Para and Project LA crews impress at World Rowing Cup III

The racing came thick and fast for Great Britain on the first day at World Rowing Cup III 2024 in Poznan, Poland


Credit: Benedict Tufnell

The Para crews got the day underway first, before the Project LA development group took to the water.

European Champions Sam Murray and Annie Caddick were convincing winners in the heat for the PR3 Mixed double sculls (PR3 Mix 2x). Annie said: “We didn’t know how the Americans were going to do because we’ve never raced that combination, and we’ve never raced the French combination either, so we went into it with a few unknowns. Our start was good, we’re normally slightly off on the start and make it up in the middle but we were with them from the start so it gave us the confidence to go and push on.”

Sam added: “We’ve learnt more about how to win this season, and our training back at Caversham has seen our performance move over the last six months. Winning the heat puts us straight through to the final on Sunday so we can start preparing for that. The Australians are the reigning World Champions, and we’re building up to the Games in two and a half month’s time, so we’ll take that result today and we’ll get stuck in on Sunday.”

The remaining Para crews all had preliminary races. Winning their prelims by clear water were World and two-time European champions Gregg Stevenson and Lauren Rowles in the PR2 Mixed double sculls (PR2 Mix2x) and Frankie Allen, Giedre Rakauskaite, Morgan Fice-Noyes, Ed Fuller and cox Erin Kennedy in the PR3 Mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+).

In the PR1 men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x) preliminary race, two-time World and two-time European bronze medallist Benjamin Pritchard GBR1 was third and Scotland’s Jake Woods GBR2 was fifth.

George Bourne returned to racing in the Men’s single sculls (M1x) and was second in his heat. Talking about the race and looking ahead to the semi-final, he said: “It’s always nice to represent your country. It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks so I’m just trying to slot back into the habit because I love racing in the single, it’s hard work but it’s also fun. I’m through to the next round and tomorrow’s a new day so we’ll see what happens in the semi-final.”

The GBR2 Men’s double sculls (M2x) of Rory Harris and Tobias Schroder were second in their heat and through to the semi final. “The race was really fun,” Tobias said, “There was a pretty strong headwind on the start so we knew it was going to be a long race, but we got into some of our best rhythm. We were able to hold it through the middle and finish quite strong so we’re really pleased.” Rory added: “Going straight into the semi final gives us a massive amount of confidence. It was hard coming  into the race with the unknown of who we were racing and how quick we were. As Tobias said, we managed to get into a nice rhythm early on which built our confidence and it was nice to not have to do the repechage this afternoon.”

The GBR1 Men’s double sculls (M2x) raced twice. Stephen Hughes and Cedol Dafydd were fourth in their heat and then won the afternoon repechage in convincing style. They will join GBR2 in the semi final.

The two GBR Men’s four (M4-) crews of Dan Graham, Douwe de Graaf, Sam Bannister, Matt Rowe (GBR1) and James Vogel, Miles Beeson, Tom Ballinger and Jack Prior (GBR2), were second and fourth respectively. Both crews will go again in the repechage. Speaking after the race, Sam said: “It was a really good experience, we didn’t have the best of starts which we were kind of expecting, but we settled into our rhythm and we started to come back. We’ll look to improve in the repechage tomorrow and then hopefully the A final on Sunday. We’ve been rowing in the eight with Leander Club for most of the year, and we have split that into two fours for this, so we’ve not had a lot of time in the boat so more racing will hopefully be beneficial.”

The Women’s four (W4-) of Juliette Perry, Amelia Standing, Eleanor Brinkhoff and Martha Birtles will race in the repechage after a tight heat which saw them finish in third behind New Zealand and Romania. Eleanor, who has been training with the senior Olympic squad this season, said: “The race was good. For a lot of us it was our first senior international competition, so it has been really exciting to get the first one down the track. We’re quite a new crew, so we haven’t had loads of racing preparation. It was good to do the first one and we’re looking forward to the repechage tomorrow. We’ve definitely got things we’re looking to improve on, so hopefully we can step on to the A Final on Sunday.

“I’ve learnt so much from being within the GB Rowing Team, despite not quite making an Olympic seat. I’m hoping I can put those experiences to the test here and it’s great to get some racing for myself before next season. It’s also really nice to have a project that I can end the season on before I head off to Varese with the senior team to continue supporting them towards Paris.”

The two GBR Men’s pairs (M2-) were drawn in the same heat, with the GBR2 pair of Jake Wincomb and Louis Nares finishing in third, just ahead of the GBR1 pair of James Doran and Matt Heywood. With only the winner progressing to the A final, the GB pairs race in the repechage on Saturday.

Also drawn in the same heat were the two GBR Women’s double sculls (W2x) crews. GBR1, Jenny Bates and Freya Keto finished in third and GBR2, Vwairé Obukohwo and Katie Mole were fifth. Both crews race in the repechage on Saturday.

You can follow World Rowing Cup III across British Rowing social media channels here on our website as well as on the World Rowing website. Racing will also be shown on BBC iPlayer and the BBC website.

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