The German eight, who had been undefeated for over a year before today’s race, took an early lead before the British crew of Tom Ford, James Rudkin, Tom George, Mohamed Sbihi, Jacob Dawson, Ollie Wynne-Griffith, Mat Tarrant, Josh Bugajski and cox Henry Fieldman moved past them at the halfway point. The crew, who are coached by GB chief coach Jurgen Grobler OBE, increased their lead through the second kilometre to win gold and the overall World Cup series.
Two-time Olympic medallist Sbihi said: “All weekend we’ve rowed confidently and rowed really well and it feels so good to get the win today.
“It seems like forever since I’ve won on the international stage. Sometimes you think it’s never going to happen again so days like today are very, very rewarding.”
Polly Swann and Holly Hill claimed a fantastic bronze medal in their first competition racing as a pair. The race was Swann’s first A final since her silver medal win at the Rio Olympics and the Edinburgh rower – who graduated as a doctor last weekend – made her experience count.
Hill paid tribute to her teammate, saying: “Polly kept me calm through the middle of the race. She said ‘we can do this’ and I really believed her. That was one of my favourite races so far, it was so much fun, we got into a really good rhythm and came up with the goods. Absolutely buzzing.”
Swann added: “We were a bit down at the start, so I had to give a pep talk to Holly to make her believe that we could do it. I just felt that everyone around us was overworking, so we just dug deep and moved through them.”
The men’s GBR1 four of Sholto Carnegie, Rory Gibbs, Ollie Cook and Matt Rossiter, who became European champions earlier this season and won the Stewards’ Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta last weekend, secured a silver medal in a race which saw a fierce battle for medal positions.
Carnegie commented on the race: “I’m feeling good after that. We got a lot of stuff right this time, maybe not the full package but we’re certainly building in the right direction. There’s a lot of potential still in this crew and we’re really excited to be moving forward.”
Graeme Thomas and John Collins cemented their status as one of the leading double sculls crews in the world as they claimed a hard-fought bronze medal, making their move at the 1,000m mark and battling their way through the final kilometre to third place. The medal follows their silver from World Cup II in Poznan and their Double Sculls Challenge Cup win at Henley Royal last weekend.
Speaking after the race, Thomas said: “Our main aim was to get back on the podium and show that Poznan wasn’t a fluke, so we’re really pleased to have managed that. I’m all raced out now so I’m ready to get back to some hard training at camp over the coming weeks.”
This World Cup regatta in Rotterdam was the final test for the British team ahead of the World Championships in August, where qualification spots for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be up for grabs for the first time. Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said: “Our objectives from these World Cups were to benchmark ourselves against the competition and maximise our qualification opportunities at the World Championships. We now have a wealth of information as we head into our final training block of the season.
“We had 11 boats in ten A finals today and we came away with four medals and two fourth place finishes. Polly and Holly put in an outstanding performance and it’s great to see the women’s pair back on the podium. Graeme and John in the double were excellent today and the men’s four turned out a great performance which will keep them hungry over the next six weeks.
“The fantastic result in the men’s eight was a big statement of intent challenging the Germans and winning by nearly a length. It’s important for the guys in the crew but also for the whole Team to see what can be achieved.”
Vicky Thornley came agonisingly close to a spot on the podium as she battled with the Netherlands’ Lisa Scheenard to a photo finish for bronze. The fourth place result marks Thornley’s latest improvement throughout the season as she continues her return to form after taking most of last year off.
Earlier in the day, there were some outstanding GB performances in the B finals. The women’s four of Emily Ford, Beccy Girling, Caragh McMurtry and Sara Parfett pushed themselves to their limits to lead from start to finish and win their B final by almost a length, while in the B final for the men’s single sculls, Harry Leask brought the stroke rate up to 45 in a phenomenal final sprint and stormed through the field to take the win.
The GBR2 women’s eight, coached by Lauren Fisher, showed their grit as they hung on to win their B final over the home Dutch boat. The crew, of Natasha Harris-White, Susie Dear, Heidi Long, Oonagh Cousins, Fiona Bell, Alice Davies, Rebecca Edwards, Nicole Lamb and Morgan Baynham-Williams featured seven senior GB debutants.
The GB Rowing Team will now head off on summer training camps before returning to compete at the World Championships from 25 August to 1 September in Linz, Austria.
Women’s pair (B final)
1. Anna Schanze and Tabea Schendekehl (GER 1) 07:55.69
3. Lilly Tinapple and Georgina Gotch (AUS 2) 07:59.05
Women’s double sculls (B final)
1. Krystyna Lemanczyk-Dobrzelak and Martyna Radosz (POL) 07:34.70
2. Kyra Edwards and Ruth Siddorn (GBR) 07:38.16
3. Marianne Madsen and Thea Helseth (NOR) 07:41.17
Women’s four (B final)
2. Poland 07:05.30
3. Germany 07:06.02
Men’s four (B final)
1. Netherlands 2 06:16.02
2. Czech Republic 06:18.75
Lightweight men’s double sculls (B final)
1. Pierre Houin and Hugo Beurey (FRA) 06:47.25
2. Pedro Fraga and Afonso Costa (POR 1) 06:47.31
3. Marek Reznak and Peter Zelinka (SVK) 06:48.28
Men’s single scull (B final)
1. Harry Leask (GBR) 07:25.58
2. Guillaume Krommenhoek (NED 1) 07:26.23
3. Nico Stahlberg (SUI) 07:27.89
Women’s eight (B final)
1. Great Britain 2 (Natasha Harris-White, Susie Dear, Heidi Long, Oonagh Cousins, Fiona Bell, Alice Davies, Rebecca Edwards, Nicole Lamb and Morgan Baynham-Williams) 06:39.11
2. Netherlands 06:40.95
3. China 06:42.91
Women’s pair (A final)
1. Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre (AUS 1) 07:26.15
2. Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler (NZL 1) 07:27.57
Men’s pair (A final)
1. Spencer Turrin and Alexander Hill (AUS 1) 06:54.21
2. Lukas Helesic and Jakub Podrazil (CZE) 06:56.48
3. Thomas Murray and Michael Brake (NZL 1) 06:59.69
4. Harry Glenister and George Rossiter (GBR 1) 07:02.13
6. Morgan Bolding and Tom Jeffrey (GBR 2) 07:08.50
Men’s double sculls (A final)
1. Barnabe Delarze and Roman Roeloesi (SUI) 06:41.04
2. Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne (IRL) 06:41.74
Men’s four (A final)
1. Australia 06:11.77
3. Germany 06:15.94
Lightweight women’s double sculls (A final)
1. Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle (NZL) 07:38.45
2. Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis (NED) 07:45.43
3. Patricia Merz and Frederique Rol (SUI) 07:48.02
Women’s quadruple sculls (A final)
1. Germany 06:46.64
2. Poland 06:49.59
3. Australia 06:55.20
Men’s quadruple sculls (A final)
1. Poland 06:00.80
2. Germany 06:01.91
3. Netherlands 06:02.00
Men’s eight (A final)
2. Germany 05:50.88
3. New Zealand 05:53.18
Women’s single scull (A final)
1. Emma Twigg (NZL) 08:14.03
2. Jeannine Gmelin (SUI 1) 08:18.60
3. Lisa Scheenaard (NED 1) 08:28.02
4. Vicky Thornley (GBR) 08:28.08
Women’s eight (A final)
1. New Zealand 06:32.40
2. Australia 06:36.04
3. Canada 06:46.77