Posted: 28th March 2013
With Katherine Grainger, Heather Stanning and a number of other Olympic Champions missing as they contemplate their futures, a new look GB Rowing Team produced a performance at the opening 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup in Sydney, Australia, which bodes well for the future of the sport on the road to Rio 2016. Three Scots who didn't feature at London 2012 stepped up to the mark and recorded some impressive results as part of a strong British team performance which delivered four golds, a silver and two bronzes from 14 crews.
Edinburgh's Polly Swann, who missed a place in the women's eight at London due to a back injury, stepped into the shoes of fellow Scot Heather Stanning in the women's coxless pair and helped maintain the crew's gold medal winning form. Rowing with Olympic Champion Helen Glover, the British crew stormed out of the blocks taking a two length lead over the field by halfway before powering on to win in 7:03.55. Swann and Glover's success augurs well for the season ahead with some of the world's top pairs competing in Sydney. Imogen Walsh from Inverness, and Kathryn Twyman raced a composed first half in the lightweight women's double scull final , using good middle-1km pace to move from fifth to third place behind convincing leaders New Zealand. The duo, who had both been part of the World Championship winning lightweight women's quad in 2011, looked like they might overhaul the Australian crew on the line but in the end they had to settle for the bronze medal. The British men's coxless four featured a number of senior international debutants including Alan Sinclair, also of Inverness. Australia took a one-two in this event much to the delight of the home crowd. Behind them GB was lying fourth with 500m to go before turning on the after-burners to try and catch New Zealand before the line. It was close and the surge was spectacular but the British crew just missed out to take fourth in 6:01.20.
Commenting on the performances, Scottish Rowing High Performance Co-Ordinator Lee Boucher said: "Congratulations to Polly, Imogen and Alan. It is particularly pleasing to see three athletes who have come up through the Scottish club system performing on the international stage against the best in the world. I am sure that they are inspiring lots of other young athletes with their hard work and commitment to the sport." Next up for these athletes are the invitational GB Rowing Team Senior Trials at Caversham on 20-22 April where they will be hoping to cement their positions within the GB squad ahead of the second Samsung World Rowing Cup which is coming to Eton Dorney from 21-23 June.