Record-breaking weekend of racing at Senior Champs 2016

Olympic medallist Karen Bennett and a host of potential Tokyo 2020 stars were among the winners during an action-packed weekend of racing at the British Rowing Senior Championships in Nottingham.

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Credit: Naomi Baker

Bennett was part of a Leander Club crew, along with reigning World Champions Fiona Gammond and Holly Norton, that claimed gold in a well-contested women’s eight competition on Sunday.

“That was a really nice way to start the season,” said Bennett. “It was great fun racing with the girls, they are all up-and-coming rowers and really talented.”

Leander also won the men’s eight title in a new regatta record as they got the better of an experienced Oxford Brookes University crew featuring Olympic champion Scott Durant and fellow Rio 2016 rowers Peter Chambers and Mat Tarrant.

Holly Nixon and Jess Leyden, World Senior and U23 Champions respectively, teamed up with Lucy Burgess and Emily Carmichael to claim a clear-water victory in the women’s quadruple scull.

And their club colleagues at Leander recorded a one-two in the men’s competition, with gold going to the lightweight quad of Ed Fisher, Charles Waite-Roberts, Jonathan Jackson and Samuel Mottram.

The first day of competition saw a 26-year-old record fall as an Isis A crew featuring Ollie Cook took full advantage of the weekend’s tail-winds to win a cracking men’s four final in a new regatta-best time of 6:03.17.

Cook was one of three reigning World Champions to claim gold on Saturday, with Wallingford RC’s Brianna Stubbs and Ellie Piggott continuing their successful partnership by dominating the women’s double competition.

Leander Club’s Nick Middleton and Tom Barras did likewise in the men’s double, while Cambridge University Women’s BC’s A crew of Myriam Goudet, Alice White, Lucy Pike and Melissa Wilson claimed the women’s four title in impressive fashion.

Four aspiring GB para-rowers competed in an open arms-trunk single scull, with Scott Jones (Gloucester Hartpury), Sophie Brown (Sudbury RC) and Ekow Otoo (Marlow RC) winning gold in their respective classifications.

Paralympics legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson presented the medals and said: “The inclusive nature of these Championships is really important and great to see. I wish more sports would do it.”

This year’s Championships – sponsored by Visit Sarasota County, hosts of the 2017 World Senior Championships – were the first to include prizes for non-high performance programme clubs and universities. Tideway Scullers School, Lea RC, Kingston RC and Thames RC were among the clubs to take home shields.

More than 1,000 rowers from 100 clubs – 19 of which were composites – raced during a busy and competitive weekend.

Jim Harlow, Chairman of the Regatta, said: “It has been a hugely successful weekend at the British Rowing Senior Championships. We have seen lots of close racing over the course of the weekend, with crews really pushing each other to bring out their best. It is testament to the dedication and hard work that every rower and coach puts in; it’s great to see.

“I would like to personally thank all the outstanding volunteers, without which this event would not be possible. I’m already looking forward to next year!”

Go to http://www.britchamps.org/seniors to see the results in full and click on the expander boxes below for reports and reaction from the weekend, plus a roll of honour.

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