Lightweights lead way as U23s make solid start to World Champs

On a day that started in torrential rain and ended in bright sun, the GB Rowing Team’s U23s produced several shining performances as the 2016 World Championships got under way in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.


The U23 lightweight men's four were among five GB heat winners on Sunday © Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images

It was a particularly good day for the lightweight rowers, with the women’s quadruple scull of Mary Wilson, Susannah Duncan, Ellie Lewis and Maddie Arlett becoming the first GB crew to book a final place.

Their male counterparts – Hugo Coussens, Oliver Varley, Matthew Curtis and Gavin Horsburgh – were impressive winners of their heat, as were the lightweight four of Ed Fisher, Ben Reeves, Jon Jackson and Alistair Douglass, while Sam Mottram executed a well-paced race in the tricky morning conditions to take top spot in his lightweight men’s single scull heat.

Torrential rain and strong gusts of wind, plus the occasional flash of lightning, blighted the morning session but the experienced duo of Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne and Jess Leyden handled the conditions well to win their women’s double scull heat by clear water.

The lightweight women's quad
Sam Mottram
The lightweight men's quad

The men’s four of James Johnston, Tom George, James Rudkin and Lewis McCue also produced an eye-catching performance to win their race in the afternoon before the men’s eight became GB’s fifth semi-finalists of the day as they finished runners-up in their heat.

Tom Barras, like Mottram, went through to the quarter-finals of his competition as he finished runner-up in his men’s single scull heat.

Six more GB crews will have another chance to make progress on Monday morning as they return for the U23 repechages.

More than 100 GB rowers are competing on the Willem-Alexander Baan rowing course this week as Rotterdam hosts the combined Senior, U23 and Junior World Rowing Championships.

Tom Barras finished in torrential rain
The men's four
Jess Leyden and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne

The senior rowers start their campaign on Monday, with six crews in action in the afternoon.

Fiona Gammond, Donna Etiebet, Holly Nixon and Holly Norton go in the women’s four heats at 3.15pm BST, followed by the men’s coxed pair of Ollie Cook, Callum McBrierty and cox Henry Fieldman – a defending champion in the boat – at 3.30pm BST.

Gemma Hall starts her lightweight women’s single scull campaign at 3.45pm BST before Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour, the reigning World and European Champions, race in the lightweight men’s pair heats at 4.25pm BST.

The lightweight quads complete the day’s action. Brianna Stubbs, Emily Craig, Imogen Walsh and Ellie Piggott – all silver-medallists at last year’s World Championships – compete in the women’s preliminary race at 4.35pm BST, followed by the men’s quad of Zak Lee-Green, Charles Waite-Roberts, Jamie Copus and Jamie Kirkwood at 4.40pm BST.

Click on the expander boxes below for full race reports and results.

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Race Report

The morning session had the worst of the weather, with blustery winds and heavy rain showers providing a real challenge.

Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne and Jess Leyden both have plenty of senior experience and that was evident in the confident way they dealt with their women’s double scull heat.

The GB double quickly established the lead and were a length clear by 500m. They continued to pull away from the field and were impressive clear-water winners, booking their place in Tuesday’s semi-finals.

Leyden, a former World Junior Champion, said: “We’re pleased with that, we did what we planned to do. We have learnt quite a lot from that race and we’re excited about the week ahead.”

Sam Mottram, a silver-medallist in the U23 lightweight men’s quad last year, was another GB rower with senior experience to get off to a strong start.

Competing in the lightweight men’s single, he produced a well-paced race in very tricky conditions to row through the field in the last 500m and win by a length to book a quarter-final place.

“It was a nice solid start and sets me up for the rest of the week,” said Mottram, who competed in the senior men’s quad at the 2015 World Championships in Aiguebelette.

“I couldn’t see much more than 200m at the start of the race, it was incredibly wet. I looked at around the 1,000m mark and thought I could go through for the win, so it was good to get around them.”

Tom Barras has been the leading men’s sculler in the U23 squad this season, winning the World Trials at Caversham. He had a tough draw in his men’s single heat but came through it strongly, finishing runner-up to Michal Plocek of the Czech Republic – the 2014 World U23 champion – in squally conditions.

The men’s pair of Oliver Hines and Graham Ord will return for the repechages on Monday after finishing fourth in their heat.

A busy but dry – although still blustery – afternoon session saw Mary Wilson, Susannah Duncan, Ellie Lewis and Maddie Arlett become the first GB crew to book their place in the A finals as they finished runners-up in their lightweight women’s quadruple scull heat.

Italy and Britain quickly established a lead over the rest of the field and maintained those positions throughout the race to secure the two qualifying places. Lewis will be looking to add to the bronze medal she won in the boat in 2013 when the final takes place on Thursday.

Hugo Coussens, Oliver Varley, Matthew Curtis and Gavin Horsburgh progressed to the lightweight men’s quadruple scull semi-finals in fine style as they won their heat.

There was little to choose between them and France for the first 500m but GB – stroked by World Junior men’s quad champion Horsburgh – moved up a gear to pull a length clear before maintaining their advantage in confident fashion.

The men’s four of James Johnston, Tom George, James Rudkin and Lewis McCue also looked impressive as they comfortably won their heat.

A powerful push in the second 500m proved decisive as the British crew – featuring Johnston and McCue who won silver in the boat last year – went from third to first, a position they never looked like relinquishing as they eased home.

The lightweight men’s four of Ed Fisher, Ben Reeves, Jon Jackson and Alistair Douglass won bronze at the 2015 U23 World Championships and served notice that they are looking to do better this time round as they led their heat from start to finish.

Despite the blustery conditions, the GB crew looked smooth as they established a clear-water lead over Chile by the halfway mark and went on to comfortably book their place in Tuesday’s semi-finals.

Both the women’s and men’s eights were involved in exciting contests as they finished runners-up in their respective heats.

The defending champions from the United States were in the women’s heat but it was New Zealand who made the early running and held a surprise lead at the halfway stage.

The British eight of Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, Alice Bowyer, Emily Ford, Chloe Brew, Holly Hill, Madeline Badcott, Anna Thornton, Heidi Long and cox Sasha Adwani were right in the mix, though, and, as the Kiwis tired, they pushed through in the second half to finish as strong runners-up to the Americans, who surged clear to take the win.

A crowd-pleasing performance from the Dutch men’s eight saw them build their lead throughout their heat to claim victory.

Behind them, there was a real battle between GB and Ukraine for second spot. It looked like the British eight of Calum Irvine, Oliver Wynne-Griffith, Matthew Benstead, Timothy Livingstone, David Bewicke-Copley, Sholto Carnegie, Robert Hurn, Arthur Doyle and cox Ian Middleton had done enough with 500m to go to secure it, only for the Ukranians to respond and regain a narrow advantage.

GB dug deep and pushed again in the closing stages to take the runners-up spot by two-tenths of a second and progress to the semi-finals.

The men’s quadruple scull heats, which began the afternoon session, saw the GB quartet of Harry Leask, Rowan Law, Harry Glenister and Andrew Joel involved in a race-long battle with Italy for second place behind a dominant Australian crew.

Britain had the edge at the 1,500m mark but Italy were able to get their noses in front and take the second qualifying place by a narrow margin, meaning GB will have to try again in Monday’s repechage for a semi-final place.

It was a similar story in the men’s coxed four heats, with Australia leading the way as the GB crew of Rory Gibbs, Christopher Heywood, Michael Glover, Matthew Aldridge and cox Harry Brightmore enjoyed a good tussle with Switzerland.

The Brits eventually moved clear with 500m to go and began to close in on the Australians but had to settle for second place, meaning they will also return for the repechages on Monday.

Lauren Kedar, Harriet Taylor, Saskia Budgett and Rowan McKellar sat in third place throughout their women’s four heat, which was won by Romania in the closing stages as they overhauled the Netherlands. The GB crew have another chance of reaching the final through Monday’s repechage.

Flo Pickles, Kyra Edwards, Georgia Francis and Lucy Burgess were involved in a closely-contested women’s quadruple scull heat, where only the top two would progress directly to the final.

They sat second to eventual winners Poland for much of the race but a late surge from France saw them take the all-important runners-up spot, with Italy just sneaking third place on the line.

Race Results

(Events featuring GB Rowing Team crews only. For full results –








Four – H2


1. Ana-Maria Simion/Iuliana Buhus/Madalina Heghes/Diana Mihai (Romania) 6:41.63

2.Hermijntje Drenth/Eline Feitsma/Ymkje Clevering/Veronique Meester (Netherlands) 6:42.00

3. Lauren Kedar/Harriet Taylor/Saskia Budgett/Rowan McKellar (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:48.27

4. Mingwei Zhao/Jie Pan/Shuxian Zhang/Huiru Wei (China) 6:57.73

5. Raisa Rudenko/Kateryna Klymenko/Alla Sarkanych/Darya Galagan (Ukraine) 7:04.70


Eight – H1


1. United States 6:20.86

2. Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne/Alice Bowyer/Emily Ford/Chloe Brew/Holly Hill/Madeline Badcott/Anna Thornton/Heidi Long/Sasha Adwani (cox) 6:25.88

3. New Zealand 6:27.60

4. Germany 6:27.73


Double scull – H1


1. Mathilda Hodgkins-Bryne/Jess Leyden (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:05.02

2. Frieda Haemmerling/Julia Leiding (Germany) 7:12.99

3. Julia Styla/Katarzyna Welna (Poland) 7:15.62

4. Maddalena Ardissino/Nicole Sala (Italy) 7:34.33

5. Kitti Horvath/Kitti Bertus (Hungary) 9:34.47


Quadruple scull – H2


1. Marta Wieliczko/Krystyna Lemanczyk/Olga Michalkiewicz/Katarzyna Zillmann (Poland) 6:37.88

2. Laura Tarantola/Camille Juillet/Marie Jacquet/Anne-Sophie Marzin (France) 6:39.18

3. Kiri English-Hawke/Stefania Gobbi/Valentina Iseppi/Chiara Oldoli (Italy) 6:39.92

4. Flo Pickles/Kyra Edwards/Georgia Francis/Lucy Burgess (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:40.20

5. Alexandria Kerr/Hannah Osborne/Georgia Allen/Amy Mills (New Zealand) 6:42.67




Pair – H2


1. Romauld Thomas/Raphael Lescieux (France) 6:45.59

2. Maximilian Kohlmayr/Joerg Auerbach (Austria) 6:45.98

3. Benedikt Mueller/Johannes Rentz (Germany) 6:51.92

4. Oliver Hines/Graham Ord (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:56.55


Four – H2


1. James Johnston/Thomas George/James Rudkin/Lewis McCue (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:10.51

2. Olaf Roggensack/Rene Schmela/Wolf-Niclas Schroeder/Paul Gebrauer (Germany) 6:11.85

3. Lucas Degelder/Martin Barakso/Daniel De Groot/Mackenzie Copp (Canada) 6:13.32

4. Uros Dimitrijevic/Marko Ristic/Dusan Slavnic/Zoran Rajic (Serbia) 6:15.55


Coxed four – H2


1. Australia 6:17.52

2. Rory Gibbs/Christopher Heywood/Michael Glover/Matthew Aldridge/Harry Brightmore (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:20.49

3. Switzerland 6:21.51

4. Canada 6:22.60

5. United States 6:24.06

6. Austria 6:44.40


Eight – H1


1. Netherlands 5:37.06

2. Calum Irvine/Oliver Wynne-Griffith/Matthew Benstead/Timothy Livingstone/David Bewicke-Copley/Sholto Carnegie/Robert Hurn/Arthur Doyle/Ian Middleton (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:39.72

3. Ukraine 5:39.91

4. Romania 5:42.32

5. Russia 5:44.79


Single scull – H3


1. Michal Plocek (Czech Republic) 6:59.26

2. Tom Barras (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:03.35

3. Jan Helvig (Norway) 7:09.94

4. Dogus Koker (Turkey) 7:13.53

5. Nick Larsen (Denmark) 7:17.12


Quadruple scull – H3


1. Robert Black/Caleb Antill/Luke Letcher/Thomas Schramko (Australia) 5:52.01

2. Ivan Capuano/Luca Rambaldi/Emanuele Fiume/Giacomo Gentili (Italy) 5:53.31

3. Harry Leask/Rowan Law/Harry Glenister/Andrew Joel (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:53.94

4. Arne Hadler-Olsen/Erling Oeyasaeter/Jorgen Nilsson/Adrian Lindgren (Norway) 6:12.90

5. Daniel Buckley/Jack Casey/Patrick Boomer/Charles McKeown (Ireland) 6:15.47






Quadruple scull – H1


1. Asja Maregotto/Paola Piazzolla/Allegra Francalacci/Giorgia Lo Bue (Italy) 6:43.39

2. Mary Wilson/Susannah Duncan/Madeleine Arlett/Elisha Lewis (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:51.87

3. Louisa Altenhuber/Alexandra Breschan/Anna Berger/Laura Arndorfer (Austria) 6:58.47

4. Line Katrine Olsen/Iben Ostergaard/Silja Davidsen/Marie Moerch-Pedersen (Denmark) 7:00.58

5. Brigid Kennedy/Helena Randle/Molly Pierce/Emma Betuel (USA) 7:04.07




Four – H2


1. Edward Fisher/Benjamin Reeves/ Jonathan Jackson/Alistair Douglass (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:14.91

2. Luciano Greco Velasquez/Patricio Barrera Alarcon/Marcelo Medina Bonilla/Cesar Abaroa (Chile) 6:17.17

3. Mads Petersen/Malthe Puro/Sebastian Bache/Peter Holmqvist (Denmark) 6:17.29

4. Alvaro Romero Garcia/Ramon Gomez Cotilla/Marcelo Garcia/Roger Folque Fucho (Spain) 6:19.73

5. Nick Overkamp/Vincent De Vegt/Abel Bokdam/Joost Van Roetbergen (Netherlands) 6:24.78


Single scull – H5


1. Sam Mottram (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:10.95

2. Ask Jarl Tjoem (Norway) 7:12.80

3. Mohamed Taieb (Tunisia) 7:13.17

4. Dmitry Kudzerka (Belarus) 7:39.10

5. Hicham Banabdallah (Morocco) DNS


Quadruple scull – H3


1. Gavin Horsburgh/Oliver Varley/Hugo Coussens/Matthew Curtis (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:07.96

2. Valentin Geneste/Gael Chocheyras/Thibault Remy/Leo Grandsire (France) 6:09.48

3. Sebastian Kabas/Maximilian Lex/Philipp Kellner/Iurii Suchak (Austria) 6:18.54

4. Pedro Duarte Menezes/Joao Paulo Oliveira/Diogo Almeida/Diogo Allen Coelho (Portugal) 6:23.07

Crew List

U23 World Rowing Championships, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, August 21-28, 2016

(Listed bow to stroke; club, hometown, date of birth)








Lauren Kedar (Oxford Univ Women’s BC/Reading/13.08.95)

Hattie Taylor (Sport Imperial BC/Sunningdale/14.02.94)

Saskia Budgett (Tideway Scullers’ School/Acton/21.09.96)

Rowan McKellar (Broxbourne RC/Glasgow/24.05.94)

Coaches: Lauren Fisher & Mathilda Horne




Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne (Univ of London BC/Hereford/08.10.96)

Alice Bowyer (Reading RC/Hilldale/26.02.97)

Emily Ford (Newcastle Univ BC/Holmes Chapel/08.11.94)

Chloe Brew (Plymouth ARC/Plymouth/14.09.95)

Holly Hill (Isle of Ely RC/Gossington/23.01.94)

Maddy Badcott (Oxford Univ Women’s BC/London/15.06.95)

Anna Thornton (Nottingham RC/Nottingham/19.07.97)

Heidi Long (Marlow RC/Chalfont St Peter/29.11.96)

Sasha Adwani (cox) (Newcastle Univ BC/Oxford/27.06.96)

Coach: Lauren Fisher & Mathilda Horne


Double scull


Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne (Reading Univ BC/Hereford/01.10.94)

Jessica Leyden (Leander Club/Todmorden/22.02.95)

Coach: Dan Moore


Quadruple scull


Flo Pickles (Gloucester Hartpury/Cheltenham/02.11.96)

Kyra Edwards (Nottingham RC/Nottingham/12.08.97)

Georgia Francis (Imperial College BC/Newbury/18.08.94)

Lucy Burgess (Agecroft RC/Swindon/27.04.94)

Coach: Peter Lee






Oliver Hines (Imperial College BC/Kingston-upon-Thames/18.01.94)

Graham Ord (Edinburgh Univ BC/Hamilton/23.02.95)

Coach: Stuart Whitelaw




James Johnston (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/26.08.94)

Tom George (Leander Club/Cheltenham/22.09.94)

James Rudkin (Newcastle Univ BC/Litchborough/07.07.94)

Lewis McCue (Robert Gordon Univ BC/Aberdeen/26.12.94)

Coach: Brian Young


Coxed four


Rory Gibbs (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/High Wycombe/03.04.94)

Chris Heywood (Molesey BC/Ascot/29.05.94)

Michael Glover (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Burnham/03.06.95)

Matt Aldridge (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Christchurch/11.03.96)

Harry Brightmore (cox) (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Chester/01.07.94)

Coach: Colin Williamson




Calum Irvine (Edinburgh Univ BC/Aviemore/07.05.94)

Oliver Wynne-Griffith (Leander Club/Guildford/29.05.94)

Matthew Benstead (Molesey BC/Twickenham/06.05.95)

Tim Livingstone (London RC/Putney/06.12.95)

David Bewicke-Copley (Eton College BC/Lutterworth/21.09.97)

Sholto Carnegie (Leander Club/Oxford/28.02.95)

Robert Hurn (Leander Club/Glasgow/26.01.95)

Arthur Doyle (Univ of London BC/London/07.12.96)

Ian Middleton (cox) (Cambridge Univ BC/Oxford/27.06.95)

Coach: Pete Sheppard


Single scull


Tom Barras (Leander Club/Staines/07.01.94)

Coach: Clive Cooper


Quadruple scull


Harry Leask (Leander Club/Edinburgh/16.10.95)

Rowan Law (Leander Club/Nottingham/01.12.96)

Harry Glenister (Leander Club/Princes Risborough/02.07.95)

Andrew Joel (Leander Club/Windsor/08.06.95)

Coach: Ross Hunter






Quadruple scull


Mary Wilson (Wallingford RC/Nottingham/08.04.94)

Susannah Duncan (Exeter Univ BC/Aiguebelette, France/13.05.97)

Maddie Arlett (Edinburgh Univ BC/Selkirk/07.06.94)

Ellie Lewis (Agecroft RC/Marlow/14.04.94)

Coach: Richard Tinkler






Ed Fisher (Leander Club/Nottingham/16.04.94)

Ben Reeves (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Wilmslow/10.05.94)

Alastair Douglass (Molesey BC/Shepperton/22.06.95)

Jonathan Jackson (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/02.06.95)

Coach: Franz lmfeld


Single scull


Sam Mottram (Leander Club/Stoke Mandeville/14.11.94)

Coach: Clive Cooper


Quadruple scull


Gavin Horsburgh (Edinburgh Univ BC/Lochwinnoh/26.08.97)

Ollie Varley (Newcastle Univ BC/Durham/06.12.95)

Hugo Coussens (Durham Univ BC/Henley-on-Thames/07.07.96)

Matthew Curtis (Edinburgh Univ BC/Durham/14.10.95)

Coach: Colin Williamson

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