Performances befitting of the 2012 Olympic venue saw Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club return from the 61st South Coast Rowing Championships with its second win in two years that came amongst some fantastic performances on the day.
For the third time in ten years now, the 2012 Olympic rowing venue at Dorney has been used by the Hants and Dorset ARA to host the South Coast Rowing Championships - the end of season event where both CARA (Coast Amateur Rowing Association) and WEARA (West of England Amateur Rowing Association) join together for both championship and open fours events. Three Shanklin crews were entered in the regatta. Given the scope that the 8 lane purpose built venue provides, there was the capacity for a Junior regatta in the morning, with three Shanklin boats entered here also.
The day began for the club with Ethan Walters in his J14 single scull heat. At just 13 years of age and therefore with another year to race in the category, Ethan did extremely well to qualify for his final in third place. In the final, Ethan gave everything he had, coming down the 1000 metre course and was well amongst the race, however he race win was to be contested in the late stages by the much bigger race leaders from WEARA, with Ethan taking an extremely respectable fifth place in the final.
Also entered in the J14 age category was a Girls quad. Lottie Tapsell, Scarlett Phelan, Rachael Debenham, Mia Phelan and cox Anja Bennett had only two other crews in their heat and therefore had a row over into the final, which was an excellent opportunity to scout the course whilst staying fresh! In the final, the girls had an excellent start and despite it being Lottie's first race and Scarlett being just 12 years old, the crew found themselves challenging for the win! In the closing stages the leading crew moved away from the Shanklin quad, who easily held on to the second place - an amazing result!
Emily Faithfull was also racing in the Girls J16 Single Sculls. Emily too had a row over in her heat, facing just two other scullers and was also able to save herself for the final. In the final, Emily, who like Ethan has another year in the category started well and stayed well amongst the race for the first 500 metres. AS the race came into its closing stages it was two WEARA scullers who rowed away from the rest of the scullers looking for the win, with Emily coming home in a strong fifth place.
In the Senior regatta, it was to be three Junior status fours that would be out representing Shanklin. The first to head out on to the course was the Ladies Junior B boat containing Mia Phelan, Lisa Robertson, Stella Gamble, Anja Bennett and cox Alex Robertson. A slower start than the rest of the field had the crew coming out of the blocks a little behind, but they soon found their rhythm as they headed down the track. With a much faster race pace than they have had all season the crew lifted brilliantly in the final 500 metres finishing very strongly having had their best row of the year which was unfortunately not enough to earn a place in the final as they finished fifth.
The second Ladies Junior Four would head down the course a race later. The A boat featured Emily Andre, Sophie Atkin, Emily Faithfull, Daisy Faithfull and cox Ethan Walters. A fast start moved them up into second place early on in the race and they kept the pressure on as they moved away from the third placed crew to ensure they would qualify for their final, something they did comfortably. A cox change was neeeded for the final In the final and the crew found themselves lining up on the pontoons with Anja Bennett in the coxwains seat. A good start moved the crew up to the top of the race alongside crews from BTC, Coalies and Christchurch. As they race moved through 1000 metres BTC found an extra gear and started to create distance between themselves and the other three crews. In a crazy finale the girls were battling for the final two podium spots in a sprint finish, being narrowly beaten by Coalies and just beating Christchurch over the line to take third with a great row!
Finally it was the turn of the Mens Junior Four. The boat consisting of Joe Robertson, Jamie Gamble, Matt Miselbach, Harry Miselbach and cox Ethan Walters. After a season of challenging at the top of their category and agonisingly missing out on a regatta win, the boys knew this was their final opportunity this year to take home a win. In their heat, the boys stormed into an early lead and looked to have booked their place in the final. However with the battle for the second and final qualifying spot going on in the background a mad final 500 metres saw Bexhill take a narrow win, but with Shanklin knowing they had an extra gear. The script for the final up to the 1000 metre mark was similar to that of the heat as the Shanklins crew ferocious start translated into a lengths lead by the half way point. There was to be no let up this time from the boys in blue however and despite the best efforts of the strong Bexhill boat, Shanklin only moved further away coming in to the final stages and as they rowed past the spectators and in to finish they took a two length victory on the iconic Olympic rowing lake! For the members of the crew it was a deserved reward for a season where they have dug deep and not allowed despondency to take over!
The regatta was rounded off with the prize giving ceremony, where Dan Ritchie and Matt Lanridge (Former GB Rowers) presented the awards to all winning crews, including our Mens Junior Four, three of whom are now back to back South Coast Champions.
The event provided all rowers with an unparalleled experience at a world class venue and the club would like to thank the Hants and Dorset ARA and the organising committee for the time and effort that was required to pull off such an event. The final thanks go out to Ryde and Newport Rowing Club both of whom helped with the lending of boats and transport of equipment to Dorney.
The club now look forward to a slightly less hectic autumn with BTC Head Race and Itchen Junior Regatta in September and October.