1-3 June 2018
Leander athletes kicked off the season in fine form as the GB team claimed six medals at the opening World Cup regatta in Belgrade.
The men’s quad won gold as Leander’s Tom Barras, Jonny Walton, and John Collins, with Agecroft’s Graeme Thomas, fought it out with Germany for the top spot.
After sitting in second place for much of the race a final push for the line saw them snatch victory by a few inches.
Walton said: “We set out to win gold and did exactly that. It was a tough race but we got our noses ahead and that was the most important thing.”
Leander’s Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom were back in the double to renew their partnership that saw them win U23 bronze in 2014.
Like the quad, Beaumont and Groom had an early battle with Germany before moving through in the second half of the race. The surging Lithuanians upped the rate in the closing meters to get ahead before the line.
The long rivalry between GB and Germany was renewed in the men’s eight and resulted in the British crew coming away with a silver medal. Olympic champion Will Satch was the only surviving member of the eight that beat the Germans at Rio 2016 but the crew had to settle for silver on this occasion by less than half a length.
The women’s eight overcame the early pace of China to win silver behind the Netherlands. Six of the eight athletes had earlier competed in the pairs and fours finals but recovered well to take the medal.
Leander’s Anastasia Chitty and Rebecca Girling of Imperial College came within half a length of a medal in the women’s pair. Sitting second to an impressive Canadian crew at the halfway point, Chitty and Girling battled valiantly to hold off the chasing Spanish and Dutch boats, but were edged off the podium in the last 500m.
The all-Leander second pair of Emily Ford and Emily Ashford had only recently earned their places in the GB team and finished sixth in the same final.
Leander’s Fi Gammond, Holly Norton, and Karen Bennett with Rebecca Shorten of Imperial, all of whom doubled up in the eight, finished just out of the medals in the women’s four. GB crossed the line just 0.2 sec behind Russia, who got their bow ball ahead in the last strokes.
Another all-Leander crew – the men’s four of James Johnston, Callum McBrierty, Jacob Dawson and Tom Ford – pushed hard in a tightly contested final and finished fifth, just over three seconds down on the gold medal Dutch crew.
And world silver medallist Vicky Thornley faced tough competition in the final of the women’s single scull, where world champion Jeannine Gmelin took another gold ahead of Sanita Puspure of Ireland with Thornley fifth.