Stroke Satch helps GB crew defeat Olympic champions
GOLD medals for the men’s eight and quad were the highlights of last weekend’s World Cup
GOLD medals for the men’s eight and quad were the highlights of last weekend’s World Cup in Italy, where GB once again topped the medal table.
Eighteen Leander athletes finished on the podium, with nine winning gold, one silver and eight bronze.
The tally marked a step up for the team from the European Championships three weeks earlier and bodes well for the World Championships in August, where GB hopes to qualify as many boats as possible for the Rio Olympics.
The men’s eight, stroked by Will Satch, provided a spectacular finale on Lake Varese by taking gold in beating the Olympic champions, Germany, and overturning the result from the Europeans.
Germany won three successive world titles before taking first place at London 2012, but GB’s world championship win in 2013 not only upset the established form, it also marked the first occasion Britain had ever won gold in the event.
Following their retention of the trophy last year in Amsterdam chief coach Jurgen Grobler has now put all his best athletes in the crew and made it the lead boat for the 2015 season.
Cox Henry Fieldman, from Molesey BC, said: “I think we performed very well and we are all proud of what we achieved. We have made a big step up in the last few weeks.
“We found a really good rhythm through the middle section, there was so much power and intent from the guys.” Leander’s Angus Groom was a substitute for an injured Charles Cousins in the GB men’s quad, which included clubmate Pete Lambert, Sam Townsend (Reading University) and Graeme Thomas (Agecroft). They paced the race to perfection to hit the front when it mattered and crossed the line a second ahead of Germany in silver and third-placed Canada.
Speaking after the win Groom, who took bronze last year in the U23 GB men’s double, said: “It’s just awesome — it was just really, really high quality.”
There were also gold medals for Paralympic champion Pam Relph in the LTA mixed coxed four, which was coxed by Oli James. Their crew had beaten the world best time in their heat and then went on to beat their own record in taking first place by clear water ahead of Italy.
The all Leander lightweight men’s double of Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher added bronze to the silver they had won three weeks earlier, while a dramatic last 100m charge also brought bronze for Olympic champion Katherine Grainger of St Andrew and her Leander partner Vicky Thornley in the women’s double scull.
Great Britain’s women’s eight added a bronze to the tally late in a performance which underlines the progress they have made in the few weeks since the Europeans. Somewhat predictably Olympic champions USA took gold ahead of arch-rivals Canada in silver.
There was also a silver medal for Leander’s Jono Clegg and Imperial’s Sam Scrimgeour in the lightweight men’s pair.
Many of the GB quad will now race at next weekend’s Henley Royal Regatta before the third World Cup regatta the following weekend in Lucerne, Switzerland.