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Thursday
Jul202017

British Rowing Junior Championships

The club took its largest ever contingent - thirty-three crews - to the Junior Brit Champs, and had a fantastically successful weekend, finishing second in the Victor Ludorum to Henley, who are acknowledged to have the best club junior programme in the country. We won two golds, three silvers and three bronzes, and had other close calls, so all in all a great regatta.

J14s

The J14s had to do an omnium event, which consisted of skills tests, a 500-metre piece and a slalom and emergency stop for an overall score. The skills included taking a hand off while balancing at the catch, standing-up rigger dipping, a 360-degree turn, and roll-ups.

We had two boys' doubles and a single, and two girls' doubles and two singles, and all go through the tests, though none won medals. Pride of place goes to Katherine, whose rigger broke in two; she didn't fall and got back to the bank with the help of another sculler, then changed boat and completed the course. The skills were hard enough without this extra hazard, but she coped really well.

There were also J14 quad races, with a time trial followed by side-by-side finals. The boys were narrowly beaten into fourth place, while the girls raced well in the D final, showing improvement since Nat Schools.

J15s

Izzy raced her single through the time-trial, semi and final to win a bronze medal. After racing in the B final in their double, Anna and Amalia were joined by Izzy, Hannah and cox Phoebe to win a great silver medal in the quad.

The boys, including two J14s, raced quads, doubles and a single, and it was good to have two quads in the B final, with one of them (Dylan, Dom N, Dom V, Albie and Dexter (cox) winning it.

J16s

The girls' main boat was the quad, in which Orla, Jess, Hester and Emma won bronze. Emma and Orla also raced in WJ16 singles, with Orla finishing fourth in the B final.

The boys' quad had a late sub, following Will's broken hand earlier in the week, with Dom V coming in to the boat with Alex, Sam and Dom N. They raced well in the time trial and then really well in the final, with a supercharged finish pushing them from third to the silver-medal position. Alex and Sam also raced a pair, finishing fourth.

J18s

Charley and India, second in the WJ18 double B final, joined with Jess and Hester in a TSS/St Paul's Girls School eight that went really well, racing to a bronze medal.

Alex W and Dent had a really good win the pair, and were subsequently selected to represent England at the Home International Regatta. In the single, Marcus, racing in his fourth 2k of the day, started steadily and was two lengths down at halfway, but held his nerve and, after sculling really beautifully, took the lead with 300 metres to go. It was a superbly paced scull, and a really special win.

The Junior Men also entered a coxless four and an eight. The four of Stefan (the only bowman over 6' 6" in the regatta), Alex K, Dent and Alex W reached the final and raced well, but were just not quite quick enough against established school crews and were fourth, less than a length off second. That left the eight as the last race, with Marcus, AmbroseAdam and John joining the four, along with cox Gabriel. Inspired by the good results earlier, the boys were leading pre-race favourites Hampton after 150m; Hampton's rhythm got them half a length up by 750m, but the boys clawed their way back level with 500 metres to go. The Hampton crew's experience told in the last 250, as they just pulled out to win by a canvas, but it really was an epic race, with some good crews behind us, and it was great that Ambrose and Adam finished their TSS junior careers with their first-ever medals at a national event. It was a first national medal for John too, but he'll be back next year for more.

In summary, it was a great regatta. We're losing a number of people to university and moves abroad, and we'll miss all of them, but we'll regroup for another year, hopefully gather a few new recruits who want to race at this standard, and we'll move on.

Finally, we must thank all the parents who came up and helped - we really do appreciate it. CFW

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