Former University of Bath rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning completed their collection of major international titles as a women’s pair as they eased to victory at the European Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland.
The Olympic and World champions were clear-water winners in all three of their races over the weekend, with their final victory time of 6:58.28 slicing five seconds off the previous championship record.
Minerva Bath patron Glover, who had won the title 12 months earlier with Polly Swann, said gold was a good way to start a season which concludes with the World Championships and a Rio 2016 Olympic qualification regatta in Aiguebelette, France.
“We always look to get something out of every race, to give us a lesson for the rest of the season, and we were pleased with how that went,” said the former Oldfield School PE teacher.
“We were really focused on the task and had respect for the crews around us but this season, I guess, is about seeing which crews might come in during the big events and challenge for Rio.”
University of Bath graduate Stanning, who missed last year’s European success through illness, added: “That was a great way to kickstart our season.
“Having a Championships event with Europe is really important as rowing is so strong here, although in our particular event a lot of the top crews are from around the world.”
Glover began her rowing career on the GB Rowing Team Start programme at the University of Bath alongside Vicky Thornley, who partnered Olympic champion Katherine Grainger on her high-profile return to international competition.
They came away with a bronze medal in the double scull, behind 2013 World Champions Poland and defending European Champions Lithuania, after improving with each race over the course of the weekend.
“It was good to get on the podium but we have a long way to go,” said Thornley, whose medal was one of ten won by the GB Rowing Team at the Championships – six gold, two silver and two bronze.
Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “I am really impressed with our team performances, it is a cracking start to the Olympic qualifying season.
“We still have some improvements to make but it’s good to start the season top of the European medal table.”