Swann-song as Polly returns from injury with British Championships double

Polly Swann, fourth from left, celebrates her victory at the British Championships. Picture: Drew Smith/British Rowing.
Polly Swann, fourth from left, celebrates her victory at the British Championships. Picture: Drew Smith/British Rowing.

Lancaster-born Polly Swann believes her injury woes are firmly a thing of the past after she left this weekend’s British Rowing Championships with two medals around her neck.

Swann kickstarted her British Championships assault by claiming double sculls bronze on Saturday alongside Leander clubmate Katie Greves.

But the 27-year-old wasn’t done there, returning to Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre 24 hours later to take her seat in one of two Leander quadruple sculls boats.

The quartet of Swann, Victoria Thornley, Victoria Meyer-Laker and Jessica Leyden stormed to gold in 06:42.56 minutes – almost two seconds ahead of their nearest challengers.

And after being forced to sit out of the recent World Championships due to a back injury, former Edinburgh University medical student Swann was delighted to prove that she is back to her best.

“I’ve actually been injured for the last year, so I didn’t race the World Championships because of the back injury,” she said.

“For me, it’s very early in the season, we’ve been training for two weeks and I’ve spent a lot of time not in a rowing boat in the last six to eight months.

“For me, just the fact that I’m here racing in a boat is great. Maybe I put too much expectation on myself but I think you’ve got to as an athlete. You’ve got to push yourself to your boundaries and have strong goals.

“My back is alright touch wood, the last two weeks of training have gone well with no niggles. For me, it’s a really positive start to the Olympic season and we’ve just got to keep pushing forward and build upon the good work that I’ve done in my rehabilitation.

“Hopefully in the summer you will see my face again and we can forget about last year’s injuries and look forward to pushing on for those Olympic gold medals.”

Swann’s return to form at the British Rowing Championships is certainly well timed with the competition marking the start of the selection process for the Great Britain team heading to Rio 2016.

The next test arrives in Boston, Lincolnshire, at the end of the month and Swann insists she is raring to go.

“The first set of trials are in Boston and they are a huge marker for us, it’s going to be great to really test myself against the rest of the squad because obviously I’ve been out for so long now,” she added.

“It’s just a good opportunity for me to push myself right to the top of the squad and show the selectors and the team that I’m not one to be forgotten and last year is gone and I’m ready to go.”

As Leander Club launched their ‘Row to Rio’ campaign Polly Swann spoke of Leander’s place as the most successful rowing club in the world, with 111 Olympic medals won by its members.