Rowan McKellar was in dreamland after crowning an incredible unbeaten season with gold at the World Rowing Championships, writes Tom Harle.
The Glaswegian is a lynchpin of an all-conquering British women’s four that romped to victory in Račice, Czech Republic.
McKellar, Samantha Redgrave, Heidi Long and Rebecca Shorten were stroke-perfect in seeing off the challenge of Olympic champions Australia and Netherlands.
Shorten said: “We knew going off that everyone would really bring their game, so we got off to a really good start, speeds were good.
“We knew we’d have to work hard in the second half, that everyone would still be with us, and we did that really well.
Congratulations to the #GBRowingTeam for topping the medal table at the World Rowing Championships! 🏆
Catch up on all the races, reactions and medals with our Debrief and hear from special guests @jesseddie, @MarkHunterGB and @ErinWysocki🚣♀️
Watch now 👇https://t.co/82UyT80Rjr pic.twitter.com/aTIt5HrVhX
— British Rowing (@BritishRowing) September 27, 2022
“We didn’t lose our heads in the middle and kept going, so it was a really great race. We had a really good race, a great season and it’s shown, all of the hard work we’ve put in.”
The British quartet let the Australians and Dutch lead the field through the first 500m but stepped on the afterburners in the crucial middle period of the 2000m race.
They crossed the line in a winning time of 06:26.40, more than two seconds ahead of their Dutch rivals, to win Britain’s first gold in the boat class since 2016.
Congratulations to the #GBRowingTeam for topping the World Rowing Championships medal table!
The team came away with:
🥇 7 gold medals
🥈 1 silver medal
🥉 4 bronze medals
Read the final race report on our website now 👇https://t.co/yUbg1DJ0rR#WRChamps #WRCHRacice pic.twitter.com/0bZLB4kAkD
— British Rowing (@BritishRowing) September 25, 2022
There was redemption for Shorten and McKellar, who were part of the crew that finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
McKellar said: “It was tough for Rebecca and I to come back after the Olympics.
“We came into the squad and all the new girls that came in created a really good atmosphere and good environment to train in.
“We didn’t want to waste this year, we’ve come out and we’ve hit it hard. We’ve stepped on with training and everyone has stepped on a huge amount this year. It’s showing now.”
Edinburgh’s Harry Leask, meanwhile, also reached the podium in the men’s quad on a bumper day of medals for the British team.
Leask, Thomas Barras, George Bourne and Matt Haywood took silver behind Poland, the same colour medal Britain won in the boat class at last year’s Olympics.
It was a fine turnaround for a crew that narrowly missed out on a podium place at August’s European Championships.
Leask said: “It’s been very up and down this season, we didn’t have the best start. But this result speaks for itself and it’s amazing to be back on the podium.
“What an exciting project this is to be a part of. We’ve grown massively as a crew even in this regatta.
“We’ve been to some dark places but we’ve managed to turn it around and couldn’t have ended the season much better.”
British Rowing is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the ongoing World Championships in Racice, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/