A top-notch performance from the Great British rowing team saw them win eight medals, including six gold, at the International Para-Rowing Regatta over the weekend (15-17 May) in Gavirate, Italy.
Two of the golds were won by the LTA mixed coxed four, a boat class in which Britain are the reigning Paralympic and World Champions. The TA men’s single scull finals saw Laurence Whiteley record a double victory, while newcomer Scott Meenagh won gold and bronze. Beijing 2008 Paralympic champion Tom Aggar finished the regatta with a gold and a silver in the AS men’s single scull.
The British crew of Pamela Relph, Grace Clough, Dan Brown, James Fox and cox Oliver James – the 2014 World Championship team – won in 3:28.50, nine seconds clear of Germany and 17 seconds ahead of third-placed Brazil in Saturday’s final.
Debutant Rose Linden later replaced Relph, and the crew went on to win Sunday’s A final, clocking 3:24.70 to finish eight seconds clear of Italy.
“The squad had a strong showing this regatta with some great results across the board,” said Tom Dyson, GB’s rowing team lead coach. “The LTA4+ showed the strength of competition for this season’s crew with dominant performances in both combinations we raced here.”
Aggar finished more than a minute clear of the field to win gold in his AS men’s single scull race on Saturday, with his time of 5:05:50 being the fastest overall; Russia’s Aleksei Chuvashev was second-quickest.
But the two raced side-by-side in Sunday’s A final, with Aggar taking runner-up in 4:53.70.
“Tom opened his season with some very solid speed but the Russian, Chuvashev, has clearly taken a step on over the winter and the ASM1x continues to be a real dogfight,” Dyson said.
“In addition to the Russian sculler, there were particularly strong performances from the Israeli and Norwegian ASW1x, and a strong field in the TA2x that highlight the fight we can expect for qualification places in Aiguebelette.”
In Saturday’s TA men’s single scull finals, Whiteley set the quickest time of 4:15.30. Meenagh was third-fastest overall, as he won gold in his final in 4:31.10.
When racing side-by-side in Sunday’s A final, Whiteley and Meenagh clocked 4:19.40 and 4:30.00 to take gold and bronze, respectively. Italy’s Daniele Stefanoni was second-fastest on both days.
The British team will remain in Italy for a training camp in Varese, Italy, the venue for the second World Cup – which will also feature para-rowing – from 19-21 June.
The big target is the World Rowing Championships from 30 August to 6 September in Aiguebelette, France, which doubles as a qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Full results of the International Para-rowing Regatta can be found here.