Twickenham rower and Oarsome Foursome team urge people to enter the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta

She may not have come away victorious but Twickenham’s Annabel Young insisted she loved every minute of her moment in the spotlight at the first ever Invesco Perpetual City Regatta.

With the Olympic Games in Rio now less than two weeks away, Young and her colleagues got their own competitive juices flowing in Bristol’s Millennium Square on Thursday evening as they bid to be the best team over 1km on Concept 2 rowing machines.

The Invesco Perpetual City Regatta is a spectacular new challenge where four-strong male and female crews compete head-to-head in a series of fast and furious regatta-style knock-out races live on stage in four cities across the country.

Young, a structural engineer who now lives in Bristol, was in action at the third event of the series, with a further regatta event set for London next month.

Before the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta Winner’s Row-Off on October 12 at the Guildhall, London, which will take place in front of an array of rowing legends and heroes returning from Rio.

And while she and her Oarsome Foursome teammates were unable to earn bragging rights, 24-year-old Young insisted it had still been good to pit her wits against other rowers.

“I wanted something to do outside and a sport that had both a team and individual element to it, and we have a great location so I wanted to join rowing,” she said.

“I thought it would be great fun so I had a 10-week taster course to see if I liked it and went from there really.

“We [City of Bristol Rowing Club] have a novice squad but we are very competitive and so we entered two teams. We try to represent the club and do our best.

“The atmosphere and the motivation the crowd were giving us got us through so it was important for us that they supported us.

“I think it is really important to show that anyone can get involved in this great sport, you find rowing machines in all gyms and you can start on that see if you like it.

“I would urge people to grab some mates and enter. Have fun. Hopefully next year we have better weather.”

Designed to test both fitness and teamwork, the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta is open to everyone – from seasoned pros, rowing novices or those who are just up for a new challenge.

During the competition, all four crew members row on separate rowing machines at the same time over a target distance of 1km with the racing software producing a 500m split pace for each rower, while the individual splits are then compiled in real time into one average split pace for the entire crew.

Their progress is then displayed on big screens for competitors and spectators alike to see – including double Olympic medal-winning rowers Debbie Flood and Mark Hunter MBE who were there to cheer on crews and offer words of encouragement.

And after being impressed with the standard of rowing on show in Bristol, Flood urged other people to give the sport a try.

“This event is so unique because it is bang in the middle of the city centre,” said the retired international rower, who won silver medals at the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games.

“It is an opportunity for people to see rowing on machines and to get involved in their local community and their local club, do some racing with their local team and get rowing out into the community.

“This is the first year we have had the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta and really hope this will grow and become an annual event.”

Hunter added: “It’s been great to see the talent on show tonight. There are so many people from different backgrounds, men and women, all shapes and sizes, and it has been ferocious on the rowing machines.

“It has been really interesting for me to see everyone working together as a team, being competitive, and the camaraderie between the different groups of people has been great to watch.”

Invesco Perpetual’s innovative new ‘City Regatta’ event is a celebration of the achievements of Leander Club, the main feeder club to the GB team with 23 of its rowers headed for Rio, and aims to encourage more people across the UK to get involved in rowing.

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