STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club are busy preparing for their annual Boxing Day Scratch Regatta.
A firm favourite on the Boat Club’s calendar, club athletes will have the chance to row away the over indulgence of Christmas Day and set their sights firmly on serious training for the 2024 season.
More than 40 athletes will brave the cold and damp to take part in the Scratch Regatta, competing in fours over a short sprint course, weather permitting.
Organiser of this year’s Boxing Day Regatta, Dave Edwards, said: “We pick club crews from names entered into a draw based on gender, age and ability so that all the crews are more or less equal, ranging from members of the Junior squad right through to Masters.”
To ensure fair play and safety, starters, umpires, spotters and the safety launch will all be in place whilst crowds can watch and cheer from the Recreation Ground, The Royal Shakespeare Terrace, Bancroft Gardens and The Tramway Bridge.
Junior squad coordinator, Steve Wellstead, added: “The training schedule will be back on target the first weekend after the New Year.
“2024 is going to be another great season for Stratford in all categories and we’re heading for continued success in local and national regattas and heads.”
Racing begins at 10am on Boxing Day (Tuesday, December 26) with everyone welcome.
However, the club finished the 2023 season with a certain amount of frustration. High water levels meant most athletes went indoors for land training.
Wellstead added: “December is a challenging month for training with many junior squad athletes taking important mock exams and the river this year has restricted us even more to indoor and land training.”
Elsewhere, Stratford alumnae Alice Baines and Katie Wellstead have been selected for the Trial Eight Crews for The Boat Race in March 2024.
Alice, a member of Magdalen College Boat Club, rows for the University of Cambridge and Katie, a member of St Edmund’s Hall Boat Club, rows for the University of Oxford.
Stratford Boat Club’s president, Paul Stanton, said: “We have watched Alice and Katie’s progress with pride and they stand out as role models to all showing that hard work and dedication produces results.”
And the club’s adaptive section waved goodbye to Curtis Dickens, for a week or so, after he secured a place on British Rowing’s Para-rowing Talent Pathway who are undertaking a pre-Christmas training camp.
Stratford’s head adaptive coach, Mark Dewdney, said: “This is entirely due to the planning and training that the adaptive section’s coaches and helpers have given Curtis but most importantly and without doubt, the massive effort that Curtis has put into his own progress.
“His positive ‘can do’ attitude and his eagerness to learn will help him a long way to his potential path to a possible future Paralympics.”