First of all, take a deep breath. Three straight days of racing came to a predictable dramatic conclusion as the Championship Girls Sculls title changed hands on the dying legs as Meg Knight, World Indoor Champion and hot favorite, handed her lead in the closing stages to EllieKate Hutchinson of the Rowing Club.
These fierce competitions became as frequent as you would expect over the course of three fantastic days of racing; This assessment is made all the more challenging by the fact that so many competitors, competitions, and characters were featured over the weekend. I brought life and color to the action at Dorney Lake and got front row seats to some of the best examples of junior rowing in living memory. Some thoughts:
Championship Boys Eight
I had to swallow my words in a typically humble way. While I was probably right when I said it was going to be a close race and that the top four crews would be Teddies, KCS, Shiplake, and Eton, I wasn’t. Expect the latter to dominate as it did. The way Eton took off early and covered a length of fewer than 500m probably surprised the rest of the field; The power on board, combined with a honed technical ability to lock up the mid-race, ended any attempt by their competition to close the gap.
In the fight behind Eton, the drama was most acute; Shiplake was in the silver medal position until just before the 1000m, before being passed first by Teddies and then a resurgent KCS unit. The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup We all know that the Eton program will culminate at the Henley Royal Regatta, which will give those who follow her plenty to think about over the next four weeks.
Championship Girls Eight
In a characteristically gruff manner, Henley dispelled any feeling that barbarians were at the gate threatening to overthrow her dominance over junior women’s rowing. Winning the class by nearly six seconds is a massive achievement, but it feels like a given for a program that seems like it’s only going to get better. Brilliant in his absence, Headington chose to focus on the courtyard which left the gate open for Surbiton to enter and take home some well-deserved silver. , beat a stubborn St Edward’s School team in the final 500m.
Radley College had a stellar Saturday, walking away with victories in the Junior 16 Championship and Second Eights, as well as the Second and Third Eight categories. Four times gold, one silver, and one bronze are not insignificant; Sam Townsend is clearly building a program for the future. The Windsor Boys’ School, mentioned earlier in this summary, was in monstrous form, winning the second quads by almost 13 seconds, along with dominant performances in both the championship double and single.
We all wonder how the hell anyone could stop Mark Wilkinson’s giants; They would do well to consider competing in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup to complement what is probably their best boat in the Fawley Challenge Cup. A special mention goes to Marlow Rowing Club’s J16 boys contingent after collecting trophies in the quad and doubles categories. In 16 teams, Marlow achieved 9 A finishes under Pete Chambers.
Henley Rowing Club firmly established itself as the show to beat on the girl’s side, winning just about everything in sight including Junior 14 Girls Coxed Quads, Junior 16 Girls Quads (for an absolutely ridiculous 27 seconds ), Junior 16 Girls Seconds Quads, and Junior 16 Girls Eights.
Good luck to everyone trying to wean their J16s over the next few years. Aberdeen’s Zoe Beeson and Maisie Aspinall were in the convincing form to maintain their international qualificationsEton Dorney; won the Championship Girls Pairs by about 13 seconds, making themselves two of Britain’s leading female rowing talents.
I’m sure I missed athletes, performance, narrative, and nuance in your review, but I was limited by what I saw and thought it was worth discussing further. What I can say without fear of reprisal is that it was a great relief to see the return, without regulation or ramifications, of the National Schools Regatta, held in all its glory to allow junior rowers from land (and even sea ) can compete on the national stage.
Congratulations to the committee for organizing a fantastic event and to you, the athletes and coaches who may be reading this article, for your accomplishments too numerous to mention.