Five gold medals for Great Britain at World Rowing Cup II

Great Britain won five gold, a silver and a bronze medal on the final day of racing at World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne

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Credit: Benedict Tufnell

Added to the bronze won on Saturday, the eight medal haul saw GB finish second on the medal table, tied on the number of golds with the Netherlands.

The Women’s four (W4-) of Helen Glover, Esme Booth, Sam Redgrave and Rebecca Shorten won gold 2.5 seconds ahead of the Dutch World Champions, to maintain their winning streak in 2024. Esme said: “The result here is important, it’s a beautiful event, the scenery is amazing and it’s a great place to come. I think after the Europeans we sat down and put down a few things we wanted to work on, today was a really good chance to put those building blocks into place and have a good run down the track. Winning emotions are amazing, my parents are here and it’s so special to have everyone out here supporting us.”

Helen added: “Lucerne is an amazing regatta in its own right…. This race is just such a special event for our sport. So to be out here, to be racing, to be winning in a nice, more controlled style, is great. We know where we want to get to and to see the pieces falling into place this early in the season is really encouraging, because we do feel like there’s more to come.”

Only two crews in the world remain unbeaten this Olympiad, and one of those is Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x). The double led their final throughout, despite some initial pressure from New Zealand, and crossed the line with clear water. “We relish the competition,” Emily said, “It’s always great to come down the track – from the first World Cup, the Europeans when I was absent and now we’ve raced everyone who is likely to be in that A Final at the Olympics in two months time, so it’s nice to put a post in the ground. Getting back in the boat is a real testament to the bond that Imo and I have and between us and Darren, our coach. To get through the last few weeks and put out a performance like that. It was not only back to where we were but frankly a step on to where we have been. It feels very special and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done.”

When asked about their Tokyo result, Imogen said: “I feel like at this point we’ve done the result in Tokyo justice. We came back with a point to prove and we’ve proven it over the last few seasons. The chance at having another crack at the Olympics is very exciting. But in honesty, we just want to be proud of how we row and race and so far that’s come every time we’ve raced together this season. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved over the last few years, it’s such a privilege getting to do this together and regardless of the results in a couple of months time I know I’m going to cross the line in floods of tears because we’ll never get to do it again.”

It was a second World Cup gold in 2024 for Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George in the Men’s pair (M2-), also maintaining their winning streak this season. Ollie said: “It’s nice to be unbeaten. Great.  But we don’t want to dwell on that, we don’t want to stop. We have learnings to take away and there are parts that we know can be better. But we are happy with today and it’s good to get a win on a beautiful lake.”

Tom added: “We were in control and we are happy with that, but we’re never going to stop and be happy with where we’re at. We’ll keep pushing. People keep asking us about expectations and telling us we’re favourites now, it doesn’t really matter. We have a lot of training to do and we want to keep pushing to find more speed.”

GB stormed to victory in the Women’s quadruple sculls (W4x) with an emphatic win. The World and European Champion crew of Lauren Henry, Hannah Scott, Lola Anderson and Georgie Brayshaw led from the off to finish around 2.5 seconds ahead of Netherlands. Lola said: “You never really want to feel like you’re in control when you’re racing. It’s a process-orientated sport for us and the minute you start feeling relaxed, for us that’s a minute where someone could slip through your fingers. We try to stay internal and by that logic we don’t really notice what’s going on around us. But it’s spicy inside the boat. We never feel sleepy.”

Hannah added: “We’ve started to hear more about the Olympic gold medal that people have been chasing for years, but there’s plenty of people who are just as talented as us and haven’t won it. So it’s definitely about things going right on the day. That’s what’s important for us – we have to keep it focussed out there, the biggest thing for us is progress, that’s what we’ve been doing every day and that’s why we’ve been building through every race. Hopefully we can keep continuing on and building the speed.”

The Men’s eight (M8+) was fast and frantic 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 taking the upper hand, finishing just 0.20 ahead of the USA who had won the earlier preliminary round. Speaking after the medal ceremony, James said: “I feel pretty tired but that was a really good race for us. Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face and the USA really punched us in the face on Friday. We had our backs against the wall there and turned it around to pull out a race like that today. You train hard to race, we relish racing, we love it, it’s why we do the sport.”

It was silver for Heidi Long, Rowan McKellar, Holly Dunford, Emily Ford, Lauren Irwin, Eve Stewart, Hattie Taylor, Annie Campbell-Orde, and cox, Henry Fieldman in the Women’s eight (W8+). It was an epic race, which saw the GB crew lead from the start, only to be pipped in the final strokes by Canada. Heidi said: “ I think we’ve stepped on a lot in the last few days. What we did really well was we executed what we wanted to do, so if we have a plan for the next eight weeks I think we can really build and be in the mix at the Games.”

The Men’s four (M4-) of Oli Wilkes, David Ambler, Matt Aldridge and Freddie Davidson won bronze behind USA and New Zealand. In a stacked field, Oli said: “Everyone’s come in hungry looking for the big one in Paris.” Freddie added, “We thought that was a good step on from the heat, we’re not over the moon but we’re happy with how we’re progressing and have to keep that going. The next few months will be tough. We’ll come away from this and go up the mountain to training camp, slogging out long miles on the machines and on the water. It’s tough but we are all looking forward to it. It feels like we’re on the up, we need to keep that rolling and not give ourselves a hard time for this result today.”

It was fourth for the Men’s quadruple sculls (M4x) of John Collins, Callum Dixon, Tom Barras and Graeme Thomas and fifth for the GBR2 Men’s pair (M2-) of Will Stewart and James Robson. Chloe Brew and Rebecca Edwards placed ninth overall in the Women’s pair (W2-) B final.

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