By Will Jennings in Munich
Imogen Grant and Emily Craig reckon radical British Rowing restructuring is already reaping rewards after a memorable Munich weekend at the multi-sport European Championships.
Cambridge star Grant, 26, grabbed one of six British gold medals at the city’s Olympic Regatta Centre as she joined forces with Grant to triumph in the lightweight double sculls event on Sunday.
Grant and Craig, 29, clocked a speedy 7:27.82 to beat France by 5.51s and improve on their silver won at last year’s event in Varese.
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 the nation returned back to their best in Germany.
They topped the rowing medal table with six golds, three silvers and a bronze and Grant, who narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal last summer in fourth, believes times are changing ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle.
She said: “A well-rounded athlete is a fast athlete.
“I think the setup this year after all last year’s turbulence is really paying dividends in the whole squad.”
Craig added: “The culture in the gyms and British Rowing changing room is a now a completely different vibe.
“The training we do together, the support, atmosphere and crew mentality now means we can perform so well.
“It was a rough year last year - we did lots of stuff individually to try and improve and that’s been the proof of it.”
Grant and Craig beat France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and Poland in Sunday’s finale after sailing through their heats on Thursday.
1 Event, 9 Europameisterschaften, 1 Stadt - das sind die European Championships Munich 2022! #munich2022 #ec2022
1 event, 9 European championships, 1 city - we are introducing the European Championships Munich 2022! #munich2022 #ec2022 pic.twitter.com/fTWkWuBRCm
— Munich2022 (@ECMunich2022) August 18, 2020
They toppled the Irish by a dominant margin of 11.34s to fire themselves into the final and mark themselves out as the unequivocal crew to beat.
British stars won four golds, two silvers and a bronze on Saturday and Craig and Grant helped them continue the momentum in style 24 hours later.
The duo will now turn their attention to next month’s World Championships and insist they will be a ‘force to be reckoned with’ in the Czech Republic.
Craig added: “That was amazing and I feel so emotional right now.
“We’ve come back fighting and proved that we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
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