Saturday, 21 October 2017

Flood returns to winning ways at Wallingford regatta

LEANDER captain Debbie Flood was back to her winning ways at Wallingford regatta on Sunday.

LEANDER captain Debbie Flood was back to her winning ways at Wallingford regatta on Sunday.

The double Olympic silver medallist won elite women’s single sculls convincingly at Dorney Lake — her first side-by-side race since competing in the Olympic final last August.

Speaking after her race, Flood said: “It was great to be back racing again, although I was pretty nervous, but it’s good to get one under my belt as I start to represent my club this season.”

Despite being led through the first 500m Flood’s experience began to show, pacing her race to regain the advantage despite pressure from Putney Town’s Charlotte Taylor. Leander dominated the elite double sculls where Jack Beaumont and Stewart Innes led the way across the line, with two more Leander doubles in second and third place. U23 world champion Kieren Emery and his partner James Johnston were just half a second adrift of the lead, while Dave Read and Chris Friend were 10 seconds back in third.

Leander’s third win of the day came in Intermediate 1 double sculls where Lawrence McCafferty and Paul Spencer, competing as Star and Arrow, came home more than a second clear of the Rob Roy double.

Meanwhile Upper Thames won two events and finished strongly in another three. The senior coxed four of Sam Barnes, Luke Wootton, Graham Hall and Jake Davidson, coxed by Laura Payne, comfortably beat the rest of the field in six minutes, 25 seconds.

An hour before, the senior women’s coxed four also won their event, beating Molesey Boat Club. After a hard-fought first 1,000 metres, the crew of Vicky Myers, Jenni Stephenson, Rhona O’Leary and Nikki Waters went clear and won by several lengths.

John Ewans, coach of the victorious women said: “It was a dogged performance, and bodes well for the next race in three weeks.”

Earlier in the day, an elite coxless four lost out to a strong Visitors’ Cup crew from Molesey Boat Club but did well to finish comfortably ahead of the other four boats in the race. Upper Thames crews finished fourth in both the IM1 eights and IM2 coxed fours, while Becks Sadler reached the final of IM1 single sculls in a return to the water after having a baby last year.

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