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Olympic Medallists Triumph in Crew Boat Selection

Liam Heath and Jon Schofield were amongst a number of international medallist competing in Sunday’s K4 Crew Boat selection race. 

Schoffield Heath Robinson Fletcher 001

Day Two of the opening regatta weekend at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham saw Crew Boat selection finals come to the forefront, with a number of international medallists competing in a bid to make it on the team for the upcoming competitions.

With slightly cooler and windy conditions compared to the day before, various finals in the early part of the day displayed some fantastic and competitive racing across the events.

In the K4 Men’s U23 and Senior Open 500m Final, there were numerous competitive boats out on the start line, including the crew boat nomination of Liam Heath, Jon Schofield, Lewis Fletcher and Matt Robinson, seeing the 2016 Olympic silver medallist duo of Liam and Jon being reunited once again in a crew boat.

The senior boat team didn’t disappoint, putting in a powerful time of 1:25.95. They were, however, closely followed in second place by the U23 crew boat nomination of Noah Dembele, Ieuan James, Stelian Naftanaila and Trevor Thomson, who only finished under a second behind the race leaders.

Meanwhile, the K4 Girls U16/18 and Womens U23 and Senior Open 500m Selection Race Final saw all three nominated crew boats across the age ranges shine, with the senior crew of Hannah Brown, Deborah Kerr, Emily Lewis and Amy Turner putting in a dominating performance of 1:41.10. Only two seconds off the pace were the U23 crew of Ava Dale (Falcon) Sam Rees-Clark (Nottingham KC), Renee Myburgh (Royal CC) and Lucy Lee-Smith (Norwich CC).

Rachael Kneen (Forth CC), Emma Russell (Chelmsford CC), Enya Dale (Falcon CC) and Zoe Clark (Royal CC) too were amongst the leading three boat pack as they claimed a win in the junior final.

Opening the second day was the K2 Boys U16 and U18 1000m final, with Andras Kereszturi and Luke Shaw (Norwich) leading the way from the start as they cruised to an impressive win, despite James Smithson and Phillip Miles (Royal Leamington Spa CC) pushing them all the way.

Freya Peters and Emma Russell came out on top in the K2 Girls U16 and U18 500m final, beating their nearest competitors Zoe Clark and Rachael Kneen by four seconds. Zoe and Rachael did get a victory later in the day when competing in the K2 Girls U16 and U18 200m final, winning just 0.5 seconds ahead of second place.

In the K2 Men’s U23 and Senior Open 1000m final, it was the nominated crew boat duo of Daniel Johnson (Chelmsford) and Tom Lusty (Solihull CC) who once again put in a near perfect showing in heat one with a time of 3:21.07, knocking off over ten seconds off their heat time yesterday. Jon Boyton (Royal) and Tim Pendle (Norwich) came in second place just over two seconds behind the race leaders. Daniel Johnson then combined with Matt Bowley to take the K2 Mens U23 and Senior Open 500m Final ahead of Ieuan James and Trevor Thomson later in the day.

Katie Reid and Nia Tomos powered to the finish line in a time of 2:10.15 in the Canoe Girls U18 and Womens U23 and Senior Open 500m final, with the U23 boat nomination of Ruth Bennett and Afton Fitzhenry coming three second behind. The two boats replicated this result later in the day, this time in the Canoe Girls U18 and Womens U23 and Senior Open 200m, but just two seconds separated them on this occasion.

In the K2 Women’s Under 23 and Senior Open 500m Selection Final, Deborah Kerr and Emily Lewis triumphed ahead of the rest of the pack, putting in an impressive time of 1:52:23. The duo combined again in the 200m final with a similar result, putting in a time of 40.17, ahead of Amy Turner and Hannah Brown.

The K2 Mens U23 and Senior Open 200m Final saw Stelian Naftanaila and Trevor Thomson put in an excellent performance to take the win in a time of 34.65, beating Lewis Fletcher and Matt Robinson, as well as Matt Bowley and Tom Lusty.

Andras Kereszturi, Phillip Miles, Luke Shaw James Smithson, who have all put in fantastic runs across the weekend, came together to win the K4 Junior 500m Final.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Paracanoe races on Saturday, further British athletes competed in the Va’a selection racing on Sunday as they looked to book their spot on the international team for upcoming competitions.

Former wheelchair tennis athlete David Phillipson took round one In the V1 Para Men Va’a VL1-3, getting ahead of Martin Tweedie who took second place during round one. Round two finished very differently however, with recent Talent ID recruit and current Mr England Jack Eyers putting in a blistering performance to win round two, beating Martin Tweedie who again occupied second spot.

In the V1 Para Women Va’a VL1-3, it was two current Grand Slam Champions coming up against each other with Emma Wiggs taking on Jeanette Chippington. It was Emma who secured wins in both rounds of racing, adding to her successful racing on Saturday.

Away from selection races, athletes took the chance to get some competitive racing in as they gear up to selection event on the 28 April. Jess Walker won the K1 Women’s A and B 500m Final. The three time Olympian pipped Rebeka Simon to the finish line with 0.7 seconds separating the pair. Rachel Cawthorn took third place.