I can pass something back to the next group of freshers before I leave!”

Swansea University rowing captain, Steven Gray said: “These international honours for members of the club speak volumes, not only for the efforts of the athletes involved, but for the efforts of all those involved in the club. For a club started a few years ago, the success this year, including a first win in April’s Welsh Varsity Boat Race, shows the massive leaps the club has made. International honours for Swansea University’s rowers is the icing on the cake for what has been a fantastically successful year”

For further information about Sport at Swansea, visit: http://www.swan.ac.uk/sport