THE curtain has come down on an international championships season that sees British rowing – and the Scots involved in the teams – in good shape as the 2016 Olympic Games approach.

At last week's World Championships in Aiguebelette, France, there were five Scottish medals – with all seven Scots reaching their finals – as Britain topped the medal table and qualified boats in twelve of the fourteen Olympic classes.

Lossiemouth's Olympic, world and European champion Heather Stanning maintained her four-year unbeaten record and added a second world crown to her collection along with pairs partner Helen Glover.

Stanning and Glover dominated from the first stroke of their final, and had almost a clear water lead over the USA by the first mark. By halfway they had a two-length lead and then sat ahead of fast-finishing New Zealand, who took second on the line ahead of USA. Speaking later, an elated Stanning said: "That was really enjoyable and exactly what we wanted to execute. While that was really brilliant, it's exciting to know there's more to come next year".

A second Scottish world title was won by Kirriemuir's Sam Scrimgeour, who, with new partner Joel Cassells, led the lightweight pairs final from the first stroke. Scrimgeour had taken silver at the 2014 World Championships in Amsterdam and, after the race, he said, "it's not quite sunk in yet, but it feels pretty special."

In women's lightweight single sculls, Inverness's European champion Imogen Walsh just failed to catch New Zealand's Zoe McBride with a powerful push from fourth place at halfway to finish second on the line. Walsh was wistful afterwards, saying: "I really wanted to win but to take a silver medal at the Wold Championships against brilliant opposition is pretty good."

Walsh suffered serious illness and injury early in the season, and, reflecting on that, she said: "There were points in the winter that I wondered if I'd be here at all, so in that context, this is great". Walsh's challenge is that she is racing in a non-Olympic boat class and wants to move on to the lightweight double sculls category, which is an Olympic class. She said: "This is the way up for me. and hopefully a step to something better next year."

A second Scottish silver medal came from newcomer Helen Bennett from Edinburgh, who was in the Great Britain women's four, while Alan Sinclair from Inverness was in the men's four that took bronze.

Olympic champion Katherine Grainger returned to racing this season after a two-year lay-off and she capped her comeback with sixth place in a blanket finish along with her new partner Vicky Thornley. This duo were just pushed out of medal position in the last few strokes and afterwards Granger said, "I'm sorry we didn't make it onto the podium, but at least the boat is now qualified, so that's another step closer to Rio." Completing the Scottish performances at the world championships, Victoria Meyer-Laker from Premney, Aberdeenshire, was fourth in women's eights.

Adding to a successful season, there was historic success at the World Junior Championship on the Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro, when Josh Armstrong and Gavin Horsburgh from Glasgow Academy were in the crew that took a first-ever British gold in quadruple sculls, while Alex Rankin, also from Glasgow Academy, and Gregor Duncan from Aberdeen Schools also reached their finals.

At the under-23 World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Robert Gordon University's Lewis McCue took silver in coxless fours, as did Glasgow's Rowan McKellar in pairs, and, completing the season's Scottish medal haul, Edinburgh-born Melissa Wilson took bronze in women's fours.