It’s that time again…the National School’s Regatta at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. So far this season the weather gods have been kind to competitors and organisers with the BUCS, Notts City and British Masters all benefiting from glorious conditions. I’ve got a feeling it might be 4th time unlucky for the Nat Schools, but fingers crossed we won’t get a repeat of the 2008 regatta:
Last year I did rather well with my predictions getting 15 out of 21 gold medallists correct. I’m not sure I’ll match that this year and it’s going to be interesting to compare my predictions with that of my “mini-me” at http://juniorrowing.wordpress.com/ 😉
So here we go:
Boys Championship Single
25 scullers. A lot of these boys will be familiar with eachother, they will have raced against, and with eachother for some time. For my money this is going to come down to a dogfight between Chris Lawrie of Sir William Borlase School and Leander’s Harry Leask.
Lawrie was part of the GB JM4X that raced at the World Championships last year finishing 10th. This season he raced in the JM4X at the Munich Junior Regatta taking gold.
Leask struggled at the end of last season with a back injury but is now back to full form. He raced in the much fancied Leander Quad in the Fawley Challenge Cup at Henley last year, (many peoples pick for the win until their disaster in the quarter final). At 6 foot 5 and with a 6:10 2K erg he’s a formidable talent and has already beaten Lawrie this season at the Henley Sculls.
Behind these two I’m going for Christchurch’s Matt Aldridge. Aldridge raced in the 4- and 8+ at the Munich Junior regatta and is probably more adept with one, rather than two oars. But he has form in the single and will be a big challenger for the medals.
Another couple of scullers to highlight are Norwich’s Steve Parsonage and Marlow’s Alex Haynes. Both of these guys competed for GB at Munich
So my prediction for the medals: Harry Leask gold, Chris Lawrie silver and Matt Aldridge bronze.
Girls Championship Single
17 scullers. The standout sculler in this field is Nottingham’s Anna Thornton. The winner of the GB Junior Trials in February, she raced in the double and quad at Munich and won the Elite W4X at Wallingford as part of the Nautilus crew. Chasing Thornton will be Corinne Larkworthy of Bedford. She won J18 1X at Wallingford and also WJ18 1X at Star Head. She has appeared regularly at the GB trials. Last year she received funding support from the Lloyds-TSB Local heroes initiative which “provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond”
Another sculler to watch out for will be Eton Excelesior’s Katherine Maitland. She won the Thames Valley Trial Head and has been awarded a rowing scholarship to Duke University in the USA. Finishing 2nd to Maitland at the Thames Valley Head was Marlow’s Rosalind Wilson. Wilson was 2nd to Thornton at the Junior Trials and has been racing in a very competent JW 4X. Keep an eye out also for Jess Findlay from Tees, she won silver in the Girls Champ Quads last year and also Emma Crouch from Bedford.
My picks…gold for Thornton, silver for Larkworthy, bronze for Maitland
Boys Championship Double
38 crews. Top ranked crew in this event has to be the Westminster duo of Sam Meijer and Cam Kerr. These two raced against each other in singles at Wallingford returning a 1-2 with Sam taking the honours. As a double they were a brilliant 4th at the Pairs Head and then combined with Ben Spencer-Jones and Henry Goodier of Imperial College in a quad at the Head of the River Fours finishing an astounding 3rd overall. Meijer also raced in the quad at the Munich Junior regatta returning with GB’s only victory.
Behind the Westminster double the main challenge may come from the White twins of Windsor Boys School. They won J18 2X at Wallingford and also Elite 2X at Notts City (although they lost J18 2X to the Ozsanlav-Harris brothers of Grange School). The boys from The Grange School will also be challenging for medals, Scott Ozsanlav-Harris has competed well at the GB trials and was selected to race in the Nautilus “B” quad at Wallingford which finished second in Elite 4X.
I’d also keep an eye out for the Walton double of Matt Georgiou and Lee Mount. Georgiou raced at the Home International regatta. They also won J18 2X at Hampton Head.Also look out for the St.Neots double of Fergus Mitchell Dwelly and Josh Davies. They were 2nd at the Henley Sculls and again at Hampton Head.
My picks, Westminster for the clear win with The Grange School 2nd and Windsor Boys 3rd
Girls Championship Double
33 crews. This looks to be a very tight event. The Tideway Scullers combination of Issy Cole and Megan Saunders won convincingly at Wallingford ahead of several of their competitors in this field. The main competition will come from the Marlow pairing of Heidi Long and Molly Harding. Both these girls have competed well at the GB trials and were selected to race at the Munich Junior Regatta.
Also challenging for the medals will be Eton Excelsior with GB trialists Alice Mixter and Gabi Hatfield. Hatfield won J18 1X at Hampton Head, they are also racing in the quad which will probably be the priority for the club but they undoubtedly have the talent to challenge for a medal in the smaller boat. Look out also for Kingston Grammar with Flora Blake-Parsons and Lydia Davis and Bedford’s Robyn Armstrong and Lottie Bruce.
My picks….Marlow (just) from Tideway Scullers with Eton Excelsior in bronze.
The pairs, and bigger boats to follow…..