Future looks bright as GB win six medals at World U23s


The GB Rowing Team ended the 2015 World U23 Championships with six medals after winning two bronzes on the final day of competition in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The lightweight men’s four of Ed Fisher, Ben Reeves, Jonathan Jackson and Alastair Douglass finished a creditable third in their final, as did the women’s eight of Beth Bryan, Katie Bartlett, Harriet Taylor, Holly Nixon, Annie Withers, Alice White, Gillian Cooper, Nicole Lamb and cox Morgan Baynham-Williams.

That added to the four medals won by Britain in Saturday’s A finals – silvers for the women’s pair, men’s four and lightweight men’s quadruple scull, plus bronze for the women’s four.

And with 12 of the 13 British boats reaching their A finals, the men’s quad having missed their semi-final through illness, there have been plenty of positives to take away from Plovdiv.

Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “The U23s have really stepped on during these championships to come away with six good medals and six more fourth and fifth places in the A finals.

“I am sure we have the talent for the future in this team and we shall look forward to them challenging for places during the Tokyo 2020 Olympiad.”

The overall GB tally from Plovdiv was a step on from the event held in Varese, Italy, a year ago – three silvers and three bronzes compared to three silvers and a bronze from 2014. GB also qualified 12 boats for the finals this year as opposed to 11 in 2014.

The first British medal of the day went to the rookie lightweight men’s four of Fisher, Reeves, Jackson and Douglass, who almost took silver after a strong performance.

With the Italians leading from the front to win gold, France made an early showing for silver but were passed by both Germany and Britain in the second 500m.

Germany began to edge away but, pushed on by the revitalized French, the British crew put in a big sprint in the closing stages to ensure they took the bronze medal – and mount a very strong challenge for silver too.

“I am so happy as it is my first U23 medal,” said Jackson. “It was the hardest race of my life. The competition is quite difficult here, especially with the heat.”

The women’s eight had finished third in an exhibition race for lanes on Thursday and repeated that result with another mature, well-judged performance in Sunday’s final.

The United States were favourites to defend their title but were matched stroke for stroke by the British eight for the first 500m as the Russians surged into an early lead.

The American crew rowed through them and went on to claim their expected gold but the British eight had found a good race pace and opened up a clear-water advantage over the Netherlands in fourth.

They looked increasingly strong during the second half of the race and began closing in on the tiring Russians but could not quite make up the ground as they came home in bronze-medal position.

“It was a good race, we gave it our all,” said Lamb.

The first final of the day saw the men’s pair of James Rudkin and Tom George edged into fourth place after a race-long tussle with Serbia for bronze.

While Romanians Vlad-Dragos Aicoboae and Toader-Andrei Gontaru powered away at the front and the experienced Australian crew of Jack Hargreaves and Nicholas Wheatley tried in vain to overhaul them, there was nothing to choose between the British and Serbian crews behind them.

Rudkin and George made a break just after halfway and were in bronze-medal position with 400m to go but they could not hold off a surge from Serbia on the opposite side of the course.

It was still a strong fourth place from the British pair, who showed how much they have moved on during the past few weeks.

The women’s double scull of Georgia Francis and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne also found themselves in an exciting battle for bronze for much of their final.

As Romania again set the pace from the off, there was less than a second between the other five boats at the 500m mark.

New Zealand were able to move into second place but the final podium position continually changed hands, with the British crew right in contention.

Eventually the Netherlands were able to make a decisive move but Francis and Hodkins-Byrne produced a determined finish to ensure they took fourth place in 7:05.84.

Easily the most fiercely fought final of the day came in the men’s single scull where Jack Beaumont was edged into fifth place during a blanket finish.

A thrilling race saw the lead change hands on several occasions, with Denmark’s Sverri Neilsen – as he had in the semi-finals – taking the initiative early on.

He had been reeled in by Beaumont and Germany’s Philipp Syring at the halfway mark but there was still just two-and-a-half lengths between first and sixth.

Serbia’s Andrija Sljukic then made what looked to be a decisive push but Beaumont dug deep to try and stay with him, with five boats still battling it out as they came in front of the grandstand.

That was when Pilip Pavukou of Belarus put in a huge late surge to snatch the gold medal from Sljukic and Poland’s Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk on the line, with just two-tenths of a second separating first and third.

Beaumont found himself edged into fifth place, just two seconds behind the winner, but comes away with a lot of credit from a racing season that saw him win bronze with the men’s quad at the European Championships.

The World U23 Championships concluded with the men’s eight final, where the British crew of Rory Gibbs, William Hall, Harry Leask, Rufus Scholefield, Henry Millar, Oliver Knight, Henry Swarbrick, Morgan Bolding and cox Harry Brightmore also finished fifth.

With Germany leading throughout to take gold, the British crew were in the mix for the first 1km before losing ground on the United States, Russia and Romania.

But it was still another good top-five finish, the 12th of an impressive championships for the GB Rowing Team.


(Events featuring GB Rowing Team crews only. For full results – www.worldrowing.com)





1. United States 6:19.49
2. Russia 6:22.02
3. Beth Bryan/Katie Bartlett/Harriet Taylor/Holly Nixon/Annie Withers/Alice White/Gillian Cooper/Nicole Lamb/Morgan Baynham-Williams (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:23.28
4. Germany 6:25.89
5. Netherlands 6:28.27
6. Belarus 6:47.94

Double scull

1. Viviana-Iuliana Bejinariu/Ioana Vrinceanu (Romania) 6:57.57
2. Brooke Donoghue/Claudia Hyde (New Zealand) 6:58.77
3. Roos De Jong/Laila Youssifou (Netherlands) 7:00.17
4. Georgia Francis/Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:05.84
5. Tatsiana Klimovich/Krystina Staraselets (Belarus) 7:06.50
6. Frauke Hundeling/Carlotta Nwajide (Germany) 7:07.49



1. Vlad-Dragos Aicoboae/Toader-Andrei Gontaru (Romania) 6:25.55
2. Jack Hargreaves/Nicholas Wheatley (Australia) 6:26.79
3. Viktor Pivac/Martin Mackovic (Serbia) 6:28.39
4. James Rudkin/Tom George (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:30.80
5. Wolf-Niclas Schroeder/Paul Gebauer (Germany) 6:31.42
6. Christoph Seifriedberger/Ferdinand Querfeld (Austria) 6:45.26


1. Germany 5:33.56
2. United States 5:36.49
3. Russia 5:38.32
4. Romania 5:40.13
5. Rory Gibbs/William Hall/Harry Leask/Rufus Scholefield/Henry Millar/Oliver Knight/Henry Swarbrick/Morgan Bolding/Harry Brightmore (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:43.74
6. France 5:49.86

Single scull

1. Pilip Pavukou (Belarus) 6:54.78
2. Andrija Sljukic (Serbia) 6:54.91
3. Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (Poland) 6:54.99
4. Sverri Nielsen (Denmark) 6:56.39
5. Jack Beaumont (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:56.84
6. Philipp Syring (Germany) 7:06.31




1. Davide Gerosa/Leone Barbaro/Piero Sfiligoi/Paolo Di Girolamo (Italy) 5:57.36
2. Felix Brummel/Sven Ditzel/Alexander Kevin Diedrich/Lucas Schaefer (Germany) 6:00.58
3. Ed Fisher/Ben Reeves/Jonathan Jackson/Alastair Douglass (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:01.52
4. Leo Grandsire/Thibault Lecomte/Gael Chocheyras/Sebastian Resendiz (France) 6:03.46
5. Shota Araki/Tsuguto Hayashi/Takumi Shiga/Kakeru Sato (Japan) 6:07.16
6. Marco Bustamante Nadeau/Jacob Ford/Samuel Ward/Ian Klein (USA) 6:09.55

CREW LISTS (Includes club(s), home town, date of birth)

GB Rowing Team for World U23 Championships
Plovdiv, Bulgaria, July 22-26




Rowan McKellar (Broxbourne RC/Glasgow/24.05.94)
Holly Norton (Leander Club/Johannesburg, SA/01.01.93)
Coach: Peter Sheppard


Emily Ford (Newcastle Univ BC/Crewe/08.11.94)
Melissa Wilson (Cambridge Univ Women’s BC/Edinburgh/10.06.93)
Holly Hill (Cambridge Univ Women’s BC/Gossington/23.01.94)
Sam Courty (Bath Univ BC/Alnwick/07.01.93)
Coach: Peter Lee


Beth Bryan (Tees RC/Stockton-on-Tees/23.04.93)
Katie Bartlett (Nottingham RC/Loughborough Students RC/Nottingham/02.02.94)
Hattie Taylor (Sport Imperial/Sunningdale/14.02.94)
Holly Nixon (Leander Club/Enniskillen/07.12.93)
Annie Withers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Surrey/22.02.93)
Alice White (Imperial College/Bradford/20.01.93)
Gillian Cooper (Nottingham RC/Oakham/14.02.93)
Nicole Lamb (Newcastle Univ BC/Hexham/20.01.93)
Morgan Baynham-Williams (cox) (Leander Club/Ross-On-Wye/28.06.94)
Coach: Lauren Fisher

Double scull

Georgia Francis (Imperial College BC/Newbury/18.08.94)
Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne (Reading Univ BC/Reading RC/Hereford/01.10.94)
Coach: Dan Moore



James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ BC/Northampton/07.07.94)
Tom George (Leander Club/Oxford/22.09.94)
Coach: Angelo Savarino


Richard Clarke (Univ of London BC/Kingston-upon-Thames/06.11.93)
Ross Jarvis (Univ of London BC/Upminster/19.08.94)
James Johnston (Leander Club/Henley/26.08.94)
Lewis McCue (Robert Gordon Univ BC/Aberdeen/26.12.94)
Coach: Brian Young


Rory Gibbs (Oxford Brookes University/Lane End/03.04.94)
Will Hall (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Winchester/08.05.94)
Harry Leask (Leander Club/Edinburgh/16.10.95)
Rufus Scholefield (Edinburgh Univ BC/Jersey/29.10.93)
Henry Millar (Edinburgh Univ BC/Fivemiletown/25.02.94)
Oli Knight (Newcastle Univ BC/Addlestone/15.09.95)
Henry Swarbrick (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Richmond/05.04.94)
Morgan Bolding (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Withiel/13.05.95)
Harry Brightmore (cox) (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Chester/01.07.94)
Coach: Henry Bailhache-Webb

Single scull

Jack Beaumont (Leander Club/Maidenhead/21.11.93)
Coach: Matt Beechey

Quadruple scull

Tom Barras (Cardiff Univ RC/Staines/07.01.94)
Frazier Christie (Bath Univ BC/Bath/11.01.93)
Andy Brown (Tees RC/Yarm/12.01.93)
Andy Joel (Leander Club/Windsor/08.06.95)
Coach: Dan Harris



Quadruple scull

Maddie Arlett (Edinburgh Univ BC/Selkirk/07.06.94)
Ellie Lewis (Agecroft RC/Marlow/14.04.94)
Flo Pickles (Gloucester Hartpury/Cheltenham/02.11.96)
Lucy Cruxton (Reading Univ BC/Stoke-on-Trent/22.12.93)
Coach: Tom Pattichis


Emma McDonald (Glasgow Univ BC/Lochwinnoch/11.10.94)



James Goble (Eton Vikings/Winchester/23.11.95)
Tom Marshall (Leander Club/Mold/12.03.94)
Coach: Phil Gray


Ed Fisher (Leander Club/Nottingham/16.04.94)
Ben Reeves (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Wilmslow/10.05.94)
Jonathan Jackson (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/02.06.95)
Alastair Douglass (Molesey BC/Shepperton/22.06.95)
Coach: Franz lmfeld

Quadruple scull

Steven Parsonage (Leander Club/Norwich/16.01.96)
Joel Cassells (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Coleraine/15.06.94)
Sam Mottram (Leander Club/Stoke Mandeville/14.11.94)
Jamie Copus (Oxford Brookes Univ/BC/Watlington/30.01.93)
Coach: Ross Hunter



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