LEANDER’S Polly Swann won her third gold medal of the season last weekend in Lucerne, where she partnered Olympic champion
LEANDER’S Polly Swann won her third gold medal of the season last weekend in Lucerne, where she partnered Olympic champion Helen Glover to another world-beating performance in women’s pairs.
But despite qualifying 10 crews for the finals it was a disappointing weekend for the GB team, who added just another bronze to their tally when Leander athlete Richard Chambers finished in third place with his brother Pete in the lightweight men’s double sculls.
It was the lowest overall medal score for the British team at any World Cup regatta since 2003.
Lucerne is usually the last major international regatta of the season, and provides the sternest test of all three world cup events, as well as a form guide to the World Championships themselves, to be held next month in South Korea.
But Swann and Glover refused to be fazed by the competition, dominating their race and holding off a challenge by the New Zealanders, Kayla Pratt and Rebecca Scown, just as they did three weeks previously at Eton Dorney.
Speaking afterwards, Swann said: “It was good to win today and now we need to build for Korea.”
The Chambers brothers, who won Olympic silver as members of the GB lightweight men’s four last August, fought hard to the line before being squeezed out of second place by Italy, while France won gold.
Neither of the leading crews had entered Eton Dorney, where the GB men had taken silver behind Poland.
Richard Chambers said: “It would be really disrespectful to think that we can come into a new event this season and win it.
“I think GB has done a really good job getting into the medals at all three World cups. Now we know where we are at and what work we need to do” he added.
Finishing just off the podium in fourth place were the GB men’s and women’s eights as well as the men’s quad, each of whom had won their respective events at Henley the previous weekend.
GB men’s chief coach Jurgen Grobler has made the eight his lead boat this season and included Olympic champions Alex Gregory and Pete Reed from Leander as well as Andrew Triggs Hodge from Molesey.
But with all eyes on the German Olympic champions, unbeaten in four years, it was the new American line-up who provided the surprise of the regatta, qualifying direct from their heat and winning a tightly fought race with Germany for gold.
The quad was perhaps the unluckiest of the British boats — while challenging hard for bronze a momentary lapse caused a crab allowing the Estonians to sweep past for third place behind Croatia and Germany.
Entering all three world cup regattas in force, including the unseasonably early event in Sydney last March, may have taken its toll on the GB team, who will take heart from the fact that many of their forebears have come unstuck in Switzerland, only to turn the tables at the world championships some six weeks later.