Juniors defy weather to flourish at Brit Champs

After glorious weather leading up to the British Rowing Junior Championships, the event featured excellent racing despite a horrendous rainstorm late on the Saturday afternoon.

A record number of crews came from throughout the country including Dart Totnes and Norwich in the south and east respectively, Cardiff from Wales and Aberdeen Schools from Scotland. But it was Henley RC who took home the Victor Ludorum with five golds and one silver in all. 

Saturday started with the morning time trials held for all events with more than 12 entries in near-perfect conditions. The afternoon continued with eliminators and the first of the C/D/E finals, allowing all athletes at least two races. But suddenly the wind increased dramatically and the heavens opened. 

Boating was suspended and the lake evacuated according with the established protocol. This really was a short, sharp squall as just 20 minutes later the wind dropped, the sun came out and the crews who had de-boated in the start area were able to return to the pontoons – somewhat damp.

Racing began after an hour with the remaining repechages but the remainder of the minor finals could not be completed. However all athletes due to compete in these races still received an overall placing based on their time trial positions.

The weather was somewhat kinder on Sunday for the semis and finals and the enthusiastic supporters were treated to some tight racing.

The closest final was in the women’s junior fours event where Henley RC held off a late challenge from Glasgow Academy, 0.25 second the winning margin, with fellow Scots Aberdeen Schools RA in third. 

Just one championship record was broken and that was by Harry Leask of Leander Club in the junior singles final where he beat team mate Harry Uglow by just 1.5 seconds with Alexander Bain from Northwich taking bronze. All three were inside the 2013 time set by Jack Rubini from Derby.

“I love the enthusiasm of everyone involved with this event and I’m proud to be a part of it” said patron Sarah Winckless, who also umpired over the weekend – and got very wet! 

“It was not easy and the weather gods were against us but everyone acted sensibly throughout and we were then treated to some excellent racing,” she added.

Full results can be found at www.britchamps.org/juniors/results-2014.

By Maggie Phillips