Scottish Rowing has today announced an exciting squad of 11 rowers who will represent the Scotland Rowing Team at the upcoming Commonwealth Rowing Championships, due to be held at Strathclyde Park, North Lanarkshire, on the 9-10 August.
The six male and five female athletes will be aiming to improve upon Scotland’s second place finish at the 2010 Commonwealth Rowing Championships in Canada, where athletes such as Edinburgh’s Polly Swann and Inverness’ Alan Sinclair competed before progressing onto GB senior teams.
Glasgow’s Angus Groom, 22, winner earlier this month of the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta and a member of the GB Rowing Team at this year’s European Rowing Championships, is one of the named openweight men alongside fellow GB Under 23 athletes, Lewis McCue of Aberdeen and Falkirk’s Cameron Buchan.
19-year-old RGU student McCue and Buchan, 21, who currently studies at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, were both part of the GB Under 23 eight which reached the semi-final of the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at Henley and have both been selected for the GB Rowing Team, alongside Groom, for the World Under 23 Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy, later this month.
The men’s team is completed by Edinburgh University lightweights Kieran Brown and Tom Claxton and Leander Club’s Donald Evans. Glasgow’s 21-year-old Brown, a GB Under 23 international from 2012, and Claxton, a 19-year-old from Helensburgh have enjoyed a successful domestic season winning a gold and two silver medals at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Rowing Championships as well as being part of the victorious Edinburgh University senior quad scull which won the Hugh Maddock Trophy at Marlow Regatta last month. Evans, 25, hailing from Saltcoats is a strong contender for the GB Rowing Team for the World University Rowing Championships in Gravelines, France, in September and won the Elite coxless pairs event at the Metropolitan Regatta in June.
There is a strong mix of experience and potential in the women’s squad. Edinburgh duo Katherine Douglas and Karen Bennett were recently part of the GB Rowing Team squad which travelled to the Windermere Cup in Seattle. 24-year-old Douglas also travelled to Korea last year as a spare for the GB Rowing senior team and she and Bennett, 25, have both previously competed at the World Under 23 Rowing Championships.
Edinburgh University’s Georgina Grandfield, 23, a relative newcomer to the sport having only taken up rowing 3 years ago following a sporting career in modern pentathlon, joins Douglas and Bennett as one of three openweight selections in the women’s team.
Two lightweight rowers from Glasgow University – Emma McDonald and Rebecca Lightfoot – make up the Scotland Rowing Team. Fresh from finishing as runners-up at Henley Women’s Regatta last month, McDonald, 19, from Lochwinnoch, and Lightfoot, 22, from Rhu, Argyle & Bute also picked up silver and bronze medals in the double scull at the BUCS Championships in May.
Scottish Rowing has appointed Graeme Cunningham as the Team Manager for the Championships along with Colin Williamson and Andy Barton as men’s and women’s lead coaches respectively. Williamson and Barton head up the rowing programmes at Edinburgh and Glasgow University respectively, programmes supported by Scottish Rowing and the sportscotland institute of sport.
High Performance Co-Ordinator for Scottish Rowing, Lee Boucher, was optimistic about the team’s chances:
“This is an exciting Scotland Rowing Team featuring several athletes with GB international experience as well as a number of up-and-coming rowers and one which we believe gives us an excellent opportunity to push on from our second placed finish at the 2010 Commonwealth Rowing Championships in Canada.
“We have seen how athletes such as Polly Swann have used the Commonwealth Rowing Championships to step on [2013 World Rowing Champion in the women’s coxless pair] so I am looking forward to an extremely competitive regatta with plenty of strong Scottish performances.
“Ever since the 3 gold medals for Scottish rowers at London 2012 there has been a real buzz about rowing in Scotland and I know that our team are really looking forward to performing on home water at Strathclyde Park in front of a partisan crowd.”
Alongside the Scotland Rowing Team prep camp in the week leading up to the Championships, Scottish Rowing will be running a Junior Inspire programme for 12 young athletes from across Scotland, giving them the opportunity to shadow the senior team and learn more about how to prepare for an international regatta.
The Scotland Rowing Team for the Home International Regatta which is due to take place in Cork, Ireland, on Saturday 26 July, will be announced next week.