All Fun At The Fun Regatta!

Although the wait of a year seemed a long time, all the expectations of the Fun Regatta were met and even bettered! The Fun Regatta attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends and twenty four crews with just three hours’ training produced some quality rowing, ably coxed by skilled members of Stratford Boat Club’s junior squad and watched by crowds and friends from the Club’s grounds, the Bancroft Gardens and the Rec

Fun Regatta organiser Chris Belcher said, “We were heartened by the huge numbers who came to watch, cheer the competitors on and enjoy the spectacle even though the weather wasn’t ideal: it may not have been Henley Royal Regatta but we like to think that it was more fun to watch!”

Fancy dress was again a major part of the day, with crews dressed as Roman legionnaires; colourful Hawaiian shirts; the now immediately recognisable blue and yellow of Ukraine who were made very welcome by the watching crowds; ladies from Wilmcote dressed as swans; colourful hippies; crews with Mohican hairstyles; pink flamingos on their heads; others mascaraing as King Charles 111 (is this a treasonable offence? Off to the Tower with you!); ladies from Stratford’s Warwick Events; ladies looking suspiciously like Super Woman and many other colourful creations! Many crabs were caught and there was a lot of splashing but nobody capsized with the rescue launch staying on her mooring throughout the day! The eventual winners were Meander Club again Never Mind The Rollocks as runners up. Oarsome 4 Some took the fancy dress prize!

Commenting further, Chris Belcher Fun Regatta organiser added, “Through the hard work and all the efforts of Club members, we have been able to raise funds for replacing equipment, repairs and maintenance. As always, we are especially grateful for the tolerance of those who make their living on the river and to our sponsor Crowne Plaza Stratford.”

Dawson Curnock, Boat Club Chairman also commented, “The wait was worth it! A fun day was had by all and Stratford Boat Club was happy to contribute to the vitality and atmosphere of the town and give visitors and residents a cause for celebration!”

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “We were so grateful that Stratford upon Avon’s Mayor Cllr Kate Rolfe and her Consort visited us and presented prizes to the winners: Stratford upon Avon Town Council’s support is essential for the encouragement for sport and recreation in the Warwickshire area and community. Thanks also to Sip ‘n’ Swig, Stratford Boat Club’s regatta bar contractors, for filling the winners’ tankards with beer: that made their day!”

Whilst the Club members were running the Fun Regatta, the Club’s masters’ squad were competing in a fantastic two days of racing at Henley Masters Regatta with another win for the masters women from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club.

Suzie Radley and Amanda Bowden joined forces with other clubs to form two composite eights: the racing consisted of heats, a semi and the finals. The fast starts and lengthy powerful rowing strokes were too strong for the opponents, resulting in two winning eights, beating a crew from USA and Marlow Rowing Club, respectively.

Further down the country, Llandaff near Cardiff was the venue for the latest regatta outing for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad. The experienced team from Stratford helped the local organisers to provide a fun and safe event. Stratford also loaned boats to Runcorn and Fishguard on the day so that all could compete. Honours were pretty much shared between the five adaptive clubs that attended: Stratford came away with most wins.

Andy Morris in the Open PR3 Singles beat his rival from Runcorn by little more than a length. He then teamed up with his young colleague Isaac Clarkson to take the Band 2 Doubles event: this was thirteen year old Isaac’s first pot. To complete his day, Andy then partnered the Runcorn sculler in Band 1 Doubles event against a Stratford/Ross double, winning by three lengths.

Jess Dowdewell continued the close rivalry with Rob Pedley in the PR1 Singles: another epic battle in the final saw Jess overcome Rob for the first time by just under a length. Commenting, Head Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney said, “The best bit about the day was seeing new faces on the circuit: we have some new friends who all interested in taking adaptive and para rowing forward.”

Stratford’s junior squads were back on the water on Sunday after coxing at the Fun Regatta, putting in more training for the British Rowing’s Junior Championships at Strathclyde this coming weekend. Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator commented, “The junior squad will be heavily represented with crews from J14, J15, J16 and J17/18 categories all there for their chance for glory against some of the best schools and clubs in the country: we wish them luck! The logistics of getting multiple boats, trailers, coaches, athletes, coaches and supporters to Strathclyde is immense and I’d like to thank all who have given their support, time and effort to make this complex exercise possible!”

Further afield in Lucerne, Stratford Boat Club’s alumnae of Camilla Hadland and Esme Booth were both performing at the Rowing World Cup III this weekend. Camilla was doing an excellent job in the commentary box and Esme rowing in the GB Women’s Eight collecting an excellent gold medal!

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald middle pages, British Rowing online https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/07/all-good-fun-at-stratfords-fun-regatta and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-hosts-successful-fun-regatta

A First for Stratford’s Adaptives: A First for British Rowing

Last weekend was the final and second two day weekend coaches’ course for para and able bodied athletes: a first for British Rowing and also a first for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive section!

Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive section has recently been held up as an exemplar for para rowing in the United Kingdom: this has only been possible with the support of local Stratford and Warwickshire companies and regional and national organisations. The course is run by British Rowing’s Dr Perse Wynn, L3 Senior Club and L2 Strength and Conditioning Coach and Marcus Walker, Level 2 and L3 Course Coach: the extensive four day course covered topics such as risk management; warming up and cooling down exercises; understanding the assessment process, coaching behaviours, the code of conduct, responsibility, safety requirements; cold water immersion and hypothermia; developing athleticism and the practical application of boat adjustments

On the course were Sofia Ward, Jake Blatcher, Gillian Middleton and Kelly Donald, all members of Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad and Imogen North who is trainee coach with Stratford juniors’ J15 squad

Also on the course was Rachel Morris from Guildford Rowing Club: Rachel has enjoyed a successful career as a hand-cyclist, winning time trial gold at Beijing 2008 and a bronze medal in the road race at London 2012. Seeking a new challenge, Rachel transferred to rowing in 2013 and won an outstanding gold medal in the PR1 (arms and shoulders only) women’s single scull boat at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Shoulder surgery following the Rio Games sadly curtailed Morris’s rowing career and she left the squad in 2017 and now rows and coaches at Guildford in Surrey.

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “To have the British Rowing (BR) coaches’ course at Stratford is a major benefit and shows BR’s commitment to Stratford’s adaptive squad and para rowing in the UK. The emphasis of the course is to teach the participants how to be a coach first and then how to adapt their new skills to para rowing”

Commenting further, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “Mark’s commitment to the Stratford’s adaptive squad and para rowing in general is an example of dedication producing results. We are also most grateful to Crowne Plaza Stratford for providing Rachel’s accommodation which has enabled her to join the course”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty three; Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratfords-adaptives-and-british-rowing-achieve-first-with-para-coaching-course and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/04/21&pages=032 and British Rowing https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/04/adaptive-rowers-go-on-coaching-course

All Fun At The Fun Regatta!

Although the wait of two years seemed a long time, all the expectations of the Fun Regatta were met and even bettered! The Fun Regatta attracted competitors from local companies, villages and groups of friends and sixteen crews with just three hours’ training produced some quality rowing, ably coxed by skilled members of Stratford Boat Club’s junior squad and watched by crowds and friends from the Club’s grounds, the Bancroft Gardens and the Rec

Fun Regatta joint organiser Simon Price said, “We were heartened by the huge numbers who came to watch, cheer the competitors on and enjoy the spectacle: it may not have been Henley Royal Regatta but we like to think that it was more fun to watch!”

During the lunch break, there was some exhibition racing with juniors against juniors and then the winner of that race again a Masters’ four: in a much disputed start decision, the Masters were given a five second start advantage (despite the juniors having raced just before!) and the Masters won by only one second!

Fancy dress was again a major part of the day, with crews dressed as Vikings – horns and all; teachers fully equipped with motarboards; crews with boaters and moustaches; pirates; crews dressed in colourful tootoos and Hawaiian shirts; circus clowns and animals; the now immediately recognisable blue and yellow of Ukraine and multicoloured wigs. Many crabs were caught and there was a lot of splashing but nobody capsized with the rescue launch staying on her mooring throughout the day! The eventual winners were Meander Club with Afro Circus taking the fancy dress prize!

Chris Belcher joint organiser added, “Through the hard work and all the efforts of Club members, we have been able to raise funds for replacing equipment, repairs and maintenance. As always, we are especially grateful for the tolerance of those who make their living on the river and to our sponsor Crowne Plaza Stratford.”

Dawson Curnock, Boat Club Chairman commented, “The wait was worth it! A fun day was had by all and Stratford Boat Club was happy to contribute to the vitality and atmosphere of the town and give visitors and residents a cause for celebration!”

Whilst the Club members was running the Fun Regatta, Jake Blatcher was competing at Llandaff Regatta: Jake was the only Stratford upon Avon Boat Club competitor at Cardiff. Despite the beautiful weather, many entered crews had to withdraw due to Covid. However, the Men’s Singles event was the biggest of the day with twelve scullers taking part. It proved also to be the highest standard event and Jake would have had to get through four rounds to win the pot.

Jake’s first opponent was Dawson from Hartpury College (Gloucester). Jake established an early lead on the 1000m course and extended this to two lengths coming under the bridge with about 400m to go. He continued to increase his lead and won the race by three and a half lengths. In the quarter-final, Jake met Jenden from Bristol Ariel. This proved to be a very good race with the Bristol sculler establishing a small lead in the early stages. However, the race was going fast enough to catch up with the race that had been started before them. This forced Jake to slow down to avoid collision and Jenden extended his lead a bit and won the race. Despite the effect of the previous race, the result was allowed to stand. Said Mark Dewdney, Stratford’s Head Adaptive Coach, “Jake is showing signs of improvement as the season progresses: circumstances conspired against him on this occasion and it was a tough draw. A win must be just around the corner!”

Stratford’s junior squads were back on the water on Sunday after coxing at the Fun Regatta, putting in more training for the British Rowing’s Junior Championships at The National Watersport Centre at Nottingham this coming weekend. Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator commented, “The junior squad will be heavily represented with crews from J14, J15, J16 and J17/18 categories all there for their chance for glory against some of the best schools and clubs in the country: we wish them luck!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/fancy-dress-and-fun-9263476 and page sixty two and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-host-enjoyable-fun-regatta and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/07/15&pages=024

For more great pictures of the Fun Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j5VoJYvAKDCwMfMSlA?e=JgnE7D