DESPITE Storm Hannah causing a host of rowing events to be cancelled, Sunday’s Junior Sculling Regatta at Dorney Lake fortunately escaped the worst of the weather and this allowed the Stratford Boat Club J15 single scullers able to compete impressively on the Olympic lake.
A stiff breeze blew down the course for the initial 1,500m time trials, causing choppy conditions for all. Despite this, all boat sizes and age groups raced successfully with no mishaps.
First against the clock for Stratford was Will Clarke, up against the 2km row to the start line against the wind in a boat weighing little more than 15kg. This quickly allowed him to judge the conditions, ready to race in a 20-strong field against other J15 competitors from around the country.
Despite a good start and a consistent row to finish in a respectable time of 6:34, Clarke closely missed a place in the finals.
Conditions remained choppy for the WJ15.1x time trials as Stratford’s Amelie Sartain and Sophie Elstone both made their way to the start.
Once marshalled into their lanes for the rolling start, they had to adjust every stroke and this saw them both row strongly against not only the conditions but also fellow well-known competitors.
Finishing in times of 6:45 and 6:52 placed Sartain in the A final and Elstone in the B final.
The wind calmed considerably during the afternoon for the latter duo’s 2,000m finals races, this time in the six-lane side-by-side format.
In the B final Elstone quickly establish a commanding lead, holding on to it throughout to finish convincingly in first position. This was immediately followed by the A final in which Sartain remained strong against tough competition to finish sixth.
Both girls showed true determination in what was a promising beginning to this year’s regatta season.
J15 coach Trevor Tiller said: “With our first races in this year’s regatta season bringing these strong performances from all, resulting in overall placings from the girls of sixth and seventh with Will 13th at this national event, the J15 squad look forward to their next events.”