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Imogen Grant completes incredible year with World Rowing Championship bronze medal

By Mark Taylormark.taylor@iliffemedia.co.uk

Imogen Grant at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv. Picture: Naomi Baker
Imogen Grant at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv. Picture: Naomi Baker

Success after success for Cambridge University Women's Boat Club member

Imogen Grant reflected a on a season of unprecedented success by simply saying “it’s been packed full, but that’s the way I like it”.

The 22-year-old Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club member capped off a maiden season in the Great Britain senior squad with a bronze medal in the lightweight single sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria.

The podium finish adds to a gold medal in the same discipline for the Bar Hill-based rower at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships in July, and Women’s Boat Race success with the Light Blues in March.

“I wanted more, but the fact I got a medal is pretty amazing,” said the former Stephen Perse Foundation student of the bronze.

“If you told me last year that this year I would be under-23 world champion and bronze medallist at the senior world championships, I probably would have laughed at you so it’s gone better than I possibly could have hoped.

“But as you go through the season your standards raise and raise and raise, and you just want more and more from each race. It’s been a really, really good year and I’ve enjoyed the rowing.”

Working with coach Rob Baker, they created a clear goal for the year and Grant believes that each success has helped build momentum for the next event.

It is equally impressive to think that Grant only picked up an oar for the first time four years ago with First And Third Trinity Boat Club when she came to study medicine at Cambridge University.

“It’s been pretty amazing, I guess that’s what happens when you find a sport that works really well for you,” she said.

“My final was on Friday and I went rowing on Saturday because I wanted to.

“It’s a thing I really enjoy, and I think that’s a key part of it, and also just having coaches that fill you with enthusiasm as well.

“My first year, Neil Talbott as my very first coach was one of the most enthusiastic people I know and then for that to be followed up with Rob Baker, Paddy Ryan and Nick Acock at CUWBC was just the perfect path to help me improve over the next few years.

“I’ve been lucky that everyone from all sides has been really supportive in letting me do it, and enabling me to do it.

“From Rob’s side and Cambridge, and to some extent GB as well in being flexible and making sure I can make it to all the academic stuff. Then every so often the clinical school in Cambridge and Trinity being really supportive and making sure I can make things up in the holidays if I need to go on a training camp and juggling things round to make sure I can fit in the rowing too.”

Grant is set to take two years out from her medical studies to do a part-time masters, enabling her to train with Great Britain in the build up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, after which she will conclude her medical degree.

And in summing up the last 12 months, she says: “It’s probably the busiest year of my life so far.

“What with placements at hospitals, 5am starts in Ely, erging in the hospital car park, doing the Boat Race, going from an eight to a single, sculling, sweeping, first senior world championships – it’s been packed full, but that’s the way I like it.

“It couldn’t have gone better in that regard.”

Looking to the future, Grant is just hoping to maintain the progress, both technically and physically.

“The longer I can continue that, the better,” she added. “The fact that next year is going to be in a slightly new environment is going to bring a new element to that and help me continue improving.”

There was also success for Cambridge University Boat Club alumni Henry Fieldman and Tom Ransley.

They were in the men’s eight that were pipped to silver by Australia by 0.03sec in a gripping finale.


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