Posted: 23 February 2024

Across two weekends in the middle of February, Scottish athletes across a variety of disciplines took part in the February set of trials for the GB Rowing Team across the country. Under 19s, Under 23s, Seniors & Paralympic hopefuls from both the Scottish Rowing Performance Programme and club programmes travelled across the UK to test themselves against the best in the nation.

 Photo credit: Tom Young



U23/Senior non-Olympic February Open Trial (10th February, Boston)

First up was the turn of the U23 hopefuls competing for World Rowing Championships in St Catherines, Canada later this year, and the Senior athletes who are looking to stake their claim for seats during the LA 2028 Olympic cycle.

The Women’s Pairs were the first boat down a fast flowing, slightly flooded, River Witham, with Abigail Topp (formerly of Robert Gordon University BC & Aberdeen Schools RA) the lone Scot in the field racing with her Leander Club compatriot Philippa Emery. The pair finished 10th overall in the trial, having previously rowed together as in the Women’s coxless four for Great Britain at the U23 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, finishing 4th.


Photo credit: Tom Young


Next down the track were the Women’s Single Sculls, with Perri McCluskey (Strathclyde Park RC, formerly of Edinburgh University BC) finishing in 12th place in her first open trial as part of the new GB Rowing Team Performance Sculling Academy based at Eton Excelsior RC in Windsor. Edinburgh University student Charley Faint raced well to finish 16th overall, placing her a solid 8th ranked U23. Maisie Aspinall (Aberdeen University BC) and Josephine Briggs (Edinburgh University BC), crewmates in the winning Women’s Coxed Four and Eight for Scotland at the HIR Regatta in 2023 (Josphine having only taken up the sport that year), finished 22nd and 29th (14 & 20th ranked U23’s), respectively. Hannah Supple & Grace Dawson (both Edinburgh University BC) missed the trial due to illness, the former having been part of the GB Women’s Quadruple Scull at the World U23 Championships in Plovdiv last season, finishing 8th.


 Photo credit: Tom Young


In the Men’s events, Freddy Foxwell & Ollie Holmes (Edinburgh University) finished 18th overall in the Men’s Pair, ranking them 22nd & 23rd U23’s in the field - both were part of Senior Men’s Squad for Scotland at last year’s HIR Regatta. Former Edinburgh University rower James Doran (now studying his PhD at Oxford University, and part of the 2023 Blue Boat) finished third overall with his partner Jack Prior (Oxford Brookes University). Miles Beeson formerly of Aberdeen Schools RA, now rowing with Leander Club finished 5th overall with his crewmate Jack Prior (Leander Club / Calpe RC). The Men’s Single Scull had further Scottish interest, with Dan Jones (Leander Club, formerly Edinburgh University BC) making his move to openweight sculling having raced for GB at the European Rowing Championships in 2023 in the Lightweight Men’s Double Scull, finished a strong 5th overall. Cam Buchan now rowing and coaching at Monkton Combe School BC (formerly of Edinburgh University BC & Strathclyde Park RC) finished 24th overall in a large men’s sculling field. Josh Matthews (Edinburgh University BC), part of last season’s U23 M4x at the European Championships in Krefeld, Germany, that finished in 5th place, missed the trial due to illness.

These athletes will now be working towards a 2km erg submission and await potential invitations to the U23/Senior April Trials Regatta where they will fight for their chance to represent Great Britain at a host of events this Summer.

A full copy of the U23/Senior Trials results are available below:

GBRT Para Invitational Trial (17/18th February, Caversham)

As the Paralympic Games draws ever nearer, Scottish Rowing Performance Programme athletes Jake Woods and Samantha Gough travelled down to the Redgrave-Pinsent Rowing Lake to test themselves against the top Para athletes in the UK as they get set for the Paralympic Games in Paris later this year.


Photo credit: Tom Young


With both athletes only recently back from the GBRT Para Winter Training Camp in Temple-sur-Lot, France, they had good momentum to take into the water trials. Jake Woods (Strathclyde Park RC), double winner at the 2023 Home International Regatta for Scotland, travelled down with his coach Ailie Ord to race against last year’s World Rowing Championships Bronze medallist in the PR1 Single Scull. Still less than 18 months into his rowing career, Jake continues to find speed closer and closer to the international standard. Sam Gough (St Andrew BC) raced both days in her PR3 Mixed Double Scull with her crewmate Ben Gallagher (Maidenhead RC), supported by coach Lindsay Flockhart. The feisty duo raced twice across the two days, and despite both still comfortably being in their first 12months in the sport, they showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future as they chased down the 4th place finishers from the 2023 World Rowing Championships.


Photo credit: Tom Young


Both athletes will be focussing on their preparation for the LA 2028 Paralympic Cycle, continuing their development and eagerly anticipating their first tastes of international competition in the future.

GBRT U19 February Long Distance Trial (17/18th February, Boston)

After the cancellation of the U19 Early ID Assessment in November, the Scottish U19s had their first chance of the season to show off their small boat skills in front of the GB Rowing Team selectors.

With no Men’s Pairs from Scotland on the draw, the first Scot down the course was Scott D (George Heriot’s School RC) in the Men’s Single Scull, Scott, who was part of Scotland’s Junior Men’s Coxed Four and Eight at the 2023 Home International Regatta, had a strong run down the course, finishing 19th overall. Callum S from Aberdeen Schools RA was the next athlete from Scotland, finishing 31st overall, this being the J17s first taste of a GB Trials event.

Next down the course was the U19 Women where all athletes must race the Single Scull before separating into their respective Sweep/Scull disciplines. Briony W (The Glasgow Academy RC) stated her intentions for further international representation after a win at both the GB-France J16 Match and Home International Regatta in the 1x last season, by finishing 5th overall. It was an Aberdeen Schools RA triple to follow in the rankings with Sophie S, Penny I & Jemima A finishing 41st, 56th and 57th respectively, with the latter taking part in her first GB Trials event as a J17. Lucie E of George Heriots School RC was the final Scot on the startlist, finishing close behind the ASRA girls in 60th position.

Sunday saw the Scottish U19’s all progress into crew boats as they took to the 5km course again. Scott D moved up to 8th with his Double Sculls partner from City of Bristol RC, and Callum S finished 15th with his partner from St Peter’s School BC.

Briony W closed the gap to the front of the pack with her partner from Marlow RC, finishing 2nd place of the Women’s Double Sculls, just 4s from the top crew of which both were part of the bronze medal JW4x at the U19 World Championships last season. Lucie E went on to finish 12th overall with her partner from Northampton RC. In the Women’s Pairs, Jemima A finished 13th with her partner from Hinksey Sculling School, closely followed by her compatriot Sophie S in 14th with her partner from Kew House School BC.

The athletes now wait to hear about invitations to the smaller invitational testing at Spring Assessments to fight for places at the Munich Junior Regatta and European U19 Championships in May, and for invitations to the larger U19 April Trials Regatta.


We wish all of the athletes across the 3 events the best of luck with their preparations for the next stage of the trialling process. If you wish to learn more about the process of trialling for the GB Rowing Team in any discipline at any age, please feel free to get in touch with Tom Young, Scottish Rowing Lead Performance Pathway Coach at