The GB Rowing Team produced some outstanding performances over the weekend at the World Cup II in Aiguebelette, France, including gold medal winning performances from Heather Stanning and Imogen Walsh.
Stanning, of Lossiemouth, was reunited with her Olympic gold-medal winning partner Helen Glover for the World Cup, having been ruled out of the recent European Championships in Beglrade following medical advice.
Stanning had also taken some time away from the sport last year to resume her career in the army, serving a term in Afghanistan. The 29-year old showed no signs of ring rustiness however, with her and Glover stamping their trademark dominance on Sunday’s final from the outset.
By the 500m mark they had a lead, at halfway that was much bigger and with just 500m to go they had opened up a five second lead on the top-ranked American crew in second.
"It feels fantastic to be back. I knew it was in us, we just had to get out there and do it", said Stanning.
"I think we have an air of confidence and we are a more mature pair after such a hard year for Heather in combat and a year in which in rowing I had to take more of the reins", added Glover.
Invenesses Imogen Walsh resumed her partnership with 2012 gold-medallist Kat Copeland in the lightweight women’s double scull, which saw them win a bronze medal in Belgrade.
The duo produced a magnificent second half in the final, which saw them move away from a closely packed field. They surged up to second place before taking the lead ahead of Germany and Sweden.
They eventually extended their lead to take gold in a superb all round race for Great Britain, with their second lightweight double of Ellie Piggott and Charlotte Taylor producing a stunning late surge to take second place and win a debut silver medal at this level.
"It just felt really satisfying. To win a race in which you have also rowed well feels very good", added Walsh.
Edinburgh’s Polly Swann won gold at the European Champions with Helen Glover, but was brought across to the six-seat of GB women’s eight following Stanning’s return.
The eight was stroked by Louisa Reeve and coxed by Zoe de Toledo, with Rosamund Bradbury, Zoe Lee, Katie Greves, Donna Etiebet, Jess Eddie and Caragh McMurtry completing the crew.
The eight were on the ball off the start in Sunday’s final where a strong USA crew, who are current World and Olympic Champions, were favourites but were pushed all the way by Canada.
Great Britain battled with China for the Bronze medal position, eventually coming out on top in an incredibly close finish.
Alan Sinclair, from Inverness, was drafted out of the mens pair from the first World Cup and into the mens eight for Aiguebelette.
The GB men's eight put themselves where they needed to be in the opening 500m of their final today. Coxed by Henry Fieldman, stroked by Will Satch and featuring - Scott Durant, Alan Sinclair, Nathaniel Reilly O'Donnell, Matt Langridge, Pete Reed, James Foad and Mat Tarrant - the eight were tucked behind the American leaders with Poland challenging.
The Poles came through strongly just after halfway with Belarus moving with them.
In the final 700m the GB boat was holding on tightly to second whilst France and Belarus moved through to contend.
Just when it looked as if the British boat might be caught, they lifted themselves to a Herculean effort which saw them take sliver in 5:43.15. Belarus were came through to take bronze but almost a second adrift of the GB combination.
Sam Scrimgeour, of Forfar, raced with Jono Clegg of Leander in the lightweight men’s pair, having won a silver medal in Serbia.
The British boat had a sliver of a lead at the halfway mark with all six crews in the medal fight, but in the final 500m the Czechs, French and Argentines surged away in a 3-boat fight with Scrimgeour and Clegg rowed into fourth place.
Premnay’s Victoria Meyer-Laker raced in an unchanged women’s quad from Belgrade along with Lucinda Gooderham, Tina Stiller and Beth Rodford. They lined up in lane six of the women's quadruple scull final on Sunday. Germany were the favourites and went on to win from the USA and then New Zealand. The GB boat traded punches behind the leaders with Canada before finishing fifth ahead of China.
Angus Groom, of Glasgow, partnered newcomer and fellow Leander teammate Jack Beaumont in a second men’s double scull boat, producing a good race in Saturday’s C Final to finish 1st in 6:23.47.
Performance Director Sir David Tanner said: "Our rowers have really stepped up for the finals day as they did at the European Championships. There were some really impressive medals showing how savvy our team is when it comes to top level racing.
"We've had some stand-out performances from our top rowers and some real steps from some of our new talent. Overall it's been a great weekend and a fantastic venue in France".
Article provided by: GB Media Team
SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE ================================================= RESULTS
1. Eric Murray/Hamish Bond (New Zealand) 6:22.51 2. Bastian Bechler/Anton Braun (Germany) 6:33.00 3. Matthew Gotrel/Paul Bennett (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:34.62 4. Valentin Onfroy/Laurent Cadot (France) 6:36.64 5. Rodrigo Murillo/Martin Lasserre (Argentina) 6:37.05 6. Patrick Loliger Salas/Leopoldo Tejada Rios (Mexico) 6:46.68
Four - Final A
1. Alex Gregory/Mohamed Sbihi/George Nash/Andrew Triggs Hodge (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:50.27 2. Christopher Cunningham-Reid/Spencer Turrin/Fergus Pragnell/Joshua Dunkley-Smith (Australia) 5:55.85 3. Grant James/Michael Gennaro/Henrik Rummel/Seth Weil (USA) 5:55.94 4. Will Crothers/Rob Gibson/Conlin McCabe/Kai Langerfeld (Canada) 5:56.59 5. Bjoern Birkner/Toni Seifert/Maximilian Munski/Kristof Wilke (Germany) 6:00.29 6. Oliver Cook/Phil Congdon/Tom Ransley/Daniel Ritchie (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 6:07.76
Eight - Final A
1. USA 5:41.51 2. Scott Durant/Alan Sinclair/Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell/Matt Langridge/Pete Reed/James Foad/ Matthew Tarrant/William Satch/Henry Fieldman (cox) 5:43.15 3. Belarus 5:44.03 4. France 5:44.45 5. Poland 5:48.27 6. China 5:53.85
Double sculls - Final A
1. Martin Sinkovic/Valent Sinkovic (Croatia) 6:12.70 2. Aleksandar Aleksandrov/Boris Yotov (Azerbaijan) 6:13.64 3. James McRae/Alexander Belonogoff (Australia) 6:13.69 4. Robert Manson/Karl Manson (New Zealand) 6:18.40 5. John Collins/Jonathan Walton (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:19.10 6. Nils Jakob Hoff/Kjetil Borch (Norway) 6:25.60