Great Britain sit top of the medal table after first day of finals at the European Rowing Championships

Great Britain won four gold medals and a bronze and sit top of the medal table after the first day of finals at the European Rowing Championships in Szeged, Hungary


Medals were won across the men’s, women’s and para rowing squads with the Women’s four, Women’s quad, Men’s eight and PR3 Mixed double all winning gold.

It was a win for the Women’s four (W4-) of Helen Glover, Esme Booth, Sam Redgrave and Rebecca Shorten after a tussle with the Romanians saw the GB crew take and keep the lead from the halfway mark. A buoyant Esme said: “It’s great to be a European Champion. I was just saying I don’t have any sort of championship title yet and now I do! I’m so happy!”

Double Olympic Champion, Helen Glover, winning her first championship title since 2021 added: “It’s what we were after and it’s probably the most composed I’ve felt in any race and that’s saying something. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our crew, I have a sense that we’re still in a learning process. Even mid-race I’m thinking – this is good, we’re learning! With such a new crew, all the races we do this season are significant moments… Varese was important in putting a line in the sand, today’s been a significant moment referencing last year’s Europeans, when Romania went through us in the last 500m, moving onto the next race will be a big learning moment of more nations coming in and people stepping on into the competition. I’m excited we are so new, with so much still to learn.”

Registering their first win as a crew were newly crowned European Champions, Sam Murray and Annie Caddick in the PR3 Mixed double sculls (PR3 Mix 2x). Annie said: “It’s very exciting. There were bits that caught us off guard but we dealt with them well. We thought we’d be in the medals, we didn’t know what colour it would be so it’s an exciting day for us. It’s our first ever win as a crew. To be a European Champion is mad, it hasn’t sunk in yet.” Sam said: “We weren’t sure how we would do but we just trusted our training through the winter and full credit to Annie for putting down a really strong rhythm for us. We’re happy with how we executed it. We know we need to keep improving as we move through the summer but it’s good to start with a win here. We know there’s more there and it’s how we can keep locking it together.”

The Men’s eight (M8+) was a thrilling, high tempo race with the GB crew of Sholto Carnegie, Rory Gibbs, Morgan Bolding, Jacob Dawson, Charlie Elwes, Tom Digby, James Rudkin, Tom Ford and cox Harry Brightmore holding off pressure from the German boat to take the gold. Jacob said: “We knew it was going to be a tough race. The Germans are hungry to right their wrongs from the last few years and it was very clear Romania wanted to make a big push for this Championships, so for us it was all about keeping to our plan and not getting flustered by what anyone else threw at us. It’s never going to be enough until we take the last stroke of the most important race this summer and we are always striving for more… to go quicker.”

James Rudkin added: “We know that people are going to try to challenge us and put on some pressure, which the Germans tried to do. I think we rose to that pressure well and I was happy with how we held them off and pushed on towards the end – so it was a good race. We’re prepared that crews are going to come out for us this season, and we’re ready for that fight and want to take it on and push ourselves to be the best version that we can be. We’re in it to win. We’ve got Harry (cox) there talking us through the race and you feel like you’re one engine, one machine, driving it along. Everyone is doing their own bit to make the boat go as fast as possible and you could really feel that when he called us to push on. It wasn’t one person trying to smack at it more, it was all nine of us giving it everything we’ve got, so we’re happy with that and that’s the strength we’ll need to race fast crews across the season.”

Back to winning ways were Lauren Henry, Hannah Scott, Lola Anderson and Georgie Brayshaw in the Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x), who topped the podium after a tight race ahead of Ukraine. Hannah said: “We had some teething problems at the start of the season, but we were learning from that and today was a display of the work we’ve put in for the last week and a half since missing out in Varese. I think we’ve always been on this track but that showed the work we put in through the winter and we are almost happier to see that than to see the result. Today was a row we can be familiar and happy with and I’m proud that we delivered under that pressure. It’s another learning for us.” Lauren added: “It makes me really pleased that we’ve taken the disappointment of Varese and turned it around here. It’s nice to be back on top again, on a podium with a gold.”

Benjamin Pritchard won another European bronze medal in the PR1 Men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x), he said: “It’s another bronze medal but I’m working in the right direction in terms of profile, race technique and race craft – learning how to build through a weekend. It’s taken me since 2019 but we’re getting there slowly. I posted a PB in the heats, that shows all the hard work is paying off. It’s good to start faster than I finished last season.”

Narrowly missing out on the podium with fourth place finishes were Olivia Bates and Imogen Grant in Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x) and the Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x) of Callum Dixon, Tom Barras, Matt Haywood and Graeme Thomas.

George Bourne is into the Men’s single sculls (M1x) final after a thrilling finish in the semi final saw him cross the line in third place. “My finish is something I’ve worked on since World Cup I, it’s not something you always want to test in a race, but it’s a big learning block.” He said, adding, “These opportunities are coming in thick and fast and I’m learning a lot of things. It wasn’t ideally how you’d want to pace a race, but these other guys did a good job in those conditions and I’ll try to learn from them going forward. I knew I had to give everything I had going into the line or I was going to fall short of the A Final. I’m proud to be in it. It’s another step on the way to try and qualify at the final qualification regatta but I’ve got a lot of things to work on. I’ll see what I can bring out of the hat tomorrow.”

Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George won their Men’s pair (M2-) semi-final, rowing through Romania at the halfway point and maintaining their lead to finish almost three seconds ahead.

Seb Devereux and John Collins were fifth in the Men’s double sculls (M2x) semi-final and will race again in the B final.

Tomorrow will see seven more crews bid to make the podium here in Hungary. You can follow the action across British Rowing social media channels and the World Rowing website. Racing will also be shown on BBC iPlayer and the BBC website.

Full results and crew lists

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