Best-ever European Championships for GB Rowing Team

posted by Roy Sinclair - 17 Oct 2012, 6:23 p.m.

The GB Rowing Team won its best-ever haul of five medals at the European Championships in Italy as the lottery-funded team's development crews carried on the success of their Olympic and Paralympic team-mates.

None of the GB Olympic rowing squad raced in Varese, with the European Championships again reserved as an opportunity for younger members of the GB Rowing Team to gain competition experience against a field from a record 36 countries - many of whom raced at London 2012.

"It was an exceptional team result and although some crews got medals it is about the overall squad performing and across all disciplines we covered ourselves with real credit. These are a very strong set of results, better than we have ever done before," said Pete Sheppard, Team Manager and Lead Coach of the GB team in Varese. "It shows the strength of the development squad going forwards towards Rio.

"All the team stepped up. The men's team were very close to the medals and narrowly off the gold-medal times. All the crews put themselves on the line today and they all performed to what we've seen them do in training at what was a very well organised event.

"It's what the team do next in the next four years that matters though. This has been a useful experience but it's what they do next that is crucial."

The long selection process for the 2013 season starts all over again from the start of October with a number of the European Championship team hoping to secure places in the senior squad for the world cup series which comes to Eton Dorney on June 21-23 and the 2013 World Championships in Korea.

Follow the selection process via: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk

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RACE REPORT

LIGHTWEIGHT WOMEN'S DOUBLE SCULL

The lightweight women's double scull of Imogen Walsh and Ruth Walczak faced a big task after the Greek World Champions and Olympic bronze medallists blazed away from the start line, but almost caused a significant upset a day after Walczak's 24th birthday.

Poland and Italy took the initiative behind the Greeks with GB moving quietly up past Poland and Italy catching and overtaking Greece in front of a delighted home crowd.

The Olympic GB lightweight double of Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking won gold at London 2012 and their GB Rowing Team colleagues Walsh, 27, from Inverness/London Rowing Club and Walczak from Molesey Boat Club showed the strength in depth in the squad by also almost catching the Greek World Champions, winning an excellent bronze in a fast race with clear water back to the rest of the field.

Walsh said: "We were up against Olympic-class crews so it was a great performance considering that. We don't see it as the last race of the season but the start of the next Olympiad."

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