MONMOUTH School Head Boy Will put himself right on top of the British junior rowing rankings when he raced to victory at the GB Junior Regatta at Nottingham’s National Water Sports Centre.
The 18-year-old GB junior cap raced with Pangbourne College’s Luke in the pairs as the country’s top juniors vied for places at the world junior rowing championships in Hamburg and the Coupe de la Jeunesse European junior team competition later this year.
And after winning the initial 2000m time-trial and his semi-final, Will and partner won an epic battle for overall victory in the six-boat final, overcoming a St Paul’s, London, duo in the last 100m as their nearest rivals shipwrecked under the pressure.
Will was part of the Monmouth School squad who trained on Seville’s world championship course over the Easter holidays, and this latest performance means he’ll be jetting off again next week as part of the GB junior team competing on Munich’s Olympic course.
School mate Alex also gave a creditable performance at the trials regatta, beating 11 other pairs in the 42-boat event with Pangbourne partner Paddy.
School clubmates were also in action on the same course representing Wales and the West in the 12-team Junior Inter Regional Regatta 24 hours earlier.
Rory, Rory, Harry, Harris and Dominic did well to row the J16 coxed four into the A final in the challenging windy conditions, but then drew an outside line in the worst of the wind, finally finishing fifth out of 12.
Tom, Fergus, Charlie and Sam teamed up with four rowers and a cox from Cheltenham College to row the eight in a scratch crew which qualified from the heat and also finished a creditable fifth.
To gear up for the new regatta season, a total of 38 boys joined 21 girls sister school Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls at a six-day training camp in Spain, on the city centre course where serial Olympic gold medalists Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell set the current pairs world record in 2002 and which hosted last year’s European Championships.
They trained two to three times a day in beautiful warm weather, covering up to 150 miles rowing in total, racing over timed pieces, doing long endurance paddles, crew seat racing and technical sessions.
Monmouth School’s Head of Rowing John Griffiths added: “After missing most of the Lent term water work because of flooding on the Wye, it was fantastic to train on a perfect still-water multi-lane course in pleasant warm temperatures.
“It enabled high quality training and very fair seat racing to decide crews, while simply having some intensive and continuous rowing for the U15s allowed their technique to improve enormously. We finished with some 2k pieces, showing we are stronger than last year.
“We also experienced the start of Holy Week in Seville, with all its processions, which was enlightening for all.”
Prior to heading to Spain, Monmouth School’s first eight finished 17th in the 300-boat national Schools’ Head despite the high water levels hampering their preparations.
They covered the reverse Boat Race course in London in 17mins 22secs, just 10secs down on a top-eight finish, which bodes well for the regatta season. Three days later, they returned to the Thames to take on the likes of GB’s Olympic stars in the 400-boat Tideway men’s 8s Head, but the event was called off amid gale force winds after only 70 crews had started.