Rowing World Cup: New British combinations win four golds

By Martin CrossBBC Sport
Rowing World Cup: Helen Glover and Polly Swann take gold in Sydney

Britain's rowers produced sparkling performances on the waters of Sydney's Olympic course with four golds, a silver and two bronze.

All four of the teams' London Olympic champions struck gold with Helen Glover, partnered with rookie Polly Swann, winning the women's pairs.

Three of the men's four who won in 2012 helped ensure that the British eight led from beginning to end.

The men's quad picked up a historic first gold medal in this event.

And the lightweight men's double of Richard Chambers and Adam Freeman-Pask also dominated their race.

The silver medal in the lightweight men's four and bronzes for both open weight and lightweight women's doubles ensured that the British team finished second in the World Cup rankings behind a strong Australian team.

The most impressive performance of the British team came from the new women's pair. The combination, stroked by Polly Swann, who had to miss the Olympics with a back injury, dominated a strong field.

At the first quarter their lead was over two seconds and by the 1000m mark it was up to nearly five seconds - a distance they kept, to beat a strong American crew.

"To be honest, I was surprised that we had so much on the field at half way." said Glover. "We've moved on each race here and today felt really good."

Swann underlined the strength of the partnership the two women were beginning to forge, when she said: "It's been great rowing with Helen. She's made it really easy for me."

The men's eight were anchored to another victory over a strong American boat by the power of Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Peter Reed and Alex Gregory. The three Olympic champions led the eight into an early lead. And although the US crew did reduce the margin to just over a second in the final quarter, The British win was never in doubt.

"I've felt really relaxed in this boat." said Reed. "I'm really proud of what we've achieved."

For Gregory, the crew's smooth technique played a key role in their victory. "We've been working very hard on the front end of our stroke on training camp," he said.

The men's quad come out on top in a duel with a powerful New Zealand crew.

"We may not be race-ready this early in the year but we are fit and sometimes your fitness can take you through," said Charles Cousins.

Great Britain's lightweight men's double showed they have what it takes to live up to the high standards set by Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase. This time, Chambers and Freeman-Pask blasted out and dominated their Chinese and Portuguese opponents.

"That result shows we are up there with some of the best," said Chambers.

Chambers's brother Peter picked up a silver behind New Zealand as part of the lightweight men's four. The two women's doubles - open and lightweight - had to settle for bronze behind impressive New Zealand winners.

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