Hartpury rowers in the hunt for GB selection

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Seven Hartpury rowers have laid down a marker ahead of the GB Junior selection trials after all finishing in the top 20 at the GB Junior Small Boats Regatta in Nottingham.

In an identical format to the Senior/Under-23s event which Hartpury rower Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne excelled in earlier this month, this was the Hartpury Under-18s chance to shine in front of the GB selectors.

Flo Pickles, 17, a Gloucester-Hartpury AASE rower from Cheltenham, was the standout performer on the day, winning the W1x event ahead of Nottingham Rowing Club’s Anna Thornton, who Flo had been ranked behind up until this event.

The pair dead heated in the time trial before posting similar times at the semi-final stage and were then neck and neck in the final until the final 500m when Flo took advantage to win by less than a second.

Level 3 Extended Diploma Sport Coaching student Jess Newson produced a fantastic display to win the B final, finishing seventh overall in her first event back after picking up an injury back in December.

Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne also secured a top 10 finish with third spot in the B final, while Alice Bowyer’s sixth place finish in the C final guaranteed all the girls finished inside the top 20.

A-level student Jack Williams, 18, just missed out on a place in the men’s A final after finishing fourth in his semi-final heat, but came back strongly to win the B final – finishing seventh overall.

Joe Barnes, who has only been rowing for 18 months, claimed 13th place overall with commanding performances in his semi-final and C final, winning both. James Bird rounded off the boys results, finishing fifth in the same race and taking 17th place overall.

Hartpury’s rowing coach, Tom Pattichis, said: “All of our rowers involved in this event gave everything and have come away with some fantastic results. We’re confident that these results will see all seven qualify for the final GB assessment trials in July, where the GB Junior teams will be selected.

“Flo and Charlotte are off the Munich Regatta in the meantime and the rest of the squad will be turning their attention to the National Schools Regatta at the end of May where we’ll be defending our Under-18 girls quad sculls title and we’ll be fielding a boys quad for the first time.”

Running alongside the GB junior regatta was the ‘Start’ Regatta, an annual event for rowers who are part of the GB Rowing Start Programme (for which Hartpury is a centre). A-level student Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, 19, won the women’s event with fellow A-level student Chloe Brew and they finished eighth overall after a second place in the B Final. Taking part in his first Start Regatta, 17-year-old Will Kemp, another A-level student who only set foot in a boat back in September, won the E final to finish 25th overall.

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