‘Representing England was a really great experience for me’
Leander’s Joe Willis talks about racing and winning gold at last year’s Home International Regatta below. Entries close soon for the 2019 event at Strathclyde on 27 July
A crucial stepping stone along the England Talent Pathway, the Home International Regatta (HIR) has attracted some famous names over the years including Graeme Thomas who rowed for Wales in 2012. Graeme won a silver medal in the men’s double sculls at the World Cup in Poznan earlier this month.
We caught up with Joe Willis of Leander Club who represented England at the HIR last year, winning gold in the junior men’s single sculls. Joe is trialling for the GB juniors this year.
How did you hear about the Home International Regatta?
Joe: I got involved in HIR via the GB trials selection process. I went to final trials to try and get a vest for GB or England. There were 15 vests available and there were 16 people in the trialling process. Because the quadruple scull and the double had to trial to get in, I got to do the single at 16-years-old in an under-18 event.
What was it like?
Representing England was a really great experience for me because I had never represented my country in any other sport. Because I did it in my single makes it better because I accomplished this on my own.
Spending time in [the single] really helped me to develop my technical ability in the boat
The best bit about the competition was watching the other races from the bank. Because my race was done in the morning I got to spend the afternoon watching the others do their races which was fun.
The junior team gelled together quite well by the end of the regatta, especially all of the sculling boats. Some of them had been through the trialling process the year before, so they understood what it was like to be in my shoes and I got on well with the team.
England HIR trials
Trials for the England Junior and Senior Team will take place at The Royal Albert Dock, London on Sunday 14 July. Entries for England’s trials are open on BROE2. There will be an entry fee of £20.00 per seat (excluding coxes).
How did you benefit from taking part?
I learned how to race my single which was important because that year I never really got on with the single. Spending time in it really helped me to develop my technical ability in the boat.
I don’t plan on racing HIR this year because I am trying to get onto the GB junior worlds team or the GB Coupe team, but in 2020 I will be hoping to race at HIR again.
Contacts for HIR trials
For any questions relating to the England Team please email Team Manager, Tim Liversage at [email protected] .
To trial for Wales, visit Welsh Rowing.
For Scotland, visit Scottish Rowing.
For Ireland, visit Rowing Ireland.
Entries close soon for this year’s HIR England Team, but there are still spots available, especially for the senior men’s and senior women’s sweep. Find out more how you can take part in the HIR here.