Great Britain tops medal table for third consecutive year at the European Rowing Championships

Great Britain remains the best rowing nation in Europe after a 10 strong medal haul across the finals weekend at the 2024 European Rowing Championships in Szeged, Hungary

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Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing

Topping the medal table, Sunday saw four gold medals and a silver added to the four gold and bronze from Saturday. Highlights include a ‘clean sweep’ of golds across the men’s sweep boats, medals for all 10 Para rowing athletes, and gold for both the Women’s four and Women’s quad.

Louise Kingsley, Director of Performance at British Rowing said: “It’s been a great weekend and it’s promising to see us top the medal table once again. We are still learning and building through this season, but performances this weekend have put us in a good place as we look towards the Olympic and Paralympic Games later this year.”

Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George were sublime in the Men’s pair (M2-) finishing the race to win their first championship title since they moved into the pair. “Obviously it’s nice.” Tom said: “It’s a good marker and a checking point. We talk about it all the time but the big one is the Olympics. It’s good to learn how to win and win in different ways and different conditions. Today was a good example of that. It’s amazing – we’re European Champions and that’s really cool.”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing

The Men’s four (M4-) of Oli Wilkes, David Ambler, Matt Aldridge and Freddie Davidson took the gold despite windy conditions on the lake. Freddie said: “We’ve done quite a lot of stuff in some windy conditions in training camp so I think that helped us, but it’s obviously a different beast in six-lane racing versus just doing pieces on our own. I think it took quite a lot of commitment through the middle of the race to get ourselves back into it and lead it and to build our rhythm from there. We said after our heat we didn’t just want to sit or be satisfied, so we had a real focus of just doing our own piece and to be happy with where we were. I think that helped us during the long race because we had quite a simple plan. Obviously there’s still a bit to improve but it worked well for us.”

David added: “Obviously we want to get the win so we’re happy with that, because we’ve only had a week and a half to turn around and improve after falling short in Varese. There’s now three weeks until the next race and we can work on quite a lot of things in that time. There’s a lot of positives to take away, but we know there are a lot of really good crews to come in and the Italians are always going to be a force to be reckoned with. We worked hard and focused after World Cup I, if anything, having a slightly disappointing second place at the World Cup galvanised us into getting our eyes on the prize, sometimes you need a kick up the backside to do it.”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing

Another dominant crew were Lauren Rowles and Gregg Stevenson in the PR2 Mixed double sculls (PR2 Mix2x), winning back to back European titles. Gregg said: “This is my first double medal. We won the Europeans last year so to come here and do it again is pretty special. This is a springboard now, we’ve worked hard over the winter and we know what we have to do.

Lauren dedicated the win to her partner and five week old baby, “Five weeks ago my partner Jude gave birth to our son and so today was for Noah and Jude – I was thinking about our little boy in the last 500m. I was getting emotional being away from him so I definitely did it for them. To be out here and to be able to execute this is amazing. And to have Gregg supporting me through that – he’s trusted me the whole way and trust is a key part of this partnership.”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing

Frankie Allen, Josh O’Brien, Giedre Rakauskaite, Ed Fuller and cox Erin Kennedy continued the unbeaten run in the PR3 Mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+), dominating the race and finishing thirteen seconds ahead of France. Ed said: “It was our first race in this combination and the first race of the Paralympic cycle, so this crew is constantly learning and this race was another step in this journey. We’re racing three times this year including the Paralympic Games, so we’re going to keep building, keep progressing, keep our noses to the grindstone and keep pushing on for the one race that matters at the start of September which is the Paralympics.”

Credit: Benedict Tufnell / British Rowing

Newcomer Josh, making his international debut, added: “European champion sounds pretty good. It’s very exciting going out there for my first final today. We executed the race plan really well and I’m just so pleased. We had a big block of winter training at Caversham in pretty tough conditions, and we went out there today and executed our race plan brilliantly. It’s great.”

It was a solid silver for the Women’s eight (W8+) of Heidi Long, Rowan McKellar, Holly Dunford, Eve Stewart, Lauren Irwin, Emily Ford, Hattie Taylor, Annie Campbell-Orde, and cox Henry Fieldman. Eve said: “The race was good, we got off to a really good start and a good rhythm. It was disappointing that we couldn’t hold off the Romanians, but we’re learning every race and moving on. We’re in front of Italy in this race who pipped us at the end of the last race, so we’re happy with what we’ve done but hungry for more.”

George Bourne continued to build his experience in the Men’s single sculls (M1x) final, placing sixth. Rebecca Edwards and Chloe Brew were fifth in the Women’s pair (W2-). Earlier in the day, the Women’s and Men’s double sculls (M2x and W2x) B finals saw Becky Wilde and Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne finish seventh and Seb Devereux and John Collins finish ninth respectively.

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