Returning Olympic Champ Helen Glover among former University of Bath-based rowers named in GB squad for European Champs

31 March 2021

History-chasing Helen Glover will race competitively for the first time since winning gold at Rio 2016 when she represents the GB Rowing Team at the 2021 European Championships in Varese, Italy next week.

The double Olympic Champion, who returned to training earlier this year, is one of three rowers who learnt their trade on the British Rowing World-Class Start Programme at the University of Bath to have been selected, along with fellow Olympic medallist Vicky Thornley and Sara Parfett.

Mother-of-three Glover is bidding to become the first woman to row for Team GB at an Olympic Games after having children and will renew a title-winning partnership in the women’s pair with Polly Swann, the duo having been crowned both World and European Champions when they previously raced together in 2013 and 2014.

Vicky Thornley (left) and Sara Parfett also came through the World Class Start Programme based at Team Bath

“I’ve been back full time for three months now and being selected for the Europeans is the first step on my mission to become the first woman in British Rowing history to make an Olympic team after having children,” said Glover. “I’m finding the journey exciting and extremely challenging but I hope I can return from Varese with some success stories to share with the children.”

Thornley, who won women’s double scull silver with Katherine Grainger in Rio, will contest the single scull in Varese after becoming the first British woman to qualify the boat for an Olympic Games in 20 years.

Aiming to make her Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer is Parfett, who transitioned from swimming to rowing while studying Biology at the University of Bath. She joined the Start talent development programme in June 2012, just weeks before Glover won her first Olympic title in London, and trained under coach Dan Harris before breaking into the senior GB squad in 2017 following her graduation.

She has been selected in the women’s eight for the European Championships, taking place from April 9-11, while fellow University of Bath alumna Sam Courty has been named as the women’s sweep spare.

Click here to find out more about the British Rowing World-Class Start Programme based at the University of Bath.

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