World Rowing Cup III underway on the Rotsee: All GB crews race on first day of action

Great Britain has qualified for five finals and six semi finals after a busy day of racing which saw time trials and side-by-side racing taking place on the Rotsee at World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne


All 14 GB boats took to the water with the Women’s four, Men’s quad, Men’s eight, Women’s eight and Lightweight women’s single making A finals. Both men’s four boats and the lightweight women’s double put in impressive time trial performances to proceed to the semi finals.

Many crews raced twice with the Women’s pair, men’s pair and men’s double all building on their time trial performances to also secure semi final places.

Louise Kingsley, Director of Performance for the GB Rowing Team said: “Our crews have responded well to the time trial format and the busy schedule today. We already have five opportunities to make the podium and there should be some quality racing across the semi finals, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we progress across the weekend.”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell

World Cup II bronze medallists, Callum Dixon, George Bourne, Matt Haywood and Tom Barras won their Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x) heat, taking the only spot in Sunday’s A final. Callum, new into the boat this season, said: “I’m feeling pretty good. All you can do is win the race you’re in and that’s what we set out to do so we’re happy with the result. There are still places to go and things to improve. It’s been such a learning experience this whole season, going full time with the team and being in this boat and I’m learning more in every race.”

Racing a heat for the first time this season were the men’s eight (M8+) of Will Stewart, Morgan Bolding, Jacob Dawson, Sholto Carnegie, Rory Gibbs, Tom Digby, James Rudkin, Tom Ford and cox, Harry Brightmore. They led from the front and will now race the final on Sunday. “I think for us, the two first races we had this year have been a preliminary or a race for lanes, so it was nice to have one where there was something on the line.” said Tom Ford, adding, It was good to win and to get it out the way – the first one is always the most nerve wracking and hopefully we can improve on Sunday.”

Olivia Bates led her repechage from the start to qualify for the final after finishing second in the earlier heat. The World Cup II bronze medalist said: “I thought my second race today was a step on from the first one this morning and I felt a lot more controlled in it. It was nice to get out on the course on such a beautiful day. I’ve not rowed at Lucerne before so it was great to get out there and have a go. It’s exciting to make an A Final and I can’t wait to go again tomorrow.”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell

Also securing a spot in the final, with a second place heat finish behind Australia, were the Women’s four (W4-) of Rowan McKellar, Heidi Long, Rebecca Shorten and Helen Glover.  “I think we had a good start” said Rebecca, adding, “It was good to the 1k, then we lost it a bit at the finish. The Austalians started to come through and I think we could’ve tried to hold them off a bit. We are continuing to learn and we will take that through into the final.”

The Women’s Eight (W8+) of Natasha Morrice, Rebecca Edwards, Lauren Irwin, Karen Bennett, Esme Booth, Emily Ford, Hattie Taylor, Annie Campbell-Orde and cox, Henry Fieldman will also compete in the A final, following a first place finish in the preliminary race.

The two Men’s four (M4-) crews were racing the time trial in the same heat and qualified for the semi final. Finishing first were GBR1 of Oli Wilkes, David Ambler, Matt Aldridge and Freddie Davidson with Dan Graham, James Robson, Sam Bannister and Sam Nunn in GBR2 close behind in second.

Talking about the time trial format, Freddie from GBR1 said: “It was definitely a learning experience for us. It is quite a stressful way of racing because you have no reference of the other boats all the way down. I think we found we were quite on edge all the way just trying to push the speed, and we weren’t able to relax into our rhythm like we normally would. It was difficult, but I think we did a decent job in difficult circumstances. We’re relatively happy with today and looking forward to the semi final.”

James from GBR2 was happy with the result, explaining: “It’s a bit of a learning experience for us considering we jumped into the boat on Monday after Henley and flew out on Wednesday! We’ve been learning how we all row and trying to get used to how it feels. It was a good start. There are definitely lessons to learn for tomorrow and things we’ll go away and talk to our coach (John Gearing) about to try and implement tomorrow morning. It’s just an epic experience for Dan (Graham) and I to get our first senior vest!”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell

Emily Craig and Imogen Grant recorded the fastest time across the Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x) time trial heats and will race again in the semi final on Saturday. Also recording the fastest time across the time trial heats were Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George in the Men’s pair (M2-). They raced twice, also winning their quarter final to breeze into the semi final.

Lucy Glover, Georgie Brayshaw, Hannah Scott and Lauren Henry finished second in the Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x) behind Olympic & World Champions, China, and will race the repechage on Saturday.

The Women’s pair (W2-) of 2020 Olympian Chloe Brew and GB debutante Juliette Perry put in a strong sprint finish in the repechage to qualify for the semi finals in second place. Earlier in the day they placed third in the time trial heat. Aidan Thompson and John Collins put in an impressive, controlled row in the Men’s Double sculls (M2x) repechage finishing second to qualify for the semi final, after they finished 4th in the earlier time trial heat.

Kyra Edwards raced in the quarter final finishing fifth after she came second in the Women’s single sculls (W1x) time trial heat. She will line up again in the D final. Tobias Schröder gained valuable racing experience in the men’s single sculls (M1x) time trial placing 5th in his heat. He progresses to the F final on Saturday morning.