Beach Sprint Season is well under way – here’s what’s coming up this year
A shot at the ‘triple crown’, a trip to Bali on the line, and an eagerly awaited Olympic announcement due any day – here is what you need to know about the next few months of Sprints
The most action-packed, adrenaline-fueled form of rowing has got off to a cracking start in 2023.
May saw three major Sprints events take place, displaying the wealth of talent this sport is already drawing across the UK ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2026. Confirmation has yet to be announced for inclusion in the Olympic Games 2028 (announcement due in June, mark your calendars), but it’s already apparent that Sprints are here to stay.
Welsh Beach Sprint Championships
Beach Sprints returned to Saundersfoot early this month – a venue which stood the test of the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals in 2022. The coveted Men’s Solo event was won by familiar face Gregor Hall of Stirling RC, who ranked 4th for GB in the World for Sprints in 2022 and won the Commonwealth Regatta in Namibia for Scotland. A new addition to the sport was Xanthe Weatherhead, a Leander rower trying out the format for the first time, who took the Women’s Solo title.
Two U19 rowers (also new to the discipline this season) Twm Owen and Natasha Phillips won the mixed doubles gold.
Scottish Beach Sprint Regatta
Held in Ayr on 14 May, this event saw another medal for Gregor Hall – this time silver. He raced just a day after his gold medal at the Welsh competition, losing out to Sam Scrimgeour. Scrimgeour (Glasgow RC) raced in the lightweight men’s pair for nearly all of the Rio Olympiad, winning medals at four successive World Championships, and was an established member of a very competitive lightweight men’s squad.
Sam’s victory scuppered Gregor’s goal of a clean sweep of wins in all three events, a feat which some are already referring to as the ‘triple crown’.
The Scottish women’s event was won by Sarah Happs, of George Heriot’s School, who as an U19 athlete, swept both the overall and U19 wins. Well done Sarah! The fastest under 19 male athlete of the day was James Renn from Tees RC.
English Beach Sprint Regatta
The English Beach Sprint Regatta was held at Studland Bay in Dorset last weekend. Over 65 rowers from across the coastal and river communities took part, making it one of the biggest Beach Sprint events held in the UK since the advent of the format. Gregor Hall won the men’s event to make it two wins out of three, and the women’s by Bass Andre of Molesey BC, a former coastal rower at Shanklin Sundown BC who was new to the Beach Sprint format.
The top U19 male was Joshua Port of Lancaster Royal Grammar School BC, who currently conducts his coastal training at Mumbles RC in South Wales. The top U19 female was Evelyn Pakule of Lea RC. A relative ‘veteran’ of the format, Pakule competed for GB at last year’s World Beach Sprint Finals in the U19 Mix2x alongside Oliver Robertson.
Next up is the first GB Beach Sprint Selection Trial which takes place at Tees RC and Redcar Beach on 10-11 June.
Here the GB team for the ANOC World Beach Games in Bali in August will be finalised, alongside the first stages of selection for this season’s other competitions; Beach Sprint Coupe de la Jeunessee, Europeans Rowing Beach Sprint Championships and World Beach Sprint Finals.
Those interested in trying out for the GB Beach Sprints teams can register their interest on the button below.
Want to know more about the format? Check it out here.