The British Rowing Junior Championships took place at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham over the last three days with tight racing from the J14 & J15 crews on Friday. The day started with a morning of time trials over the 900-metre course ahead of the G to A Finals in the afternoon held over 1000 meters. It was a complete regatta for the J14 and J15 crews, with their J16 and J18 counterparts racing across Saturday and Sunday.
Spirits were high from the onset, with friends, family and teammates supporting their rowers right from the first-time trial to the last A Final. The time trials took place in ideal conditions with light winds and comfortable temperatures. This was short lived as the cloud dissipated, temperatures rose and typical of the venue the winds picked up in the afternoon and several of the young crews found it challenging to line up at the start.
First up was Eloise Cooper representing the Junior 15’s in the single scull E final. Elouise was determined to make up for her capsize at the Stratford Regatta. Racing neck and neck for three quarters of the course Eloise finally finished third behind City of Bristol and Wallingford.
Next up representing the J14’s in the B final of the double sculls were Alexandra Francis and Poppy Baines. A strong start from the Stratford girls gave them a slight lead at the 200 meters marker, however Maidenhead having a slightly lower rate started to pull ahead and maintained their lead to finish first. A battle for second and third ensued resulting in a third place for Francis and Baines just three seconds behind Calpe.
Representing the J15 girls in the double scull C final in challenging windy conditions were Lucy Sartain and Aimee Appleton. The girls had a tete-a-tete with Falcon Rowing Club for most of the course vying for the fifth and sixth positions. With less than a second between both crews, Sartain and Appleton had to wait for the photo finish judges analysis. The result was a fifth place for the Stratford double.
Following hot on the heels of the girls were Will Dalrymple – Baker and Jamie Wilcock in the B final of the Open J15 double sculls. Competing against very strong opposition both athletes gave it their all and finished in a creditable sixth place.
Next down the course in the WJ14 coxed quad F final were Alice Jones, Sophie Evans, Lily Warren, Lucy Yang coxed by Meg Nuttall. Determined to make up for their time trial equipment failure, a closely fought race between Wallingford and Stratford ensued and concluded with a third place for Stratford.
Last race of the day and after a long wait lining up for the B final of the WJ15 coxed quad were Scarlett Richardson, Megan Rowen, Jessica Long, Harriet Froom coxed by Nancy Davis. Being drawn into Lane One, the girls bore the brunt of the increasing crosswinds and finished in sixth place behind Henley Rowing Club.
Commenting, the J14 and J15 coaches said, “Some excellent results for the Junior 14 and 15’s squads in their inaugural British Junior Championships. Three crews in the top twelve and one in the top sixteen, some lessons learnt and a good stake in the ground for all athletes as to where they are against the best of the best.”
The J16 squad entered Charles Happel in the single scull event, which attracted a large field of thirty competitors. Finishing sixteenth in the time trial, Charles qualified for the C final run at mid-day on Saturday. In spite of exhausting heat, Charles sustained excellent technique throughout the 2k course to finish a superb fourth place.
The WJ16 Coxed Four of Kate Richardson, Maddie Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and Imogen Hill faced fourteen crews in their time trial on Saturday morning, five of whom had beaten them at Henley Women’s Regatta, so to qualify for the A final required a top performance from the Stratford crew. They duly delivered with the fourth fastest time. Returning for the final on Sunday, Stratford made a superb start and pushed hard to gain a half a length lead at 500m. They held on to 1000m but Glasgow Academy/George Watson composite and Henley eased through in the third place and Sir William Perkins just took the bronze medal ahead of Stratford. Stratford’s J16 Coach Sam Hill said, “It was a brave and typically competitive race strategy from our crew to round off a highly successful season with an excellent result!”
Toby Sartain was the first representative of the J17 and 18 squad to take to the lake, competing in the Open J18 singles event. Placed forty second in the time trial, Toby went on to maintain this position in the G final in the afternoon against some very tough competition.
The pairing of Freya Watts and Amelie Sartain competed in the Women’s’ J18 doubles event, qualifying sixteenth to race in the C final. They finished fourteenth overall racing right up to the line. Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie entered the Open J18 pairs category, a difficult event full of technically skilled crews. They qualified in twelfth position, returning on Sunday to race in the B final and maintain their position from Saturday’s time trial. The last crew from the squad was the girls’ quad of Martha Usselmann, Ruby Howells, Grace Beason and Lucy Browne who competed in the Women’s J18 quad event. They placed an impressive fourteenth in the time trials, finishing fifteenth overall after their C final in the afternoon.
For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page fifty three and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-enjoy-success-at-british-junior-championships
For more great pictures of Stratford Boat Club Juniors at the British Rowing Junior Championships, see Kathy Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AgY7EiDB2lCOhaIIslipeO-ODXfMbQ?e=0HvdDY