The National Schools’ Regatta is the largest and most exciting regatta junior race calendar in Great Britain. The regatta attracts crews from over three hundred and fifty clubs and schools with over five thousand competitors. It is the premiere junior regatta in the country. With racing for ten hours per day, exciting closely matched rounds and finals, this is the regatta where you will see future Olympic Champions start out! … and Stratford upon Avon Boat Club juniors were there in force!
Returning to Dorney Lake near Windsor, the Junior 14’s were welcomed by sunshine, a marked improvement from their previous attendance at the 2012 Olympic venue where they had previously competed in torrential rain!
The boys crew of Seth Vondrak, Xavier Sissins-Roffey, James Albrighton, Oliver Rowlands and cox Theo Richter were first to face the time trial raced over the 1000M course. After an unsettled start, the boys soon got into their rhythm and delivered a solid row. Despite a valiant effort, the boys missed out on selection for the finals by eight seconds. Following hot on their heels were the girls’ crew of Alexandra Francis, Poppy Baines, Sophie Evans, Alice Jones, and cox Meg Nuttall. Another solid performance by the girls resulted in selection for the B final. Crossing the finish line in fourth place delivered an outcome of tenth out of thirty-six competing crews. The squad are looking forward to competing at the British Rowing Junior Championships at the National Water Sports Centre in July.
Competing at NSR for the first time, the coxed WJ15 quad of Harriet Froom (cox), Lucy Sartain, Molly Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton (bow) rowed a superb 1000m in the time trial with a top twenty finish in a gargantuan entry of sixth nine crews, 15.7 seconds off the top crew and three seconds away from a B Final. Their time was faster than Thames Scullers A, Kingston, Lea Rowing Club, Fulham Reach Kings School Chester, Henley E and many more. Commenting Hugo Happel, J16 Coach said, “Terrific result, great work ethic and a great foundation to build on!”
The J16’s entered Amalia Richardson, Maddie Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and coxswain Imogen Hill for the Anna Fegen Cup event on Saturday. On the back of a successful head racing season in the four and a strong performance in a quad at The Junior Sculling Regatta, the girls set their sights on reaching the A final. The time trial went according to plan with Stratford recording the second fastest time behind hot favourites Headington School. Stratford needed a top three finish in the semi-final to progress to the coveted A Final. The girls produced a perfect race leading from the start and sitting on their split and rate all the way to the finish taking the win without needing to increase the pressure. The starters’ role call for the A Final was a list of the top rowing schools in the country: Headington, Stratford, Godolphin, Pangbourne, Yarm and Sir William Perkins. The girls had achieved their goal, now could they go one step further and win a medal? Stratford put down another blistering start to lead by a canvas at 100 meters. By 500m Stratford and Headington were neck and neck easing out a lead from Godolphin and Pangbourne. By the 1000m board Stratford had dropped Godolphin and Pangbourne to fight for the Bronze, but Headington were half a length ahead. Stratford gave all they had in the last 500m to secure the Silver medal as Headington hung on to take the Gold.
J16 Coach Sam Hill commented, “To win a Silver medal at National Schools Regatta is a major achievement and just reward for all the hard training the girls put in every week. We look forward to the next challenge at Henley Women’s Regatta in three weeks time!”
For the J17/18 squad, the day started with the boys’ double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie with them taking to the lake to compete in the Open Championship Doubles event. Putting up a strong battle against the wind, they finished a respectable twenty first in their time trial. The girls pairing of Amelie Sartain and Freya Watts were next up in the Women’s Championship Doubles event, finishing a symmetrical twenty first against crews from some impressive clubs. Last out for the squad was Toby Sartain competing in the Open Championship Singles event: Toby finished an impressive thirty seventh against stiff competition from across the country.
It may have been a half term holiday but there was no let up for Stratford Boat Club athletes and coaches as they took part in the Club’s Junior Coaching Assistants’ Course on Monday. Said Abi Terry, J17/18 Performance Squad Coach, “This course is designed to give competent junior athletes the skills to pass on their knowledge to their younger colleagues and those new to rowing and sculling: it covers essential points such as safety, techniques and how to put these across to others. It was heartening to see how many volunteered for the course and the effort they put in over a long day!”
For more great pictures of the J14’s achievements and others, please see Kathy Baines’ selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j5M5T-GeVQz0ndO5iQ?e=C2Qgjm