‘Both Washington crews kept us under pressure and we knew it would be a race of inches not lengths’

The GB development women’s eight triumphed in the Windermere Cup, beating the University of Washington by half a length on Saturday 7 May

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Celebrations! (c) Red Box Pictures

In the first Windermere Cup for three years at Seattle’s Montlake Cut, a GB women’s eight overcome a strong challenge from University of Washington crews, “Purple” and “Gold” to emerge victorious over the 2,000m course. The British eight finished in 6:15.918, closely followed by Purple at 6:17.833 with the Gold crew recording 6:28.936.

Coached by Lauren Fisher, the winning GB eight crew comprised Alex Watson (Molesey BC), Lauren Irwin (Leander Club), Chloe Brew (Leander Club), Kyra Edwards (Nottingham RC), Sophia Heath (Leander Club), Annie Campbell-Order (Leander Club), Georgie Robinson Ranger (University of London Boat Club), Emily Lindberg (University of London Boat Club), Issy Powell (Leander Club/University of London Boat Club) and Isy Hawes (Leander Club).

Cox Morgan Baynham-Williams (Leander Club/Ross RC) shares her memories of the race below

“It’s safe to say there was a lot of hype leading into the Windermere Cup, and I am pleased to say the event itself did not disappoint!

“The Huskies’ stomping ground is one of the most state-of-the-art facilities I have come across in my rowing career. The wonderfully large boathouses are decked out with spanking new Empacher boats with a fully loaded gym and a sound system that’s sure to rock your soul provide the foundations for energised vibes and an emphatic team culture.

“Fortunately for us Brits, whilst dawgs bark, lions roar!”

“The lake is beautifully scenic, shaped by the mountains and iconic Seattle City skyscrapers. Getting the miles in sure isn’t a problem over there, but you might want to pack a sponge to bail out from time to time!

“We found ourselves trapped on the start-line in a Huskie sandwich between their two women’s eights – Purple and Gold. Their fighting dawg-bark spirit could easily intimidate those not from within it. Fortunately for us Brits, whilst dawgs bark, lions roar! Pressure doesn’t suddenly appear on race day, it’s always been there, however sometimes people choose to only notice it then.

“The racing itself was fierce and the Huskies’ passion and pride was ever-present with fans moored to the booms in their yachts and three-person deep crowds on the banks screaming for the dawgs! The two University of Washington crews responded, thriving off their team culture, bouncing words of encouragement and hype across the lake between us.

“While we soaked up the atmosphere and task at hand, we made sure to stay internal and focused on the process to maximise our crew’s hull speed.

“Both Washington crews kept us under pressure the whole way and we knew it would be a race of inches not lengths.

“Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is something you have to get used to in rowing, so remaining present and holding that hand in the fire for the woman in front of you really pays off under the cosh. We had prepared for the coxing calls down the Montlake Cut to be difficult to hear and had strategised using athletes to rally the boat from within. This proved to have a commanding effect in the closing stages. The deal was sealed, and the margin held.

“We are incredibly grateful to Washington Rowing and Windermere Real Estate for giving us the opportunity to race at the event, and for the support of British Rowing for allowing us to go and represent the flag on the American stage. It’s been a successful start to the GB women’s racing campaign and our focus now adjusts to the next challenge ahead at World Cup 1.

“For now, over and out!”

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