Following impressive results from the Scottish Schools’ Head Competition on 3 March, our Rowing Club they travelled to London last week to see how they matched up against the best rowing schools in Britain.
A large squad travelled to Dorney near Eton to compete on the lake that will be used as the venue for the rowing events at the 2012 Olympic Games, and the Mortlake to Putney stretch of the Thames, where the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge is held. The trip was rounded off with a visit to Leander Club, the pre-eminent Rowing Club in the world, where they were given a tour by former Watson’s pupil and aspiring International oarsman Sean Dixon (Class of 2008); a visit to the River and Rowing Museum and a Henley picnic (complete with strawberries and cream)!
On the water our crews surpassed expectations, with every crew performing superbly in the rarefied atmosphere of the elite competition venues. The outstanding performance of the races at the Olympic Rowing Lake was the girls’ J14 crew of Rachael Malin (S2), Emma Crawford, Katy McDonald and Holly Cook (all S3), coxed by Julie McDonald (S1), who (as the only Scottish crew competing) came seventh from a field of 42 of the top rowing schools in England and Wales. Both boys’ J14 crews also finished well in their event, in spite of one crew experiencing difficulties when one member lost his seat mid-race.
The following day on the Thames, the Open girls’ coxed four of Heather Dun, Julie Stephen (both S6), Robyn Gillies and Emma Rankin (both S5), coxed by Anna Fenning-Kazantzidi (S2) finished an impressive fifth from 17 crews.
The performance of the weekend however was the boys’ J16 eight, which finished fourth in a category of 12 of the best rowing schools in Britain. The eight of Blair Ketteringham, Alasdair Watson, Arseniy Morgunov, Struan Stewart, Laurence Bialy and James Stevenson (all S3), Jack Dryden, Hamish Duncan (both S4), coxed by Rebecca Moore (S3) rowed the unfamiliar water courageously from start to finish, and fully deserved their impressive placing. The majority of this crew (which included 6 athletes and a cox eligible to compete at a younger age category) will form the backbone of the school’s first eight for the next couple of years, making their superb result all the more encouraging.
Our rowers are now preparing for their Easter training camp in Bruges, where they hope through quality training and hard work to find some more speed before competing at the International Belgian Junior Championships in Ghent.