Camp Review by Mr Bavington

Apologies for the odd typo, this has been written on the back of the truck under the English channel!!

This was our third year visiting Sabaudia, and thankfully it lived up to previous years experiences and more. I was kindly assisted on the 1300 mile trip by Mr Satchwill and Mr White, neither of which had made the journey before, and in fact Mr White’s only previous experience of towing the boat trailer was a quick trip up the A6 one Saturday morning so he could ‘get his eye in’! I’m pleased to say that we had no problems in either direction!!

I have had previous experience of angry hotel managers shouting at me in Italian after the students have perhaps got a little bit over excited but this year everyone stayed inside the acceptable level of noise and “banter”! I think this was helped by the fact we were being compared to the L.E.H J15 squad who were particularly excitable!

I have spent most of my week coaching the senior squad. I have been extremely pleased with the progress of the 1st VIII and the W4x, both making some valuable steps forward which will definitely put them in stronger positions when we start racing at the regattas, the first being Wallingford on 30th April. What has also been extremely pleasing to see is the development of a W2- made up of Emma Dobson and Izzy Donkin. A crew that has never been tried before but immediately seem to find some middle ground and give them both something to work on throughout the rest of the season; hopefully they will not break anymore riggers having already dismantled two whilst on camp!!!

Whilst introducing Will Thornton back into some sweep rowing this had a knock on effect to Sam White who found some form in the single. Again a boat that Sam has not spent lots of time in but within a few KM’s of getting in he was perfecting his square blade roll ups and putting together some promising firm pressure pieces. This gives us another avenue to explore this summer.

The camp has allowed some healthy internal competition to develop also; although there always seems to be one crew in the middle of every battle which is the J15 eight. This has been very pleasing to see as it is not uncommon for J15’s to stay quite within themselves but this lot have taken it upon themselves to race any boat which dares to go near them, taking on both the J16’s and the senior girls! I believe this J15 group have a promising rowing career ahead of them.

With exams coming around quickly the J16 group always have the most pressure at this time of year, and with the presence of Mr White on camp this year I believe the boys felt they had something to prove in the study area as well as on the water. After some gentle nudging initially they all found their stride and settled into a routine of sleep/eat/row/study in various different orders!! They have without a shadow of a doubt made some good steps forward this camp and definitely can put solid performances together; it’s more about making sure we can get them working as a unit to ensure the good performances are as consistent as possible. I believe Mr Ruta is pleased with their progress though.

With the J15 squad not being shy to take any crew on, the WJ15 squad was certainly not going to be shown up by their counter parts. The girls have spent the week taking each other on in both quads and some work in singles. The girls have thoroughly enjoyed the space to sit and do some intense technical sessions, and have certainly not wasted the opportunity of staff being available as Miss Bruce and Miss Mackay spent most evenings going through videos of the girls rowing. The girls clearly have an infectious desire for improvement and perfection; all the girls have made huge steps forward.

This year we have the largest number of students attending which are not in set crews, which did make me nervous that they wouldn’t get good value for money with regards to water time or coaching. The boys have been great though at jumping in any boat going, any crew that needed a sub, or just grabbing a single and going for a paddle. I think Alex Hogben has been in just about every boat going on camp and has made himself a vital member of the week, showing wiliness to cox or row, but mainly just enjoy himself out on the water. It has been a great week for all involved.

Mr White has come into the camp with just about no rowing experience at all, and has left with similar, of course I’m joking. Mr White has offered a lot of feedback to students, not necessarily with the best rowing terminology but we all knew what he meant!!! I wold like to thank him, Mr Honnor and Mr Ruta for running a tight ship in the study room; I would like to think that a lot of the students have made good steps forward in the class room as well as the water.

Moving forward the WJ15 4x+ (A) has been selected for the Inter-Regional Regatta on the 22nd April, Hannah Cowie and Voirrey Taylor will be racing GB trials on the 23rd April. Our next squad events consist of Wallingford Regatta on 30th April for our senior boats and some J16’s, then the ntire Boat Club will hopefully get a run out at Bedford Regatta on the 6th May, please come along to support!!!

I have thoroughly enjoyed the week; I have got to know some of the younger students more and look forward to them working their way up to the senior boats. I’m extremely pleased with my senior squad as I write a hard programme for this week and they have all exceeded my expectations to the high standard to which they have completed the sessions.

Great week to be part of BMSBC and I’m thoroughly excited to be heading into the regatta season with our current squad.

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