Imogen Grant races into golden record books with Great Britain at the Rowing World Cup
Imogen Grant is on top of the world in all aspects.
The 26-year-old Cambridge University Boat Club rower was competing for the GB Rowing Team at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne last Saturday, and won the country’s first gold in a medal-laden weekend.
Grant, who is from Bar Hill, was racing in the lightweight women’s single scull, and was victorious in a world-best time of 7min 23.36sec.
“It’s my first international race of the season,” said Grant. “I was in the middle of my exams when the team went out to race in Belgrade, but it was really inspiring to see them all come away with medals.
“Now I’m back with the team and after racing at Henley, I knew that my speed was pretty good, so given that Lucerne is a favourable course, I was crossing my fingers for some good conditions.
“I could see that my splits were looking pretty good and I chatted with our coach Andrew Randall this morning and he said ‘if it’s on, it’s on. Given that it’s the final you don’t let up, you don’t stop until you cross the finish line’. I came here with the intention to try and see if I could break the world best time and I’m so happy that I managed it.”
GB finished top of the medal table with seven golds, one silver and a bronze, with a further three of those wins claimed by athletes with connections to the Light Blues.
Current students Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George won the first gold on Sunday, in the men’s pair.
“It’s nice especially after last week’s race at Henley, but today was always our priority as it’s about seedings for world championships and things like that,” said George.
“I think this has been only our eighth or ninth race as a pair, so it’s pretty exciting to see where we can go.”
Wynne-Griffith added: “The races come thick and fast at this time of year, so when you get knocks like last week it’s important to get back up, get back on it and know that there are performances in there, so I’m really pleased how we stayed focused, we stayed internal, we thought out our processes and it’s paid off, and we’re just enjoying making the boat go fast.”
Former CUBC president Freddie Davidson was in the victorious men’s coxless four, alongside Will Stewart, Sam Nunn and Matt Aldridge, and ex-Light Blues cox Henry Fieldman steered the men’s eight to victory.
He said: “It felt great to be back racing and it was really fun. I loved every minute of it. It was good to be back in the boat.
“I enjoyed a bit of coaching and seeing the sport from that side but to be back in the performance element is what I love. There’s a lot more pressure and the nerves that come with that but that’s part of the fun, and I’m really proud and pleased with how the guys performed.”
Cambridge-based George Bourne and Matt Haywood were fifth in the men’s double sculls final.
British Rowing director of performance Louise Kingsley said: “It’s been a great weekend for Great Britain on the Rotsee. We have won medals across all disciplines (sweep and sculling, men’s and women’s squads) so it’s been a solid team effort not just on the water but also behind the scenes.”