The Junior Rowers in Strathclyde Showed Great Promise

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Despite a poor forecast, the 2015 British Rowing Junior Championships ran to schedule with good racing conditions on the Loch at Strathclyde Country Park. The event which is held in Scotland roughly every fourth year saw a bumper entry of over 600 crews this year, providing two full days of racing.

Large crowds of spectators filled the Country Park to watch crews progress through time trials, eliminators and minor finals on Saturday and then move on to semi-finals and finals on Sunday. 

The WJ1x and OJ1x events were particularly popular with 52 and 51 entries respectively. In the WJ1x, Alice Bowyer and Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne added to this season’s medal collection from National Schools, Henley Women’s and Henley Royal Regattas by picking up gold and silver respectively representing Gloucester Hartpury. 

In the OJ1x final Harvey Kay of Nottingham Rowing Club finished a comfortable six seconds clear of Leander Club’s Harry Uglow.

The eights events provided  wins for Lady Eleanor Holles (WJ8+) and Claires Court School (OJ 8+), the latter result contributing towards their second place finish in the Victor Ludorum, just one point behind Maidenhead RC.

With three golds (WJ16 2x, WJ14 4x+ and OJ151x) and one silver (WJ154x+), Maidenhead won both the Victor and Victrix Ludorums. 

The Victrix Ludorum was a new addition to the presentation this year with Henley Women’s Regatta donating their special 2015 regatta poster as a prize – signed by all of the Oxbridge athletes from this year’s Women’s Boat Race. Sarah Winckless, patron of both the British Rowing Junior Championships and Henley Women’s presented both the Victor and Victrix Ludorum prizes. The Victrix Ludorum was offered to the club which had accumulated the greatest number of points from those junior women’s events.

Maidenhead’s Junior Coach, Rebekah Kerns said: “We attended the event with 28 athletes ranging from WJ14 to J18. It was a fantastic weekend on all accounts. To come away from the event with all juniors making the A or B finals was a first for us in a very long time. Not only that but the WJ14 4x+ set a new course record – we can’t ask for anything more!”

“Despite a long trip there and back, the vote from Maidenhead says it was well and truly worth it!”

The championships concluded with some tense finals in the quads. Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, who had already taken silver in the single scull, joined forces with club mates Sophia Heath and Frances Russell plus Annabel Stevens from Reading RC. The strong quad took gold just under four seconds ahead of an experienced crew from Shiplake Vikings RC. In the OJ4x, Northwich RC took gold for the second year running, earning the crew selection to represent England at the Home International Regatta which will take place at the same venue next weekend. 

The last race of the regatta was the final of the WJ16 coxed four in which the experienced crew from Henley RC won by 13 seconds to add to their win at Henley Women’s Regatta earlier in the season.   

Ian Howell, President of Ross Rowing Club who made the trip north with seven crews from the club’s junior academy summed the event up saying, “A wonderful weekend in Scotland. A big thanks to the organising committee and our Scottish hosts for putting on such a seamless event which ran like clockwork.”

Full results from the British Rowing Junior Championships are available at: res.britchamps.org

By James Lee

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