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Tribesmen Rowing Club's Siobhán McCrohan Takes Gold at World Rowing Championships

9th September 2023
Ireland's Siobhán McCrohan has won the gold medal in the lightweight women's sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Serbia
Ireland's Siobhán McCrohan has won the gold medal in the lightweight women's sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Serbia

Siobhán McCrohan, a member of the Tribesmen Rowing Club in Ireland, secured a gold medal in the lightweight women's sculls final at the World Rowing Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia. McCrohan, aged 36, faced stiff competition from Mexican Kenia Lechuga and American Sophia Luwis, but her outstanding performance earned her the top spot on the podium. 

Despite the gruelling conditions in Belgrade, McCrohan executed her race plan to perfection. She paced herself in the early stages of the race while Martine Veldhuis of the Netherlands took an early lead. By the 500m mark, McCrohan had settled into third place behind Veldhuis and Lechuga, with the Dutch women already being reeled in. 

McCrohan improved to second place at the halfway point, sitting on the shoulder of Lechuga, just 0.27 behind the Mexican as Veldhuis was unable to keep pace and dropped out of the reckoning. Luwis then forced her way into the conversation, putting pressure on McCrohan, who kept her cool and stuck to her race plan, waiting for her moment to attack as she, Veldhuis, and Luwis pulled away from the chasing pack. 

McCrohan made her move as the scullers passed the 1500m mark. She upped her work rate and, with 300m to go, overtook Veldhuis, never looking back. With clear, calm water in front of her, she extended her lead in the closing stages, pulling away from Lechuga and Luwis, leaving the Mexican to win the battle for silver. 

McCrohan finished the race in 8:47.96, securing her first world championship gold medal after returning to representing Ireland this summer following a seven-year absence. Although she finished just off the podium in June's European Championships, she claimed world glory in her first season back in the boat, albeit in a non-Olympic class. 

"I only really came back to proper training in the winter of this season, so it's been a good comeback!" McCrohan told RTÉ Sport. "It wasn't so much that I made a decision that I should come back; it was that I couldn't stay away any longer." 

McCrohan's gold medal is a significant achievement for the Tribesmen Rowing Club member, who is traditionally used to the fast-flowing waters of the River Corrib. Although she had to face offshore winds in Belgrade, she took them in her stride, saying, "We all have to row in the same conditions, so it's worth noting that the race just takes longer." 

McCrohan's victory adds to the success of the Irish team at the World Rowing Championships. Both the men's and women's double sculls crews secured their boats' places at Paris 2024 for Ireland.

Philip Doyle and Daire Lynch finished just over a second behind the Croatian boat in their semi-final, while Alison Bergin and Zoe Hyde were also second, closely behind Americans Kristina Wagner and Sophia Vitas. 

While Jake McCarthy finished fifth in the lightweight men's single sculls D Final, McCrohan's gold medal will undoubtedly be a highlight of Ireland's performance at this year's championships.

Watch the World Rowing Championships on Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm on the RTE News Channel and RTE Player.

Published in Rowing Team

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