Rowing: Jo strikes gold for Britain at Munich
JOANNA Fitzsimons struck gold for Great Britain at the Munich Junior International Rowing Regatta at the weekend. Fitzsimons, 16, who races for St Neots Rowing Club, also claimed a bronze medal for Britain in the coxless pairs, teaming up with Oxford rowe
JOANNA Fitzsimons struck gold for Great Britain at the Munich Junior International Rowing Regatta at the weekend.
Fitzsimons, 16, who races for St Neots Rowing Club, also claimed a bronze medal for Britain in the coxless pairs, teaming up with Oxford rower Lottie Howard-Merrill.
Fitzsimons' selection for GB made it four consecutive years that St Neots has been represented at the Munich Regatta - an event used to test competitors' suitability for the World Junior Championships in Beijing later this year.
It was Fitzsimons' performance in the fours on Sunday that caught the eye. Howard-Merrill and Fitzsimons were joined by Fiona Schlesinger of Hampton and late replacement Vicky Knight of Molesey to compete.
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The change in crew did not affect the girls, who stormed into a one-and-a-half second lead at the first marker, before extending the lead to three seconds - ahead of the French crew - at the halfway mark.
Crews from Poland, Austria and Switzerland were in hot pursuit but by the time GB reached the finish line, the girls had triumphed by five seconds.
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St Neots and GB coach Martyn Rooney said: "The Regatta was a big event for Jo, her first selection for Great Britain, and she came through with flying colours.
"She has set her sights on a place in the World Championship team and is training hard to make it happen."
The previous day, Fitzsimons had picked up a bronze medal in the coxless pairs with her regular partner Howard-Merrill.
The girls set off at a strong pace in their heat, leading the field at the 1000m mark - halfway. However, the strong German crew advanced over the next 500m, pushing through to take the lead but Fitzsimons and Howard-Merrill held on for second.
In the final, GB were in second place at 500m, behind the Romanians but ahead of the German boat. However, the Germans pushed on in the closing stages to clinch the win, but Fitzsimons still earned her hard-fought bronze.
Also on Sunday, Longsands College pupil Fitzsimons raced for GB in the coxless eights, helping them qualify for the final, where GB finished a disappointing sixth.