Pots at Nottingham and Putney Town

Saturday 14 May saw the junior, women’s and novice squads race at Nottingham City Regatta and Putney Town Regatta, with both events being successful days out.

Nottingham City Regatta

The juniors, supported by London Youth Rowing sent their performance squad to Nottingham, with head coach James Loveday. It was an early start for the junior women’s 2x of Chloe Knight and Charlie Ball racing at 8:35am meaning a 4:30am wake up call.

notts city 2016.jpg

However, the early start didn’t stop them from winning their heat and progressing to the final. In the final they came up against tough opposition from Northwich and were unable to counter a strong mid-race pace, coming home in second place. The two girls approached the afternoon racing in women’s IM2 2x with purpose and won a closely fought heat against Nottingham to progress to the final. In the final, with some wrongs to put right they attacked the race from the blocks and dominated the middle of the race to take the IM2 2x title by clear water, clocking their fastest time of the day.

The junior women’s 4+ of Sarah Riches, Gabby Munyard, Thais Umbelino-Purton and Hannah Havelock-Allen have been putting in a huge amount of work having only started rowing sweep in the last few months. They started the day racing a straight final in women’s novice 4+ where they came up against junior competition from the Kings School Worcester.

The race was by far one of the closest of the day. Down off the start the Thames RC 4+ left themselves some water to make up through the race. However they remained calm and composed and pulled out a lead through the midpoint of the race. Despite a massive push from Kings the girls were able to win the race by a quarter of a length and lose their novice status.

The afternoon racing saw them come up against Kings School Chester and Shiplake College in junior women’s 4+. This time around it was Kings School Chester who went for an early lead of a length. The win in the morning seemed to give our girls confidence as they rowed the Kings Chester crew down and then pushed out the margin in the second half of the race, coming away with their second win of the day.

Our junior men’s 4x of Chris Bryan, Alex Kelly, Seb Tyrie and Fred Beaty had a very competitive day racing in junior 4x and senior 4x, against Claire’s Court School, Windsor Boys School, Northwich, Kings School Worcester and Leander – easily the make-up of a National Schools Regatta final.

Morning racing in the heat of junior men’s 4x saw Thames take the third qualification spot for a stacked final. With a poor start the crew set themselves in sixth place in the first half of the final and never regained the lost time. The afternoon racing meant a straight final in senior 4x against junior crews from Leander and Windsor Boys School, plus senior competition from Peterborough. The three junior crews took on the race in what ended up being a far more representative performance from Thames. They came in third place, clocking a junior quad record time for Thames RC. They have plenty to develop in the final two weeks leading in to National Schools.

The senior women’s pair of Irene Brits and Vicky Brock raced only once in elite pairs. They won in a good time of 7:45, several lengths ahead of the competition from Lea.

A novice women’s 8, chasing pots, also went to Nottingham and raced in both the IM3 and novice categories. In their first multilane race the morning’s IM3 heat did not go quite to plan, but the crew learned from the experience and pulled out a 20-second improvement in time to come second to Lady Margaret Boat Club in their novice heat. Those positions were replicated in the final, with Thames rowing down Nottingham next to them and finishing strongly against a good crew.

The men’s novice squad, having won their novice pots easily at Chiswick Regatta, stepped up to IM3 at Nottingham. A big entry of 16 crews including nine school crews sharpening up for the Nat Schools meant this was never going to be an easy day over this new longer distance.

Off the start the boys lost ground to eventual winners Shrewsbury School who set the pace throughout, which was to be expected. By 1000m after a solid consolidation we were back on terms which was very gutsy, and most pleasing to see. However this move signalled to Shrewsbury to make another push which we couldn’t hold and a gap opened.

The third 500m was as hard as you would expect, then from 1500m in there was another lease of life and the rate went up in our boat along with the other competitors, who all finished within a length of each other bar Shrewsbury who were too good for the category. The Thames men finished ninth fastest from 16 entries which is encouraging as every week is seeing improvement which will close this gap.

Putney Town Regatta

At Putney Town Regatta our women’s J15 2x of Tatum Kelly and Abi Gilbart-Smith demonstrated their readiness to move in to the performance group next year by winning all three of their races to take their second win in two weeks, after they won JW15 4x+ at Borne at Chiswick Regatta the weekend before with Maddy Palmer, Helena Bentley and Florence Stocker.

The women’s intermediate 4+ of Anna Vickery, Charlotte Orrell, Kate MacLeod and Katrine Eskander raced twice at Putney Town. Coxed by Jen Wainer, they won the IM3 event ahead of Quintin and HSBC, and coxed by Alastair Jackson finished second to Vesta in the IM2 event. The IM3 2x of Zita Vimi and Segolene Bourland finished second to Twickenham.

The rest of the women’s novice squad were also in action. A completely scratch 4+ found good cohesion but not quite the speed to beat Godolphin & Latymer. Meanwhile despite some last-minute technical issues with their boat and a slightly flaky start, the 8+ rowed down Godolphin & Latymer to win their first race by just 2ft – the closest margin of the day. Buoyed up by the win, the crew got a much better start in the second race against Putney High School and won comfortably by 3 1/2 lengths.

The tide had turned by the final and conditions had got a bit bumpy. Coupled with a 30-minute wait for our opposition Emmanuel School, who had doubled up in an earlier event, preparations were not ideal. Nevertheless the crew took the race on and really only lost it through the start, thereafter holding a length or so which they could not quite regain. However it was a valuable learning experience and a good day’s racing to cap off a great weekend for Thames, both home and away.