The 2020 GB Rowing Olympic team took their first big steps to gain selection for Tokyo this weekend. A total of 45 Leander athletes raced at the Redgrave and Pinsent Lake in Caversham, all vying for the chance to impress Head Coach Jurgen Grobler.
On Friday evening, all boat classes raced a 1900m time trial. Semi-Finals were held in the early morning of Saturday where 23 of the 36 possible A-final spots were filled with Leander athletes.
The first A-Final to race down the track was the men’s pairs. Leander athlete Matt Rossiter and his pairs partner Rory Gibbs (Oxford Brookes) finished the weekend victorious. Ollie Wynne-Griffith came in second with Moe Sbihi (Molesey) and the full Leander pair of Jacob Dawson and Tom Ford completed the top three. Leander’s club-based pair of James Robson and James Johnston coached by Matt Beechey came 10th.
The Women’s pairs raced next and Rowan McKellar finished victorious with her pairs partner Rebecca Shorten (Imperial). A tight finish for 2nd and 3rd but Emily Ford and Polly Swann finished in front of Anastasia Posner and her pairs partner Rebecca Girling (Molesey). Leander’s developments club-based pairs coached by Ross Hunter raced well with Chloe Brew/Rebecca Edwards coming 9th Alice Davies/Natasha Harris-White coming 10th and Susie Dear/ Heidi Long coming 11th.
The men’s singles closely followed. Leander athletes Harry Leask, Jack Beaumont and current club athlete Seb Devereux coached by Ali Brown finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall – an amazing achievement for Seb especially.
Former Leander Club Captain Vicky Thornley finished the weekend off in style by winning her 8th consecutive final trials in the women’s single. Holly Nixon and Jess Layden from Leander Club came home in 4th and 5th.
Mark Banks Leander Clubs Director of Rowing and Chief coach says: “It has been a great day for the club with this unprecedented number of Leander athletes being invited to race this Olympic trial.
Leander have a strong and experienced team of coaches who prioritise helping athletes gain selection for GB. It’s fantastic to see many athletes who have come through our development program following my program doing so well. Good luck to everyone this summer”