Junior racing in May

CCRC Juniors - Racing in May

Charlotte's report 

May was the first foray into a regatta season for most of the City juniors. The month started with a slightly chaotic and very exciting introduction to side-by-side racing with City Sprints, 400m outside the boat houses. Twenty juniors raced in thirteen different crews, picking up wins in ten of the thirteen categories. Congratulations to the following crews for their wins:

 

Particular congratulations to Alexa and Walker, who picked up their first race wins, and Mathieu, for whom the race was not only his first win, but also his first time rowing full crew, rowing 400m without stopping and rating above 22!

As well as racing (in several cases five or six times), the juniors also did an admirable job on their marshalling duties, successfully manning the stake boats and feeding the swans the non-cannibalistic parts of chicken sandwiches to keep them away from the start area during racing.

Despite the many strong performances, the highlights came from the parents and supporters. The parents, who kept the cake stall running strong all day (though the undoubted winner was club junior Sophie’s amazing City gingerbread men – see picture), held a parents’ race in coxed quads at the end of the day. Their preparations were slightly ruined by flooding, so that by the race they had managed a total of between one and three rowing outings, coached and coxed by their very determined and over-competitive children. With an exciting range of crabs, air strokes and anti-phase rowing, the crews ‘successfully’ navigated the course, with victory going to Gaye, Tim, Philippa and James (expertly and very patiently coxed by Emma). Thanks to all the parents who were involved; as well as raising funds for the junior squad, they also managed to provide great entertainment to the juniors and spectators on the bank, and learned that rowing is not as easy as their children often make it look.

Having recovered from the mayhem of City Sprints, some of the juniors then raced at Peterborough Spring Regatta, which gave a chance to experience more serious multi-lane racing. Several crews made the finals of their categories, with well-executed races against strong opposition. Congratulations to the WJ15 4x+ of Karim (cox), Izzie, Emma, Bex and Anna and the WJ14 2x of Bex and Katie, who picked up convincing wins on the Sunday. Congratulations, too, to the whole squad who, against all odds, managed to construct a gazebo without instructions and without causing damage to either themselves or their boats.

The following week, a contingent of thirteen juniors headed to Nottingham for the National Schools Regatta held on 1-3 June. This is the major race of the year, involving the top crews from clubs and schools across the country, and was a big step-up in standard and scale of racing. The crews all held their own in their races, with some really strong performances and fast times. Friday started with the doubles racing over 1km, with the WJ14 2x of Bex and Katie and the J15 2x of Jack and Jack both having strong rows, but missing out on qualification for the semi-finals by 5 seconds.

The WJ15 2x of Izzie and Anna put in a great effort in the time trial to qualify for the six-lane semi-finals. They made a good attempt to hold on to some fast crews in the race, with a brilliant first 500m, but couldn’t quite sustain the pace into the finish. Saturday’s races were rowed over 1,750m, with Izzi having a very gutsy and strong row to finish 14 secs off the qualification time in a very competitive WJ17 1x category, and the WJ15 4x+ of Karim (cox), Izzie, Emma, Jemima and Anna holding their own to finish 17 seconds off the qualification time. Charlotte attracted more strange looks than normal by picking up the accolade of being the only coach of the day to join the juniors in the water: having failed to check the equipment properly before boating and finding the rudder was loose, she decided that the only sensible solution was to wade knee-deep into the lake to take remedial action, and can confirm (for the third time this year) that lakes and rivers are much better for rowing on than standing in. The boys’ J15 4x+ then raced on the Sunday, finishing 20 seconds outside the semi-final times, but gaining valuable experience of rougher water and a big race environment.

The juniors now have a break in racing before the summer regattas, but have continued to impress coaches with their mature race performances in what is for most their first year of rowing.

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