By Miss Victoria Huckle, Head of Rowing
As the first half of the Summer Term came to a close for the majority of College with Speech Day celebrations, 55 College rowers headed to Dorney Lake, home to the London 2012 Olympic Rowing, to compete at the largest and most prestigious junior regatta in the UK, the National Schools Regatta. With all age groups competing against 153 schools across three full days of racing, it was a fantastic weekend for College rowing on which the sun shone and we saw some very pleasing progress.
Racing on Friday, our U14 boys and girls octuples competed in their first National Schools race, gaining valuable experience for future years, and a top 20 placing for the boys indicates a promising future ahead.
On Saturday, our U15 boys and girls took to the water for a bright and early 8.00am time trial, with the boys IV reaching the semi-finals and girls VIII finishing ranked in 14th place. Saturday racing also saw our senior girls 1st IV in action, who exceeded all expectations in a fantastic step up, and reached the semi-finals of the U18 event, despite being an U17 crew. Our 1st VIII also put down a very solid performance, competing against the very best championship VIIIs in the country, ranking 17th, they now continue to work hard for the remainder of their Henley qualification campaign.
Following a night's sleep, 10 of our senior girls and boys returned to Eton Dorney for the final day of racing on Sunday. Our senior girls IV raced in the Championship Girls event, as a very young crew, a remarkable performance and some close racing indicate that there could be an exciting future ahead for girls' rowing at College. However, the performance of the weekend came from the U16 boys IV who, following a time trial and a very closely fought semi-final, reached the A-final of the regatta. Huge congratulations must go to Benedict Schallamach (5th, BH), Sebastian Villars (5th, S), Edward August (5th, H), Euan Bourhill (5th, S) and James Drysdale (5th, BH) for achieving a result that has not been seen from a College crew for over a decade.
I am incredibly proud of all those that represented College at this year’s National Schools Regatta, and myself and the coaching team are impressed with the progress made across all squads. All rowers conducted themselves fantastically well on the national stage, and were a credit to College, as was the parental support with a fantastic number of friends and family supporting our rowers from the College marquee!
My sincere thanks go to all rowers, coaches and supporters that made this year's National Schools Regatta such a great weekend for the Cheltenham College Boat Club and we wish our 1st VIII and Senior Girls IV the best of luck as they move into their final preparations for Henley Women’s and Henley Royal Regattas.
Follow College Rowing on Twitter! @CheltenhamCBC