Unbeaten women's four in dreamland after World Championship gold

Heidi Long, Rowan Mckellar, Samantha Redgrave and Rebecca Shorten of Great Britain celebrate after clinching gold in the Final W4-race (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for British Rowing) (Getty Images for British Rowing)

Rebecca Shorten was in dreamland after crowning an incredible unbeaten season with gold at the World Rowing Championships writes Tom Harle.

The Belfast rower, 28, is a lynchpin of an all-conquering British women’s four that romped to victory in Račice, Czech Republic.

Shorten, Samantha Redgrave, Heidi Long and Rowan McKellar 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.

“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.

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.”

Shorten and McKellar have played a key role in bedding in Long and Redgrave, both new members of the crew and senior squad this season.

Redgrave said: “We came away from Europeans knowing we did a good job, but we still had stuff to work on. We got our head down and trained hard for more than a month in Italy.

“It’s paid off and we did what we said we’d do. We said this year if we’re doing something, we really commit. That’s what we did in that race.”

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/