Posted: 2 August, 2022

Scotland’s rowers returned with four medals from the combined World Rowing Under 19 and Under 23 Championships in Varese, Italy, which concluded at the weekend.

Eight Scottish rowers had traveled out to these championships as part of the GB Rowing Team, including a record six athletes at under 19 level.  The GB Rowing Team enjoyed a strong campaign with all crews featuring Scottish athletes progressing to A finals.

Starting the medal rush was former Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association (ASRA) athlete, Miles Beeson, now representing Molesey Boat Club and Yale University.


Miles Beeson (second from left) and the GB Rowing Team under 23 men's coxless four - photo credit AllMarkOne

Racing in the under 23 men’s coxless four, 21-year-old Beeson and his GB crew took the gold medal, clear water ahead of second placed New Zealand following an assured performance down the length of the course.  This took Beeson’s world medal count to three including back-to-back under 23 titles after he won gold in the men’s eight in 2021.

Commenting on his crew’s victory, Beeson said:

“I think once you get to stand on top of the podium and hear your national anthem it’s a feeling that you will remember forever and keep on feeling hungry for.

It’s really satisfying to see just how well GB boats (and Scottish athletes!) are doing across all of the age groups and makes me feel so lucky to be a part of the success.”

Later on Saturday it was the turn of the GB under 23 women’s eight with former ASRA and University Rowing Aberdeen athlete Abigail Topp in the bow seat.


Abigail Topp (front left) and the GB Rowing Team under 23 women’s eight - photo credit AllMarkOne

 The 20-year-old, who relocated from Aberdeen to Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames at the start of the season, had been making her under 23 debut at these championships following a seventh place finish in the junior women’s pair at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo in 2019.

The GB crew faced a strong field including all three of last year’s world medallists however they were not to be fazed and they rowed a composed race to take home the silver medals behind the USA.

Reflecting on achieving a podium finish, Topp said:

“Since I was a junior I have always aspired to make the under 23 team and achieve a world medal.  To become a world silver medallist, I am beyond happy and proud to finally reach that goal.”

The junior athletes, recently rebranded by World Rowing as ‘under 19’, took to the water on Sunday for their medal finals with Great Britain racing in a total of seven A finals and all 37 athletes representing their country for the first time on the international stage.

Two Edinburgh-based rowers – Isla Bathgate of George Heriot’s School and Isla Wilding of George Watson’s College – were part of the first junior women’s eight to represent Great Britain in 12 years.  The British crew had qualified fastest from their heat but were up against the defending champions, the USA, in the medal final.

2Isla Bathgate (front left), Isla Wilding (back left) and the GB Rowing Team under 19 women’s eight - photo credit AllMarkOne

 The USA took an early lead but GB remained in contention for the podium throughout, making a decisive move in the middle of the race and holding on to take an impressive silver medal, eight hundredths ahead of third placed Germany.

The Great Britain under 19 women’s coxless four featured three Scottish rowers including Maisie Aspinall and Zoe Beeson from ASRA, as well as Amy Newton from George Heriot’s School.  Coached by Holly Reid, also from ASRA, the Great Britain crew had a solid race finishing in sixth place in one of the most competitive fields of the regatta.

Strathclyde Park Rowing Club’s Josh Matthews, formerly of Stirling Rowing Club, had been competing as part of the Great Britain under 19 men’s quad scull, coached by Tom Young, his coach from the British Rowing Start programme.  In a race where just over eight seconds separated the entire field the GB crew came home in sixth position.

Scottish Rowing’s Head of Performance Pathway, Lee Boucher, said:

“It has been amazing to see so many young Scottish rowers competing against the best age-group crews in the world at these championships, and extra special to have four athletes returning home with medals for their efforts.

Many congratulations to Miles, Abigail, Isla and Isla, as well as their respective coaching teams and support network.  They continue to show that Scotland can punch above its weight in rowing.”

The British Rowing website contains race reports for both the Under 19 and Under 23 crews.

The GB Rowing Team will now turn their attention to the Coupe de la Jeunesse taking place in Castrelo de Mino, Spain, from 5-7 August 2022.

World Rowing Under 19 and Under 23 Championships 
Varese, Italy (25-31 July 2022) 

Extract of GB Rowing Team results (with Scottish interest)

Under 23 

GOLD – Men’s Coxless Four (featuring Miles Beeson) 6:03.04 
SILVER – Women’s Eight (featuring Abigail Topp) 6:27.81

Under 19 

SILVER – Women’s Eight (featuring Isla Bathgate and Isla Wilding) 6:14.57 
6th – Women’s Coxless Four (featuring Maisie Aspinall, Amy Newton and Zoe Beeson) 6:49.19 
6th – Men’s Quadruple Scull (featuring Josh Matthews) 5:58.95

Full results available on the World Rowing website