TOKYO Olympian Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne showed motherhood hasn’t slowed her down one bit, as she stormed to the women’s singles title at London’s top regatta.
And she isn’t the only Wye rower tasting top success with Ross Rowing Club products Yasmin Howe and Violet Holbrow-Brooksbank on the top of the podium again at the National Schools Regatta on the same London 2012 Olympic lake.
St Weonards 2017 senior world medallist and 2015 world U23 champion Mathilda gave birth to son Freddie just 11 months ago.
But in her return to racing for the first time since Tokyo, she proved she still has what it takes on the water by heading a 38-strong field at the Metropolitan Regatta on Dorney Lake.
And the Great Britain star, who raced in the quadruple scull with sister Charlotte at the Tokyo Olympics, was rewarded with the presentation of a historic 150-year-old trophy, being awarded at the event for the first time.
Renamed the Sophie Hosking Cup after the 2012 Olympic gold medal former captain of host club London RC, Mathilda and son Freddie were delighted with the silverware.
“With this being my first race after having my son last summer, I had no idea what to expect," she said of racing.
"I remember watching Sophie race in 2012, so to be the first winner of this trophy named after her is a great honour.
"I can’t wait to see how the rest of this season goes, and return to full International racing soon.”
In 2020 the organising committee decided to introduce a similar prize for the women’s elite sculls and to dedicate it to Sophie Hosking MBE, who was 2012 Olympic Champion in the Lightweight Double Sculls with Kat Copeland, and is a former captain of London RC, with which the regatta is closely associated.
The committee of the 157-year-old regatta, part-founded by Charles Dickens and his son, began looking in 2020 for a suitable trophy for the championship women's singles to match that awarded for the men, and came across a beautiful 1874 trophy first presented to the winner of the elite sculls at the Metropolitan Regatta in Ireland.
In recent years it came into the possession of Cousins of Canterbury who generously donated it to ‘the Met’. The regatta has had it replated and mounted on a plinth containing a copy of the silver medal traditionally awarded, which now includes a design of the cup.
And the Sophie Hosking Cup was presented for the first time to Mathilda by Sophie’s dad, David Hosking, also a London RC member, who was World Champion in the Lightweight Eights in 1980.
Mathilda won it after coming home at the top of the tree in the opening time-trial, beating US Cambridge Boat Race winner Freya Keto by 1.2 seconds and GB World U23 medallist Vwairé Obukohwo by 4.7secs in the opening 1900m time-trial.
That put the local rower racing for Henley club Upper Thames into a middle lane in the eight-strong 2km A final.
And the 28-year-old mum, who has trained at Monmouth RC and Monmouth School RC in the past, took a firm grip on the final from the off, racing out to lead by nearly a length from Obukohwo at 500m, which she had stretched to 2L at half-way, where Keto was second.
The lead was nearly 3L at 1500m, and Mathilda continued to move away, crossing some 3 1/2L clear of Keto in seven minutes 57.60secs, with Twickenham RC’s Obukohwo in bronze another 1 1/4L back.
Yasmin and her Wycliffe boat of Lily Martin, Elisabeth Sekinger and Ella Fullman have already won the national Junior Sculling Head and Junior Sculling regatta this year, alongside taking girls’ 8s with violet also on board at the national schools’ Head over the reverse Boat Race course.
The Ross RC graduate also took gold and bronze racing for GB at the Munich international junior regatta last month.
And the Wycliffe quadruple sculls crew won their Championship girls’ quadruple scull heat at the National Schools’ by a clear 4L before beating Henley RC by 2L to head the semi-final.
Marlow RC put in a strong start in the eight-boat 2km final to lead at 500m, but Wycliffe had hit the front before half-way, where the advantage was nearly a length.
And they came home 1 1/2L clear of the same boat in 7.01.18, with Henley RC another 2.5L back taking bronze from Kingston Grammar.
Not to be outdone, Violet - U17 quads champion at the Junior Sculling Head and U17 doubles winner at the Junior Sculling Regatta at Dorney - teamed up with crew mates Amelia Flaxman, Eloise Etherington and Mia Lowes to storm to National Schools’ gold in the 2nd quads event.
They led their final all the way to come home 12 seconds clear of Shiplake College in 7.14.09, with St George’s College in bronze.