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Women’s Eights Head 2016

The GB development crew face the cameras before the start of Saturday’s race

The GB development crew face the cameras before the start of Saturday’s race

Leander’s women athletes were on top form at the weekend, when they raced a GB development eight to first place at the Women’s Eights Head in London.

Emily Carmichael, Fiona Gammond and Katherine Douglas joined forces with athletes from Reading RC and Tees RC, with Leander cox Erin Wysocki-Jones steering them down the 4 1Ž4 mile course from Mortlake to Putney.

A bitterly cold day greeted the capacity entry of 320 crews, with Imperial College leading the fleet in the absence of the GB senior crew who won last year’s race.

Priorities for our Olympic hopefuls now means avoiding racing on home waters, thus opening the door for Saturday’s winners to show their mettle.

GB U23 coach Pete Sheppard assembled the crew from talented athletes who are looking ahead to the Tokyo Games in 2020. Already there is towpath talk of the crew being entered as a second GB crew at the World Cup in Lucerne later this year.

“It was a good solid performance – we did what we needed to do” said stroke Katherine Douglas.

Despite starting well down the field the Leander composite crossed the line seven seconds clear

Despite starting well down the field the Leander composite crossed the line seven seconds clear

The crew had only practiced together in the boat for three sessions, after weeks spent in pairs, and also had the disadvantage of starting among the new entries, down the field, without the benefit of the fastest ebb tide.

Imperial finished second, with Molesey third, and Oxford Brookes fourth, while fifth place went to Cambridge University, who will race Oxford over the same course, in the other direction, on Easter Sunday’s Boat Race.

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