FIVE months of gruelling winter training – six days each week on and off the water – came to fruition for Stratford Boat Club members at the 6km Worcester Head of the River event on the River Severn.
Conditions were difficult for competitors as the WJ16 (15 going on 16-year-olds) Stratford squad showed their workrate and skill.
The impressive coxless quadruple sculling boat of Mimi Hill, Talei Dunn, Autumn Keil and Molly Gill-Swift finished in second place in their age category, only 20 seconds behind the winner.
The Stratford coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Jessica Wiesheu, Khloe Curnock and Emily Browne, coxed by Matilda Watts, competed in an adult category but rose to the challenge to emerge victorious as the day’s fastest ladies coxed four – an outstanding result for these young athletes.
J16 coach Dr Graham Collier said; “After the upcoming West Midlands Junior Inter-regional Regatta trials, the crews head off to the Schools Head of the River Race which is over the Boat Race course on the River Thames.
“The Worcester results have set them up nicely to compete strongly in this national event which attracts schools and clubs from all over the country.”
Stratford’s sister club from King Edward VI Grammar School won in the IM3.4+ category and also competed in the W.IM2.4+ event.
The senior men’s squad also had their first opportunity of the year to put all the hard work in training into practice.
Senior men’s coach Bill Sullivan said: “The senior men’s eight are targeting a top 80 finish in the prestigious Head of the River held on the Tideway in London in March.
“They kicked off the day at Worcester with a good second place in the senior eights with the potential to build a lot more speed over the coming weeks.
“They continue their build-up at The Head of the Trent in Nottingham this coming weekend. Meanwhile, the IM 4+ had an encouraging first race of the season and will build their competitiveness over the coming weeks in Nottingham.”
The senior men’s coxed four raced well in the elite 4+ category in the second division. They were engaged in a tight tussle with a good crew from Exeter Rowing Club all the way down the river.
Unfortunately for Stratford, a crash with a Worcester veterans quad seemingly unable to understand the simple premise that two boats do not fit into one narrow arch, meant the four had to stop rowing and untangle themselves, costing them victory.
The senior men’s IM 4+ had an encouraging first race of the season and will build their competitiveness over the coming weeks.
Stratford’s masters squad enjoyed victory with a Bridgnorth Rowing Club composite masters D.4+ and also competed in the C/D/E.4- and C/D/E.8+ categories.