GBRT 3rd Winter Assessment: ‘When the waves started we were excited and really cracked on’

Anastasia Chitty explains how she and Rebecca Girling relished the chance to race in choppy waters at the 3rd Winter Assessment on Saturday


Anastasia Chitty (right) with Rebecca Girling at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan in 2017 (Naomi Baker)

While many competitors were shivering and wishing the GB Rowing Team 3rd Winter Assessment was held in warmer and flatter climes, Anastasia Chitty and Rebecca Girling made hay while the waves rolled down the River Witham in Boston.

The duo, representing Leander Club and Molesey BC respectively, finished third in the women’s pair classification, behind the combinations of Holly Hill and Holly Norton, and Rebecca Shorten and Karen Bennett in a time of 19:30.66.

Chitty and Girling raced together in the pair at the World Rowing Cup in Poznan last summer, but other than that their partnership is relatively young. When they saw the weather forecast, though, they were confident they could put in a good performance.

“We both had a good trial a couple of years ago in the bad water, so we were really up for it,” Chitty said. “We weren’t that fast in the first half, but when the waves started we were excited and really cracked on.

“In a way it’s fun [to row with someone new], because you’re progressing all the time, but one of the challenges is that you don’t necessarily know what to expect and you can’t count on it being consistent. We have rowed a bit together and we’re on the same page with our attitude and approach to racing, which helps.”

Weather conditions deteriorated throughout the day, with the women enjoying the ‘best’ of it, which still consisted of cold temperatures, strong winds and a hefty current on the water along the 5km stretch to Boston RC.

Trials and assessments are tough times for rowers across the country at all levels – not only physically having to perform at your best, but also competing against your friends and teammates for a spot in the best boats.

But while Chitty admits it’s a challenge, she knows that the competition between individuals and crews in the winter will only benefit the Team as a whole when it comes to racing in the summer.

“We have to remember that we’re all part of the same team,” she said. “Katherine [Douglas] shouted out at the start “One team, one dream” – we’re all trying to make each other go faster and at the end of the day that’s going to make us better in the summer.”