Strong opening session from GB at Europeans

Some dominant performances were produced by GB’s rowers on the Beetzee regatta course in Brandenburg in the opening session of the European Championships.

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They're off - 2016 campaign begins. Copyright: intersport Images

Some dominant performances were produced by GB’s rowers on the Beetzee regatta course in Brandenburg in the opening session of the European Championships.

Seven of the crews in action booked places in Sunday’s finals whilst a further five reached the semi-finals and four still have the chance to progress through repechages.

Headline heat wins by wide margins came from the new-look men’s four of Alex Gregory, George Nash, Mohamed Sbihi and Constantine Louloudis, the women’s pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning and light men’s four of Chris Bartley, Mark Aldred, Jono Clegg and Peter Chambers.

Double-scullers Vicky Thornley and Katherine Grainger also booked safe passage by a length over the Czech Republic.

Both GB eights topped their heats.  The men held off the fast-finishing Poles and the women broke away from Romania to seal their wins.  Each crew has undergone some adjustments from those crews that competed in the World finals last September after competitive GB trials.

Sam Scrimgeour and Joel Cassells repelled all opposition with some force in the light men’s pair – the only non-Olympic class GB boat to reach the finals.

Charlotte Taylor and Kat Copeland, World silver medallists, proved strong to the finish to win their lightweight women’s double scull heat and move to tomorrow’s semi-finals.  Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes made a good start to their international career in this boat together by winning their men’s pair heat.

Jamie Kirkwood made his place in a semi safe with a second place in the light men’s single heat – the opening race of the day for GB and one which had the closest of finishes.

John Collins and Jonny Walton made sure of their semi-final passage with a third-placed finish in the open men’s double scull.  Alan Campbell was not so lucky in a stacked men’s single scull heat won by defending champion Damir Martin of Croatia. He was third and, with only two qualifying, now races a repechage later today.

Mathilda Hodgkins-Bryne travelled to Brandenburg as a reserve for the women’s quadruple scull, was entered for the single scull and ended up reaching the semi-finals with a third-placed finish on her debut in this event at this level.

Angus Groom has joined the GB men’s quadruple scull this season in lieu of the injured Charles Cousins and the new crew of Groom, Sam Townsend, Graeme Thomas and Peter Lambert did not have it all their own way in the early afternoon with Russia snatching the only direct qualification slot for the finals.  Both GB open quads will now contest repechages tomorrow as the equivalent women’s boat came home third in their heat as did Imogen Walsh in the light women’s single.

For reaction to this report and media interview requests please contact the GB Rowing Team press office on site:  [email protected] or 07831 755351 or 07765 071683

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