This year we entered 14 crews to the National Schools’ Regatta at Dorney Lake. Over the three day regatta, 79 Emanuel pupils competed against schools and clubs from across the UK and Ireland. They all represented the school extremely well. After hours of training over the past months in preparation for the regatta, on the day only seconds separated some of our crews from the medal positions, their competitors and from qualification.

Maddie Jeynes, Kathleen Beams, Lauren McAuliffe, Orla Weighill and Georgie Trew (cox)

Girls 4+

Crew: Maddie Jeynes, Kathleen Beams, Lauren McAuliffe, Orla Weighill and Georgie Trew (cox)

Following their success at Bedford Regatta, the senior girls coxed four arrived at National Schools’ Regatta with their goal set high; the aim was to get to the A final and push for a medal. And that is exactly what they did.

After the initial time trial the four qualified in seventh place, not as high as we had hoped, but with some unknown strong crews involved such as Walton RC and Durham School we were pleased to be in the mix. In the semi-final the crew raced well, finishing third behind Godolphin and Latymer School and Sir William Perkin’s School, which placed them in the A final. Before the final the crew knew they would have to go off hard and race faster than they have done before as they were sixth on time before the race. After a strong start six crews were level at the 500m, and the Emanuel girls were in the mix. The girls worked hard to push past Godolphin and Latymer at the half way point putting them in fourth place going into the final 500m. Using every bit of strength they had, the girls tried hard to push ahead of Sir William Perkin’s but the finish line came too soon. They finished in fourth place, just 1.7 seconds off the bronze medal position. Whilst there was disappointment in the crew of not winning a medal, the girls should be proud of finishing fourth in the country and racing with such determination.

Miss Blaikie (Director of Rowing)

Girls Championship 8+

Crew: Jay Martin, Izzy Thomas, Sophie Bucknall, Bessie Curry, India Diment, Tiphanie Polak, Seraphina Leppard, Katy Bracegirdle and Charlotte Evans (cox)

The flagship event for girls’ rowing at National Schools is the Championship Eights: an event which Emanuel has not always entered or been competitive in. This year we entered the girls crew with the aim of reaching the B final and finishing in the top half, using the race as a good development platform for the future with seven of the crew being in the lower sixth. After a steady result in the time trial the eight raced the semi-final. Lining up against many of the big competitors such as Marlow RC and Headington School, we knew the pace would be quick. The girls raced extremely well, finishing in fifth place, securing them a spot in the B final but finishing much closer to the leaders of the pack than any of our Emanuel girls’ eights have done in the past. In the B final, the crew again performed well, finishing in third place, showing there’s a lot more to come from these girls next year.

Miss Blaikie (Director of Rowing)

Boys Champ 4x

Crew: Leo Zagorac, Gabriel Obholzer, Guy Kitchen & Ollie Olby

The premium sculling event at NSR had 38 entries for only 12 spots. This was going to be a very tough day. As the time trial unfolded and the nerves set in, Emanuel didn’t get off to a good start. Even with a fast middle thousand, the boys couldn’t rally to make the top 12 and missed out on a place in the semi-final by two seconds, finishing 16th. An unfortunate start to their Henley campaign but a lot of speed to come from this talented crew.

Mr Calvin (Head Coach)

Boys 2nd 4x

Crew: Luke Bligh, Ed Berkley, Michael O’Connor & Fred Jimack

This was the first time that NSR have introduced 2nd 4xs. On this occasion, 13 boats entered the event. In order to qualify for the A/B final, Emanuel would need to finish in the top 12 – which achieved by finishing 11th. This was a fair result in such a hotly contested event. The Emanuel boys found themselves in the B final and this was dominated by some fast times putting the boys in fifth through the first 1500m – although unfortunately, they couldn’t hold it and finished 6th and 12th overall.

Mr Calvin (Head Coach)

Boys Non-Champ 4+: Dan Hirsh McConnon, Jacob Johnston, James Osbourne, Tom Marwood and Joe Barton

Boys Non-Champ 4+

Crew: Dan Hirsh McConnon, Jacob Johnston, James Osbourne, Tom Marwood and Joe Barton

With 17 Non-champ 4s entered with some very tough competitors, it was going to be more challenging than previous events. With a solid performance, the Emanuel crew finished off their time trial in 10th place. This secured the 4+ a place in the semi-finals. The Emanuel boys got off to a good start but soon found themselves in a battle with Henley RC. Unfortunately, they slipped into fifth place against a very experienced field. This gained them a place in the B final, where the boys had a strong start and contested third place for the first 500m. A push from George Heriots found the Emanuel boys in fourth and that’s where they finish, with an overall result of 10th place. A very good performance all round.

Mr Calvin (Head Coach)

Boys Champ 2x

Crew: Ollie Olby & Gabriel Obholzer

Champ doubles is always a hotly contested event with a lot of the Champ 4xs doubling up. On this occasion, 45 boats entered. With the time trail well on its way, the Emanuel boat finished in a very creditable eighth place securing them a semi-final spot. However, they could only manage a fifth place in the semi-final, placing themselves in the B final. As the B final unfolded, Ollie and Gabriel managed to push into third through the 1000m marker. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold it in the final 500m and narrowly missed out on fourth. The boys finished 5th and 11th overall – well done boys.

Mr Calvin (Head Coach)

Boys J16 4x-

Crew: Ben Tamlyn (s), James Campbell (3), Henry Stretch (2), Ben Clarke (b)

J16 boys’ quad is one of the most competitive events in the regatta. The J16 (Year 11) quad, as a lightweight crew, were really up against the very best from all clubs. The first race of the day on the Sunday (the final day of the regatta) saw them put together their best performance yet, finishing 23rd. Not good enough to qualify for the next rounds but they were happy to have raced against the best.

Mr Calvin (Head Coach)

Girls J16 4x-

Crew: Lucia Hayes, Tabby Heeler, Violet Trevelyan-Clark and Georgie Knapman

The J16 girls quads is a very competitive event at the regatta and this year there was 27 crews trying to qualify for just 12 places. The relatively newly-formed Emanuel crew knew it would be a tough challenge but they rowed to the start line determined to give it their best. After making some good technical changes in training leading up to the regatta, the crew raced well on the day. Unfortunately, however, we could not match the size and strength of our competitors, meaning we did not qualify through to the semi-finals.

Boys J15 4x+

Crew (A): Harper Damman-Smith, Ulysse Polak, Rollo Basford, Jackson Dangour and Matthew Roe (cox)

Crew (B): Edward Newton, Alec Glen, Jamie Fairbairn, Xavier Mead and James Giannopoulos (cox)

The J15 boys entered two coxed quads at National Schools. It was a very competitive event with 62 crews taking part in the time trial and only 18 of those crews progressing to the A, B and C finals.  The ‘A’ quad raced very well and came a creditable 23rd, making very good progress from the Sculling Head in March – though unfortunately they missed out on the 18th spot by just six seconds. Shahaan Bajwa was injured and unable to compete in the ‘B’ crew, and although Alec Glen was a worthy substitute the crew’s performance was undoubtedly affected and they finished 52nd.

Mr Marriott (Rowing Coach)

Girls J15 8+

Crew: Hetty Bieber, Maya Varley, Rose Knapman, Maddy Kitchen, Indigo Beauchamp, Dalia Ismali, Katy Pilling, Phoebe Trevelyan-Clark and Lucy Evans (cox)

The J15 girls eights was a popular event this year with 25 crews entering, competing to finish the time trial in the top 12 to qualify for the semi-finals. Our Emanuel crew had a good run up to the regatta this year and we went to the race in good shape. The time trial went to plan and the girls rowed well throughout; however, they unfortunately finished in 15th place, only five seconds off 12th. No doubt if they had raced crews side by side they would have finished higher up the pack. This result was disappointing for the crew members; however, we hope they will use it to fuel their motivation next year. A lot more to come from this year group.

Ms Elliott (Rowing Coach)

Girls J14 8x-

Crew: Katarina Jimack, Esme Packman, Maddie Powell, Ella Mitchell, Sofia Stavri, Emily Howcroft, Phoebe Bucknall, Matilda Bedi and Freya Bennett (cox)

This was the first time that the Friday races at National Schools were to be raced over 2,000m rather than the traditional 1,000. Consequently we decided to enter just one octuple from the Year 9 girls squad, taking into account the level of training undertaken by our rowers at this age.

The selected crew raced in a field of 23 crews. With 18 to go through to the finals we were optimistic that it would be possible to qualify. The girls had a good row, determined from start to finish, and raced maturely with even pacing all the way down the course. They finished in a creditable 15th place, qualifying for the C final, in a time which was also faster than all but one of the B octos (and 16 of the boys boats). Fitness levels took their toll though, with the girls really used to racing half the distance, with the consequence that Katarina was not able to race the final and was ably replaced by Henrietta Rueckert. This required a crew reshuffle as well. With tired legs the girls were not able to achieve the same rhythm throughout the final and although they maintained fourth place until halfway, they ran out of steam in the second half and finished sixth in the race.  Although disappointed with this result it was a great experience and the girls’ first taste of multi-lane racing.

Ms Elliott (Rowing Coach)

Boys J14 8x-

Crew: Ben Roope, Ben Lindrea, Jacob Erskine, Jack Geater Milton, Ben Frost, Isaac Thurnham, Ollie Abel Stevenson, Jasper Taffs and Dan Murkajee (cox)

The J14 boy’s octuple all acquitted themselves excellently throughout the National Schools’ Regatta. We all had high hopes of making it through to the finals and the boys went off with gusto, sticking to the race plan and proving their determination. At 500m in, they were making great time, on course for making it into the C final. However, at about 1,000m, disaster struck and after a few dodgy strokes the crew caught a blade-breaking crab! After several minutes trying to get the blade back out and with assistance from the support boat, the boys got their boat straight and ready to go again. They finished the remaining 500m racing really well with only seven boys rowing, one boy sitting holding the broken blade, but to a standing ovation and huge round of applause from the supporters on the bank.  Unfortunately, this ruled out our chances of making it through to the finals but hopefully added some extra fuel to the fires in their bellies to put the result right in the upcoming regattas! Obviously, there were some very disappointed athletes on the day but, on the plus side, it was great to see their passion to do well and I am confident they will manage to turn it around.

Mr Roberts (Rowing Coach)