Ross Juniors at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta
Ross RC had 6 crews representing the West Midlands at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta last weekend. The junior coach, Ian Howells, reports…
Preparation for this event since the trails in March had been intense with the senior crews in the squad trainer harder a longer than previous preparation periods. The challenge in any sport is the ability to transfer the work achieved in training to the performance environment.
Sunday 25th April became the day when the Ross Junior Academy became a seriously recognized force at a National level in Junior Rowing. Of the 6 crews, 5 reached the top 6 (final) and 4 of those crews achieved medal positions. This is unparallel success for the Ross Club and was only matched by the large city clubs with GB Squad links like Nottingham.
Amy Surman was the first to strike success in the Wj14 single sculls. Having set the performance standard for the squad with an impressive qualification time Amy showed poise and determination to row through several of her opposition and won a very hard fought bronze medal. This was an incredibly well deserved medal, rewarding Amy’s dedication to training and mental toughness through the many hard sessions she put herself through during the winter. Single sculling is the toughest of all rowing events and Amy proved she has the “right stuff” to compete at the highest levels in this class of boat.
The next event was the Wj14 4X+ , This crew was made up of the amazing Wj13’s that had beaten the best of the West Midlands crews to earn their place in this prestigious national event. The crew of Catrin Morris, Molly Phillips, Rosanne Ingram and Jess Crossman with Georgie Jones coxing acquitted themselves well at these new heights. Having placed 8th in qualification they competed in the Petite final. Again they showed bravery and excellent bladework to finish 5th. This effort was a tribute to the squad approach who supported their training namely Emma Richardson and Livi Baynham Williams.
Kelly Morris and Rosie Lindley have been a consistent feature of the Ross Junior Academy since its inception in 2005. Every year they have been challenged to rise to new heights and every year they have risen to meet this challenge with veracity and an absolute focus on achievement. Competing in the Wj16 double sculls they qualified 3rd fastest. In the final they were up against old adversaries from Christchurch and were keen to put them under pressure early in the race. The first 500 was a very close affair with Christchurch taking a small a lead with the Ross crew continually pressurizing them. Finally at the 1000 meter mark the Ross girls broke through. At the same time a double from Bristol City rowing club also made a move. Kelly and Rosie went with them and on the line the Bristol crew crossed first with the Ross crew gaining a well earned silver medal.
This event was quickly followed by Ellie Grindle and Effie Hiram in the Wj14 double sculls. Effie is a recent product of the Junior Academy having only started rowing last September. Having been identified as a high potential, Effie continued to develop her technical skills through the winter period. Effie attended trials in March working with the Wj15 squad and iimpressed enough to be considered an option in her age group at J14. With the success of the squad at the trial a place became available to join Ellie Grindle in the double scull. The pairing worked hard in training to develop a partnership that could generate exceptional boat speed. In qualification they placed 5th in their heat and had to wait for the second heat to run in order to learn if they had made it the final. Word quickly came through that although placing low in their heat they had rowed fast enough to make the final. This was a very impressive result. As the final approached Effie and Ellie had reviewed their strategy and were to focus on their blade work and length in the water. From the start the Ross duo took the lead striking a steady rate of 29 strokes per minute and retaining their length in the water. At 500 meters they were half a length up, at 750 meters this had stretched to a length, with 500 meters to go the girls had clear water and were raising their strike rate and moving away from the field. With 100 meters to go it was clear this remarkable pairing were going to win the Junior Academies first National Gold Medal. As the saying goes .. the crowd went wild! The amazing fact in this story is this event was Effie’s first ever competitive race, she has set a very high standard and broken all recognized conventions.
More success was to follow with the J14 double scull of Will England and Johan Lai. The boys qualified comfortably in the first round and were keen to test out their aggressive race plan to take on the sizable crew from Walton upon Thames. The weather at Nottingam can be very fickle and this is one aspect of rowing that training and coaching cannot legislate for. The boys race was timed perfectly with the worst conditions of the afternoon and considerably impacted their ability to deliver their race plan. That said they showed utter determination to finish as high possible almost catching the 2nd place crew to achieve a very creditable bronze medal. This result is again remarkable as Johan is rowing up an age group and Will England has only been with the Academy since late last summer.
The final crew was a composite crew with 5 Evesham girls to make up a Wj16 eight. Kelly, Rosie, Elle Blackwood and Lucy Jones coxing, fought hard to qualify 5th in the first rounds and were up against some well drilled school crews. They rowed well in the final to retain their 5th place overall. This was an excellent result given they had only had 4 outings as a crew prior to the event.
The Academy is next competing at Evesham Regatta next weekend and the the High Performance Group will be targeting national schools at the end of May.