By Mike Rowbottom

Olivia Carnegie-Brown_left_and_Caragh_McMurtry_celebrate_winning_silver_in_the_GB_womens_pairSeptember 16 - Hosts Italy finished with the most medals – two golds and four silver – at the European Rowing Championships, in Varese.

The Championships also proved highly successful for a British team which, as in recent European Championships, has not included any of the Olympic or World Championship rowing squad, offering development crews the opportunity for top-class competition.

Britain won its best ever haul at these championships, five medals, with silvers coming from a lightweight men's four featuring Olympic reserve Adam Freeman-Pask, and from 21-year-olds Olivia Carnegie-Brown and Caragh McMurtry (pictured top, left and right), who also rowed in the women's eight that won bronze.

A record number of 36 nations took part in the Championships, of which 18 reached the podium.

The Italians successfully defended their lightweight men's four title and also earned a first European gold in the lightweight women's double sculls, along with silvers in the men's and women's eights to the delight of the nearly 10,000 spectators along Lake Varese.

Lithuania proved its force in the single sculls with Donata Vištartaitė winning gold in the women's event and, in the men's event, Mindaugas Griškonis adding a third European title to his medal collection.

Greece also claimed two golds, retaining the men's four title and crossing the line with a surprise victory in the lightweight men's double sculls.

Camelia Lupascu_b_and_Nicoleta_Albu_s_of_Romania_racing_in_the_heats_of_the_womens_pair_at_the_2012_European_Rowing_ChampionshipsCamelia Lupașcu and Nicoleta Albu of Romania racing in the heats of the women's pair at the 2012 European Rowing Championships

Camelia Lupașcu and Nicoleta Albu of Romania made it a double-header, collecting their third consecutive European title in the women's pair and then racing to bronze a couple of hours later in the women's quadruple sculls.

In the men's pair, it was Rogier Blink and Mitchel Steenman who won the Netherlands' single medal – a gold.

Estonia's crew in the men's quadruple sculls, which had finished fourth at the London 2012 Olympics, won gold ahead of Ukraine and Slovenia.

Ukraine's Olympic gold-medallist crew in the women's quad, with just one change to their London line-up, maintained their long European winning streak with another victory.

Croatia's 2012 Olympic silver medallists from the men's quadruple sculls raced in two different boat classes in Varese.

Brothers Valent and Martin Sinković competed in the men's double sculls, finishing with gold, while Damir Martin took silver in the men's single sculls.

The Sinkovic_brothers_Martin_and_Valent_racing_in_the_mens_double_sculls_at_the_2012_European_Rowing_Championships_in_VareseThe Sinković brothers, Martin and Valent racing in the men's double sculls at the 2012 European Rowing Championships in Varese

Belarus won one medal, and it was gold in the women's double sculls.

After winning bronze this summer at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships, Tatsiana Kukhta and Katsiaryna Shliupskaya proved their talent at senior level.

Romania has been unbeatable in the women's eight at European level.

Today, with their boat including multi-Olympic champions Viorica Susanu and Georgeta Andrunache, they raced to European gold in dominating fashion for the sixth consecutive time.

In the men's eight, Poland won their second consecutive European title.

Next year the European Championships will be held in the spring for the first time, from May 31 to June 2, in Seville, Spain.

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