Britain won seven gold medals, more than ever before, to finish top of the medal table in Racice, Czech Republic.
Where Dutch and Australian rivals outstripped them to Olympic medals in Tokyo, British crews stole a march by yawning margins in key boat classes.
“I think we felt the rest of the world would step on more than they have done here,” said Director of Performance Louise Kingsley.
“It’s been fantastic to come out and demonstrate the standards that we’re at. We’re in a fantastic place and we’ve definitely got one eye on Paris 2024. We can’t sit here and rest on our laurels because there’s still plenty we can work on.”
From the outside looking in it was a seamless machine that delivered 12 medals, three golds in Paralympic classes and four in Olympic events. But there were bumps on the way – not least an on-water accident that saw the men’s pair crash into a rival boat and render their racing shell unusable.
Additionally, men’s four member Matt Aldridge and coach Christian Felkel were both consigned to their hotel rooms for the majority of the regatta due to illness.
Men’s head coach Paul Stannard said: “It’s a credit to the team that you wouldn’t have known any of that was going on.
“We were all calm, incredibly together, all on the same page and completely unflustered. We knew it was going well but if you’d said at the start of the season that we’d get these results, we’d never have believed you. We’re very, very pleased.”
Britain won two medals in blue-riband events on the final day of racing.
The men’s eight crowned an unbeaten season with victory in a dust-down with the Dutch, five Tokyo survivors and three new faces forming a fearsome crew.
Olympic bronze medallist James Rudkin said: “I feel the happiest I’ve ever felt in the team. Morale is just super high.
“There’s two more years to Paris and we’ve not quite redeemed ourselves yet. This is step one and we’re really excited for the next two steps.”
Graeme Thomas emerged with a career-highlight bronze from his first season in the ultra-competitive men’s single scull.
Among the highlights of the Tokyo turnaround has been the step-change in the women’s squad, led superbly by Australian Andrew Randell.
Randell has quickly unwound Jurgen Grobler’s ergometer-heavy European style and imported a southern hemisphere style prioritising work on the water over dry land.
“They’ve been doing it the British way for 20 years,” said Randell. “I’ve just continued in doing what we’ve done very successfully down in Australia. For me it hasn’t been that strange but for them it probably has been because it’s so different. The specificity of our training is very high in relation to racing.
“We needed the results early on to get the buy-in. They all got personal bests on the erg and reinforced the hard work we’ve been doing – they’ve proven they can do it.”
:: British Rowing is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the ongoing World Championships in Racice, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/