GB Rowing Team Sculling Festival showcases young talent
The GB Rowing Team’s second ever Sculling Festival was held at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham over the weekend, showcasing an array of young British rowing talent across a number of events.
The Sculling Festival provides a development opportunity for rowers who have genuine aspirations of representing Great Britain, as well as those who have already competed for GB at Junior and U23 level.
This weekend over 100 rowers took part in the main men’s and women’s events as well as those for beginners who are in their first year of sculling.
Dan Clift, from the Isle of Ely BC, won the main men’s event, Frazier Christie of the University of Bath BC won the U23 men’s event and Ellie Lewis of Agecroft RC won both the main women’s and U23 women’s titles.
The main events began on Saturday with a 3800m time trial followed by skills and manoeuvrability testing, 250m time trials and side by side races. On Sunday semi-finals and finals were raced on a 2000m course. The beginner events followed the same format but over shorter distances.
Peter Sheppard, Chief Coach for U23s and Juniors, said: “Providing opportunities for athletes to get into their single scull is invaluable for those aiming for GB selection in the future. The Sculling Festival is a unique opportunity for athletes to challenge themselves not only on their boat speed but also on their boat handling skills. It has been really pleasing to see so many enjoying this event, despite some challenging conditions over the course of the weekend.”
Many of those taking part at the weekend are currently in the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme. This ground-breaking scheme has a track-record of producing rowers who go on to become World and Olympic medallists like Alex Gregory and Helen Glover.
The weekend’s event also had entries from para-rowing athletes who are fully integrated into the festival programme. Tom Dyson, GB Rowing Team’s Lead Coach of the Paralympic Programme, said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for the Para rowers to be involved in the Sculling Festival. The chance to compete against the best of GB Rowing Team’s able bodied development pathway is a great step in preparing for the new season”.
Points are accrued in each event depending on the position each rower finishes, with the aim being the lowest overall points total – one point for finishing first, two points for finishing second etc.
Tim Richards of Imperial College and Jamie Copus of Oxford Brookes, who both won silver medals for Great Britain in the lightweight four at the U23 World Championships in Varese, Italy in July, were second and third to Christie in the U23 field.
The junior event was won by Toby Heaton of Minerva Bath, with Cambridge 99’s Sam Champion and Llandaff RC’s Rhys Dutfield coming second and third respectively.
In the women’s events Emily Craig of the University of London BC finished second to Ellie Lewis in the main and U23 events. Pippa Whittaker of Leander finished third in the senior and Ruth Siddorn of Agecroft third in the U23 field.
Siddorn also won the junior event followed by Gloucester Hartpury’s Francesca Ford and Sophia Heath. Lewis and Craig were others taking part in the competition who raced for Great Britain at the U23 World Championships.
In the men’s beginner event Callum Irvine of Edinburgh University BC was the winner with 6.5 points, followed by John Morfopoulos of Durham University BC with 9.0 and Gloucester Hartpury’s Sam Cater with 11.5.
Sheyi Blackett of Reading RC won the women’s beginner event, finishing ahead of her club teammate Freya Sendall in third and Fiona Bell of Aberdeen University BC in second.
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Results show top three athletes in each event of the GB Rowing Team Sculling Festival. For full results visit: https://sites.google.com/a/gbrowingteam.org.uk/gb-rowing-team-sculling-festival/
MEN’S MAIN EVENT
1. Toby Heaton (Minerva Bath) 5.5 points
2. Sam Champion (Cambridge 99) 10.0 points
3. Rhys Dutfield (Llandaff RC) 17.0 points
WOMEN’S MAIN EVENT
MEN’S BEGINNER EVENT
1. Calum Irvine (Edinburgh University BC) 6.5 points
2. John Morfopoulos (Durham University BC) 9.0 points
3. Sam Carter (Gloucester Hartpury) 11.5 points
WOMEN’S BEGINNER EVENT
1. Sheyi Blackett (Reading RC) 8.5 points
2. Fiona Bell (Aberdeen University BC) 13.5 points
3. Freya Sendall (Reading RC) 14.0 points
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