Maidenhead Rowing Club Juniors came home from the British Rowing Junior Championships in Nottingham on the weekend of 15/16/17th July having won three gold medals and one silver medal and with a number of other fine performances.
After winning the Victor Ludorum at last year's championships, the Maidenhead juniors maintained our strong showing with second place (just ahead of co-habitees at the club, Claires Court School, in third place) out of 67 clubs and schools (many of them with much bigger junior squads) competing at this year's event.
The format of the event was a 1500m time trial on Saturday to determine which 12 boats in each event would progress to the semi-finals, and then either A or B finals, on Sunday. Boats not progressing to Sunday were then due to race in the minor finals on Saturday afternoon but due to the wind making the water unrowable, the Saturday minor finals were, unfortunately, cancelled. All subsequent races were raced in six lanes side-by-side over the full 2000 metre course.
The Sunday conditions were, thankfully, warm and sunny with a modest, but fair, headwind.
J14s were also required to perform an 'omnium' of boat skills tests on the Friday.
The boys' squad, coached by Katerina Kleshneva and Liam O’Mahony, seized two gold medals at the championships.
The first gold medal came from the Open J16 double scull of Elliott Kemp and Edoardo Marshall, who were hugely frustrated and disappointed to come fourth last year and who were determined to rectify the situation this year. They started by comfortably winning both the time trial and their semi-final. In the final they put in a completely dominant performance pulling away from second placed Calpe RC from Gibraltar throughout the race to win by a clear six seconds. A magnificent performance.
The second gold came from Victor Kleshnev in the Open J16 single sculls seeking a repeat of his wins at J15 and J14 age groups in the last two years' championships. After winning the time trial and recording the second fastest time in the semi-finals, Kleshnev came out on top in the final, winning by just under 7 seconds. To win the single sculls event three years running is a remarkable achievement by a very talented and hard working sculler.
The rest of the boys raced well to make the semi-finals in every event that was entered. Sergio Collett, in the Open J15 single sculls came 4th in the B final, making him the 10th fastest sculler in the country for his age. The Open Junior coxless four of Harrison Rowe, Daniel Sommervile, Ethan Walters and Sean O'Mahony narrowly missed the A final and won the B final in spectacular style (despite being relatively younger and inexperienced sweep rowers). Finally, the Junior double of Jonathan Sneller and Jordan Felstead also made the semi-finals, and then placed 4th in the B final against some very tough competition.
The girls' squads, coached by Collin Goodhew, Huw Jenkins and Rebekah Kerns (or rather Jasnikowski since her recent nuptials) won a gold and silver medal and also had two 'A' Finalists
The first girls' medal came from the WJ15 double scull of Beth Sinnott and Lola Harris who were second fastest in the time trial on Saturday and then won their Sunday semi-final convincingly. In the A final the favourites, a Merchant Taylor's/Trafford composite, got away fast, leaving Maidenhead to battle over the first half of the course for second place with the Trafford RC crew. After trailing Trafford for the first 1000m, Maidenhead gradually gained the upper hand with some super smooth sculling, reducing the gap on the leaders to win a fine silver medal.
As the gold medal winners were a Merchant Taylor's/Trafford composite crew, the Maidenhead girls were awarded the blue plaque denoting that they are the British Rowing Club Champions, i.e. the fastest single-club crew in the event.
The second medal came from WJ15 coxed quad of Lola Harris, Beth Sinnott, Immie Harding and Millie Holgate, coxed by Toby Goodhew, who were bidding to maintain their status as British Champions following their win at WJ14 level last year. Encouragingly, they recorded the fastest time in the Saturday time trial. They won their Sunday semi-final comfortably but in a slower time than the top two boats in the other semi-final - suggesting that the A final was going to be a hard fought affair. In the final they hung on well to the fast-starting Henley RC crew but were still three-quarters of a length down at halfway but ahead of their other great rivals, Marlow RC, in third. From halfway, the Maidenhead girls made the decisive move of the race, first drawing level with Henley and then inexorably moving ahead. By the 1500m mark they had a two-thirds of a boat length lead before breaking contact to cross the finish line with a clear water lead over Henley to win gold by six seconds. A terrific performance from this quad which included two girls who had earlier raced to silver in the double sculls final.
Izzie Bird, who is the WJ15 British Indoor Rowing Champion, raced in the WJ15 singles event. Izzie is still relatively inexperienced in a single but achieved sixth place in the time trial followed by third place in her semi-final on Sunday, thus qualifying for the 'A' final. In the 'A' final she raced to 5th place - a remarkable result in this toughest of events so early in her single sculls career.
Rosie Harris raced in the very tough WJ16 single sculls event. After an extremely fine second place in the third fastest time overall in her semi-final, as a light athlete she was hampered by a headwind in the 'A' final but still finished in 4th place. A terrific performance to prove herself the fourth fastest in her age group in the country.
The second WJ15 double of Izzie Bird and Georgia Howell made it through the time trial to Sunday's semi-finals but did not progress to the A final.
The second, less experienced, WJ15 quad of Alexandra Hollis, Beth Anderson, Esme Smith and Natalie Ashbrook, coxed by Olivia O'Mahony and the WJ18 double of Naomi Ross-Masson and Eliza Bennett (both rowing up age groups) both missed out on the semi-finals and were due to race again in the 'C' final on Saturday but, unfortunately these races were cancelled due to high winds.
Alexandra Hollis, who is still a WJ14, also took part in the J14 Omnium skills tests on the Friday, placing 39th overall out of 78 single scullers.
The National Schools Regatta was held this year at Dorney Lake rather than its normal location in Nottingham. The event was spread over 3 days with a fourth day (Monday) added for a new event - The Junior Sculling Regatta - to cater for younger and smaller boats events now dropped from the main National Schools programme.
Maidenhead entered two WJ15 quads in the 1000m events for club first and second boats. Both boats performed well in the time trial, qualifying well for the semi-finals. Both semi-finals also went well and both boats qualified for their respective 'A' finals. In the final of the first boats event, the Maidenhead quad of Lola, Harris, Beth Sinnott, Immie Harding and Millie Holgate, coxed by Olivia O'Mahony won a bronze medal after a closely fought race, finishing just behind Trafford RC and Henley RC. In the second boats final, the quad of Georgia Howell, Izzie Bird, Alexandra Hollis and Beth Anderson, coxed by Polly Bennett also performed well but they were disappointed to miss out on a medal, finishing in fourth place.
Races were over 2000m on Saturday and Sunday.
The boys 'first' quad (Victor Kleshnev, Edoardo Marshall, Elliott Kemp and Harrison Rowe) got a fabulous 3rd place in Championship (J18) coxless quad time trials and proceeded via the semis to the A final of the regatta where boys finished 5th – a great result for a J16 crew competing in a J18 event. The 'second' crew (Jordan Felstead, Ethan Walters, Daniel Somerville and Charlie Collins) was 2nd in the D Final and were the fourth fastest club/school 'second' quad. Sean O’Mahony raced in a Championships single event and came 2nd in the C Final.
The girls' J15 coxed four of Immie Harding, Izzie Bird, Olivia Webster and Beth Anderson, coxed by Olivia O'Mahony, qualified for the 'A' final from their semi-final and finished 5th in the final in only their second ever event in this boat.
In the Championship (Junior 18) doubles event Victor Kleshnev and Edoardo Marshall (both 16) managed again to get to the A Final and took 6th place out of 64 of the strongest doubles in the country. Two other doubles also competed well in minor finals.
Eliza Bennett and Naomi Ross-Masson racing one and two years above their respective age group put in a valiant performance to reach and then win the D Final of the WJ18 double sculls.
Abbie Bird qualified for the 'A' final of the WJ17 single sculls where, after a very strong start, she placed 4th in the A final.
The smaller and younger boats got their chance in the new Junior Sculling Regatta over 1500m on Monday. The format for this event differed in that the first six boats in the time trial went directly to the 'A' final, the next six to the 'B' final and so on but medals were still awarded for club first and second boats, depending on overall position.
The Sculling Regatta brought the boys a handful of medals: Victor Kleshnev won the J16 singles with a commanding performance. Edoardo Marshall and Elliott Kemp won Silver in the J16 double, and Harrison Rowe, Sergio Collet, Lewis Downie and Daniel Somerville raced to a fine bronze in the J16 quad event.
Maidenhead entered three WJ15 double sculls in the 35-boat time trial. Remarkably, all three qualified for the six boat 'A' final, meaning that half the boats in the final were from Maidenhead. In the final, the double of Lola Harris and Beth Sinnott gradually pulled away from the field to win by over two lengths, securing a fine gold medal. The crew of Immie Harding and Millie Holgate battled with a crew from Aberdeen Schools before finishing third overall, but as the fastest 'second' boat they also won a gold medal. The crew of Izzie Bird and Georgia Howell were well up with the leaders for most of their race but encountered rough water on their side of the course towards the finish and finished sixth, nevertheless securing a silver medal as the second fastest 'second' boat.
The WJ14 coxed quad of Alexandra Hollis, Polly Bennett, Jess Stavropulous and Lizzie Sneller, coxed by Toby Goodhew also qualified directly for the A final but a crab in rough water in the final 500m put an end to their medal hopes and they finished in sixth place.
Lightweight Rosie Harris kept up the pace to qualify for the 'A' final where she came 6th in the WJ16 single sculls against several GB trialists.
Some of our medallists:
We're delighted to welcome FOUR new business partners into the club and thank them for their support for this coming season.
- Energy Saving Lighting - are generously supporting the junior boys coaches and our junior regatta.
Paul Daly is the MD: contact him if you need to save some money on commercial lighting. ESL have already suggested ways that we can save money in the club with motion sensitive lighting in our boathouse. Find out more here http://www.energysavinglighting.org/
- Kempton Carr Croft - Chartered Surveyors and Property Consultants based in Maidenhead and offices throughout the Thames Valley. KCC provides independent expertise, advice and services relating to commercial and residential property and land to help you with your important property decisions. http://www.kemptoncarr.co.uk/
- Nene Overland - Now that the Stafferton Way Link Road has been opened, Nene Overland have well and truly arrived in Maidenhead. Located next to Lidl and opposite Homebase, plenty of drivers will see their displays of Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Cherokee Jeeps and my favourite the Ford Mustang. Nene Overland provides Sales, Service and Hire vehicles http://www.neneoverland.co.uk/
- Vivid - You'll probably know them better as the very useful "Living Along The Thames" magazine that drops through your door every couple of months. You can read the latest issue here http://vividtitles.co.uk/magazine/
In very blustery conditions on Saturday 6th February Maidenhead RC sent a large number of Juniors to Hampton Head on Saturday with 17 all-Maidenhead crews competing plus Victor Kleshnev and Abbie Bird racing in composite double scull pairings (and therefore for time only) in preparation for the forthcoming GB Junior trials. The course length is normally 3000m but it was shortened by 200m to avoid the section at the end which was most exposed to the wind.