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Rowers on the road to Olympics

Local quartet impress at Team GB trial sessions

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Golden girl Georgia claims a Championship double

Georgia Francis

FORMER Downe House student Louisa Reeve led a group of four locals at the GB Senior Rowing Trials at Boston at the weekend as they took part in the first assessment for Rio.

All of the athletes underwent a two kilometre testing on the rowing machines or ‘ergs’ on Saturday, but it was on Sunday that the true test on the water took place.

The 31-year old double Olympian Reeve has already collected two World Cup bronze medals this year and capped a great season as she finished in a superb ninth place in the women's single sculls 5k time trial time in 20 minutes 40 seconds, just 38 seconds behind sculling specialist and Leander club-mate Victoria Thornley.

Imperial's Georgia Francis was just two places and five seconds behind in 11th spot, but ahead of London 2012 Olympic gold-medalist Anna Watkins, who is hoping for a return to the squad after taking three years out to have two children.

Another London Olympic gold medallist and current World and European pairs champion Heather Stanning was also trailing in 13th place, but perhaps more importantly at this stage of her career, Francis was also the second under-23 rower home behind her World under-23 Championship partner Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne. With the pair winning the Senior British Championships double sculls title two weeks earlier, Rio must now also be a serious possibility for them.

The men also delivered with the Rossiter brothers opting for the more familiar sweep rowing time-trials in the pairs. Matthew, another former world under-23 silver medallist, teamed up with Leander club-mate William Warr to finish eighth in a time of 17.44 with younger brother George in another Leander boat and partnering Barnaby Stentiford to finish 10th, five seconds adrift.

The second stage of the Team GB assessment will be in January and rowers will now have to wait to see if they are invited to attend.

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