Juniors and coaches glad to be back racing on the water

Day one of the British Rowing Junior Championships was raced in sunny conditions in Nottingham

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Racing at the BRJC (c) Drew Smith

The British Rowing Junior Championships kicked off in a sunny Nottingham with temperatures reaching 27 degrees in near-perfect conditions, despite the slight but refreshing breeze on the course.

J15 rowers from around the country were here to race, but most were just glad to be back on the water after missing out on the competition last year because of COVID-19.

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The racing opened with time-trials, with crews progressing to semi-finals and then onto the finals ranging from A to G. As the day’s racing came to a close, the A finals ramped up the tension with onlookers – coaches and competitors – cheering on several tight finishes.

In the J15 single sculls, winners were Notts County Rowing Association (men’s) and Evesham RC (women’s). The double sculls saw Marlow RC win, with Henley RC taking the women’s category. In particular, the finals of the coxed quads produced some top quality racing, with both the women’s and men’s crews demonstrating controlled and composed technique. The Windsor Boys’ School won the coxed quads, with Henley RC winning the women’s equivalent in their second victory, in the final contest of the day.

Rebecca Clephan, a coach from Gloucester Rowing Club, said: “It’s been really, really good – amazing weather – and it’s just great to be back racing after a whole year of not being able to get out there.”

The club brought one women’s J15 quad and one women’s J15 double, with the double reaching the A final.

“The vibe you get from the rowers is that they’re just happy to be back on the water and just enjoying being out there and racing”

“They did a fantastic job!” said Rebecca. “We’ve seen lots of smiles – it’s especially nice to see the women’s J15 quad support the girls in the A final of the J15 women’s double. At the end of the day, a good result for one crew is a good result for the whole team for us.”

She added: “I’m really all about trying to get as many juniors into the sport as possible, so this is about getting a taste of what performance rowing might look like and trying to have fun as we do it. The BRJC has provided an opportunity for 2k side-by-side racing and the excitement that could bring. So lovely to have that back and to be able to support each other.”

With over 50 races, the umpiring team were kept busy too. The highlight of the day for Sarah Royles was umpiring the A finals.

The Nottingham RC member said: “I think that the standard of racing today has been pretty high. The crews have had a varied amount of time on the water – who knows how we are compared to previous years, but we are where we are.

“The vibe you get from the rowers is that they’re just happy to be back on the water and just enjoying being out there and racing.”

With more than 80 volunteers – including umpires, commentators, stake boat holders and general support – helping out at the British Rowing Junior Championships, they are all instrumental in the overall success of the event.

Chris Callow, Chair of the British Rowing Junior Championships said: “It has been a great day of racing and I’ve been amazed at the standard of competition after the year that we have all had.

“It’s been fabulous to hear all the cheering, despite not being able to have any spectators course-side this year. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s racing when the J16s take to the water.”

To see the full results, click here.

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