Posted: April 16, 2018

Scotland’s Alan Sinclair and Karen Bennett both delivered impressive wins in their respective pairs finals, whilst Scottish Rowing’s group of athletes had their share of fine performances on the final day of the GB Rowing Team Senior, U23 & FISU Trials at Caversham.*
Inverness’s Alan Sinclair (Leander Club) and Mat Tarrant (Leander/Oxford Brookes) capped a memorable weekend in their men’s pair final, winning by half a length over Felix Drinkall and Ollie Cook (Oxford Uni / Uni of London).
001 Sinclair 
“I’m delighted, it was a good weekend,” said Sinclair, who spent most of last season recovering from shoulder surgery.  “I’m really pleased that in the last few days before the weekend we stepped on again.  In the time trial we got a bit of confidence from winning that and kept on moving through.
“It’s good to be back in the boat and racing because it’s what I’m here for.  I want to be out there fighting for the tops spots and today we’ve done it.
“I’ve always thought these trials are some of the toughest racing we do so hopefully this will set us up for a good season.”
Bennett (Leander) retained her women’s pair title, this year with Rebecca Shorten (Imperial).  The duo finished a second ahead of Anastasia Chitty and Rebecca Girling (Leander/Molesey BC), with Scotland’s Katherine Douglas rowing with Fiona Gammond (both Leander) taking third place.
002 Bennett
“It’s pretty tough when you have to race your team mates and there’s a lot of pressure on,” said Bennett.  “It feels great to get the win and I feel very relieved.
“We’ve got more internal testing so I can’t get too ahead of myself but I just want to be in the fastest boat, get to the World Championships and win a medal.  Along the way there are the World Cups and European Championships so I’ll use those as building blocks.”
In the men’s single scull Edinburgh’s Harry Leask (Leander Club), the only non GB squad athlete in the men’s A final, finished impressively in second place. 
Scotland’s Angus Groom (Leander), who missed the 2017 trials with injury, came sixth whilst fellow Glaswegian, Jack Burns (Clydesdale) improved on his sixteenth place from last year to finish eleventh in the category.
Lucy Glover came away with the best result for the 12-strong group of Edinburgh University athletes with a magnificent second place in the women’s single scull A final behind World Championship medallist Vicky Thornley (Leander).
“There was no pressure going out there and I just enjoyed it,” said the Warrington teenager, Glover, who was GB Rowing Team’s 2017 development athlete of the year and is a first year student at Edinburgh.
003 Glover
“I would like another gold medal at the under 23 World Championships and hopefully this result will open a few more doors to me in terms of progression to the senior team. 
“Edinburgh has been a step on for me but I needed that step on in terms of pieces, a bit more intensity.  I’ve got great team mates, it’s such a great set up and it makes me really happy being there.”
Glover’s Edinburgh team mate, Maddie Arlett, a finalist in the 2017 senior World Rowing Championships, finished sixth in a tight lightweight women’s single scull A final yesterday.
004 Arlett
“From first to sixth there were three seconds so it was really close,” said the Selkirk athlete.
“I’m really pleased to be in with the pack because they are a very talented bunch of people.  Just to be in there and have that race experience is great. 
“My results from this year compared to last year’s trials are similar but I do feel like a different athlete now.
“My preparation is better and I’m nailing the process a bit more. I’m definitely moving on and progressing as an athlete.”
Gavin Horsburgh (Edinburgh Uni), silver medallist at the 2017 senior World Rowing Championships, was third in the lightweight men’s single scull A final, advancing one place from his time trial a year ago, after which he had retired injured. 
005 Horsburgh
Fully fit this time around he beat Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft) to third place by two tenths of a second. Jamie Copus (Oxford Brookes Uni) and Sam Mottram (Leander) finished one and two.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Horsburgh.  “At the start of the race I was thinking it’s anyone’s game and I just want to see where I am as an athlete.
“I got off to a really good start in the time trial and managed to get through the semi pretty well then I thought I’d give the final a really good go. 
“That’s the first time in a while I’ve really had to race for the line and seeing Zak just ahead of me I thought I’d give it a crack.  I was pretty glad I found that turn of speed especially in the single because it really is quite a mental boat to race.”
Edinburgh University Club President James Temple made up an impressive nine places on last year’s ranking to join Horsburgh in the A final where he finished fifth, and second under 23, whilst the strength in depth of the Edinburgh men’s lightweight programme was highlighted with first year student Dale Flockhart coming eighth and 2016 under 23 World Champion Matt Curtis eleventh.
006 Temple
“It’s been really good, pretty nerve wracking,” said 19-year-old Flockhart.  “But I had a good row, a good trial, got into the AB semi where I didn’t have the best race.  However the B final was the best race of my life.
“I was around fourth until half way, rowed through a few people, took a few scalps and just got pipped on the line by the Brookes boy but it’s been really good and hopefully I can do well at seat racing and get a spot on the team.”
*Additional crew boat testing will now follow with final teams for the 2018 season being announced in due course.
Twenty four athletes representing Scottish Rowing at all levels were invited to final selection trials this year, an increase of four from 2017. Ten of them advanced to A finals, three more than last year.
Scottish Rowing sent a 13-strong group of its supported athletes to Caversham for the weekend’s trials who travelled together as one team.
The cost of the team camp was underwritten by Scottish Rowing with support from Winning Students and the sportscotland institute of sport, who are providing a physiotherapist and physiologist to support the team.
Said Scottish Rowing’s Head of Performance Pathway, Lee Boucher: “We have had a really encouraging weekend which bodes well for the summer selections ahead.
“These are the best ever performances by Scottish athletes at this stage of the GB trialling process with established senior internationals including Alan and Karen leading the way at the top of the rankings and an exciting crop of emerging young athletes making a real impression across all boat classes.
“Our Team Scotland approach in the lead up to and during the trials aimed to give our athletes the best possible preparation and I’d like to thank our coaches as well as our partners sportscotland and Winning Students for their first-class support.”
GB Rowing Team Senior, Under 23 and FISU Trials 2018 results for Scottish and Scotland-based athletes
Women’s Pair
1st - Karen Bennett (Leander Club) with Rebecca Shorten
3rd - Katherine Douglas (Leander Club) with Fiona Gammond
4th – Rowan McKellar^ (Leander Club) with Rebecca Chin
12th – India Somerside* and Lauren Gray^ (Edinburgh University BC)
14th (2nd U23 W2-) – Alex Rankin* and Lydia Currie* (Edinburgh University BC)
18th – Emma McDonald^ (Molesey BC) with Oluwaseun Olusanya
Men’s Pair
1st – Alan Sinclair (Leander Club) with Mat Tarrant
8th – Callum McBrierty (Leander Club) with Morgan Hellen
10th – Rob Hurn^ (Goldie BC) with Frederick Davidson
13th – Oli Wilkes^ (Edinburgh University BC) and George Stewart
Women’s Single Scull
2nd – Lucy Glover* (Edinburgh University BC)
6th - Melissa Wilson^ (Cambridge University WBC)
15th – Fiona Bell^ (Queen’s University Belfast Ladies BC)
Men’s Single Scull
2nd – Harry Leask (Leander Club)
6th – Angus Groom (Leander Club)
11th – Jack Burns (Clydesdale ARC)
17th (4th U23) – Josh Armstrong* (Edinburgh University BC)
Lightweight Women’s Single Scull
6th - Maddie Arlett^ (Edinburgh University BC)
Lightweight Men’s Single Scull
3rd (1st U23) – Gavin Horsburgh* (Edinburgh University BC)
5th (2nd U23) – James Temple* (Edinburgh University BC)
8th (3rd U23) – Dale Flockhart* (Edinburgh University BC)
11th – Matt Curtis^ (Edinburgh University BC)
13th (6th U23) – James Stevenson* (Newcastle University BC)
* under 23