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GMSBC WIN 5 Medals at Junior Inter-Regional Regatta

The first of the three National Rowing Regattas was held at Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham this weekend. The five GMSBC crews racing were representing the Thames Upriver region, which won both the boys and girls Victor Ludorum.

The Regatta is held over 1500m with six-lane semi-finals and then A and B finals. Over the course of the morning, the GMS crews cruised home comfortably in 1st position in each of their semis, apart from the Year 9 girls who had a particularly strong head win and a very competitive double in the lane next to them, but they still were second some 3 or 4 lengths ahead of third.

Results, other than places in one’s own race were not published until quite a bit later, but the Great Marlow camp went into the finals excited by the prospects of medals across the board.

First to go was the pair of Ethan Hunt and George Spencer. With a strong head wind and some steering challenges, they did not settle as well into their rhythm and did not look as composed, as previously, in the semi. The Wales crew whom they had beaten in the semis upped their game to take Gold but the two GMS rowers did well taking Bronze, quite some achievement as the final was only their second time on the water as a pair, which is a particularly tricky category to row.

The Year 10 Boys’ Four of Connor Quann, Will Allen, Haashim Ahmad, Alexander Eldridge with cox Luke Reynolds were next off; they took an early lead, but with 500m gone a very powerful Shrewsbury crew started to overhaul them. Into the strong head wind, the bigger crew had a distinct advantage and little by little they edged out in front. With one of the Shrewsbury boys over 6’ 7” the GMS boys did well to stay in touch and earned a great Silver medal to show for their efforts.

The Year 11 boys, who won Silver at this Regatta last year were out for revenge against the Eastern Crew from Norwich School, who beat them before. At times there was only two seconds between them in the two semi-finals, so this promised to be a good race. A clean start from our four saw them take an early small lead over Norwich and Kings College School, Wimbledon. With 500m gone the GMS crew put in a planned push and opened up to a length lead and from there it was all over: the boys extending their lead to three lengths by the finish line. So far so good, with Bronze then Silver then Gold.

Next came the Year 9 Girls’ Double of Lucy Platt and Kayla Shillito. Having struggled a little in the semis with the windy conditions and based off times, they had a good chance of Bronze and potentially a Silver. In the final, the girls were right on top of it and looked a much tighter crew and while they could not quite match the double from their semi, they were much closer and convincingly ahead of the winner from the other semi to take a very well deserved Silver.

The last race for GMS and of the whole Regatta, was the J16 Eights’ race. As we did last year, we put together our Four with the Windsor Boys Quad to make up the crew. This meant a guest appearance for Josh Barnes, which some longer serving members of staff may remember, in a GMS crew.

In the semis the crew had dominated their race several lengths of clear water ahead of Shrewsbury in second place. However, at times we were 4 seconds slower than the Eastern crew from Bedford School. The Thames London crew from Kings College School Wimbledon were also going to be close.

The team began expecting a hard race and given all our rowers had rowed in two events, unlike their competitors, so this was the 4th race of the day for us versus only the 2nd for our opponents.

The rowers began well, but the tired legs in the GMS/Windsor crew started to show and by 500m both other crews started to edge ahead. A spirited middle 500m kept our Eight in touch but as we entered the last 500, KCS had a length on us and Bedford ½ a length of clear water on top. The other three crews in the A final were no longer a factor.

Cox, Monty Todd then asked the crew to dig deep, for Rafa Quinn at stroke to raise the rate, and believe in themselves. The rhythm built and the boat surged forward. Stroke by stroke they were gaining on the other two crews, but was it enough or was it too late? With 250m to go, they were level with KCS and had an overlap on Bedford: cries came from the bank for more. A blistering finish in this thrilling race saw Bedford just hold on to take Gold but an extremely hard-fought Silver to the GMS/WBS composite.

This was a great day for Great Marlow, with five medals from five crews with no other school or club matching this across the country.

This was a gripping read from Mr Murison, thank you for sending it to the website. Everyone is rightly proud of our rowers and congratulates them on returning with this clutch of medals. The parents, carers and coaches are all thanked for all the time they give to the boat club and our young people who row for it.

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