STAGING All you need to know about the 2021 European Rowing Championships - British Rowing

All you need to know about the 2021 European Rowing Championships

As the GB Rowing Team prepare to race this weekend in Varese, here’s a quick overview


GB rowers pictured in Varese (c) Getty Images

GB rowers are competing on the water at the European Rowing Championships in Varese this weekend. Read on for our summary!

About Varese

Varese is located in the north-western part of the Italian Lombardy region, on the border with Switzerland. The city rises in the middle of a territory rich in rivers and green hills, large and small lakes with picturesque shores, at the foot of the Campo dei Fiori regional park.


Varese is one of the most popular rowing courses in the world due to its central location in Europe and its fair racing conditions.

The Championships

Marking the start of the 2021 international rowing season, the European Rowing Championships run from 9 to 11 April 2021 in Varese, Italy.

Racing will take place on Lake Varese which last hosted international rowing in 2016 with the World Rowing Cup I. This is the second time Varese has hosted the European Championships.

After a 2020 season that was lean on live rowing events, there are still many precautions in place for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the European Championships looks set to be business as usual on the racing front, with 629 athletes attending from 35 countries. The Great Britain Rowing Team comprises 64 athletes, with 18 boats entered.

How can I watch?

Racing begins on Friday 9 April with heats from 8am BST and progresses through repechages, semifinals and to the A-finals starting at 8.55am BST on Sunday 11 April.

You can watch the GB Rowing Team in Varese live on Sunday, 11 April from 8.55am on the BBC Red Button, iPlayer and BBC website and all the A Finals on BBC2 from 1pm-3pm. The semi-finals will also be shown on the Red Button on Saturday, 10 April from 9.30am.

You can also follow the action on and British Rowing social media channels in the build-up to finals weekend.

British Rowing members can read Martin Cross’ preview of the Championships along with more great content related to the GB Rowing Team on British Rowing Plus.

The GB Rowing Team

Great Britain did not attend the 2020 European Championships last October due to the coronavirus, but they are making up for it this time with a large team of 64 athletes and 18 boats.

The pandemic has opened up some amazing opportunities for athletes, none more so than for double Olympic champion and mother of three, Helen Glover, who will be racing in the women’s pair with Olympic silver medallist, Polly Swann.

The women’s single sculls will be a hotly contested event with entries from 17 countries. Included in the line-up is Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley, who finished in fourth place at the 2019 World Championships.

Later this spring, the GB Rowing Team will have the opportunity to qualify four additional boats for this summer’s Olympic Games – the lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x), men’s single scull (M1x), men’s pair (M2-) and women’s double sculls (W2x).

All four boats will be racing in Varese as a warm-up to the Final Qualifying Olympic Regatta in Lucerne in May. The crews selected for the Europeans comprise Sam Mottram & Jamie Copus in the LM2x, Matthew Haywood in the M1x, Harry Glenister & Morgan Bolding in the M2- and Holly Nixon & Saskia Budgett in the W2x.

The European Rowing Championships also marks another milestone for British Rowing, being the first time ever that a Para team will be racing at the event. GB Rowing Team will include Benjamin Pritchard in the PR1 M1x, Lauren Rowles & Laurence Whiteley in the PR2 M2x and Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, James Fox, Ollie Stanhope and Erin Kennedy (cox) in the PR3 Mix 4+.

For the full GB Rowing Team line-up click here.