The last day of the 2024 European Rowing Championships in Szeged, Hungary, produced a series of dominant performances, close sprints for minor medals, and several firsts. Great Britain topped the medal table with eight golds, but 10 nations went away with European championship titles.

Torre turns silver into gold

The lightweight men’s single sculls field split early on as Italy’s Niels Torre took the race to the others, earning a huge margin early on that took him to victory – upgrading to gold from last year’s silver medal. Behind him, Belgium’s Marlon Colpaert stayed in touch with Frenchman Bapiste Savaete throughout, and with Savaete fading badly into the line, Colpaert earned his first senior international medal, a silver. World champion Andri Struzina was fifth.


Niels Torre: “I feel great, finally winning the Europeans in the single. I was twice second, so I finally have this goal. At the beginning I was thinking be more conservative, because I knew that it was a very long race, so I thought in the first 1000 I would push but not so hard, and then the last 1000m I gave everything that was left.”

Neuhortova takes bronze again

With last year’s European champion, Ionela Cozmiuc of Romania, having won the lightweight double sculls on Saturday, the way was clear for a new titleholder. Individual neutral athlete Alena Furman was the sculler to take that spot, with a commanding lead at the line over Ireland’s Margaret Cremen. It was a good comeback for Furman, who has taken time out of the sport to have a baby. Kristyna Neuhortova was the bronze medallist in 2023 and she secured that position once again, overhauling France’s Aurelie Morizot in the last 500m.


Alena Furman: “I’m extremely happy because I came back after two years without any competitions. I had a baby, so I’m happy to have a family and become European champion.”

Margaret Cremen: “It was difficult conditions, but I’m really happy that I got to come and race. It was my first time ever racing the single at a World Rowing event, so it was definitely good experience.”

Yet another British PR3 Mix4+ title

Reigning European champions Great Britain continued their absolute dominance in the PR3 mixed coxed four, extending their unbeaten streak which has lasted since 2010. It was a golden debut for Joshua O’Brien, who has replaced Morgan Fice-Noyes since last year’s World Rowing Championships, but a fourth consecutive European title for Giedre Rakauskaite and coxswain Erin Kennedy. France won silver, ahead of Italy in third place.

Results: GBR, FRA, ITA, ESP

Joshua O’Brien, GBR: “It was always going to be nerve-wracking going out there, but we were just so excited. We’ve put in a really good block of training over the winter, so to go out there and execute that race plan perfectly was brilliant.”

Britain shrug off Italian challenge

Italy fired early shots in the race for dominance in the men’s fours at World Rowing Cup I in Varese, beating the British world and European champions in both the preliminary race and the final. They showed the same desire to win in the final in Szeged, with a lightning-fast start that put them up early, with the high-rating Romania going with them. However, Great Britain were slowly moving into their rhythm and started tracking through the field. By halfway, the British quartet were in front, and then they extended that lead to a win of around a length. In the fight for bronze, the French second half was decisive, enabling them to secure consecutive bronze medals in this event.


Matthew Aldridge, GBR: “In Varese it was our first race of the season, it takes a while to really find out what we’re about. The last two weeks we’ve worked really well in training and put together a really solid race against an incredibly fast Italian and pretty good French crew. Good steps on, more to come obviously.”

Romania keep women’s pair medal run alive

Romania have never failed to win a medal in the women’s pairs at the European Rowing Championships since the event was reinstated in 2007 – and Ioana Vrinceanu and Roxana Anghel made no mistakes in defending their title in Szeged, heading out to an early lead and able to sit back on the field for the rest of the track. Behind them, the young Greek duo of Evangelia Anastasidou and Christina Bourmpou looked very good to take silver. The race for bronze was superb: Great Britain held third place for the first 1000m, but Ivana and Josipa Jurkovic of Croatia stuck with them and came into bronze-medal position in the third 500m. As the British faded towards the line, Czechia challenged – but the Jurkovics held on for Croatia’s first medal in this event since 2012.


Roxana Anghel: “The plan was to test the race, and test the other teams, to plan for future competitions.”

Ivana Jurkovic: “After Belgrade, what happened to us (missing the World Championships), it’s really emotional to be here. This is our first senior level medal, so it’s really special.”

Great Britain upset Swiss

At the major championships last year, Great Britain’s Tom George and Ollie Wynne-Griffith could not find the speed to beat the impressive Swiss combination of Roman Roeoesli and Andrin Gulich. On Sunday in Szeged they finally found the secret, leading early on and controlling the race from the front. Behind them, Switzerland found the new Romanian combination of Florin Arteni and Florin Lehaci tough opponents, and indeed the Romanians had more in the closing stages, coming through the Swiss for an excellent silver medal. The Olympic champions, Martin and Valent Sinkovic, were fourth.


Tom George: “It’s a good marker and a check-in point. We talk about it all the time with our coach that the big one’s the Olympics, but it’s important to learn how to win and important to learn how to win in different ways. Today’s a really good example of that.”

More gold for the British PR2 mixed double

France’s new PR2 mixed double sculls crew has lots of experience of high-level competition, but perhaps less experience of rowing – with Winter Paralympian Benajmin Daviet new to the boat this season. They took the race to the European and world champions Great Britain. However, Lauren Rowles and Gregg Stevenson stayed cool and soon had their bows in front, stretching out a clear water lead. The race for silver and bronze went to the wire. France were still second at 1500m but not by much. Ukraine’s Anna Aisanova and Iaroslav Koiuda put the pressure on and moved into second, while on the outside Jasmina Bier and Paul Umbach of Germany were charging – and they snatched silver from Ukraine by 0.38 seconds.


Gregg Stevenson: “This is a springboard now. We’ve worked hard throughout the winter, and we know what we need to do. I’ve got the experience of Lauren telling me this is a good marker, I’m just listening and enjoying the ride.”

Jasmina Bier: “That was great that we already made it to the A-final. Our main goal was to get one boat behind us, so at least me personally I would never have expected to come in second. Even the medal, it’s just amazing. We only started rowing together in January, so it’s been a very short time. It’s a great step on the way to Paris.”

Norway make history with first-ever medal

Before Szeged, Norway had never won a women’s medal at the European Rowing Championships. Thea Helseth and Inger Seim Kavlie came together after World Rowing Cup I, where Kavlie won bronze in the women’s single sculls, and their combination has proved instantly effective. They stayed calm and worked their way into the lead ahead of Lithuania by halfway, then holding it until the finish. Lithuania won silver, 11 years after Donata Karaliene won her first European medal in this boat class, and adding to the world silver she and Dovile Rimkute won last year. Romania’s world and Olympic champions, Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis, could not sprint past Lithuania, but do take bronze to continue an unbroken run of European medals in the women’s double sculls – yet their five-year winning streak is now decisively snapped.


Thea Helseth: “It means everything. It’s the first time we are racing together, and it’s so good. We just need to go back again and train more.”

Simona Radis: “There’s nothing wrong, but today we go home with third place. We learn from this race, from this championship, we are not sad because every experience is a good one. It doesn’t matter about the result. For sure, today wasn’t our real level, but we are still the Olympic champions from Tokyo and for sure we will be in our best shape in Paris.”

First doubles title for Romania

Marian Enache clearly has the right touch for Romania in the men’s double sculls; he has won two European medals in this boat previously, but never gold. That changed in Szeged, when he and Andrei-Sebastian Cornea were untouchable throughout the final. The Romanians left the field in their wake, holding a 10-second lead with 500m to go, and they were able to relax as the race for silver unfolded. That largely involved Spain’s Aleix Garcia and Rodrigo Conde, alongside Germany’s Jonas Gelsen and Marc Weber, who were close throughout. Spain’s closing 500m was the fastest of the field, and gave them silver ahead of Germany’s first men’s doubles medal in eight years.


Marian Enache: “We write some pages of history for our country, and today it’s a great feeling for us. This new double is a new project for us, we are stronger, we connect together. I see very good movement in the future. For sure we are not stopping here.”

Arsic seals clear victory

Serbian Jovana Arsic earned a clear, big win in the women’s single sculls. Her first 500m was almost six seconds faster than anyone else’s, and she was able to scull confidently over the rest of the course and take the pressure off in to the finish. Lithuanian Viktorija Senkute was second to the first marker, but German Alexandra Foester pulled into that position before halfway and had a good hold on the silver medal with 500m to go. It was Czech Alice Prokesova who surprised; in her first regatta in the single scull she moved through from sixth to fourth and then, in the sprint, to bronze.


Jovana Arsic: “I feel so good, it went very well. The race was pretty good, I controlled the race.”

Alexandra Foester: “I wanted to be on the podium today. I’m happy with second place, but also I wanted to be faster than the Serbian. So there’s some work to do as well, but overall I’m happy. It was hard, the conditions were hard and it was a long race.”

Zeidler champion of Europe again

German Oliver Zeidler was world and European champion in 2021, before the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games, and he will go to Paris in the same position after his powerful strokes took him past the tenacious Olympic champion Stefanos Ntouskos in the second 500m of the race. Ntouskos kept the pressure on Zeidler, and while he could not close the gap again he was able to stay ahead of the scrap for bronze. That looked like it would go to Danish sculler Sverri Nielsen, but Giedrius Bielauskas of Lithuania had something special in the sprint, and surged past Nielsen for third.


Oliver Zeidler: “I found out that I have two or three things to work on to really be on Olympic form. I was staying very calm even though I was not in the lead. I was able to show that there is also another way to win, not just leading from the front of the field and just defending. It was a different race today.”

Romania shrug off tired legs to close with victory

In the only event of the regatta where the results exactly replicated 2023, Romania’s women’s eight won again despite a stiff challenge from Great Britain. Indeed, the British eight led out, and had a 1-second lead by 1000m. But that meant Romania still had overlap, and although seven of the crew had already raced, and won medals, in other events, they had enough left in the tank to power past the British in the third 500m. In fact, Romania negative-splitted the race, with their last 500m almost as fast as Great Britain’s first 500m, and they won by over 3 seconds. The British women were able to hold off Italy, who had beaten them at World Rowing Cup I, to secure silver again.

Results: ROU, GBR, ITA, GER

Simona Radis, ROU: “It was a good race. I don’t know how many years I’ve been doubling up, so it’s not hard for me. It’s kind of easy because I have a strong team behind me.”