On Bank Holiday Friday, the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Mimi Hill (cox), Katie Wellstead (stroke), Emily Browne (3), Katie Phillips (2), Autumn Keil (bow) opened their account at National level with a strong performance at the National Schools Regatta held on the Olympic Course at Eton Dorney.
In the qualifying time trial the crew put in a solid row recording the sixth fastest time amongst strong competition from thirty five schools and clubs from around the country.
Head to head racing in the semi-final saw a gripping 1000m battle take place between Newark, Stratford, Tideway Scullers and Ardingly with the Stratford crew missing a place in the A final by less than a foot to Tideway Scullers.
Moving to the B Final after disappointment in the semi final, the crew regrouped to deliver a confident victory over quality opposition from Liverpool Victoria, Headington School, Bedford Girls and Marlow.
Commenting on their performance, coach Dr Graham Collier said, “They are an outstanding group from the Stratford Girls’ Grammar School who are already highly skilled sculling athletes with the motivation and determination to make their mark at national level – all whilst having loads of fun!”
Also competing at the National School’s Regatta at Eton Dorney Lake in the Junior Girls Championship Single Sculls category was Stratford Boat Club’s WJ17 rower Esme Booth – this time rowing for King Edward VI School.
Although rowing at the WJ18 age group with over forty competitors, Esme missed out on a place in the semi-finals by a mere 0.4 seconds. This put the KES rower in the “C” final where, in a very tight and exiting race, she finished in a very creditable fourth place in a time that would have brought her a top four place in either semi-final.
Imogen North also made it through to her third National Schools rowing regatta final having rowed an impressive time trial to qualify as one of the top sixteen boats in the WJ18 single sculls category. Imogen finished fourth in a competitive semi-final to qualify for the final and finished eighth overall on the day.
The following day Stratford’s WJ18 coxless quad of Imogen North, Lucy Weston, Cassie Bird and Phoebe Winter finished twenty eighth in their time trial and improved their overall position by one place in the final stages following a thrilling race with Millfield School.
However, the highest place of the three day event for Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club was secured by the WJ15 4+. The coxed four of Robin Connolly (cox), Lara Davies (stroke), Ellie Gray (3) Issy Marsden (2) and Maddy Winsper (bow) rowed their time trial seamlessly to take third place, qualifying well for the A final. Despite an old injury flaring up for one of the crew shortly after the start of the final, the girls rowed a well paced race to take fifth place nationally.
On Saturday18 June, the same day as the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta, Esme will be rowing at the Henley Women’s Regatta, again a qualifying time trial will determine which athletes’ progress to the finals. Esme will be up against the top national and international female junior rowers and racing on the famous Henley Regatta course.
During the busy Bank Holiday weekend, Stratford Boat Club’s Masters, Novices and Intermediates also competed at Monmouth Regatta and The Club welcomed scullers from Thames Valley Skiff Club in Walton on Thames and The Skiff Club at Trowlock Way, Teddington during their weekend meanderings along the River Avon.
For media coverage, please also see Stratford Herald online http://bit.ly/25z5T8h and p16 and Stratford Observer p31.
For more great pictures of the National Schools Regatta, see David Phillips coverage on http://bit.ly/1UBiqCS