A great weekend for junior rowing at home and abroad
It has been a monster weekend for rowing at every level but at a junior level, the headliners were Munich Junior Regatta and Wallingford Regatta. British Rowing sent a squad of 31 juniors to Munich to take on teams from 15 other countries. Some schools, notably St Paul’s and Headington, kept their athletes at home opting to take the opportunity for some lane racing at Dorney during this pre-exam period so close to National Schools Regatta.
Those that stayed behind were treated to outstanding conditions at Dorney for Wallingford Regatta. In the top event, the Challenge Eights for men, St Paul’s School gave Thames A a run for their money winning their heat in the fastest time of the day, 5:52.20, 0.53 seconds ahead of Thames A. However Thames reversed this placing in a slower final taking gold and bronze with St Paul’s having to settle for silver, just over two seconds behind. Eton College made the A final but were 28 seconds off the winning time and placed sixth.
In the men’s Junior A Eights, Abingdon School, Eton and Radley second crews shared the spoils and in the U16 event, Abingdon dominated again with Radley and Westminster picking up silver and bronze.
In the women’s Challenge Eights, Lady Eleanor Holles School pulled the fastest women’s time of the day in the final, beating Vesta by six seconds. Headington School and Latymer Upper took fifth & sixth respectively. The women’s Junior Eights was won by Headington’s second string whilst Surbiton High School won the J16 eights.
Over in Germany, it was Munich Regatta, an international high-performance event which allows coaches to mix crews over two days of racing. Each boat class had a straight final version and a heat & final version with the stronger crews entered for the latter.
The JM8+ the GB crew of Jake Swann, Paddy Craig, Max Shakespeare, Robert Powell, Archie McChesney, Max Ridgwell, Dominic Brown, Matthew Heywood and cox, Molesey’s Scott Cockle won their straight final of four crews, five seconds ahead of Poland. On Sunday the revised eight of Jake Swann, Paddy Craig, Archie McChesney, Theo Darlow, Michael Dalton, Robert Powell, Connor Sheridan, Dominic Sullivan and Scott Cockle pulled the fastest time of the competition in their heat, 6:10.69 beating the nearest German crew by 6 seconds. The 12 entries were reduced to six for the A Final where GB were pushed hard by the Polish Rowing Federation, winning gold by 2.33 seconds.
The JM4x that raced in the heats & finals race on Sunday was made up of the two doubles that came top at the Boston Assessment in February and was widely thought to be the strongest GB boat at the regatta. Victor Kleshnev & Bryn Ellery and James Cartwright & Jake Offiler won their heat by just over half a second over a strong German boat. However, the GB crew could only muster bronze in the A final in which the same German crew took silver and another German crew gold.
The JW4x of Henley Rowing Club’s Lottie Orr & Georgie Robinson Ranger, Issy Lack of Tideway Scullers and Marlow’s Natasha Strudwick struggled in their heat coming third, some 10 seconds off the pace. The overall event was won by the crew from the Czech Republic but the GB crew were able to win their B Final by nearly four seconds.
Other performances of note were in the JM1x raced by Joseph Adamson, Victor Kleshnev, Bryn Ellery and Laurence Joss. Only Kleshnev of Maidenhead RC went through to the A Final, winning silver behind the German sculler, Moritz Wolff who won silver at the World Rowing Junior Championships last year. In the JM2- Theo Darlow and Michael Dalton of Molesey Boat Club won silver, losing out to the Loncaric brothers of Croatia, World Champions in 2017.