1986 was quite a year for GB women’s rowing, with a number of firsts and a last appearance.
The team won two medals at the World Championships for the first time (silvers in the lightweight coxless fours and lightweight double sculls, the latter in the first dead heat at a senior Worlds); Beryl Crockford retired after a 13-year long international career, and women took part in the Commonwealth Games for the first time (and technically the only time – subsequent events have been Commonwealth Regattas run in conjunction with the Commonwealth Games), with England winning gold in the lightweight coxless four, silver in the pairs, and bronzes in the coxed fours and single sculls (Gill Bond); and U23 GB women’s crews competed in what was then known as the Match des Seniors for the first time.
Also just published are biographies of several competitors who retired from competition after 1986.
Beryl Crockford represented GB at every world Championships bar one and three Olympic Games from 1975 to 1986, and won GB women’s first World Championships medal (silver in the openweight single sculls in 1981) as well as their first gold medal (in the lightweight double sculls with Lin Clark in 1985).
She then went on to have a hugely successful coaching career.
At the age of just 16, Pauline Peel sculled in the GB quad in 1974 at the first World Championships to include women’s events, and rowed at the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. She was in the first GB crew to reach a World Championships final (in the double sculls with Astrid Ayling in 1977).
Kate Holroyd’s international rowing career began in 1980 when she was in the first GB junior women’s eight.
She went on to row for GB four times at senior level, including at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
Judith Burne also rowed in the first GB junior women’s eight in 1980. She went on to stroke the senior eight in 1985, before dieting down to compete in the lightweight coxless four in 1986 when which she won gold at the Commonwealth Games and silver at the World Championships.