Rebecca Shorten reckons British Rowing is back on the rise

·3-min read
The athletes from Great Britain during the flower ceremony for Women's Eight Final A at the rowing competition at Munich Olympic Regatta Centre during the European Championships 2022.

By Will Jennings

Rebecca Shorten reckons radical restructuring within British Rowing is already reaping rewards after a memorable Munich morning at the multi-sport European Championships.

British stars racked up a red-hot four gold medals on Saturday morning – including three in a row – in the women’s and men’s four, women’s quadruple sculls and men’s eight events at the city’s 1972 Olympic Regatta Centre.

And they followed it up on Sunday as Belfast star Shorten also helped Britain to soar to silver in the women’s eight event.

Team GB endured a torrid time at the Tokyo Olympic Games last summer as just one silver and bronze medal marked their worst Games return for almost half a century.

But widespread internal change in the months that followed looks to have steadied the ship as Britain returned to the international top table on a golden weekend in Germany.

Shorten, 28, helped fire the women’s four crew to the summit of the podium and believes times are changing with two years to go until Paris 2024.

Shorten, who joined forces with Heidi Long, Samantha Redgrave and Rowan McKellar to topple Ireland in the four final, said: “There has been a change.

“Louise [Kingsley, director of performance] is very on top of everything.

“You know that she’s very organised and very clear on what she’s wanting from the team and from her staff.

“Louise herself has also had a lot to do with rowing – she’s been a rower herself and she’s been a coach, director on her own, so she’s done a lot and I think that’s really shown this year and supported us.”

Teammate McKellar, 28, added: “There’s a lot that’s gone on since Tokyo.

“There’s a lot more structure now – people are in places now whereas in the year before the Olympics, there were a lot of people going and coming in.

“It’s good to have someone that’s got their role as one job and commitment. That’s really good and everyone’s bought into that as well.

“We knew that we didn’t have our best time in Tokyo – we all knew we were better than that.

“We knew that with a few more years that will definitely come and I think we’re managing that – starting this year.”

The women’s four saw off Romania in Thursday’s heat to enter Saturday morning’s final as the unequivocal team to beat.

And they held their nerve when the pressure was on to cross the line in 6:50.92 and beat Ireland, Romania, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland to help cap a Saturday to savour for Britain’s rowers in the historic German city.

The quartet will now turn their attention to next month’s World Championships in Racice, where they will bid to continue the momentum heading into the two years before Paris.

McKellar knows there’s still considerable work to do and insists they will not rest on their laurels in pursuit of more major medal success.

She said: “We didn’t have our best start, but we never normally come out of the blocks that fast.

“We know that it will take a while to chug through I think we got into some really good positions towards the end, they came back on us again and that’s something we need to work on, our sprint finish.

“I think we still held out own – we had a solid enough bit in the middle to mean it would be too much for them to come back.”

Shorten added: “It’s definitely not going to sink in until the weekend’s over – it’s something we’ve been trying to do for a long time and we’ve finally got there.”

The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website