Thursday, 07 July 2022

Leander athletes help GB top World Cup medal table

Leander athletes help GB top World Cup medal table

LEANDER Club were instrumental in helping Great Britain finish first in the medal table at the World Rowing Cup of the year that ended on Sunday.

The GB squad won 14 medals — eight gold, two silver and four bronze — in a storm-interrupted final day in Serbia, Belgrade, on Sunday.

Leander athletes were involved in five of the gold winning crews, one silver and two bronze in the first world cup of the year.

The all-Leander women’s pair of Esme Booth and Emily Ford took the first gold of the day in a time seven minutes and four seconds.

Making her debut with the senior team, Booth said: “It’s been an amazing experience travelling with the team. Something unlike anything I’ve done so far. I feel super-supported all the time. I’ve had a brilliant time.”

Reflecting on the race, Ford added: “I just kept calling for trust — we had a really solid race plan and I knew that if we trusted the process and the training, then we were just going to walk through. Once we started to move it was really good.”

The PR3 mixed coxed four of Ollie Stanhope, Ed Fuller, Giedre Rakauskaite, Frankie Allen and Leander cox Erin Kennedy preserved the boat’s 12-year unbeaten run with their new combination to secure gold in a time of six minutes, 49 seconds.

A delighted Kennedy said: “I’m actually really pleased with the time that we did today with the conditions that we had. We would have been pretty greedy trying to get the world best with a bit of a headwind. I think that’s where this crew is.

“Overall we’re all just having a really good time. The boat’s going fast, it’s rowing well but also I’m just having a great time. The crew dynamic is brilliant, the intent is fantastic and I think there’s a great mix of old and new. I’m just enjoying it; it’s a great project and I can’t wait to see what happens this year.”

It was another gold for Leander’s Samantha Redgrave, Heidi Long and Rowan McKellar and Imperial College’s Rebecca Shorten in the women’s coxless four where they were racing for the first time in this combination.

Long said: “I think we did exactly what we wanted to do. We just wanted to lay down our best rhythm and see where it could take us. We’re excited to see how much more we’ve got to come.”

Redgrave added: “There’s definitely things to take from this regatta. I think we did a great job as our unit but there’s always things to improve. We’ve had in our head the whole time that not everybody’s here, so you can’t just be happy with taking the win sometimes, you have to be hungry for more. I think we all have that hunger.”

The men’s four of Leander’s Will Stewart and Lenny Jenkins along with Oxford Brookes’s Morgan Bolding and Frfeddie Davidson had an assured win in a time six minutes, 34 seconds. Speaking after the race Stewart said: “We knew people were going to go out hard and just charge and try and put the pressure on us early.

“We had our race plan — we just wanted to go out, get in our rhythm and do our thing. We know we’ve got this pace, we just had to make sure we kept that level head all the way through and then take it home when we needed to.”

Leander’s Sholto Carnegie and Tom Ford were part of the men’s eight that triumphed in a time of five minutes, 33 seconds.

The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Leander’s Georgie Brayshaw, Jessica Leyden and Lola Anderson and Edinburgh University’s Lucy Glover finished fourth after doubling up in the women’s double sculls with Brayshaw and Lola collecting silver while Leyden and Glover won bronze earlier in the day.

Making her official debut on the senior world stage, Anderson said: “Coming home with a medal is just really amazing and encouraging after doing all the training, so we’re really happy with Andy’s (women’s olympic head coach) new programme and the success it’s bringing in.

“We went in trying to double up just to learn as much as we can from the racing experience on the world stage and we barely put any time into our double. We weren’t expecting much so it was a massive surprise, but really encouraging, that in early days we have raw speed — we just need to fine-tune it a bit.”

Racing in her second world cup, but the first with the senior team, Brayshaw said: “I just absolutely loved it — we’ve done two really good performances and I’ve learnt so much from this weekend. I’m just so happy.”

Leander’s Hannah Scott won bronze in the women’s single scull. After the race Scott said: “I’m proud to have executed the performance I had. I’ve only been in the boat a couple of weeks so to get a bronze — I’m happy with that. I found the single by chance and I was really excited because I think it will make me a better athlete for 2024 — that’s what the goal is, to get medals in 2024.”

Great Britain also won gold medals in the men’s pairs, women’s coxless fours and lightweight women’s double sculls.

Earlier in the day the men’s quadruple sculls crew of Leander’s Harry Leask, Seb Devereux, Tom Barras and Tidway Scullers’ School’s Sam Meijer won their B final.

British Rowing Director of Performance Louise Kingsley said: “For the first race of the Paris cycle, it’s good to see our team come together and work as a new look-and-feel unit. It’s as much learning how we work as the team behind the team to support the athletes, as well as giving athletes the platform to go out and race, and they’ve done themselves proud today.

“It’s great to top the medal table but we’re realistic that there’s a long way to go this season. We’ll see our crews shaping and evolving as we go through the season, and I’m sure we’ll see other crews from the rest of the world coming in.”

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