A WELSH club raced to an amazing 10 golds at the World Rowing Masters Regatta in France, as 3,200 competitors from more than 50 countries launched out in 4,365 boats, reports NICK HARTLAND.
The Monmouth Rc squad performed so well they placed third overall in the global ranking table out of 713 clubs, with the men second and the women seventh.
And Mark Stewart-Woods was in seven of the gold medal-winning boats in a stand out effort, including singles victory.
The five-day veteran showpiece at Libourne near Bordeaux saw the club send 12 men and 10 women.
Crews from as far afield as Argentina and New Zealand competed on the eight-lane Lac des Dagueys course, with races starting every three minutes, which needed super slick organisation.
Crews race just the once in each age-category event, with boats with the same aggregate age drawn together.
Eleven races for Monmouth on day one saw Stewart-Woods partner Athens Olympian Tim Male to golden glory in the over-42 doubles, winning by 4L over the 1km course.
The over-50 men’s coxed four placed second in their race a length behind a French boat in 3mins 32secs, a time that would have won the other three heats in the age-group.
Kathryn Diserens also placed second with three City of Bristol crew mates in her women’s over-36 quad sculls heat, while the over-42 pair of Stewart-Woods and Evan Whittal-Williams was third in the seventh-fastest time out of 23.
Day two brought another 11 races, with Diserens winning the first ever World Masters gold for a Monmouth RC women’s rower, racing home with the Bristol trio just over a length clear of their nearest French rivals in 3.39.
Andrew Barnett, Nick Hooton, Stewart-Woods and Peter Kelasll then stormed to victory by 1.5L from a French boat in the over-60 men’s fours, setting the fastest time of all 25 boats in the age-group with 3.24.
Mark also partnered Hooton in an over-55 pair to second 3L behind a Dutch duo, while Louise Allison, Mary Miller, Kate Hooton, Liz Lewis and cox Diserens finished second in their over-60 women’s coxed fours heat in the third fastest time overall (4.12), and the men’s over-50 eight had a ding-dong finishing third in their race just 3/4 length back in the third quickest time out of 20 boats.
Day three saw Stewart-Woods take more gold in his single, blasting out to a 4L lead at half-way before easing down to win by 2L in a still fast time of 3.58.
The over-50 men’s coxed four chased home a Polish boat to finish 1.5L back in second in 3.35, matched by the over-55 coxless four which crossed just 1L off gold in 3.22 in the fourth fastest time out of 27 crews.
Day four turned into super Saturday, as Barnett, Stewart-Woods, Lenny Colling and Male set the ball rolling with victory in the over-50 quad scull, rowing down a German boat to win by a canvas in 3.12.
A short time later Barnett, Stewart-Woods, and Male were on the podium again, this time taking over-55 eights gold with Kelsall, Hooton, James Allison, Colin Lewis, Simon Lee and cox Felicity Medinnis-Leach by 1L from an Italian crew in 3.09.
Barnett, Hooton, Lewis, Stewart-Woods and cox Sheron Dean-Lucas barely had time to draw breath before launching out in the over-60 coxed fours, where they again romped to gold, beating an Irish composite by 1L in 3.30 in the fastest time out of 24 boats in the age group.
And there was more to come, as Male then partnered Whittal-Williams to over-42 pairs gold by 1/2L in 3.34 after rowing through a Barcelona boat, and Stewart-Woods then taking over-55 doubles gold with Exeter RC’s David Byrne by 1L from a French duo in 3.31.
The women’s over-55 coxless four of Louise Allison, Mary Miller, Kathryn Hooton, Sue Smith and cox Liz Lewis came fifth in their heat but would have won the other race in the class outright, while Barnett and Nick Hooton placed second in their over-60 pairs race in a time that would have won all other three heats.
Sunday was a more relaxed affair with mixed boat racing, with the over-55 eight posting the highest position of second, and the over-50 and over-60 crews coming third.
Each race contributed points to the Victor Ludorum rankings, and with a total of 568 Monmouth were placed third out of the 713 clubs.
Also racing for the club were Richard Summers, Jamie Diserens, Dawn Brace, Jan Watkins and Anna Williams.
Full results at wrmr22.com/en/mastersregatta