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Five world championship golds for Lakeland Rowing Club

World Masters gold medal winners Samantha Ayers and Nick Cowan. Picture: David Thomas

Crews from Keswick-based Lakeland Rowing Club have won five gold medals at the World Rowing Masters Championship in Hungary.

Nick Cowan, 59, triumphed in three categories on the 1,000-metre course, while Samantha Ayers, 48, who learned to row less than three years ago, returned with top honours in two.

The event, for rowers aged 27 and over, took place from 11-15 September at Lake Velence, 30 miles east of Budapest.

Retired Cockermouth GP Nick’s first gold came with Durham Amateur Rowing Club oarsman Andy Jaggard, 66, in the men’s F (average age 60-64) double sculls, when they beat a German crew by 0.2 of a second in a photo finish.

Nick took gold with Samantha, who runs exercise company BodyFit Cumbria, in the mixed doubles D (age 50-54) category. Their superior strength and fitness allowed them to accelerate through the second 500m to win by over a length, forcing a US crew previously undefeated at World Masters level to settle for silver.

The pair, who are both from Eaglesfield, also triumphed against a younger field in the mixed doubles C (age 43-49) event, beating an Australian crew by one second to take their second gold of the day.

Nick said: “This has been a fantastic experience. I’ve never raced at an international event before. There were nearly 4,000 competitors from 72 nations taking part, including ex-internationals.

“I’ve been rowing for nearly 20 years, but Sam has only been rowing for two and a half. I asked her if she wanted to learn when she was struggling to maintain her running through injury.

“In this short time, I’ve taught Sam to row and she has taught me and the rest of the club how to train. It’s a credit to her training regime that we’ve won five golds at the 2019 World Masters Championship.”

Gordon, David, Andy and Nick at the World Masters 2019

Lakeland’s David Thomas, 64, from Keswick, and Gordon Jack, 62, from Greysouthen, both finished fifth in their men’s F single sculls heats, and came seventh rowing together in the men’s F double sculls.

David said: “Competing against some of the best masters rowers in the world, including ex-Olympians, has been an incredible experience and a real privilege.”

Gordon added: “Two years of dedicated training and hard work have truly paid off with terrific results – an inspiration to all of us at Lakeland Rowing Club and an excellent example of the art of the possible.”

A Lakeland RC crew also put in an attention grabbing performance at the gruelling 50km Boston Marathon race on the River Witham in Lincolnshire on Sunday.

Simon, Zoe, James and Connor after completing the 50km Boston Marathon. Picture: Celia Whittam

The quad of Simon Bamforth, James Waterfield, both 29 and from Whitehaven, Zoe Brain, 23, from Kelleth, and Connor Faulder, 19, from Maryport, completed the course in three hours and 51 minutes, beating 80 other boats.

James said: “After 44km of consistent endurance, we emptied the tank on the last 6km, upping the pace and battling to hold off a younger, all-male university crew, putting Lakeland second in our category and seventh overall – a very impressive performance for a small northern club.”

Beginners, or returning rowers, who would like to know more about opportunities at Lakeland RC can visit www.lakelandrowingclub.com or find the club on Facebook – just search for the Lakeland Rowing Club page.

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