Silver success for Perse rower at international regatta
Ben Mead (Upper Sixth) made waves by winning two silver medals at a major international rowing regatta.
As part of the Great Britain U19 squad, Ben linked up with Harrison Harper in the double sculls events at the prestigious Coupe de la Jeunesse competition in Amsterdam after they emerged as the strongest crew for the event at the national junior trials.
After winning the boys’ single sculls at the National Schools Regatta in May, Ben was thrilled to be selected for his international debut.
He said: “It justified the hours of training and sacrifices that have been made to get here and in such a competitive year, I was proud to wear the GB vest.”
Ben and Harrison spent three weeks of solid training together at Marlow and the British Rowing national training centre at Caversham with coach George Nottidge to ensure they were in synch for the Coupe de la Jeunesse.
Their meticulous preparation paid off at the regatta, which featured the top national junior teams from across Europe.
Reflecting on the first of the two double sculls events, Ben said: “The first heat was probably the most nervous part of the whole weekend because we had no clue what our competition was like, so we went into it blind.
“However, we took the race from the start and settled into a comfortable position in first. We raced well ensuring that we left enough energy for the final later that day.”
The final saw Ben and Harrison take a narrow lead with 250 metres of the 2km course to go, but they were edged out by the Italian crew by just 0.63 seconds to claim silver.
The following day gave them another opportunity in the second double sculls event, with Ben and Harrison again comfortably making it through to the final.
In tough conditions, Ben and Harrison got off to a powerful start to lead after 500 metres, but the Italian crew came back with little to separate the vessels at the 1,500-metre mark.
As the race entered the closing stages, Ben and Harrison made a move and to lead by half a length only for a big wave to catch a blade, allowing Italy to slip past and win by 0.4 seconds.
Ben said: “To come away with two silvers was amazing and not something I had gone into the competition expecting, so it was amazing to wear the GB flag on the podium in my first international competition.
“Racing internationally is certainly very different to racing domestically. Everyone wants it more and the racing is much tighter. You feel the importance and you race differently and harder.
“It definitely raised my standard of rowing and it’s made me hungry for more. I understand much better the training and dedication needed to further my level.”