Kat Copeland insists the future looks bright as she claimed lightweight women’s singles victory at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials at Caversham.
The 23-year-old claimed lightweight double scull gold at London 2012 alongside Sophie Hosking, however with the latter retiring Copeland missed the post-Olympic season entirely at international level.
However, as Copeland made her return it was like she had never been away as she moved out to an early lead over Imogen Walsh to take the win.
And although she was rowing solo at the trials, Copeland insists the strength in depth means she can look forward to a successful season in the double scull once again.
"It was pretty windy and it was pretty slow but it was exciting,” Copeland said. “I really enjoyed it. I think what’s really exciting for me is that there’s a group of really good girls at the top which means that we’re going to have a really strong double, which is what matters.”
Copeland was one of three Olympic champions to shine in Caversham, with London Games gold medallist Alex Gregory and men’s pair partner Moe Sbihi edging out fellow 2012 winner Andrew Triggs-Hodge and George Nash.
Sbihi said: "We actually had a really good start and we were leading the field, then coming into the last kilometre Hodgey and George really dug deep.
"I was always fairly confident that we would get it, and then they actually started to come back on us really sharp and I think they even took the lead, from my perception anyway.
“That’s when it was just head down, Greggers made the call and we went for it. It was the killer blow.”
Elsewhere, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning might have resumed their 2012 Olympic gold-medal winning partnership for the first time here since the London Games but they did not have it all their own way in the women's pair final.
They led early and seemed to have stretched out to an unassailable lead. Polly Swann, 2013 World champion with Glover, and Olympian Jess Eddie obviously had a different view as they dug deep and cut back the margin with 250m to go.
At the end the verdict went to the Glover and Stanning but while it was not as comfortable as they might have wished, the latter was just happy to be back.
"It was really brilliant to be back racing with Helen, it feels like I'm in old shoes again", said Stanning.
© Sportsbeat 2014