Bronze medallists and coach

1991: GB women’s first World Champs openweight sweep medal

Miriam Batten and Fiona Freckleton’s bronze medal in the openweight pairs at the 1991 World Championships was an incredibly important milestone.

It was the first openweight sweep/crew World medal (the only previous openweight medal having been Beryl Mitchell’s single sculls silver ten years earlier), and only the fourth openweight Championships medal at all (a Stuart Ladies RC coxed four had won bronze in 1954, and single sculler Penny Chuter had won silver in 1962 at the European Women’s Rowing Championships).

Meanwhile, the nearly-all new lightweight coxless four’s silver medal  was practically business as usual, being the third that GB had won in that event in six years, and super-stroke Katie Brownlow’s second.

The openweight four and double, and the lightweight double also made their finals from substantial fields, while lightweight single sculler Sue Appelboom finished a creditable seventh an her first World Championships.

On the surface, everything in GB women’s rowing seemed to be moving in the right direction but actually, it hadn’t all been that simple at all.

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