Five medals for Great Britain on final day at World Rowing Cup III

Great Britain won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze on the last day of racing at Poland. The team was also presented with the 2024 World Rowing Cup trophies in four boat classes, as the curtain came down on the final racing before this Summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games


Photo: Benedict Tufnell

It was an impressive first international gold medal for Benjamin Pritchard in the PR1 Men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x). He got out to a flying start and held the lead throughout to take the win more than six seconds ahead of Italy and Australia. “I’m elated! It hasn’t sunk in yet but it feels very special…  and on Father’s Day too! There’s a bit of extra motivation with my wife and daughter at home, so this feels very cool.” Benjamin said, speaking after the race, “I was trying to stick to my race plan and not get too distracted about those around me. Compared to the preliminary race, where I got sucked into who I was racing, today was so much better. This race has given me some learnings that hopefully I can work on before the Paralympic Games.”

World and two-time European champions Gregg Stevenson and Lauren Rowles maintained their unbeaten run in the PR2 Mixed double sculls (PR2 Mix 2x), crossing the finish line over six seconds ahead of Germany. “We always go out to win,” Lauren said, “we won’t settle for anything less at this stage of our careers and after the winning streak that we’re having. Today we wanted to go out, work as hard as we could, get that marker down before Paris and see what work we have left to do. It’s nice to be out here as I’ve never won in Poland before, so I had some wrongs to put right! Today I wanted to go out there and leave Poznan with a gold medal.” Gregg added: “We’re expected to win now so there has been different pressure for me this season, but I enjoy that pressure. We’ve been on an intensive training block where we’ve worked really hard. When Lauren is the boss you’ve got to work hard! We enjoy racing with and for each other so it’s a really good combination.”

Frankie Allen, Giedre Rakauskaite, Morgan Fice-Noyes, Ed Fuller and cox Erin Kennedy also continued their unbeaten run in the PR3 Mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+). Erin said: “We’re trying stuff out at this competition, it was a real opportunity to learn. This is the last exposure to multi-lane racing before every crew goes behind closed doors and tries to find more speed before the summer, so this was the last chance to test things out and it was really fun.”

Ed added: “There were a lot of unknowns coming into this race. There were a lot of racing crews that we haven’t faced this year, so it was nice to know where we stand. Now everyone’s going to go away for a few months before the big one in September.”

It was silver for European Champions Sam Murray and Annie Caddick in the PR3 Mixed double sculls (PR3 Mix 2x). Finishing just over a length back from the Australian World champions, Annie said: “There’s quite a lot of emotions, so we’ll see when they sink in! I’m happy we’re in the mix. We’re two months out from the Games so I think we’re in a strong position. We worked well as a team today, our communication was good. We knew the field was going to go out hard so as long as we stuck with them we would have a chance.

Sam agreed, “We know how much we’ve moved on and the progress we’ve made throughout the winter, but you never know how much other people have moved on. We were really keen to come here and see where we are in the mix. We were alongside the Australians for a large portion of the race which we weren’t last season, so I’m pleased with that, and this result is really motivating as we come into the final months before the Games.”

The Men’s four (M4-) GBR1 crew confidently kept up with the pack to take home an outstanding senior medal that sealed the World Rowing Cup for this boat class. Dan Graham, Douwe de Graaf, Sam Bannister and Matt Rowe won bronze and collected the overall World Rowing Cup trophy for the event. Sam said: “To perform out here next to crews who are going to the Olympics when we’re the development crew for our nation is amazing.” Matt added: “We learnt a lot about international racing today. We like to think that we’re up and coming and we hope this won’t be the last time that we’re somewhere like this!”. Dan said: “We were level with the Swiss in the last 500m, but we were able to out-sprint them at the end and push up on the Australian Olympic champions which was really cool, it was epic.”

Tom Dyson, Team Leader for Great Britain at the World Rowing Cup had earlier collected the World Rowing Cup trophies for the Lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x) and Men’s eight (M8+). Commenting on the team performance, he said: “We had some superb results from our Paralympic squad, a highlight of which was seeing Benjamin Pritchard win his first ever gold medal. They will soon be heading to camp to focus on their final preparations for Paris.

“In addition, it’s so encouraging to see this strong group of development athletes come out here and attack their opportunity to race at this World Cup, supported by a top quality team of coaching & support staff. With the men’s four making the podium and so many of them reaching the final, the pathway for the LA Games is looking promising.”

The Men’s double sculls (M2x) was a tight race with the GBR1 crew of Stephen Hughes and Cedol Dafydd missing the podium by less than a second to finish in fourth place ahead of the French Olympic champions.

The Women’s four (W4-) of Juliette Perry, Amelia Standing, Eleanor Brinkhoff and Martha Birtles finished in fifth place, accruing enough points to ensure they collected the World Rowing Cup trophy for that boat class.

The GBR2 Men’s pair (M2-) of Jake Wincomb and Louis Nares; the GBR2 Men’s four of James Vogel, Miles Beeson, Tom Ballinger and Jack Prior; George Bourne in the Men’s single sculls (M1x) and Scotland’s Jake Woods racing as GBR2 in the PR1 men’s single sculls (PR1 M1x) all finished fifth.

The GBR1 Women’s double sculls (W2x) crew of Jenny Bates and Freya Keto were sixth. The Men’s double sculls (M2x) GBR2 crew of Rory Harris and Tobias Schroder were second in the B final, placing eighth overall.