Anna Watkins

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Anna Watkins MBE
Anna Watkins.jpg
Personal information
Birth name Anna Rose Bebington
Full name Anna Rose Watkins
Nationality  United Kingdom
Born (1983-02-13) 13 February 1983 (age 32)
Leek, Staffordshire, England
Residence Wokingham, Berkshire, England
Education Natural Sciences
Alma mater Newnham College, Cambridge
Occupation Student
Years active 2001–
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Country Great Britain
Sport Rowing
Event(s) Double sculls
University team Newnham College Boat Club
Club Rob Roy Boat Club
Leander Club
Turned pro 2003
Partner Katherine Grainger

Anna Rose Watkins MBE (born 13 February 1983), is an English rower. She competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where she won a bronze medal in Double Sculls and has won 4 medals in the World Championships, most recently a successful defence of her world title with Katherine Grainger, in Bled, Slovenia in 2011. She won a gold medal in the double sculls at the London 2012 Olympics.

Early life[edit]

Watkins was born and raised in Leek, Staffordshire, where she attended Westwood College.[1] She studied Natural Sciences at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she started rowing in 2001.

She is currently attending the University of Reading as a PhD student in mathematics.[2]

In September 2009 she married Oliver Watkins, a part-time rowing coach, who was studying for a Ph.D in engineering at Cambridge where the couple met.[3] The couple live in Wokingham, where Oliver works for the McLaren Formula One team as a suspension specialist. Anna announced in March 2013 that the couple were expecting their first child, due in September 2013.[4] Anna gave birth to a baby boy which they named William James.[5] Anna had a second child, another boy named Richard Dexter, in February 2015.

Sporting career[edit]

She took her first strokes with Newnham College Boat Club and was captain of lower boats and then secretary for the club. Watkins represents Leander Club in rowing events.

At Cambridge, her college crew were Head of the Cam in 2003 before she moved onto the World Class Start talent identification programme run by UK sport and based at Rob Roy Boat Club.[6] In 2004 she made her international debut, winning a gold medal in the Coxless IVs at the World Under 23 Regatta in Poznań, Poland with crewmates Natasha Page, Beth Rodford and Alison Knowles.

In 2005, Watkins made her senior international debut with the Women's Eight, achieving a 5th place at the World Championships in Gifu, Japan. She also won an Under 23 bronze medal at the World U23 Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.

In 2006 Watkins switched to sculling and began competing in the double scull, a boat class she has remained with since then. The World Championships in 2006 were on home water at Eton Dorney, the venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Watkins partnered Annabel Vernon and they came in fourth place having won the World Cup series earlier that season.

For the next two years Watkins's partner was Elise Laverick. In this combination they won bronze medals at both the World Championships and at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. The Olympic medal came after a difficult season battling with glandular fever, and at the time was the closest any British oarswoman had come to an Olympic gold with the three medal winning crews separated by 0.23 seconds.[7]

In 2009 Watkins once more partnered Annabel Vernon and won a silver medal at the World Championships in Poznań, Poland.

In 2010 Watkins joined forces with Katherine Grainger for the first time. In their double scull they had an unbeaten season culminating in their victory at the World Championships in New Zealand. They were named World Rowing Female Crew of the year[8] and also the Sunday Times Women's Sports Team of the year for 2010.[9] Individually, Watkins became Champion of the Thames in the annual championships, the Wingfield Sculls.

In 2011 Watkins beat her partner Katherine in the British Rowing Team trials.[10] They joined forces again in the double scull and continued their unbeaten run, finishing the season with another World Championships gold. Watkins retained her title in the Wingfield Sculls, setting a new record time.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Watkins and Katherine Grainger broke the Olympic record in the semi-final of the double sculls. Subsequently they won the final to take the gold medal.[11][12]

Watkins was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to rowing.[13][14]

In August 2015, six months after the birth of her second child, Anna announced her intention to return to competition, and to target the Rio Olympics. [15] Should she be successful, she will be the first mother to represent Great Britain in rowing, and possibly the first woman to compete in consecutive Olympics whilst having two children in between.


Olympic Games[edit]

  • 2012 London – Gold, Women's Double Sculls
  • 2008 Beijing – Bronze, Women's Double Sculls

World Rowing Championships[edit]

World Rowing Under 23 Championships[edit]

  • 2005 – Bronze, Coxless Pair
  • 2004 – Gold, Coxless Four

GB Rowing Team Senior Trials[edit]

  • 2012 – 2nd, Single Scull
  • 2011 – 1st, Single Scull

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Town honours its Olympic ace Anna". The Sentinel. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  2. ^ "SportsPark | BUCS | British Universities & Colleges Sports". 28 April 2011. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Olympic medallist weds man who set her on path to glory". 30 October 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Anna Watkins: Olympic rowing champion is pregnant". BBC News. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Congratulations". British Rowing. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Internationals". Rob Roy Boat Club. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  7. ^ John Simpson in Taunton Updated 39 minutes ago (10 April 2011). "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Watkins and Grainger win Sunday Times Women's Team of the Year Award". British Rowing. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Watkins in eye-catching win over Grainger at GB Rowing Team Assessment". British Rowing. Retrieved 6 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Olympics rowing: Anna Watkins & Katherine Grainger smash record". Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Olympics 2012: Great Britain win four golds in 24 hours". BBC Sports. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 25. 29 December 2012.
  14. ^ [2] Cabinet Office
  15. ^

External links[edit]