Rowan McKellar for once optimistic as women's four make World Championship final

·2-min read
Great Britain's women's four continued their unbeaten record this season by winning their semi-final in Racice to advance to Saturday’s showpiece

By Paul Martin, Sportsbeat

Grounded Glaswegian Rowan McKellar admits the ever-improving performances of the women’s four at the World Rowing Championships are testing her natural pessimism to the limit.

McKellar’s crew, also consisting of Rebecca Shorten, Heidi Long and Samantha Redgrave, continued their unbeaten record this season by winning their semi-final in Racice to advance to Saturday’s showpiece.

The British quartet crossed just under two seconds clear of second-placed Ireland and will now bid to back up the European gold they claimed in August – not that McKellar is getting ahead of herself.

“I’m always convinced everything is going to go wrong but it [the unbeaten record] does give me confidence,” she said.

“It just means we’ve got to go out and do what we’ve done before. We’re all good at reminding each other of that.

“I’m never going in thinking this is sunshine and daisies – there’s never any worry of being overconfident with me.

“But that semi-final was a big step on from the heat. We are looking for incremental improvements in each race, which we managed.”

Ireland and Romania, who took the remaining two spots on the European podium in Munich last month, are among Britain’s rivals in the final while Olympic champions Australia are set to pose arguably the biggest threat.

Edinburgh’s Harry Leask, meanwhile, will also be going for gold in the Czech Republic on Saturday after qualifying for the men’s quadruple sculls final.

Leask, Thomas Barras, George Bourne and Matt Haywood finished second in the first of Thursday’s semi-finals, just 0.41 seconds behind European champions Italy, and are now setting their sights on ending a challenging summer on a high.

“It’s been quite a difficult season in the quad with us not having the results that we’d hoped for, but this crew is really positive,” said the 26-year-old.

“We’ve got to take a lot from coming second in that semi-final, very close behind the Italians. I’m just really excited to see what we can do in the final.”

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