Scots pair help GB to historic silver in rowing women’s eight

Karen Bennett helped the women's eight win silver.  Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images

Karen Bennett helped the women's eight win silver. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images

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Britain won its first ever medal in the rowing women’s eight when the crew dug deep to take silver in Rio on Saturday.

The United States were convincing winners but Team GB pipped Romania for second place in a thrilling finish.

Great Britain celebrate after winning silver in the women's eight. 
PPicture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Great Britain celebrate after winning silver in the women's eight. PPicture: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

The British crew featured Scots Karen Bennett and Polly Swann. Bennett, from Balerno, Edinburgh, only took up the sport at the age of 20 but made such impressive progress that at 27 she is now an Olympic silver medallist.

Swann, also from Edinburgh, missed the 2012 London Games through injury but returned in fine style.

Bennett, Swann, Katie Greves, Melanie Wilson, Frances Houghton, Jessica Eddie, Olivia Carnegie-Brown, Zoe Lee and cox Zoe de Toledo crossed the line in six minutes 3.98 seconds - just 0.12 seconds ahead of bronze medallists Romania.

Reigning champions the US were deserved winners of a race that Britain started slowly, sitting at the back of the pack at the halfway mark.

However, they upped the ante and entered the final 500 metres in third, before kicking on and holding off Romania to win silver.

The first British medal in the women’s eight capped off memorable Olympic debuts for Bennett, Carnegie-Brown, Lee, Swann and de Toledo.

Eddie and Greves finished fifth in the eights at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, while Wilson placed sixth in the women’s quad four years ago.

Houghton, 35, was the only member of the boat with an Olympic medal in her locker, having taken women’s quad silver in Athens and Beijing.

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