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11 July 2012 | PR 12/137

Loughborough rowers make Henley history

Izzy Jeffs

Rich Watton (2nd left) and Matt Gotrel (right).

Matt Gotrel and Rich Watton have made history by becoming the first Loughborough University rowers to triumph at Henley Royal Regatta.

Matt and Rich, who were part of a Nottingham RC fours A boat which also included Loughborough graduate Peter Muhley, beat an Australian crew in the final.

It was the climax to a tough week of match racing involving 32 boats and they pulled out all the stops to win the final after trailing at the half-way stage.

Loughborough’s Rowing Performance and Talent ID Coach Dan Moore predicted that Matt, who is doing a degree in Systems Engineering, and Rich (M.Sc Sport Management) would do well.

He was delighted and said: “They had a tough five days on their side of the draw. The first day was pretty easy but the next four days were all close races.

“In the final they had to come from behind because they were losing at the half way point and managed to row through the crew from Australia.

“It’s an absolutely amazing achievement. They are the first Henley winners from Loughborough and to have two in the boat is even more special. It’s a really special time for Loughborough University.

“They both felt it was unbelievable. Winning Henley is a once in a lifetime thing. You don’t want to retire as a rower if you have been at elite level without winning Henley. It’s the most prestigious regatta in the world, so to win it is absolutely phenomenal.”

Loughborough pair Craig Turner and Alex Evangelidis were part of the Nottingham RC fours B boat which made it through to Friday and lost to the Australian crew who were runners-up.

Ed Couldwell, another Loughborough rower, reached the final of the Prince of Wales (quadruple sculls) on his first appearance at Henley in a GB composite boat but lost out to the Leander boat.

Dan said: “They were impressive, they have improved a lot. They have been together five or six weeks and the boat they faced in the final they had lost to by a significant margin at a domestic regatta about a month ago.

“They came through all the rounds really comfortably and beat a good New Zealand quad in the semi-final.

“It (final) was a fantastic race. They were leading at half-way but were rowed through in the final stages. It was a shame to lose in such a dramatic way.”

Jonny Walton, another Loughborough rower, lost to World Cup finalist Graeme Thomas in the semi-finals of the Diamonds (singles) after getting off to a bad start.

“He wasn’t able to recover,” said Dan. “But to again be in the semi-finals of the Diamonds, an international standard event, is really impressive from Jonny.”

As soon as they finished Henley, Ed and Jonny linked up with the Great Britain team for the under-23 world championships in Lithuania, which run from today (Wednesday) until Sunday.

Jonny is making his third successive appearance, Ed his first.

Dan said: “It’s an amazing, amazing achievement from both of them.

“Jonny has yet to make an A final so it will be interesting to see if this is going to be his year

“This is Ed’s first international cap at any level. He has had such an amazing season, coming through the ranks.

“He was ranked 60th in the country before this year and he has got himself into the GB squad. He is in a young boat so it will be fascinating to see how they perform.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Chris Goddard
Sport PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223491
E: C.J.Goddard@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching and strong links with industry.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

Loughborough has been selected by the British Olympic Association as the Official Preparation Camp Headquarters for Team GB prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The University has also signed a partnership with the Japanese Olympic Committee that will see both organisations working together until the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Follow the University’s London 2012 Olympics news on Twitter - @lborolondon2012

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