ROOKIE rower Vicky Thornley has continued her rapid rise in the sport by winning a medal at her second successive major event, writes ALEC DOYLE. Image courtesy of Birdman Photography.
The 20-year-old from Holt claimed silver in the women’s quad sculls at the National Championships of Great Britain in Nottingham – and she had a bit of help from room-mate and fellow local girl Lucy Ryvar.
“Lucy is from Rossett but we live and train together with Minerva-Bath RC so it was nice to be in a crew with her,” said Vicky, whose success in Nottingham came on the back of her single scull gold at Henley Women’s Regatta in June.
“We have only done quads once before and we were beaten comfortably by the University of London, who had trained a lot more than us as a team, so our only aim was to beat them.
“We trained hard in the run-up and we did beat London, taking silver behind Imperial College.”
Gemma Akers and Helen Glover completed the silver medal-winning quad line-up in Nottingham, but Gemma and Vicky failed to make the final of the pairs sculls.
“We missed out in qualifying,” said Vicky. “We got a poor lane draw and it was just too much.
“The wind didn’t help, it made rowing more difficult but it was one of those things.”
Vicky, a former British showjumper who stands 6ft 3in, came to rowing late.
She was picked to compete in the sport last year through the Sporting Giants programme, which searched for tall people who could be turned into potential London Olympians for 2012.
Vicky is now part of the Siemens-sponsored World Class Start programme, which aims to help her get to elite standard.
“We have no more events now until the British trials in October,” said Vicky, who turned her back on a degree course in London and moved to Bath to chase her Olympic dream.
“That is all individual but if I do well I could earn a place in the British under 23 squad, which is my main goal short-term.
“Through the winter I may take part in some Head races, perhaps in pairs and quads, but the main focus is the British trials.”
Grosvenor Rowing Club’s oarsmen delivered impressive performances at the Henley Veterans Regatta and the National Championships of Great Britain.
The club came home with a clutch of medals from Henley, which is raced on the same course used for Henley Royal Regatta, but over a shorter distance.
The quad of Steve Walker, Brian Chapman, John McMahon and Mike Allwood returned as winners of the veteran E event.
Also winning in the veteran B single scull was Iwan Jones.
The senor men’s squad have been busy too, racing at the National Championships at the weekend.
Held on the 2km rowing lake at Nottingham, conditions were testing, with a strong wind.
Grosvenor had three crews racing, a composite eight, coxed four, and double.
The four and double progressed through their heats with strong second place finishes, while the eight had a more difficult first race, failing to qualify automatically and instead facing a very tough draw in the repechage which included this years Henley finalists, Tideway Scullers School.
The Grosvenor eight made it to the final but in the end none of the crews came home with silverware, although to have three crews in the finals of the National Championships is a first for Grosvenor.