International challenges await University of Bath rowers past and present
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning will be looking to win their first European Championship title together when they represent the GB Rowing Team in Poznan, Poland later this month.
And Vicky Thornley will form an eye-catching double scull crew with Olympic champion Katherine Grainger, who is making her first international appearance since London 2012.
Glover and University of Bath Sports Technology graduate Stanning are the reigning Olympic and World Champions in the women’s pair.
However, Stanning was forced to miss last year’s European Championships in Belgrade through illness, with Glover instead being partnered by Polly Swann to the gold medal.
They will be favourites to retain that title for Britain when the Europeans take place in Poznan from May 29-31 but Glover is not taking anything for granted.
“We anticipate an incredibly tough field this year but the aim is to win medals whilst not losing sight of the main goal which is Rio next year,” she said.
Stanning added: “If you look back 12 months I’m in far better shape than I was then. I’ve had a really solid winter and training has been going very well.”
The boat featuring Thornley – who started her career alongside Glover on the University of Bath Start programme in 2008 after coming through a talent ID scheme – and Grainger will be a focus of attention at the Europeans.
The duo were the two quickest scullers at the recent Senior Trials with Thornley claiming victory after fighting off a fierce challenge from Grainger, who took a two-year break from the sport after winning an emotional gold at London 2012.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how the new partnerships goes, taking on a new project and building up through the year,” said Thornley.
Meanwhile, two current members of the Start programme at the University of Bath will gain more international experience this weekend when they compete at the 2015 International Huegel Regatta in Essen, Germany.
University of Bath Economics student Frazier Christie will race in the men’s U23 quadruple scull with Tom Barras, Alex Haynes and George Stewart.
Sports & Exercise student Sam Courty – who won women’s eight silver with the GB Rowing Team at the 2014 World U23 Championships – goes in the U23 four with Emily Ford, Annie Whithers and Susie Dear.
Both Christie and Courty are coached by Dan Harris at the university and are supported by a Santander Sports Scholarship.