LEANDER athletes came away from two days racing at Ghent International Regatta with a total medal haul of 11 gold, seven silver and five bronze, resulting in another win for the Victor Ludorum trophy.
There was also success for Upper Thames in the Belgium regatta as they secured two golds and a silver while Henley Rowing Club picked up two silvers.
Leander’s top honours went to their quad and four who are aiming for success at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta.
With an average crew age of just 20, Angus Groom, Sholto Carnegie, Seb Devereux and Jack Beaumont looked particularly impressive in the quad scull, beating more seasoned opposition on both days, and now looking to mount a successful defence of the Prince of Wales title in eight weeks’ time. Beaumont and Groom went on to win the double sculls competition ahead of their quad crew mates in second place on both days. There was also a double win in coxless fours for Kieren Emery, Barney Stentiford, Francis Highton and Stewart Innes, who have switched from sculling to sweep as they aim for the Visitors’ title at Henley.
Leander lightweights also won their fair share of medals, with Nick Buckle and Donald Evans going one better than their pairs win on Saturday by winning the heavyweight division the following day, and there were lightweight singles wins for Sam Motttram and Fran Rawlins.
Upper Thames secured gold in their coxed four event. The crew of Luke Wootton, Sam Barnes, Graham Hall, Jake Davidson and cox Scott Smith beat Thames Rowing Club in the final by 11 seconds.
They then transferred into a coxless four the following day and finished overlapping a strong Leander crew comprised of full-time athletes with world medals, to take silver.
Speaking after the race, Barnes said: “Leander are the top club in the country, so to be able to compete with them in an open race shows how far we have progressed in the last couple of years.”
Tom Carter won Upper Thames’ second gold medal of the weekend, beating Henley Rowing Club’s David Read in the final of the single sculls.
This is the first time an Upper Thames single sculler has achieved a win at Ghent.
In other events, two Upper Thames crews reached the final of the coxless fours on Saturday with the women’s double scull of Pippa Birch and Natasha Harris-White managing a creditable third place overall in the open category.
Henley Rowing Club’s second silver medal of the regatta came in the coxless fours. The four of Lizzie Cottrell, Rachel Alder, Catriona Kay and Jenny Spencer triumphed after overcoming challenging conditions.
Elsewhere the coxed four of Stan Admiraal, Chris Mitchell, Andy Pettican and Richard Moody coxed by Searle rowed well in the heats but narrowly missed out on the final.
A delighted Henley coach Pete Wells said: “These are very encouraging senior squad results at a respected international regatta that attracts competitors from across Europe.
“Our performances over the weekend give us great confidence for the domestic regatta season ahead.”