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
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."