Great Britain topped table at World University Rowing Championships

A 28-strong squad of Great Britain’s best young rowers produced some superb performances over the weekend at the World University Rowing Championships in Gravelines, France, as the GB Rowing Team topped the medals table with four golds, one silver and three bronzes.

The team, which was selected by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), raced very well over the first two days of the Championships, as all 9 GB crews qualified for Sunday’s A finals against some tough competition from the other 33 nations involved in the event.

In spite of their strong heat and semi-final performances, it would have been hard to predict the GB medal rush that was seen on Sunday.

The tone was set by lightweight single sculler Emily Craig, of the University of London. Craig competed for GB at the World U23 Rowing Championships in Varese earlier this year, and put in a tremendous race in the final of the women’s lightweight single as she took the lead at the halfway point in the race and continued to extend it throughout the second half. She went onto finish an astonishing 8 seconds ahead of the home nation in second place, laying down a marker for the rest of the day.

Following the race, Craig said: “It was a fantastic way to finish my season racing in the single and I’m looking forward to moving on and seeing what I can achieve next year. It’s been an increasingly fun experience with a great group of people”.

The next gold for GB came from the Manchester University pairing of Hugh Gallie and Zak Lee-Green, racing the lightweight men’s double scull. Lee-Green was hoping to cap off a breakthrough season where he made appearances for GB’s senior squad at the World Cup in Aiguebelette and as a racing spare at the World Championships in Amsterdam.

The duo came through a close race in the final to finish in 6:49.95, ahead of Hungary’s Peter Galambos and Gabor Csepregi, who pushed the GB double all the way to the finish. Thibault Lecomte and Pierre Houin finished third on home water.

Lee-Green highlighted the hard work the crew had to put in to gain the victory: “It was a tough race. The Hungarians made us work for it, but we were there to win and nothing else. It takes years of training to get the chance to race, but it only took 7 minutes to get the job done. Our coach Hamish [Burrell, GB Start & Agecroft RC Coach] made sure we were clear in our preparations and ready to race hard”.

Gold medal number three came from the GB women’s four of Pippa Whittaker, Michelle Vezie, Karen Bennett and Becca Chin. Chin is another rower who made it into the GB senior squad this year, racing at the Windermere Cup in Seattle at the start of the season.

The four produced a dominant performance in their final as they led the field from start to finish, crossing the line in 7:12.28, ahead of the Czech Republic in second and France, who took bronze again.

“I’m really pleased with the performance”, said Bennett, of St. Mary’s University. “They were tough conditions, but we all worked hard together and got the result we wanted in the end. It’s been a very enjoyable regatta and one I’ll always remember”.

Sunday’s finals concluded with the men’s eight race, which saw GB win their fourth gold medal of the Championships. The crew of Tom Ford, Will Warr, Josh Tonnar, Karl Hudpsith, Sam Arnot, Tim Clarke, George Rossiter, Tim Richards and cox Rory Copus followed the example of the women’s four earlier in the day as they led the race throughout, maintaining a two second lead or better at every 500m checkpoint over the French men’s eight in second.

Ford, Warr, Rossiter and Richards were others who competed at the U23 World Championships, and they helped the GB eight surge over the finish line in 6:02.79 to secure a comfortable victory over France.

Cox of the crew Rory Copus, of Oxford Brookes University, conveyed the enthusiasm shared between every member of the crew after the race, saying: “I’ve had my fair share of A finals, but never a medal, let alone a gold. This summer has been a brilliantly enjoyable experience, with a very talented bunch of athletes, and it has ended a phenomenal domestic season with a great race and a golden reward – a fantastic haul for Team GB”.

The lightweight women’s double scull of Ellie Lewis, of Manchester University and Gemma Hall of Newcastle, produced an excellent performance in their final to win a silver medal. The double, who again represented GB at the U23 Worlds, kept in touching distance of Poland’s crew but couldn’t quite find a final push past them to take gold, finishing in 7:44.49, just over a second off first place.

There were also three fine bronze medal winning performances for Great Britain which began with Jamie Copus racing in the lightweight men’s single. Copus, who won a silver medal in the lightweight four at the U23 World Championships, finished in 7:49.06, to take bronze behind Germany’s Konstantin Steinhubel in first and Daniel Matyasovszki of Hungary in second.

Reading University’s Stewart Innes raced in the single scull in the open weight category, winning another bronze as he held off a strong challenge for a podium finish from Mexico’s Juan Carlos Cabrera, to finish in 7:28.84.

The third and final bronze medal of the event came from the lightweight men’s four of George McKirdy, Stuart Heap, Donald Evans and Nick Buckle, who finished just 0.01 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic in a stunning race. In an all-European final, the top four crews, France, Italy, GB and the Czechs, were separated by just two seconds. This race preceded the men’s eight final, as Britain rounded off a fantastic regatta with back-to-back medals.

Following the conclusion of the event, GB’s Team Manager for the Championships, Lee Boucher, said: “The team came out to France with plenty of confidence after an impressive domestic season. However, all of our crews were made to work extremely hard for their places on the podium today.

“The FISU experience is an important development opportunity for our aspiring senior athletes and we are absolutely delighted to be returning with a best ever haul of eight medals and seeing each crew gain valuable international racing experience”.

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RESULTS – A FINALS

Only GB results listed, for full results go to: http://www.avironfrance.fr/Resultats/Resultats.php?Regate=2014013&Epreuves=tout

OPEN

WOMEN

Four

1. Pippa Whittaker/Michelle Vezie/Karen Bennett/Rebecca Chin (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:12.28
2. Czech Republic 7:15.70
3. France 7:25.90
4. Germany 7:31.19
5. Italy 7:36.19
6. Netherlands 7:39.23

OPEN

MEN

Four

1. Poland 6:24.86
2. Canada 6:27.21
3. Italy 6:29.00
4. Francis Highton/Louis Patterson/Barney Stentiford/Dominic Meyrick-Cole (GREAT BRITAIN)
6:30.60
5. Czech Republic 6:38.85
6. Netherlands 6:43.86

Eight

1. Tom Ford/Will Warr/Josh Tonnar/Karl Hudspith/Sam Arnot/Tim Clarke/George Rossiter/
Tim Richards/Rory Copus (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:02.79
2. France 6:06.10
3. Canada 6:10.26
4. Netherlands 6:15.87
5. Poland 6:15.23
6. Russia 6:17.65

Single scull

1. Bendeguz Petervari-Molnar (Hungary) 7:22.30
2. Adam Wicenciak (Poland) 7:26.97
3. Stewart Innes (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:28.84
4. Juan Carlos Cabrera (Mexico) 7:29.39
5. Andre Redr (Slovakia) 7:39.35
6. Pavel Sorin (Russia) 7:45.81

LIGHTWEIGHT

WOMEN

Single scull

1. Emily Craig (GREAT BRITAIN) 8:39.27
2. Julie Marechal (France) 8:47.98
3. Joanna Dorociak (Poland) 8:52.23
4. Denisa Cvancarova (Czech Republic) 8:56.44
5. Lisa Own (New Zealand) 9:02.95
6. Anastasia Ianina (Russia) 9:05.13

Double scull

1. Monika Kowalska/Martyna Mikolajczak (Poland) 7:43.43
2. Gemma Hall/Ellie Lewis (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:44.49
3. Monserrat Garcia/Analicia Ramirez (Mexico) 7:52.01
4. Ruth Morris/Orla Hayes (Ireland) 7:55.00
5. Fanny Belais/Olivia Wyss (Switzerland) 7:57.87
6. Lilian Page/Jenna Pelham (Canada) 8:03.83

LIGHTWEIGHT

MEN

Four

1. France 6:39.54
2. Italy 6:40.97
3. George McKirdy/Stuart Heap/Donald Evans/Nick Buckle (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:41.08
4. Czech Republic 6:41.09
5. Netherlands 6:43.26
6. Poland 7:01.01

Single scull

1. Konstantin Steinhubel (Germany) 7:42.43
2. Daniel Matyasovszki (Hungary) 7:45.22
3. Jamie Copus (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:49.06
4. Alexander Tupanyuk (Russia) 7:56.55
5. Andre Pereira (Portugal) 8:03.94
6. Erik Dekker (Netherlands) 8:07.05

Double scull

1. Zak Lee-Grenn/Hugh Gallie (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:49.95
2. Peter Galambos/Gabor Csepregi (Hungary) 6:51.19
3. Thibault Lecomte/Pierre Houin (France) 6:54.01
4. Roman Acht/Jonathan Rommelmann (Germany) 6:56.24
5. Silvan Zehnder/Michael Albisser (Switzerland) 7:01.58
6. Gary O’Donovan/Shane O’Driscoll (Ireland) 7:06.62

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BUCS SPORT GB ROWING TEAM FOR WORLD UNIVERSITY ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS

OPEN

WOMEN

Four

Karen Bennett (St. Mary’s, Twickenham)
Rebecca Chin (Manchester Metropolitan)
Michelle Vezie (Imperial College)
Pippa Whittaker (Loughborough University)

OPEN

MEN

Four

Francis Highton (Durham University)
Dominic Meyrick-Cole (University of Amsterdam)
Barney Stentiford (Durham University)
Louis Paterson (Oxford Brookes University)

Eight

Will Warr (Durham University)
Josh Tonnar (St Mary’s, Twickenham)
Karl Hudspith (Oxford University)
Sam Arnot (Newcastle University)
Tim Clarke (Newcastle University)
Tom Ford (Newcastle University)
Tim Richards (Imperial College)
George Rossiter (Newcastle University)
Rory Copus (cox) (Oxford Brookes University)

Single scull

Stewart Innes (Reading University)

LIGHTWEIGHT

WOMEN

Single scull

Emily Craig (University of London)

Double scull

Ellie Lewis (Manchester University)
Gemma Hall (Newcastle University)

LIGHTWEIGHT

MEN

Four

George McKirdy (Nottingham Unviersity)
Stuart Heap (University of East London)
Donald Evans (Queens, Belfast)
Nick Buckle (Newcastle University)

Single scull

Jamie Copus (Oxford Brookes University)

Double scull

Hugh Gallie (Manchester University)
Zak Lee-Green (Manchester University)

Management

Lead Coach: Pete Sheppard (GB Rowing Team)
Team Manager: Lee Boucher (Scottish Rowing)

Physio: Anna Green

Coaches

Franz Imfeld (Surrey University & Molesey BC)
Hamish Burrell (GBRT Start & Agecroft RC)
Phil Gray (University of London BC)

BUCS are the National Governing Body for Higher Education sport, and enter teams into the World University Championships on behalf of Great Britain and NI with the support of National Governing Bodies of sport. The World University Rowing Championships are one of more than thirty World University Sport Championships organised by FISU in 2014.

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