Sun, wind and medals at National Schools’ Regatta

On May bank holiday weekend (26-28 May), the junior rowing community converged on the Olympic lake at Eton Dorney for the National Schools’ Regatta. The event was first held in 1947 and is now the largest regatta for juniors held in the UK, with over 80 schools and clubs participating, including St George's, in events for J14 – J18 age groups.

The 2017 regatta saw the largest number of entries yet, including 14 crews from St George’s College Boat Club. First up to compete on the Friday was the J14s and one J15 crew, with 5 crews making their debut at the National Regatta. Sun cream and water were the order of the day as temperatures soared and the sun shone down on the lake. 

Unfortunately, the wind also played a major part in the day's racing, with a strong cross head wind affecting racing throughout the schedule. The J14s sculled very well in difficult conditions and all crews progressed through the time trial stages, making it through to either the semi-finals, C or D finals. 

The girls’crews performed admirably in their side by side racing, with special mention going to the 2nd quad who were 3rd in their B final. However, the conditions deteriorated and in the end the later C and D finals were cancelled, meaning the boys’ day came to an end.

On Saturday, the sun went behind the clouds but the wind continued to be a debilitating factor and challenge for the crews. Another seven St George’s College J15 – J18 crews took to the water and enjoyed some brilliant and tough racing. 

Four of the crews put in amazing performances to progress to the A finals, which decide the medals. Competition was fierce and the wind was relentless, but the crews battled on and rowed exceptionally well. The J18 girls' coxed IV came in 4th – a spectacular result given the young crew as there were three J16s and a J17 onboard. The J16 boys’ VIII was 5th in a tussle for bronze with Bedford School and Kings College Wimbledon. 

The J15 girls’ VIII had a magnificent row in their semi-final win and kept a gaining Emmanuel School at bay. They went on to take the BRONZE medal in the final – a well deserved outcome. The boys’ J18 coxed IV continued on from their success at the Head of the River earlier in the year, as they took GOLD in their event. They led from the front the whole way through the race, with the Tideway Scullers School IV desperately trying to overhaul them, but St George's powered on and forced their competitors to settle for silver.

On Sunday the wind dropped and conditions were perfect. The girls’ and boys’ J16 IVs raced with great determination. The boys’ coxless IV put in a strong performance to finish second in the C final, finishing faster than the Bedford School crew who had beaten them in the VIII on Saturday. The girls’ coxed IV ended the regatta with a creditable 9th position finish.

Well done to all crews and coaches for a fantastic effort in both training preparation and racing, it's clear to see there's a very bright future in store for the young rowers at St George's.

Overall results:

J14 Girls' 1st quads 13th
J14 Girls' 2nd quads 9th
J14 Girls' 2nd quads 16th
J14 Boys' 1st Octos 22nd
J14 Boys' 2nd Octos 22nd
J15 Girls' 1st quads 36th
J15 Girls' coxed IV 23rd
J15 Boys' coxed IV (A) 4th in Semi-Final
J15 Boys' coxed IV (B) 14th
J15 Girls' 1st 8 BRONZE medal
J16 Boys' 1st 8 5th
J16 Girls' coxed IV 9th
J16 Boys' Coxless IV 14th
J18 Girls' Coxed IV 4th
J18 Boys' Coxed IV GOLD medal

1 June 2017

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