GB Start Update: Road to National Schools

Nottingham City Regatta 14th of May

This was the first regatta for Megan and Charley this season and a chance to see what speed they have got from the long winter training.  Even through Megan is only a J16 and Charley is a J17 in order to get both the 2x and 1x raced they had to race in the WJ18 category.  They raced the 2x in the morning division where they had a good race in their heat.  They came out of the start with real intent and battled for the top spot for the first 1k, with two crews breaking clear and themselves clear of fourth spot by the 1500m mark they settled for third and a qualification spot for the final.  In the final they found it difficult to find other boats to race as the next two fastest boats were on the other side of the lake to them, even though each push was successful it couldn't be held and they finished 6th.

The 1x were raced in the afternoon and in the heats, much like the morning racing, both girls came off the blocks with good starts.  Charley seemed surprised by the initial pace of the race and slipped into 5th however had a very good final 750m and managed to take a solid fourth position.  A positive and strong row but not enough to qualify for the final.  Megan had a solid middle 1k which saw her row through two competitors and comfortably take second place, a fantastic result considering the other girls were two years her senior.  In the final Megan struggled to find the pace that she had in the heat and the competitors got away from her.  She tried a number of times to get herself back in the race but ended up coming sixth.

A good day's racing and a lot learnt in preparation for National School in the coming weeks.

Walton and Weybridge Regatta 21st May

With the Start juniors all currently doing their school exams Walton and
Weybridge was a chance for them to forget the revision books for a couple of hours and focus on moving their 1x quickly.  Charley Parr had a bye through the first round and then her competition didn't turn up in the quarterfinal!  Though fresh this meant that the girl that she raced in the semi-final had the experience in the fast running water.  Even though Charley had a slow start she managed to draw level by half way and take command of the race by the final three hundred meters.  In the final Charley faced some strong opposition who had not been challenged through the previous rounds.  Though Charley had a very quick finish she left herself a little too much work to do and missed out by a canvass.

For Megan this was the first regatta that she has been able to race in her age group, W.J16.  She took all the experience from her many races in the J18 category and won her semi-final comfortably even though she managed to hit three buoys and rowed the course at rate 24.  In the final she shot off from the start and worked hard through the first half of the final, closing the door early on her opposition and finished strong to win the W.J16.1x category.

All athletes worked hard and stepped up to the mark, especially in this
stressful time. One week to go!

National Schools Regatta and Junior Scullers Regatta 29th – 30th of May

On Sunday Charley and Megan competed in the Championship Girls 2x (W.J18) event.  They took the water at Dorney lake along with forty other crews for the time trail, in the certain knowledge that this would be a tough day’s racing against the top junior crews in the country. 

In the time trail they set off ahead of the much-fancied Thames crew, which has already proved to be one of the fastest boats.  Though our girls fought well they were caught by the Thames crew but by keeping composure they qualified sixteenth; making them the second fastest crew in the C final, Only missing out on a slot in the A/B semi-finals by under two seconds. 

The girls approached their final wanting to rectify some mistakes made in the time trial and to make a statement to the other crews.  After a quick start they were second by the 500m marker: However, staying true to their pre-race brief they pushed early and by the half way marker they had moved five seconds clear of the rest of the field.  This they increased to six seconds in the third 500m and by the time they finished the race they were nine seconds clear of 2nd place.  A very positive final where they posted the 10th fastest W.J18.2x time of the day, all the more impressive as they were racing girls one or two years older than themselves.

On Monday the girls were in their singles in their respective age groups.  Both girls had to contend with a strong cross wind for their time trials, which unfortunately caused Charley (W.J17.1x) to hit a number of buoys at the start of her run.  However she brushed herself off and qualified twelfth and into the B final.  Megan (W.J16.1x) excelled in her time trial and riding the positive wave from the 2x put in a strong performance getting the fourth fastest time and qualifying for the A final.  By the finals the wind had shifted to a strong cross tail, which helped the competition more than it did the TWK-Start athletes.  Charley was placed in lane 6 which was most effected by the wind yet she showed maturity beyond her years by picking off two girls that had beaten her in the time trail, ending up the wrong side of the race for third place with the boat across the lake in lane 1, by just 0.3 of a second. 

Megan had been put in lane three for her A final and went off like a rocket from the start.  By 500m two boats had broken clear but Megan worked well through the second 500 to stay in touch with these two and succeed in getting an overlap with 600m to go.  The final 500 meters of the race was thrilling to watch with Megan bursting early and rowing through both of the boats and leading the race with 150m left.  However Megan was unable to hold off the two girls’ final burst and came across the line in Bronze medal position.  With a short time to reflect Megan was thrilled with her position and determined to change the colour of the medal in future regattas.

The girls met or exceeded their, and my, expectations for the two days of racing and showed that all the training that they have been doing is now paying off.


The girls now focus on the 2x for Reading Regatta and Women’s Henley Regatta.