Posted: April 21, 2015
Katherine Grainger said that her return to competitive racing at this weekend’s GB Rowing Trials Senior & U23 Trials had confirmed she still loves the sport – and is hungry for more success.
The four-time Olympic medalist from Glasgow took a two-year break after memorably winning double scull gold with Anna Watkins at London 2012 but returned to training this winter. And she enjoyed an encouraging weekend at Caversham, winning both the time trial and her semi-final before finishing runner-up to Vicky Thornley in Sunday’s final.
“It would have been lovely to take the title again but it was a feisty second place,” said Grainger.
“I always prefer winning but if I have to come second to someone then Vicky is a good person to come second to. She is an amazing sculler and honestly it is a pleasure to train and race against her. I definitely feel like I’m progressing. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster and it was always going to be. I will never think it’s enough until I am back on top and performing at a level that I expect to be at."
“My standards haven’t dropped just because I have taken time out, if anything they have gone up and that’s where they need to be if I am realistic about achieving international success again. The fight is still there, the hunger is still there, the desire is still there but I guess the big thing for me this weekend is I still want to enjoy racing and I did. That’s a great sign – if that had gone away that would have been the biggest worry for me.”
Also making a stunning return of her own was Imogen Walsh, who edged victory in a thrilling lightweight women’s single scull final after missing most of the winter through illness.
Olympic champion Kat Copeland was leading until the closing stages but was overhauled by the fast-finishing Walsh and Charlotte Taylor, who could only be separated after studying a video replay.
“To be back here and racing at all, then to come out with a win - I was just absolutely astounded,” said 31-year-old Walsh from Inverness.
“My winter was pretty dreadful really. I had been overtraining and just tapped out. I wasn’t recovering quickly, even after basic everyday things, and I developed some aches and pains which I took to be normal. It wasn’t until they went away that I realised how bad they had got. I had to effectively de-train and get unfit so that I could get fitter again. I feel like a different person compared to January and I should have a pretty steep trajectory in terms of improvement over the next few weeks.”
Glasgow’s Angus Groom felt like he had enjoyed a breakthrough weekend after recording a series of consistently impressive results in the men’s single scull.
He was fastest in the time trials and then won his heat before being edged into fourth place in a high-quality final.
“I wasn’t really expecting that kind of weekend at all,” Groom admitted. “I had a really good winter’s training and I’m just glad to see it’s paying off. I felt a bit of pressure after the time trials, I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder. I really had to make the A final and prove, to myself first of all, that it wasn’t a fluke."
“I had a bit of a problem with my breathing last winter and that gave my confidence a knock but I’m very happy now.”
Munlochy’s Alan Sinclair won the B final of the men’s pair with Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell and Sam Scrimgeour of Kirriemuir was third in the equivalent lightweight men’s B final.
Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “We have had some outstanding racing today with some fantastic tight finishes and whilst most of our top guns have performed to their best we have seen some young talent come through as well. The attitude and discipline of our rowers this weekend has been exceptional and this will be a good base for us to form our boats for the European Championships over the next few weeks”.
That squad will be announced on May 13.
The full results from the Trials weekend are available at www.gbrowingteam.org.uk
Article provided by GB Rowing