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1 Gold-2 Silvers: Bank Holiday Success

A marvellous Bank Holiday Weekend for GMSBC led to a Gold and two Silvers. Our rowing contingent is going from strength to strength.

On Saturday, of the three-day Bank Holiday, the Year 9 rowers went to Chiswick Regatta, where they all won or came in second: a great opportunity to test themselves on the water against competition at a new venue.

On Sunday the Boat Club went to the (2000m) Wallingford Regatta: as such it attracts an extremely high standard of entry the top crews were entered. Both Girls’ Quads and the 6th Form Double raced well and beat a number of crews, but sadly did not progress to the final. The J18 Boys’ Quad had a good race, unfortunately, they were just out of contention for the final. Our Year 11 Boys’ Four, Gold Medallists from the JIRR last weekend, again had a tough heat with Hampton A crew: the likely threat. They had a good race with a slightly slow start and won their heat in the fastest time of the heats.

In the final, they had Hampton again as well as the South African Junior Rowing Squad, Westminster School, Kings College School, Wimbledon plus another. They had a better start in this race, but the South Africans steamed away even faster and looked threatening for the first 500m. However, GMS and Hampton soon shook off the visitors, and it became a two-horse race. The outcome was even more emphatic with GMS moving ahead by clear water underrating the opponents by 3 or 4 strokes per minute: a hugely impressive win for the boys and more silverware to add to their growing collection.

On Monday the crews were back at Dorney for the Junior Sculling Regatta; it was an early start. The J18 Boys’ were first to arrive at 0615.

The crews were juggled around slightly from the Sunday lineups to try out a few different combinations. The addition of Ethan Hunt to the Sixth Form Quad certainly produced a faster crew. While they just missed the A-final ( 7th as opposed to 6th in the time trial), they had a great race in the B-final against Kingston Rowing Club, who had been several lengths ahead on Sunday. Their coach was more than a little surprised.

The Year 11 Boys’ Quad was up next. They had won the Bronze medal at the long-distance scullery back in March but were now sculling without one of their most powerful athletes. They have also been rowing (one oar rather than sculling two blades) for the most part since March. With all this to consider, securing a place in the A-final seemed like a good outcome. This revised crew raced aggressively in the time trial coming third to match their performance back in March.

In the final, they began strongly and were surprisingly well up competing with Windsor Boys and Molesey Boat Club. For most of the next 1500m, there was a close race with the GMS crew largely in Bronze position but looking very threatening on Silver. Then, as can happen in highly competitive races the lead crew caught a major ‘shipwreck’ and GMS sailed through into Silver Medal. An impressive result from the boys.

Our J15s who again have been concentrating on rowing rather than sculling suffered from some lack of experience in adapting to the switch of discipline and just missed the A-final in 7th place in the time trial. However, they enjoyed a great race in their final and remained a strong and competitive crew.

The Year 9 Girls’ were up next. They had been training conscientiously and had already won a couple of major medals. In the time trial, they came second, just 2 seconds behind Henley, which was an improvement from the March race. In their Final, they were solid but a little slow at the start which gave Henley a half-length lead early on. From here on the girls looked long and powerful and if anything slightly quicker through the middle of the race, but Henley having the advantage of looking back on them, held them off. A great race and a well-earned silver medal.

The Year 11 Girls put their slightly disappointing results of Sunday behind them and had a strong T T to qualify for the A-final. Their side-by-side race saw them have a fast start and were right in the pack for most of the race. The Marlow crew built a very early lead but had obviously misspaced it, as in the later stages they were overhauled by a number of crews. In the final 500m, as everyone built for the line, the GMS crew, having had very little water time in recent months did not quite have the pace to stay with them but a big move on for this crew.

Erin Huddleston was trying her hand at a single scull, which was a first for her. She looked long and fluid in the TT and overtook the sculler ahead of her, thus qualifying for the A-final. Partially due to her lack of experience in a single, her start was a little cautious for a final, leaving her at the back of the field, but her cruising speed was good and at halfway she had closed right up on the main group. It looked like there was a chance of Bronze but over the rest of the race the others pushed harder and held her off, but a very good first race in a single.

Last, but not least, were the Year 9 Boys’. A talented group who have not yet quite clicked in their training. A different lineup from Saturday but hoping to improve on their 12th position in the National long-distance race in March. They were 9th in the time trial, putting them in the middle of the B-final where they had a great race. There was a lot of back and forward between them, Maidenhead and Kingston throughout the race but in a well-fought finish they held on to their 9th position. Looking to move up again come National Schools at the end of May.

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