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Rowing Regatta

GMS, Sir William Borlase and Sir William Perkins enter into a December Regatta.

On the Saturday after the end of term, GMS rowers headed to Dorney Lake to compete in a private match with two other schools. This was a chance for everyone to race in different classes of boats and have some close side-by-side racing.

The format was a time trial followed by semi-finals and finals, with each race made up of crews of similar speed from the time trial. For example, the first semi-final had our 6th Form Girls’ Double Scull racing a couple of Year 9 Octos. The effect of this was that many of the races had crews less than 1 second apart for the whole race, which made exciting racing and great viewing.

Over the morning of racing, most crews completed 3 x 2km races and with tight results, it was a demanding schedule but a good end to a successful term.

While many of our crews had to be adapted, due to rowers being out with the dreaded Covid, results made happy reading. Given the system we were using to keep each race tight, comparing results was not straight forward. Using percentage of the Gold Medal Time (PGMT) it was possible to score the races on a like-for-like score across the races.

In the Year 10 crews, our top boys’ crew, despite the format, won their race by over 6 seconds and had the fastest PGMT of the four Year 10 Quads.

The girls looked likely to come second against an outstanding Perkins Quad but, sadly, due to confusion in marshalling missed their last race.

The Year 11 Girls’ Quad had an excellent final vs a Perkins crew, coming in under a second behind but well clear of two trailing Borlase boats. Their PGMT was the best for all the Year 11 girls’ crews.

The 6th Form Girls’ raced a Double Scull and had some good racing; they came out the fastest in their category.

For the senior boys, special mention must go to the top pair, who, while having no direct competition in their class, produced the fastest PGMT of the whole event, 3% clear of the fastest J18 Double from Borlase.

The final race of the regatta was the Senior Boy’s Coxless Quad against the GMS Quad (half the Year 11s and half Year 12s had been consistently the fastest overall crew going into the final). The final was their third 2k race of the day and both Year 11 boys were in a weakened state. Joe Cogan had not long returned to the water after having Covid, and Sal Dunn, still was struggling from the after-effects of Covid and with back issues. From the start, Tom Wiles at Stroke set an aggressive rate and the crew edged out into a ¾ length lead over the J18 Borlase Quad. With 900m gone, SWB made a concerted push and closed to ½ length but Noah Grottrup at bow called for a response and the GMS crew went at halfway to open the lead to just over one length. The older Borlase crew started to build for home and the GMS boys had already given all they could considering they were both well below par. The boat speeds were close but SWB inched closer and closer to level. With 100m left it was impossible to judge and a fantastic race to line gave SWB a few feet advantage, but the GMS crew should be justly proud of a great morning’s racing.

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