Olympic superstars to race at Senior Championships

Rio 2016 Olympic champion Scott Durant and silver-medalist Karen Bennett will be among the thousands of competitors at the 2016 British Rowing Senior Championships, taking place in Nottingham this Saturday and Sunday.

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A host of reigning World Champions, at both senior and U23 level, will also be representing their clubs when the two-day competition is staged at the National Water Sports Centre, Holme Pierrepont.

“I love racing at the British Championships”, Scott Durant, Olympic champion

The last time Durant raced, he was part of the Team GB men’s eight that stormed to gold in memorable style on the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Two months later, and at the end of a week when the Rio 2016 heroes were celebrated in Manchester and London, he will line up in an Oxford Brookes University eight looking to retain the British title they won last year.

“I’m looking forward to this weekend, I love racing at the British Championships and it should be good fun as always,” said Durant.

“It’s always good to get back into an Oxford Brookes boat and race with the students coming through. Brookes played such a huge part in my rowing development – I was there for six years between leaving school and joining the GB Rowing Team, and I owe so much of my rowing success to them.

“It should be a good competition. There are a lot of guys coming into the GB team who will be racing for the likes of Leander this weekend, so it will be tough but we are hoping to retain our title.”

Also representing Oxford Brookes are double Olympian Peter Chambers, twice World Champion Mat Tarrant, who was a men’s heavyweight spare in Rio, and Joel Cassells, a European Champion and World bronze-medallist in the lightweight men’s pair this year.

Sam Scrimgeour, Cassells’ partner in the boat for both of those races and the lightweight men’s spare at the Olympic Games, races for Imperial College BC this weekend.

The men's eight from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Bennett’s last competitive outing was with the GB women’s eight that won a historic silver medal in Rio. She returns to action as part of a strong Leander Club squad looking to once again secure the Victor Ludorum accolade for top performing club.

“I’m excited to kick-start the season at the British Championships,” said GB Rowing Team Start graduate Bennett, who will compete in a women’s eight field that has attracted an impressive 31 crew entries.

“It’s great to see so many women getting involved and racing. The eight is a very fast but fun boat because you can share all the moments with eight other people.

“It will be the first time I’ve raced since my Olympic final and the scenery will be a bit different but I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to represent my club. They’ve given me a lot of help over the years so when I was offered the chance to race for them this weekend I couldn’t turn it down.

“It will be tough after the post-Rio break I’ve had but I’m going to go out there and give it my best shot.”

Other rowers with senior GB experience include Becca Chin, Caragh McMurtry, Jamie Copus, Zak Lee-Green and Nick Middleton, who won both the double scull and quadruple scull titles at last year’s British Championships.

There will be plenty of potential Tokyo 2020 stars for rowing fans to look out for this weekend, including several who shone at this year’s combined Senior, U23 and Junior World Championships in Rotterdam.

“It’s fantastic to see such a strong and diverse line-up”, Jim Harlow, Regatta Chairman.

Ollie Cook (University of London BC) and Callum McBrierty (Leander), powered to gold alongside cox Henry Fieldman in the senior men’s coxed pair, while three of the women’s four that won in Rotterdam – Fiona Gammond, Holly Nixon and Holly Norton – will race in Leander colours this weekend.

Lightweight women’s quadruple scull World Champion Emily Craig will represent University of London BC, while Ellie Piggott and Brianna Stubbs – her team-mates in Rotterdam – will race for Wallingford RC.

All six of GB’s reigning U23 World Champions will be in action – Jess Leyden (Leander) and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne (Reading RC) were emphatic winners of women’s double scull gold, while Hugo Coussens (Durham University BC), Ollie Varley (Newcastle University BC), Matthew Curtis and Gavin Horsburgh (both Edinburgh University BC) took the lightweight men’s quadruple scull title in fine style.

Eleven other U23 medallists and eight World Junior medallists will also take their place among the 1,004 rowers from 100 clubs – 19 of which are composites – who have signed up for this weekend’s championships.

Jim Harlow, Chairman of the Regatta added: “It’s fantastic to see such a strong and diverse line-up at this year’s Senior Championships. It is testament to the strength and depth of senior rowing across the UK. Rowing is one of those rare sports where club rowers have the chance to compete alongside GB rowers including returning Olympic champions. After so many inspiring performances on the Lagoa in Rio it is set to be a hotly contested championship.”

Races will take place in nine categories – men’s and women’s double sculls, men’s and women’s fours, men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, men’s and women’s eights, and mixed para-rowing.

Racing is scheduled to begin at 9am on both days and conclude around 4.30pm on Saturday and 4.10pm on Sunday. This year’s championships are the first-ever to include prizes for non-high performance programme clubs and universities.

For more information about the British Rowing Senior Championships, visit www.britchamps.org/seniors.

SCHEDULE FOR A FINALS (ALL SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Saturday

15:30 – men’s double scull

15:48 – women’s double scull

16:06 – men’s four

16:24 – women’s four

 

Sunday

13:40 – para-rowing

15:06 – women’s eight

15:24 – men’s quadruple scull

15:42 – women’s quadruple scull

16:00 – men’s eight

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