STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s junior rowers competed in the British Rowing Junior Championships at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham last weekend.
The championships started with a morning of time trials over the 900-metre course ahead of the G to A Finals in the afternoon held over 1000 meters.
And the time trials took place in ideal conditions with light winds and comfortable temperatures.
This was short lived as the cloud dissipated, temperatures rose and, typical of the venue, the winds picked up in the afternoon and several of the young crews found it challenging to line up at the start.
First up for Stratford was Eloise Cooper representing the J15’s in the single scull E final who placed third as she tried to make amends for capsizing at the Stratford Regatta.
Stratford’s Alexandra Francis and Poppy Baines were next on the water representing the J14’s in the B final of the double sculls.
The pair made a strong start to lead at the 200-metre mark before eventually coming home third as Maidenhead pulled away to win with Francis and Baines just three seconds behind Calpe in second.
Lucy Sartain and Aimee Appleton represented Stratford in the J15 double sculls C final and finished fifth in challenging conditions following a photo finish.
Hot on the heels of the girls were Will Dalrymple-Baker and Jamie Wilcock in the B final of the Open J15 double sculls as the pair claimed a creditable sixth place finish in a strong field.
The WJ14 coxed quad F final squad of Alice Jones, Sophie Evans, Lily Warren, Lucy Yang coxed by Meg Nuttall secured third place following their recent time trial equipment failure.
And the last race on the opening day was the WJ15 coxed quad B final as Scarlett Richardson, Megan Rowen, Jessica Long, Harriet Froom coxed by Nancy Davis finished sixth having taken the brunt of most of the crosswinds.
Stratford’s J14 and J15 coaches said: “Some excellent results for the Junior 14 and 15’s squads in their inaugural British Junior Championships.
“Three crews in the top-12 and one in the top-16, some lessons learnt and a good stake in the ground for all athletes as to where they are against the best of the best.”
The J16 squad entered Charles Happel in the single scull event, which attracted a large field of 30 competitors.
And Happel qualified for the C final, with a 16th place finish in the time trial, defying the heat over the 2k course to cross the line fourth in the final.
The WJ16 Coxed Four of Kate Richardson, Maddie Hall, Harriet Noyes, and Imogen Hill faced 14 crews in their time trial of the weekend, five of whom had beaten them at Henley Women’s Regatta,.
However, Stratford’s crew delivered a wonderful performance to qualify for the A final with the fourth fastest time.
In the final, on Sunday, the crew was pipped into fourth place despite a superb start that saw them lead by half a length at the 500m mark.
Stratford’s J16 Coach Sam Hill said: “It was a brave and typically competitive race strategy from our crew to round off a highly successful season with an excellent result!”
Toby Sartain was the first representative of the J17 and 18 squad to take to the lake, competing in the Open J18 singles event.
After palcing 42nd in the time trial, T Sartain maintained his position in the G final in the afternoon against some very tough competition.
The pairing of Freya Watts and Amelie Sartain competed in the Women’s’ J18 doubles event, qualifying 16th to race in the C final, and finished 14th overall, racing right up to the line.
Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie entered the Open J18 pairs category, a difficult event full of technically skilled crews.
They qualified in 12th position, returning on Sunday to race in the B final and maintained their position from Saturday’s time trial.
The last crew from the squad was the girls’ quad of Martha Usselmann, Ruby Howells, Grace Beason and Lucy Browne who competed in the Women’s J18 quad event.
They placed an impressive 14th in the time trials, finishing 15th overall after their C final in the afternoon.