GB Rowing Team Sculling Festival Round Up

The inaugural GB Rowing Team Sculling Festival took place at the weekend at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. For the first time in the sport, athletes competed in an omnium of events which included racing over different distances as well as being assessed in a series of skills. A beginners event also took place for those that were in their first year of the sport as a single sculler, providing racing over shorter distances.

Time Trial

In the main event, the time trial was run over 3800m. With a number of current and former U23s in the field, there was stiff competition in the men’s field with less than a minute between the top 10 finishers. Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft RC) continued the impressive form he showed at the recent World Rowing U23 Championships, winning the time trial ahead of fellow Start athlete Dan Clift (Isle of Ely RC) and John Collins (Leander).

In the women’s time trial it was a much tighter affair as Pippa Whittaker (Leander) took the top spot just 0.2 seconds ahead of Stella d’Arch Smith (Agecroft RC). Rebecca Chin, also from Agecroft RC, took third place having only recently got back in her single after taking a silver medal with the women’s eight at the U23s.

With conditions taking a turn for the worse, the beginners event was shortened to a 1500m time trial (raced as two 750m). The men’s race was won by Gregor Maxwell (Stirling University BC), ahead of Josh Armstrong (The Glasgow Academy) and Alex Lightfoot (Bath University BC).

Chloe Bracewell (Nottingham RC), who was recruited to the Start Programme as part of the Legacy Testing following the London Olympics, won the women’s beginner time trial. Amy Hill (Agecroft RC) finished in second place with Emily Doherty (Llandaff RC) taking third spot.

Manoeuvrability & Skills Testing

Challenging the athletes in the second session of the day was as series of skills and a manoeuvrability test. In the manoeuvrability test scullers set off in pairs, backing down the course before turning and sculling around buoys in as quick a time as possible. As well as this agility test athletes were assessed on five different skills which are essential to scull well. The beginners completed a 360 turn, standing rigger dips and hand circles, whilst those in the main event were also assessed on roll ups and sequencing.

250m Racing

Day one of the Sculling Festival culminated in some sprint racing over 250m. All athletes completed a time trial following their skills testing with the results being used to seed the finals. John Collins went one better over the shorter distance, recording the fastest time in the men’s event although he couldn’t repeat this in the side by side final where Zak Lee-Green took the top spot once again. In the beginners event Josh Armstrong and Gregor Maxwell continued to battle it out with just one tenth of a second between them. Josh backed up his time trial win in the side by side, finishing 3 seconds clear of his nearest rival.

Rebecca Chin dominated the women’s sprint racing winning both the time trial and the A Final. Vesta Rowing Club’s Rowan McKellar improved on her 3rd place in the time trial to finish second in the final ahead of World U23 silver medallist Beth Bryan (Tees RC). The beginners event was dominated by the North West. Amy Hill improved on her earlier time trial result to finish in first place and qualify for the 250m A Final. Not to be outdone, fellow club mates Olivia D’Arcy and Hannah Jackson also joined her in the A Final, finishing second and third respectively.

With Day one completed, everyone’s attention turned to the Sunday which featured semis and finals over 2000m in the main event, and 1000m finals in the beginners event.

2000m Semi Finals

Seedings for the semi finals were based on the 3800m trial results. Athletes across the field put in strong performances in a bid to qualify for the top final possible. In the C/D semi finals there was tussle for 3rd place between Alex Bain (Royal Chester) and Nicholas Musson (Nottingham RC) with just over half a second between them. Alex Bain came out top on this occasion and claim his place in Final C. In the women’s competition Lucy Burgess followed up her top ranking in the manoeuvrability test by winning her semi final to book a place in Final A.

1000m Finals

As with the main event, the final were seeded from the Saturday morning time trial. Having won all beginners events on day one Josh Armstrong continued to impress in the final event. At 500m he was already 4 seconds clear of the rest of the field. With a well-paced second 500m, Josh maintained his lead coming home in first place to win the race and the overall event. In the women’s field Amy Hill dominated Final A, finishing some 13 seconds ahead of fellow Agecroft sculler Olivia D’Arcy. However it was another Agecroft athlete, Hannah Jackson who took the overall title in the beginners event with her result in the manoeuvrability test boosting her up the leader board.

2000m Finals

As the skies brightened athletes made their final preparations. In the men’s A Final John Hale of Isle of Ely lead out from the start, holding his lead throughout the race finishing ahead of Zak Lee-Green. However, Zak’s solid performances across the weekend ensured that he had done enough to take the overall title in this first year of the Sculling Festival.

In the women’s event it was Beth Bryan who set the pace in the A Final being nearly 7 seconds clear at halfway. Maintaining form, she extended her lead through the second thousand eventually winning more than 10 seconds clear of Pippa Whittaker in second place. Rebecca Chin could only finish fourth in the final however it was enough to ensure that Agecroft took their third overall title of the weekend.

Final finishing positions (1st-3rd only)



1st Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft RC)

2nd Dan Clift (Isle of Ely RC)

3rd John Hale (Isle of Ely RC)

Men’s U23

1st Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft RC)

2nd Edward Grisedale (Oxford Brookes University BC)

3rd Adam Janes (York City)

Men’s J18

1st Alexander Bain (Royal Chester)

2nd Jacob Vyse (Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association)

3rd Giacomo Galano (Clydesdale Amateur RC)


1st Rebecca Chin (Agecroft RC)

2nd Lucy Burgess (Northwich RC)

3rd Beth Bryan (Tees RC)

Women’s U23

1st Rebecca Chin (Agecroft RC)

2nd Lucy Burgess (Northwich RC)

3rd Beth Bryan (Tees RC)

Women’s J18

1st Zoe Taylor (Reading RC)

2nd Jessica Findlay (Tees RC)

3rd Anna Porteous (Molesey BC)



1st Josh Armstrong (The Glasgow Academy)

2nd Gregor Maxwell (Stirling University BC)

3rd Alex Lightfoot (Bath University BC)


1st Hannah Jackson (Agecroft RC)

2nd Amy Hill (Agecroft RC)

3rd Ruth Siddorn (Royal Chester)

Please click here for full results.