Scottish Rowers contribute to record medal haul at the European Rowing Championships
Scotland's Imogen Walsh, Claire McKeown and Sam Scrimgeour helped the GB Rowing Team to its best-ever haul of five medals at the European Championships in Italy as the team's development crews carried on the success of their Olympic and Paralympic team-mates.
28-year-old Walsh from Inverness won bronze in the lightweight women's double scull with Molesey Boat Club's Ruth Walczak, storming through a crew from Poland in the second half of the race for a place on the podium alongside boats from Italy and Greece.
Walsh said: "We were up against Olympic-class crews so it was a great performance considering that. We don't see it as the last race of the season but the start of the next Olympiad."
McKeown, 22, from the GB Rowing Team START talent ID and development centre based at Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club in Glasgow, won a stunning bronze in the women's eight with the final stroke of the race. The British crew were in 5th place with 500 metres to go, but they upped their rate and power output in the closing stages to just nick the bronze medal from Belarus on the line.
Forfar’s Scrimgeour was competing in the men’s lightweight four event and the 24-year-old and his GB crew were involved in an intense battle the whole length of the 2,000 metre course with a crew from Italy. Leading the 6-boat final for the first 1,000 metres, the British crew were eventually reeled in by their Italian counterparts in the second half of the race, narrowly missing out on a gold medal by less than 1 second but well clear of Serbia who finished 3rd.
None of the GB Olympic rowing squad raced in Varese, with the European Championships again reserved as an opportunity for younger members of the GB Rowing Team to gain competition experience against a field from a record 36 countries - many of whom raced at London 2012.
"It was an exceptional team result and although some crews got medals it is about the overall squad performing and across all disciplines we covered ourselves with real credit. These are a very strong set of results, better than we have ever done before," said Pete Sheppard, Team Manager and Lead Coach of the GB team in Varese. "It shows the strength of the development squad going forwards towards Rio.
"All the team stepped up. The men's team were very close to the medals and narrowly off the gold-medal times. All the crews put themselves on the line and they all performed to what we've seen them do in training at what was a very well organised event.
"It's what the team do next in the next four years that matters though. This has been a useful experience but it's what they do next that is crucial."
12 Scottish rowers represented Great Britain on the international stage during 2012 across the Junior, Under 23 and European Championships as well as the Olympic and Paralympic Games, bringing home 3 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.
- Scottish Rowing is the governing body for rowing in Scotland and is supported by sportscotland, the national agency for sport.
- Scottish Rowing supports its clubs and coaches to produce athletes capable of representing the GB Rowing Team.
- Rowing is one of Scotland’s most successful Olympic sports with 2 Olympic and 1 Paralympic gold medals won at London 2012 [Katherine Grainger: women’s double scull, Heather Stanning: women’s coxless pair & David Smith: mixed LTA coxed four]
- Scottish Rowing is currently working to grow participation and improve performances across Scotland with a number of exciting initiatives targeting junior and under 23 development.