Swann and Durant take step towards Rio with European medals

Scott Durant.
Scott Durant.

Two Lancaster rowers took a huge step towards Rio Olympic selection with medals at the European Championships.

Polly Swann took gold in the women’s eight with former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil Scott Durant helping the men’s eight to bronze in Brandenburg, Germany.

Polly Swann.

Polly Swann.

Lancaster-born Swann, along with Katie Greves, Melanie Wilson, Frances Houghton, Jessica Eddie, Olivia Carnegie Brown, Karen Bennett, Zoe Lee and cox Zoe de Toledo, produced one of the day’s sparkling finishes as they burst past the Dutch with 10m to go to take gold.

They trailed the Dutch by almost a boat length with three-quarters of the race done but from somewhere they found the boat speed and the composure to come through and win in 6:51.46 - just four tenths of a second ahead.

Swann said: “It was pretty brutal all the way down the course but what was so good was we held our nerve, we knew we had the full 2k track on which to deliver.

“We were never worried about our position, we just stuck with our rhythm and it paid off.

“We have put down a good marker and can really build on that towards Rio.”

Durant teamed up with Matt Gotrel, Tom Ransley, Paul Bennett, Peter Reed, Andrew Triggs Hodge, Matt Langridge, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill.

In the opening 500m, the Dutch took a flying start with GB firmly entrenched in the tight group behind them.

At halfway the British were in fifth whilst the Russians took up the lead and the Dutch and Germans were lying second and third.

Russia still had the advantage going into the final quarter of the race. Germany were gaining ground and the British were tracking them.

But it was Germany who came through strongly at the close to take the gold, Russia in silver and the GB boat in bronze in a photo-finish with the Belarussians.

In total Britain won four golds, two silvers and a bronze in total.