Adaptive rowing and Marlow Town Regatta save the day together

Regatta preserved rare racing opportunities for adaptive rowers after ground conditions forced cancellation of other categories

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Coach Mark Dewdney and Chelton Cup winner Curtis Dickens chat to Sir Steve Redgrave

Marlow Town Regatta and Riverside Festival has long been one of the premier fixtures in both the adaptive rowing calendar and local residents’ social diaries. But the enjoyment it brings to both groups was threatened by the unprecedentedly wet weather this year. Persistent rain had made the parking field too wet for trucks and trailers, and the regatta was going to be cancelled completely.

However, the adaptive racing had always boated from the Marlow RC’s boathouse across the river, where the athletes could use the accessible facilities. The organisers realised that there was no reason why these events could not go ahead as usual, so they doubled down on adaptive racing, making the competition an almost entirely adaptive regatta.

“It was such a brilliant day yesterday. Jamie clearly loved being part of the regatta. He said he loved being part of a community where he feels included and allowed to be himself. I was so impressed with the amount of rowers who took part, looking so confident and competent on the river.  I never thought I’d see Jamie doing something like this so it was really pretty special. Thank you so very much, to you and all the team. We are very grateful and happy to be part of this.” – Adaptive Squad parent

The programme featured 15 races for singles and supported doubles, providing plenty to keep spectators’ entertained in addition to the traditional band concert. Marlow RC, Guildford RC, Falcon RC, City of Oxford RC, and Stratford-upon-Avon BC all had crews taking part. A highlight was the presentation of the the first cup specifically for adaptive rowing in the UK, the Chelton Cup (sponsored by local Marlow engineering company, Chelton). This inaugural event was won by Curtis Dickens of Stratford-upon-Avon BC with Chris Boys of Guildford RC the runner-up.

The rain-soaked season so far meant that this was the first on-water racing for new adaptive athletes who have joined the sport over the past year – and their support rowers. One of these first-timers was Will Greenwood MBE, who was a member of the winning England side at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Will’s daughter, Matilda, is enjoying a very successful rowing career with the Marlow adaptive squad including many medals and setting the 2000m world record for her age category at the British Rowing Indoor Championships. Inspired by his daughter thriving in the sport, Will took up indoor rowing and also competed at the 2023 British Rowing Indoor Championships, and recently took to the water to join Matilda in a boat.  This Supported Double race was their first as race together.

Racing at Marlow Town Regatta 2024 Close racing at Marlow Town Regatta 2024

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