Rowers Bev and Jen celebrate after being named as crew of the year
- Credit: Chris Jillings
Two rowers from Ipswich and Sudbury Rowing Clubs are celebrating after being named as the British Rowing Club Crew of the Year.
Bev Goodchild and Jen Titterington, both 27, were stunned to receive a Zoom call from Olympic silver medallist Cath Bishop, who revealed they had scooped the prize.
"It was a complete surprise - we weren't expecting it at all," Bev said. "We thought the call would just be an update on the awards."
The pair had originally expected to hear the results at a dinner in March last year, but it was repeatedly put back because of the coronavirus pandemic. Since their win, messages of congratulations have been pouring in.
Jen said: "It was very exciting to get the call." Bev added : "It was a really nice way to mark the end of our three years rowing and training together, now that we are no longer in the same place."
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The win is just the latest success for the women's double scull, who were the first ever female crew from East Anglia to qualify for an elite-level event at Henley Royal Regatta.
Both are members of Ipswich Rowing Club, while Jen is also a member of Sudbury. At Henley Royal, Bev wore Ipswich colours and Jen wore Sudbury's.
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Qualifying for the Henley Royal was a huge achievement, as they eliminated crews that contained GB squad members and a former World Lightweight champion.
Their other successes have included winning two races at the Ghent Spring regatta and the Women's Challenge 2X at Wallingford Regatta, as well as reaching the semi-finals at Henley Women's Regatta.
Ipswich is one of the smallest rowing clubs in the country, making their achievement even greater.
Jen said: "All our training was in Ipswich - we did three to four hours every evening and four or five on Saturday and Sunday, and some early mornings too, and we both have full-time jobs." Jen is an actuary in an insurance company, while Bev previously worked in construction and is now an editorial assistant.
Although the training was hard work, they thoroughly enjoyed it. Jen added: "There was always a lot of laughter - I think people could hear us coming."
Both have now moved away from the area, with Bev living in Putney and Jen in Nottingham, but they keep in touch with daily video calls. They can't currently row due to coronavirus restrictions, but are training at home, including using rowing machines.
The two rowers paid tribute to Ipswich Rowing Club coach Chris Jillings and also to Bev's partner, fellow-rower Stuart Horn, who trained with them.
Chris Jillings said: "This is truly a well deserved award for two athletes that have dedicated their lives over the previous three years to hard work, training and practice out on a sometimes inhospitable River Orwell.
"They have bonded as a team in an exceptional way to develop the highest skill levels in the sport, resulting in them being able to 'punch well above their weight'. It has been a real pleasure to have coached them and I am thrilled with their award to 'ice the cake' on their collection of prize trophies."