Rowers shine in the sun on a golden pond at the British Rowing Senior Championships
More than 780 of Britain’s club rowers launched out alongside Olympic and world medal stars at the British Rowing Senior Championships in a weekend of top class racing
Rowers warmed to their task at a sun-kissed British Rowing Senior Championships (BRSC) in Nottingham over the weekend, as 207 eights, quads, coxless fours and doubles fought it out to be crowned kings and queens of the country.
GB’s rowers may have been in the Land of the Rising Sun for an orientation visit ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the competition still proved hot, with the likes of returning Olympic medallists Polly Swann and Kat Copeland tussling for glory in the women’s doubles.
Racing into a stiff headwind, Rio eights medallist Swann ultimately took the honours with Edinburgh University BC world U23 medal partner Lucy Glover by some three lengths from London 2012 champion Copeland and Leander partner Georgie Brayshaw, with University of London BC duo Robyn Hart-Winkes and Rosalind Wilso third.
Day one of the British Rowing Senior Championships also saw a remarkable five Edinburgh rowers on the podium in the men’s doubles, Josh Armstrong teaming up with GB world U23 champion quad crew mate Matthew Haywood of Nottingham RC to lift gold by 5.9secs from club mates Jack Burns and Jake Offiler, who pipped James Temple and Gavin Horsburgh to silver by just 0.14secs.
It may be six months to the Boat Race, but it was daggers drawn in the open coxless fours as Goldie and Isis went head to head at the front of the field, 2018-winning Light Blues Dara Alizadeh and Freddie Davidson getting the better of their Oxford rivals again with Polish Olympian Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk and Callum Sullivan, with the Dark Blues in silver 6.02secs back and Oxford Brookes coming through Goldie’s second boat right on the line for bronze.
Cambridge’s women followed the men’s lead to land women’s coxless four gold, Brits Patricia Smith and Pippa Whittaker teaming with American Lily Lindsay and Danish international Gørtz Jacobsen to win by 8.38secs from Molesey with Edinburgh University BC third.
Day two saw Leander shake off University of London BC’s early challenge to take Women’s eights gold by 6.6secs, with Molesey just over clear water back on UL in bronze.
The Pink Palace’s quad of Rio Olympian Will Fletcher, GB world junior medallists Victor Kleshnev and James Cartwright, and Olly Dix also held off the challenge of Edinburgh University BC’s scullers, winning by just over a length from day one’s gold and silver medal doubles, who squeezed out their own lightweights by 0.3secs.
Ruth Siddorn, Mairi Buchan, Georgie Brayshaw and Katherine Maitland matched their Leander club mates in the women’s quads to make it three titles in a row for the Henley outfit, powering home four lengths clear, as a Molesey shipwreck 50m out let Reading University take bronze behind composite silver medallists Nottingham RC/Norwich.
But Oxford Brookes BC‘s top men’s eight denied Leander a clean Sunday sweep in the last race of the regatta, as they powered home 3.45secs clear with Molesey in bronze, reclaiming the title last won in 2015.
Edinburgh University BC took the Victor Ludorum back north of the border with 1,088 points, with Oxford Brookes BC second on 836 and Leander third on 772.
British Rowing Senior Championships chairman Jim Harlow said: “We’ve had brilliant weather and some really exciting racing.
“The time-trial formula with A/B/C/D semis and finals means that everyone got two competitive side-by-side races.
And for the first time we’ve had a really competitive VL competition, which is great for the event. It’s been really successful and we’ll be reviewing how we can do even better.”