24 July 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Rowing: Watkins in eye-catching win over Grainger

February 15, 2011

Anna Watkins celebrated her 28th birthday in style today by taking an unexpected single scull victory over Katherine Grainger on the 2012 Olympic course in the GB Rowing Team Winter Assessment trials.

Grainger, five times world champion, three times Olympic silver medallist and nine times GB Rowing Team Trials winner, is rarely beaten on home water over the 2000m Olympic distance.

Watkins, from Leek in Staffordshire, says she learnt a lot from rowing with Scotland’s Grainger to a world championship and three world cup golds in the double scull in 2010.

“Sitting behind Katherine in the boat last year taught me a lot”, said Watkins. “I felt today that even if I could be in touch at halfway, then I would have a chance”.

But Watkins was quick to play down the victory.  “I’m not taking anything for granted for the final [GB Rowing Team] trials which come up in April. We’ve only just come back from training camp and haven’t done many race pace sessions. So I haven’t beaten Katherine at her best”.

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Gloucester’s Beth Rodford and Katie Solesbury were third and fourth in today’s final with Wrexham’s Vicky Thornley – who only took up rowing three years ago and has been part of the GB Rowing Team’s Siemens-backed and Lottery-funded Start Programme – not far behind. Scot Kirsty Myles, a former world junior bronze medallist who recently qualified as a physiotherapist, stepped up well today to take a place at the starting line for the main final.

Debbie Flood, from Leeds, and Cornwall’s Annabel Vernon, both world champions in the women’s quadruple scull last November, failed to make the top twelve in the time trial and thus missed the main semi-finals.

Organisers from the GB Rowing Team decided in the morning to move the finals from Sunday morning into Saturday afternoon because optimum race conditions had been predicted today but not tomorrow.

“We met and consulted very early today and decided we wanted to give the rowers chance – at an event when they would want to put down a marker to achieve an invitation to the GB Rowing Senior Trials in April – to race in the best possible conditions”, said GB Rowing Performance Director David Tanner.

He and his team were proved right with sunshine and flat-water providing the perfect stage for the races this afternoon.

FINALS WOMEN A FINAL

Single scull

1. Anna Watkins (Leander) 7:46.47
2. Katherine Grainger (St Andrew) 7:50.59
3. Beth Rodford (Gloucester) 7:55.63
4. Katie Solesbury (Leander) 7:59.41
5. Vicky Thornley (Leander) 8:02.92
6. Kirsty Myles (Leander) 8:10.56

Kim Mogg, Sportsister

The Women’s Sports Magazine

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