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One Gold: Six Other Top Three Places

Great Marlow School Boat Club had their first race of this academic year, just recently. Thus far it has been a slightly frustrating season, with limited water time partly due to the Thames being in flood in the Marlow locality.

Needless to say, the rowers were all hugely excited to be racing at last. GMSBC had the biggest entry of any club at the event, equalled only by Shrewsbury School, a large independent school some 70 miles North of Gloucester. It was a challenging day for the whole squad. This event is new in our calendar and the unfamiliar venue, together with very blustery and congested conditions, meant delays in racing were inevitable.

The race was over 4.5 km but the finish was some 2km from the boating area. This meant every crew had to row 7km to reach the start line, then wait for up to 60 minutes in a chilling breeze, before racing back.

GMS took 40 athletes and the majority rowed in both morning and afternoon divisions, including young Poppy Spence and Emilia Deering, who very ably rowed with the Year 9 squad.

While it is early days for this season, and the rowers were somewhat behind in terms of time on the water and consequent improvement in technique, all crews did well; their strength and depth was very encouraging. The senior girls squad had very solid performances, with the Girls’ Eight and the  Girls’ Quad beating a number of high class crews. The 6th form boys, with Aidan Kelly subbing in for Robert Petrea, came third, behind two very fast Gloucester Hartpury Quads, a very promising result.

The J16 boys is the biggest squad that GMSBC has ever had in a Year 11 group, and is further strengthened by three very competitive Year 10 boys.  Therefore, it is no surprise that both the top Quad and the Eight put in very strong performances coming third in both events. The Eight was particularly exciting, given it clearly has time to build on strengths in the coming months. It came just behind Shrewsbury and Radley, both schools likely to be contending for medals in the summer.

With our Year 10 boys rowing up with the Year 11s, it was left to the girls to compete at the WJ15 level. These girls have been training hard on the land and it was great to see them out racing at last: their 5th place was a strong result, particularly given they had Peyton Nugent from Year 9 making up the full quad.

In Year 9, the Boys’ Quad came third with a very solid row: despite being caught by  a very strong Winchester College quad, they maintained their form and were pleased with the outcome of their first race of the season.

However, the best comes last: GMS’s Year 9 girls, who admittedly are a very strong group, were somewhat disappointed that a broken rigger at stroke, meant that they did not win the Octo event in the afternoon. However, the top Quad of Emily Downing, Olivia Fyfe, Christina Baxter, and Peyton Nugent, coxed by Emilia Deering collected yet another Gold Medal to add to their growing collection.


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