National Schools Regatta: the full story
St Neots Rowing Club Juniors had a very successful time at the National Schools Regatta at the last weekend in May. Eight crews were entered – two did not race, with one due to a broken boat, and the other due to the atrocious weather conditions on the Friday when racing was abandoned for the day. However, of the remaining six crews, four got to the semi finals, and two to the finals with one crew winning GOLD medal as well as the Tristan Hewins Commemorative Cup. Voirrey Taylor and Zoe Adamson had previously won gold medal in their double scull at the national inter-regional competition, but the National Schools Regatta is considered to be the highest level junior competition in the UK, and so winning GOLD confirmed them as the top crew in their category in the UK currently.
These results are a remarkable achievement for a small provincial club like St Neots with limited resources, competing against the very wealthy schools and prestigious rowing clubs such as Henley, Walton, Eton and their like.
Voirrey Taylor and Zoe Adamson won GOLD medal and the Tristan Hewins Commemorative Cup in their WJ14 2x, beating off strong competition from Glasgow Academy and Aberdeen Combined Schools. The weather was bad and deteriorating with significant waves and heavy downpours of rain, so unfortunately racing was abandoned in the afternoon, and Louise Shorten and Lauren Parr did not get to race in their WJ15 2x where they would have been expected to medal. A cold and wet overnight campsite followed.
Fergus Mitchell, Adrian Veylsteke, Sam Clift, Rory Tynan raced in their J16 4x- reaching the semi finals where they were knocked out, but their semi final time was the 6th fastest of the day. So for a new crew, in context, that puts them 6th fastest in the country, so bags of potential. Adam Williams and Nick Shorten also reached the semi finals in their CH 2x, but did not have a good start to the race and ended up coming 4th in their semi – poor starts were a feature of several boats and something we will work on. Ellie Sadler and Olivia Hooper then exceeded expectations in their WJ16 2x with a tremendous performance in a highly competitive field to reach the semis and post the 14th fastest time in their category on the day.
Disaster struck – Adam Williams, Ethan Page, Nick shorten and Bryce Taylor would have been expected to make the final and potentially medal in their CH 4x-, but the boat broke at the start of the race, with the footplate stretchers ripping off and no repair possible in time – real shame that they were let down by poor equipment, and so an application for a new 75kg 4x- can be expected at Rowing Committee. If we are building a nationally competitive junior squad, we need the equipment to support them. This is especially true as we are targeting a Henley boat in 2014. The boys were devastated.
Then Louise and Lauren finally got to race, with Voirrey and Zoe making up a J15 4x+ coxed by Molly Tackley, winning their semi final in 8m9s which was the equal fastest qualifying time with Henley. Then the weather again took its toll – whilst Henley and other top clubs rested in their air conditioned tents and buses, our girls sweated under canvass on a very hot & sunny day for 4 hours, and it showed in the final where they finished in a slower time of 8m22s – had they repeated their performance in the semi, they would have got the silver medal position, 1 second behind Henley.
Lastly, the ever improving Fergus showed us just how much he was improving by putting up a fantastic race in the semi finals in the J16 1x catagory. He came third in a very close finish, narrowly beaten by Josh Davies who is also a member at St Neots, but was rowing for Huntingdon due to competition rules. So Fergus didn’t make the final, but Josh did where he put in a very good performance but unfortunately did not medal.
In summary, St Neots Rowing Club juniors continue to make waves punching above their weight and establishing themselves as highly credible competitors at National level. This is in line with SNRC Club Development Strategy.