ULBC Strikes Gold in Aiguebelette

UL rowers leave Lake Aiguebelette, France with 4 medals after a successful week at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

Paul Bennett, in the Great Britain men’s eight, took gold in nail-biting fashion for the 2nd year running. Winning by a margin of just two tenths of a second, they overcame their long-time rivals and reigning Olympic champions, Germany, with the Netherlands taking bronze. GB stretched out their lead throughout the middle 1000m in a well-executed race and did enough to hold off Germany’s huge push for the line.

The men’s coxed pair, with Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell in the bow seat, took gold in commanding fashion along with Alumnus cox Henry Fieldman. They beat the German pair by 6 seconds to please their fan base who, if their training camp video is to be believed, consists entirely of bikini-clad women. Winning this non-Olympic event was important as competition for places in Rio-bound boats gets tough.

James Fox kept up GB’s four year unbeaten run in the LTA mixed coxed four, although it was no walk over after the USA had a quick start. GB edged back and took gold by just 0.2 seconds. Fox said, ‘We knew they would be quick off the start but expected our race pace to bring us back. But that didn’t happen so it was down to just grit and determination that got us there’.

Emily Craig was competing in her first Senior World Championships for GB and won a silver medal in the Lightweight women’s quad scull alongside former UL member Ruth Walzak . This is a great step up after her success at U23 level in previous years. After losing out to Germany she said, ‘There was nothing else we could have done. It was a good race to finish the season on’.

Frances Houghton had a second place finish in the B-final of the women’s quad with Alumnus Mel Wilson after a tussle with the Chinese quad all the way down the course. They missed out on taking 1st by a second.  Lastly, Ollie Cook was selected in the spare pair and finished 2nd in the spares race.

Overall, it was a strong performance from UL athletes, who with less than a year to go to the Rio Olympics will now be focused to working hard to make a powerful looking GB squad.

We’d also like to congratulate UL alumni Jess Eddie and Katie Greeves who finished 4th in the women’s eight, qualifying the boat for Rio.  Other UL alumni Robin Williams and Paul Stannard both coached GB crews in France with Robin’s women’s pair winning yet another World title.  Simon Cox coached the Australian four to a Silver medal.  Supporting the GB team we also had Lady Ann Redgrave and Maurice Hayes providing medical and logistical expertise second to none.

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