Enniskillen oarswoman, 18-year-old Holly Nixon, a senior athlete from the boat club at Portora Royal School, competed in Lithuania at the World Rowing Under 23 2012 Championships at the weekend. Racing for Ireland in the Women's Double Sculls with Laura D'Urso of City of Derry boat club, the girls took a commendable first place in Sunday's B final (a seventh place overall) at the prestigious event held at Trakai's Lake Galve, which is situated near Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
Their racing began last Thursday, when they competed in one of three qualifying heats and qualified in third place to Austria and France - gaining them a place in Saturday's semi-finals, when their boat came fourth to Austria, Belarus and Russia.
On Sunday, racing as one of six boats in the B final - againist Switzerland, Germany (reigning Under-23 Champions), USA, Italy, and Romania (who were placed second last year) - Ireland's Holly Nixon (a World Junior medallist in 2011) and Laura D'Urso took an early lead and continued to race to the line with confidence.
Winning their race comfortably, they finished in a time of 7.28 minutes in head wind conditions. The results were: IRL (7.28); SUI (7.33); GER (7.35); USA (7.38); ITA (7.43) and ROU (7.52).
Altogether Ireland had five boats racing in this year's World Rowing Under 23 championships, who joined the women's heavyweight double scull of Holly, who has just completed her A' levels at Devenish College, Enniskillen, and is now competing at a higher level, and university student Laura.
The other crews were a men's lightweight pair, a men's heavyweight four, a women's lightweight scull and women's heavyweight scull, all of whom qualified for semi final places. Claire Lambe of University College Dublin, competing in a women's lightweight scull in Sunday's A finals achieved a fourth place overall - a most praiseworthy performance.
The Irish athletes were accompanied in Lithuania by Ireland Under 23 Lead Coach Rob Baker and High Performance Director of Rowing Ireland, Martin McElroy.