Olympic aim County rowers set for world championships
FOUR Gloucestershire rowers will compete at the World Championships in Austria as Team GB gear up for Tokyo 2020.
Tom George, Holly Hill and the Hodgkins-byrne sisters, Mathilda and Charlotte have all been selected to represent Great Britain in the first opportunity to qualify boats for next year’s Olympic Games.
The qualifying championships will take place between August 25 to September 1 in Linz, northern Austria.
This season’s World Cup champions, the men’s eight, will be racing after claiming their first gold medal of the Olympiad and title last month in Rotterdam.
George from Cheltenham, is part of the men’s eight crew coached by Jurgen Grobler.
A medallist at junior and Under-23 level, George made his senior international debut at the 2017 World Cup in Switzerland.
He went on to finish fifth in the men’s pair with Tom Jeffery at the World Rowing Championships in 2018. George’s crew will be challenging for one of only five Olympic qualification spots in Linz.
Hill, from Slimbridge, joins forces with Imogen Grant, Emily Craig and Polly Swann in the women’s four, after she returned from Rotterdam with bronze in the women’s doubles.
A graduate of British Rowing’s World Class Start programme, Hill is a double medallist at Under-23 level and spent her first year at Cambridge University learning to scull.
The following year she raced in the 2015 Women’s Boat Race. In 2016 Hill and her crew triumphed over Oxford by 11 lengths, setting a new course record in the process.
Formerly at Hartpury College, Mathilda Hodgkins-byrne is on the GB Rowing Team Start programme.
Mathilda has represented her country as a junior and at three successive World Rowing Under-23 Championships - winning gold in the women’s double sculls in her latest visit.
Winning bronze in a women’s quad crew at the World Cup of the 2017 season, she followed it up with another bronze at the European Championships.
Her sister Charlotte also came through the renowned rowing programme at Hartpury and is a double world Under-23 champion sculler looking to make her mark in Austria.
Charlotte stepped in as a late replacement in the women’s quad and powered to gold by nearly a length in 2017. In the same year, she managed three successive golds at the World Rowing Under-23 Championship. A year later, she took her second Under-23 gold by winning the double sculls.
Mathilda and Charlotte will compete for women’s quadruple sculls.
British Rowing Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said: “Following this season’s World Cup series, we’ve selected a team that we’re confident is capable of challenging for the Olympic and Paralympic qualification places available.
“We’re in a great position following our training camps, where the crews have been stepping up their performances day by day.”
Slimbridge’s Holly Hill, right, with Polly Swann