1985 was the start of a new era in women’s international rowing with the racing distance extended from 1,000m to the full 2,000m that the men had always used, quads becoming coxless, and lightweight events introduced.
Highly experienced openweight internationals Lin Clark and Beryl Mitchell seized the opportunity, dieted down, learned how best to race the longer distance, and won GB women’s first gold medal. As one of their team mates said, “It was just amazing because it proved that British women can do something and we can get some girls over the finish line first.”
PLUS… ROWING BIOGRAPHIES OF THREE INTERNATIONALS
Katie Ball was the first GB woman sculler that raced at the FISA Junior Championships, and then rowed at the 1983 and 1985 World Championships and 1984 Olympic Games. She also had a very successful coaching career in both rowing and rugby, which she played for a time too, becoming a founder member of Saracens Women. Recently, she returned to coaching rowing at Broxbourne RC where she learned to scull herself.
Judith Franklin was one of the University of London Women’s BC eight that was selected to represent England at the 1953 regatta in Copenhagen which was the last of a series of ‘test’ events designed to prove that women could race internationally, and which led to the introduction by FISA of the Women’s European Rowing Championships the following year. These were the foundations on which the structure of the World Championships in 1985 and beyond were built.