World Rowing Championships: GB Men's eight win delights Grainger

By Katherine GraingerOlympic gold medallist & BBC Sport co-commentator
World Rowing Championships: Men's eights win first-ever gold

A historic victory for the men's eight was a brilliant end to an encouraging World Championshipsexternal-link for Great Britain in Chungju, South Korea.

It also vindicated head coach Jurgen Grobler's decision to put all of Britain's best rowers in the men's eight for the first time in his career.

The crew didn't even reach the medal podium at the last World Cup in Lucerne, but after a really tough training camp they can now call themselves world champions - the first time a British men's eight has been able to do that.

It was an incredible race and although they had it won by halfway, the Olympic champion German crew put in an amazing sprint finish to make sure we were on the edge of our seats all the way to the line.

The British team looked absolutely elated on the podium.

It was a risk to put all of our top rowers into this event as it risked losing other medals. But it proved to be the right decision and is testament to the huge amount of work they've put in over the last few months.

Will Grobler decide to stick with the men's eight - Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Alex Gregory, Mo Sbihi, Dan Ritchie, Tom Ransley, Will Satch, George Nash and cox Phelan Hill - all the way to the Rio Olympicsexternal-link in 2016?

If they had won it by a long distance, it would be an easy decision to make because it's a great event, the highlight of the regatta.

But although they looked like they were dominating at halfway, they only won by half a second.

So it's a big call but I would love to see it happen.

The women's pair was a very different race to the men's eight as Helen Glover and Polly Swann had won every race they had entered since joining up as a pair at the start of the season.

They had all the expectation on them as they were the only British boat who were unbeaten in 2013. You also had an Olympic champion in Glover partnered with Swann who had never entered a World Championships before.

But they clicked from the moment they raced together earlier this year and in the final, they delivered. They took control of the middle part of the race, finishing off any threat from rival crews. They moved clear and could then relax in the final 500m as they knew they had fended off the challenge.

Swann had big shoes to step into by taking Heather Stanning's seat, who took this season out to return to the army. But despite not having any experience in the boat, Swann has come in and taken her chance.

It gives the coaches a dilemma as Stanning will be returning next season. She will be aware of the challenge she'll face to get back into the team and Swann will know she'll need to work hard to defend her position.

Both have to prove they're the best person for the seat. But that level of competition will push Britain even further ahead of the rest of the world.

The men's quad scull final was the race of the regatta in my view. Britain had never had a World Championship men's podium finish in the event, so it's great to see.

We've had some success in men's crew sculling but it has not been consistent and we've never had it before on a world level. Graeme Thomas, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert put together a really good race against a strong field.

And the encouraging thing was that they didn't just win bronze - they put massive pressure on those in the silver and gold medal positions.

Of all the British crews, they are the ones who have the most to gain in future events.

Overall, I think things are looking positive for the British team. It was all doom and gloom after the Lucerne World Cup and there were questions being raised over selection.

But the team went away for a really intense training camp - which they always do between Lucerne and the Worlds - and it really made the difference. There were some crews who were exceptional and some who will be disappointed because they didn't win medals.

But we had lots of crews who showed potential, with four finishing just outside the medals.

There's clearly potential to get better and that disappointment will only serve to push them on.

This was a transitional year not only for Britain but for their rivals too. When they come back next season, the game is on. Everyone will be stepping up and the results will really start to count.

It's all about Rio and the steps made over the next three years will be crucial. For the GB Rowing team,external-link the signs are encouraging.

Katherine Grainger was talking to BBC Sport's Lawrence Barretto