Wallingford Regatta, Dorney Lake

You know the summer regatta season has arrived when the alarm clock is sounding in the hour of 5am and your mind is on autopilot to Dorney Lake, Eton. Wallingford Regatta was our first regatta of the year and with weather warnings and several fairly nervous e-mails from the organising committee it was always due to be a blowy and wet day out.

The J18 4+ was our first crew on the start line, a crew that was formed in Sabaudia so still very new to this combination. The crew has been hit with illness since being on camp so had their first row together on Friday; so you could say preparation was slightly hampered! The boys (and EJ coxing) got off to a good start with their bow ball in front, however amongst a strong field, as the pace of the race continued to rise the boys were unable to match it; meaning unfortunately their regatta finished early. This crew has a lot of potential moving forward and with better preparation I’m certain they will become a good crew.

Next up were the WJ16 8+ but racing in the top junior category of WJ18, so competing against older rowers. The girls had a good training camp and have even made steps forward since being back on the Great Ouse, so I was certainly interested to see how they were going to get on amongst the top girls eights. Right from the start BMS were in the race, bow ball to bow ball with some great opposition, which was immediately pleasing to see. As the race developed the more dominant crews from Marlow and LEH opened up a gap on the rest of the field, leaving our girls in a three boat race with Trent and Hinksey. This went all the way to the line with a sprint finish where BMS finished fourth in their heat in a great race. Due to the competive nature of these girls’, I’m sure there was an element of disappointment not to progress into the next, however they should be extremely proud of where they have managed to get the eight to in a relatively short period and everyone is excited to see where this crew can go over the next few weeks and into National Schools.

The 1st VIII was the only remaining crew left to race and with an extremely big entry and being drawn in the same race as Abingdon, Hampton, Radley and Shrewsbury everyone was excepting to be home at a reasonable hour. Progression would be, winner straight to final and then the next six fastest losers from all heats would earn themselves a race in the rep; the back door into the final effectively! The boys have only completed a handful of sessions in the eight since camp due to our commitments at GB trials, but we have done some short intense sessions and I felt we had moved on. Off the start everyone was very high rating, loads of noise and I certainly believe that watching an eights race start is the most enjoyable part of rowing; there’s just so much going on and it’s even better if you are still in the race after the first minute! Well, we certainly were, having had a great start we had our bow balls right out in the mix, which developed into our boys hitting a fantastic race speed. Leading Hampton and Radley from the start was not something I was expecting to be seeing but we were, and this continued all the way! Abingdon and Shrewsbury had a small lead now, but the rest of the field were racing to the line. The sprint finish we had worked on in training came together which secured us 4th, ahead of Radley (by a foot), Hampton and London Oratory School. After a short wait for the last race to come down to see if the boys had gone quick enough to progress we soon found out they had, an absolutely brilliant performance from the senior boys and a great achievement from TeamBMS.

Unfortunately the wind increased and racing was abandoned.

I think all crews performed well and represented the school to an extremely high standard. At one of the toughest races of the year everyone really stepped up to break and surpass all expectations, exactly what we look for at the Boat Club. Well done TeamBMS,

NEXT EVENT: Bedford Regatta next Saturday and then onto National Schools in 3 weeks!!

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