Nonnie & Ailish Win Medals at U19 World Championships

Nonnie Luke and Ailish Harkin from Henley Rowing Club both won medals in the U19 World Rowing Championships in Paris.

Both girls have competed together since they were in the J14 category at the Club.  After winning the Four Heads in a Quad, School Head of River Race in a Eight, the Women’s Eight Head, National Schools and Henley Women’s Regatta in Eight they trialled for GB and were selected for this year’s World Championships.

Nonnie (pictured above left) won a silver medal in the Four, coming runner-up to the Italians who were favourites. Nonnie said, “I trialled last year but then got Covid so I was delighted and surprised to get selected this year.  We won our heat and got into the A final.  The Italians won their heat and they are always our competition.  They had three returners in their boat and they won the event last year.  We didn’t get our best start but then we regained our composure which was good.  During the race I couldn’t tell where we were, we just stuck to our race plan and listened to our bow seat.  At 500m we thought we were in medal position.  Afterwards we found that we were actually leading at the point so we were shocked.  When we went over the line we knew we had medalled and the majority of us thought that we had come third.  When we found out we came second we were ecstatic.  On the medal podium I was very tired but it was an amazing feeling as I found out that GB hadn’t medalled in this event since 2011 so I was very happy.”

Nonnie is flying out this week to start University in Texas and will be rowing out there and will be coming back to compete here next year and hopes to trial for the GB U23 team.

Ailish in the GB Eight had come through the heats and the repacharge.  They came second to Romania in the first heat by 3 secs and second to the USA in the repacharge by 1.6 secs.  In the final they were trailing in third place behind Germany and Romania and at 1500m the USA over took them.  In the last 500m GB upped their stroke rate and with 10 strokes to go there were four crews in a photo finish with GB winning 0.09 ahead of Germany.  The commentator afterwards said, “That was absolutely gobsmacking!”

Great Britain and Italy tied at the top of the medal table with six medals (3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) each.

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