Hartpury duo lay down solid marker at Great Britain trials

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Two Gloucester-Hartpury rowers staked an early claim for Great Britain selection with impressive performances at the first round of trials.

Hartpury A-level student Alice Bowyer, who rowed for Great Britain last season at the Coupe De Le Jeunesse, came up against 70 other hopefuls at the junior trials - a five-kilometre water assessment in single sculls – and won the trial outright.

Gloucester-Hartpury AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) rower Flo Pickles, from Cheltenham, took part in the GB Senior/Under-23s trials.

Following her bronze medal at the Junior World Championships last season, Pickles is now looking to make the step up to Under-23s level, where she is competing as a lightweight.

A personal best performance meant she ranked sixth overall and fourth Under-23s rower in the lightweight women’s category on a 2km assessment on the rowing machine. On the water, she was ninth overall in the women’s lightweight category and third Under-23s rower.

At the same trial, former Hartpury A-level student Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne was the second fastest ranked Under-23s rower in the open women’s category, finishing fifth overall.

London 2012 gold medallist, Katherine Grainger, came second overall in her first selection trial since deciding to return to the sport this year in a bid for selection for Rio 2016.

Hartpury rowing coach, Tom Pattichis, said: “It was a great start to the season for Alice. While it is very early days in the selection process as the final teams are not selected until July, this result establishes her among the leading contenders as we head into the winter training period.

“It was also a very promising result for Flo, who was competing at her first ever senior trial. To achieve a personal best at this early stage of the season is really encouraging.”

On the same weekend, a group of developing rowers from the Hartpury programme took part in a time trial hosted by Avon County Rowing Club, near Bath.

There were victories for BTEC Sport and Exercise student, Sam Cate in the J17 and J18 single scull), BTEC Sports Coaching student Bryony Lawrence in the WJ17 single scull and WJ18 double scull with A-level student Amy Binnion, as well as for BTEC Sports Coaching student Charlie Bates (J18 double scull), rowing alongside Gloucester Rowing club’s Jack Butler.

The Hartpury rowing programme has also recently started running sessions for junior rowers aged 14 to 16 through Gloucester Rowing Club.

This part of the programme is managed by Sports Coaching degree student Jes Robson. This new venture had its first success on the water as Gloucester Rowing Club’s Lotte Carpenter and Lauren Kielty picked up a win in the J14 double sculls category.

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