Leander rowing club elects Debbie Flood as first female captain

Debbie Flood
Image caption Ms Flood is also set to return to her job as a prison officer next year

A prestigious rowing club in Oxfordshire has elected its first female captain in its 194-year history.

Double Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood will take over the role from Rick Egington at the Leander Club in Henley-on-Thames from 1 January.

The club, which only opened membership to women in 1998, boasts members such as Sir Steve Redgrave.

Ms Flood, who is also set to return to her job as a prison officer next year, said it was a "fantastic honour".

She added: "Leander is my home, it's where I came of age in rowing, and I've carried out my entire senior career within the club.

'Historic landmark'

"I just want to get involved in the heart of the club, to be a good role model and to keep the club progressing."

The 32-year-old, from Henley, was a judo international before she took up rowing.

She won silver at the Athens and Beijing Games in the women's quadruple skulls.

The new Leander captain will return to work at Huntercombe Prison in July after taking a break to compete at London 2012 where she came fifth.

The club, which also attracts rowers from Berkshire, claims its members have won the most Olympic and World championship medals than and other single-sport club in the world.

Captains over the past 10 years have included Olympic champions Steve Williams, Mark Hunter and James Cracknell.

Leander's chief coach Mark Banks said: "Debbie's election as the first female captain in almost 200 years is a historic landmark for the club.

"Our women athletes are now a core part of our sporting endeavours, with more than their fair share of medals at every level."

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