Helen Glover makes triumphant return to competition by striking gold with Polly Swann at European Rowing Championships

11 April 2021

Former Team Bath-based rower Helen Glover made a winning return to the international stage when she and Polly Swann claimed women’s pair gold at the 2021 European Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy.

Vicky Thornley also won silver in the women’s single scull and University of Bath alumna Sara Parfett narrowly missed out on a medal as the women’s eight finished fourth during an impressive return to competition by the GB Rowing Team who last raced in September 2019.

The wait has been even longer for double Olympic Champion Glover, who learnt her trade with the GB Rowing Team World-Class Start Programme based at the Team Bath Sports Training Village.

She stepped away from the sport following her second gold medal with Heather Stanning at Rio 2016 but, after a five-year gap in which she had three children, Glover returned to training in January and looked like she had never been away as she and Polly Swann dominated the women’s pair competition in Varese.

After comfortably winning their heat, they led from start to finish in Sunday’s final to claim their second European title as a pair having previously won in 2014.

“That win was for Logan, Kit and Bo and I hope they enjoyed it,” said Glover. “Coming into the race we decided that the middle 1,000m is where we really wanted to be strong and we really felt in control during that section. Maybe that just left us missing a gear at the end but I’m just really happy that we dug in and got the result.

“I was literally thinking today “Am I going to make it down the track?”, which is silly because I do it in training every day but just something about racing makes those doubts come to the surface. I’ve squashed all those down now and can move forward in being the athlete I know I am, and also into being the athlete I want to be as well.”

Click here to find out more about the World-Class Start Programme based at Team Bath.

Picture credit: Getty Images for British Rowing

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