St Neots junior squad compete at National Schools Regatta 2015
The three day event attracts over 3,000 school age competitors representing clubs and schools from all over the UK. Unlike many regattas which allow composite crews made up of members of two or more clubs to race in the same boat, the National Schools Regatta is for single club boats only.
For this year’s event, St Neots was represented by seven athletes who took part in single, double and quad boats.
St Neots was represented in single sculls by Wales international rower Louise Shorten and GB Start Programme rower Kate Lyster in the girls under 17 and under 16 categories respectively. In the doubles, Fregus Mitchell and Josh Davies contested the championship class (CH2x) and in the championship girls quad (CHG4x) the St Neots crew comprised, Molly Harper, Jade Hellett, Louise Shorten and Olivia Hooper.
First to compete was Louise Shorten in the under 17 Girls single scull on Saturday May 23rd. The event attracted a mammoth field of 43 entrants with only the fastest 12 scullers in the ‘processional’ time trail going through to semi finals. Unfortunately Louise narrowly missed out on qualification for a semi final, posting a creditable time of 7 minutes 41.9 seconds.
On Sunday May 24th, Kate Lyster (J16G1x), Fergus Mitchell and Josh Davies (CH2x) and the girls championship quad all faced processional time trials for the chance to proceed to a semi final and beyond.
In the championship double scull category, Fergus and Josh who ran the GB double a close second at Wallingford earlier in the month put in a solid performance, but were just edged out of a place in the semi final by the narrowest of margins as the second fastest non qualifiers of the day.
Kate Lyster had better luck in her J16 processional, posting (we think) the third fastest time of the day to secure a place in the semi final.
For the championship girls coxless quad crew of Molly Harper, Jade Hellett, Louise Shorten and Olivia Hooper, the processional field of 26 crews saw some fast times. The St Neots crew posted a rapid time of 7 minutes 11.8 seconds which put them ahead of crews from Headington, Grange, Durham and Millfield, but it wasn’t quite enough to secure a semi final slot. The overall winners of the event were Gloucester Hartbury.
By Sunday afternoon, as the only competitor to have made it through qualifying in the processionals, it was down to Kate Lyster to fly the St Neots flag. In her semi final Kate lined up alongside scullers from Warrington, Avon, Llandaff, Maidenhead and Reading Rowing Clubs. With a strong performance from start to finish, Kate placed second, progressing to the final. In the final Kate felt she got a poor start, but managed to get going sufficiently well to be up to second place at the 500m mark, with Lucy Glover from Warrington in the lead and of Beth Willford-Dutton Northwich just over a second behind. Shortly before the 1000m mark Willford-Dutton overtook Kate and that was how the positions remained to the finish with Kate winning the bronze medal.
Commenting on the event, St Neots Rowing Club Captain, Ali Young said, “The National Schools Regatta is a superb event with the best junior rowers from all over the country competing for their schools and clubs. It was great to see the St Neots squad giving much bigger clubs such a good run for their money. I am really proud of all of our rowers, because I know how much time they and their coaches have put in and how hard they have all trained. Well done to everyone who took part and obviously particularly well done to Kate Lyster for winning the bronze medal in the J16 girls single, go Kate go!”