National crown and a GB team call-up for Norwich sailing star Bryony Bennett-Lloyd
Norwich sailing star Bryony Bennett-Lloyd has been crowned RYA Youth National Champion.
As well as picking up the title in the female double-handed 420 dinghy class with her sailing partner Annabel Catermole, 17-year-old Bennett-Lloyd, who is a member of Hickling Broad Sailing Club, was also named as one of the 12 sailors who will represent Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships 2013.
The team was revealed by double Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ayton Youth National Championships, which were held over five days at Largs Sailing Club in Scotland.
'It's a fantastic feeling – we have been working towards it for two and a half years and it's finally come round and we are really excited,' said Bennett-Lloyd.
'It really is incredible. We have been working so hard for it for so long and now it's actually happened, it's amazing.'
Bennett-Lloyd and Cattermole finished third overall, only seven points off the top spot to take the female title.
The pair posted a consistent score line across the five days of racing, including a race win and a number of top-three finishes.
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'We entered Friday's races thinking that we could do it and beat the boys, but unfortunately we had some tough last races and we didn't quite perform as we wanted to in that last race so we finished third overall, top girls, which we are happy with,' she said. 'We had a good points lead over the other girls for the ISAF Youth Worlds spot so we're really happy.'
Previous winners of the Youth National Championships include some of Britain's most talented sailors, such as multiple Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Sarah Ayton.
'Watching the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth and Portland this year was really inspiring and to think that might be us in several years' time as we are following in Olympians footsteps is unbelievable,' said the Norwich High School For Girls student. 'It's going to be a great experience to compete in what is regarded as the Youth Olympics of sailing.'
'The competition is going to be very tough as we will be going up against the best sailors from around the world so we will need be at our best come July.'