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Morris “exceptional” as she tops Para-rowing list

on 14-11-2015 19:37

Guildford’s Rachel Morris topped the lists at today’s nine-boat GB Rowing Team para-rowing assessment trials at the national training centre near Reading.

The arms-only single sculler, who won silver at the 2015 Worlds, came home in a time that equated to 94.9% of the predicted Rio 2016 gold medal time. Her performance came in the teeth of conditions  that were on the cusp of rowable.

“Rachel was really exceptional today and raced superbly. She probably had the worst of the conditions, too.” Tom Dyson

“Rachel was really exceptional today and raced superbly. She probably had the worst of the conditions, too”, said the GB Rowing Team lead para-rowing coach, Tom Dyson.

Morris transferred from hand-cycling to rowing as recently as late 2013, having won Paralympic gold at Beijing 2008 in her previous sport.

Today she topped a list which saw Laurence Whiteley, of Northallerton, from the 2015 Worlds silver medal trunk-arms double scull, come in second at 92.6% of the predicted gold standard. HIs double scull partner, Lauren Rowles, still only 17 and a recent convert from wheelchair track racing, was fourth.

Grace Clough, from Sheffield, and Aylesbury’s Parm Relph, World Champions in the mixed coxed four in France in September, teamed up in a women’s pair and put in a an eye-catching performance to take third slot on the rankings.

“That was one of the strongest LTA performances we have ever seen from a women’s pair.” Tom Dyson

“That was one of the strongest LTA [legs, trunks, arms category] performances we have ever seen from a women’s pair”, said Dyson. “They were very quick”. Relph is also a reigning Paralympic Champion.

Tricky weather conditions meant that the assessment was truncated from the originally planned 2km time trial to a 1km course instead.

Six of GB’s top contenders were also unable to trial because of illness earlier this week in the squad - Tom Aggar, James Fox, Dan Brown, Scott Meenagh, Jordan Beecher and Sam Murray were all ruled out on medical grounds. 

Top four finishers:

Rachel Morris  94.9%
Laurence Whiteley 92.6%
Grace Glough and Pam Relph 91.5%
Lauren Rowles 87.7%

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