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World Cup gold medallists Bennett and McBrierty amongst five Scots selected for GB European Championship team

Posted: May 11, 2017

FIVE Scottish athletes have today been named in the 50-strong Great Britain team for the European Rowing Championships in Racice (26-28 May).

Karen Bennett (Club: Leander Club/home town: Edinburgh), Cameron Buchan (Leander Club/Dunipace), Katherine Douglas (Leander Club/Edinburgh), Callum McBrierty (Leander Club/Edinburgh) and Sam Scrimgeour (Molesey BC/Kirriemuir) will all compete at the Czech Republic venue in just over a fortnight’s time.

Bennett and McBrierty, gold medallists at last weekend’s World Rowing Cup in Belgrade, return to their respective men’s four and women’s pair to take on the best in Europe.

McBrierty was a late replacement for the injured Stewart Innes ahead of Belgrade but, after well and truly proving his worth at the venue in Serbia, he continues in the men’s four with Olympic champions Will Satch and Moe Sbihi, and Olympian Matthew Tarrant.

“That performance last weekend was very important to show that in a pressured environment I could still produce the result on the day,” said McBrierty, who last summer turned the disappointment of not being selected for Team GB in Rio into winning the World Championships in the coxed pair.

“The way things happen in sport is sometimes someone picks up an injury which means they aren’t able to race.

“I did a similar thing last year when I was substituted into the Lucerne World Cup for the four as well.  But my ranking was different and I was in the four on the back of the other boats all being selected for the Olympics.

“Whereas now I have been moved up to the four because that’s where my ranking is in the team. So for me that’s a significant mental change within the last six months.

“It’s my role in the squad to get bumped up and I’m absolutely relishing the opportunity to be amongst the really experienced guys in the team, learn as much as I can and also pick up the best performances I can along the way.

Olympic silver medallist Karen Bennett and Holly Norton team up again in the women’s pair following their gold medal in Belgrade last weekend. The duo will face a stiffer challenge in Racice, having beaten two Dutch crews to the win in Belgrade.

“It’s been a great start to the season, we are progressing with each race and we can take plenty of positives into the Europeans in two weeks time,” said Bennett who, in moving from the women’s eight to the pair, has found a highly complementary partner in Norton.

“After rowing last weekend we know how we can improve and how we can get faster.

“The Europeans are going to be really tough and tight racing and I imagine there will be lots of pairs racing in comparison to last weekend.  So we are definitely prepared for that.

“We want to go out there and win a gold medal because we know if we can that then we will definitely be competitive with the rest of the world outside the European nations.”

With the first international race of the new Olympiad over and the European Championships now looming, the 2020 cycle has begun in earnest.  Whilst focussing on one race at a time the overarching aim is success in the Tokyo Games.

“Everything I do is focussed on the ultimate goal at the end of the cycle, which is that gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but everything is a stepping stone to that goal,” said McBrierty.

“So the first World Cup was a stepping stone to the Europeans and the Europeans is a stepping stone to World Cup Series, which is a stepping stone to this year’s World Championships and then the same thing happens next year.  It’s a case of taking every bit as it comes.”

Having competed, and won silver, in the Rio Games, Bennett has well and truly used the experience to push herself forwards in the sport hopefully towards the start line in Tokyo.

“It’s given me bags of confidence, especially rowing with the girls that I did last year,” she said.

“There was a lot of experience in that boat and I think I absorbed everything I could from each of them and hopefully I can take that into my rowing over the next three and a half years and get the medal that I want.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director, said: “After the success in Belgrade we’re excited to be moving on to challenge the best crews in Europe in just over two weeks’ time. We have a good record in recent European Rowing Championships and I’m confident that the athletes selected to compete in Racice will continue this tradition.”

Crews selected

Open women

Karen Bennett (Club: Leander Club/home town: Edinburgh)
Holly Norton (Leander Club/Johannesburg)
Coach: Paul Thompson/James Harris

Caragh McMurtry (Coalporters ARC/Southampton)
Rebecca Chin (Agecroft RC/Deganwy)
Annie Withers (Oxford Brookes Univ./Kingston)
Sara Parfett (Imperial College/Rochester)
Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College/Belfast)
Josephine Wratten (Leander Club/Middlesborough)
Fiona Gammond (Leander Club/Bicester)
Katherine Douglas (Leander Club/Edinburgh)
Cox: Erin Wysocki-Jones (Leander Club/Wantage)
Coach: James Harris/Jane Hall

Single scull
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham)
Coach: Paul Reedy

Double scull
Georgia Francis (Imperial College/Newbury)
Emily Carmichael (Leander Club/Cheltenham)
Coach: Paul Reedy

Quadruple scull
Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne (Reading RC/Hereford)
Beth Bryan (Leander Club/Stockton-on-Tees)
Holly Nixon (Leander Club/Enniskillen)
Jessica Leyden (Leander Club/Todmordon)
Coaches: Paul Thompson/Paul Reedy

Women’s reserves
Alice Baatz (Agecroft RC/Winchester)
Rebecca Girling (Molesey/Bicester)
Anastasia Chitty (Leander Club/Oxford)

Lightweight women
Double Scull
Charlotte Booth (Putney Town/Bedford)
Katherine Copeland (Leander Club/Ingleby Barwick)
Coach: Darren Whiter

Open men

Jacob Dawson (Leander Club/Plymouth)
Matt Rossiter (Leander Club/Newbury)
Coaches: Rob Dauncey/Christian Felkel

Callum McBrierty (Leander Club/Edinburgh)
Matthew Tarrant (Oxford Brookes Univ./Shepperton)
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton)
Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler

Lance Tredell (Cambridge Univ./Altrincham)
Thomas Jeffery (Leander Club/Plymouth)
Sam Arnot (Leander Club/Chester)
Cameron Buchan (Leander Club/Dunipace)
Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Ashford, Kent)
Adam Neill (Leander Club/Peterborough)
James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ./Litchborough)
Tom Ford (Leander Club/Holmes Chapel)
Cox: Henry Fieldman (Molesey BC/London)
Coaches: Rob Dauncey/Christian Felkel

Double scull
Tom Barras (Leander Club/Staines)
Frazier Christie (Bath Univ./Bath)
Coach: Paul Stannard

Quadruple scull
Jack Beaumont (Leander Club/Maidenhead)
John Collins (Leander Club/Twickenham)
Peter Lambert (Leander Club/Maidenhead)
Jonny Walton (Leander Club/Leicester)
Coach: Paul Stannard

Men’s reserve
Tim Clarke (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames)

Lightweight men
Double scull
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ./Coleraine)
Will Fletcher (Leander Club/Chester-le-Street)
Coach: Hamish Burrell

Joel Cassells (Oxford Brookes Univ./Coleraine)
Sam Scrimgeour (Molesey BC/Kirriemuir)
Coaches: Rob Dauncey/Christian Felkel

Lightweight men’s reserve (non-travelling)
Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft RC/Cardiff)