National Schools Regatta 2014- Championship Girls Eights Preview

A much higher entry than the male equivalent so I’ll only detail the main competitors here. The preview…

Headington School

Coach- Ryan Demaine

Key Athlete- Hannah Tomlinson

Notable Results- 1st place at SHORR and 1st place in Women’s Elite VIII’s at Wallingford  Regatta

An absolute monster of a rowing squad with strength, fitness, athleticism and technique in equal measure. They are the undisputed favourites for this event and they don’t look like they will be relinquishing their hold on junior rowing any time soon. They have a plethora of fantastically talented athletes who are all capable of representing Great Britain at junior level and beyond. What baffles me is their effortless ability to switch disciplines and be competitive in both; their A quad made the HRR final last year and they’ll be pushing for victory on both days. Apparently, Headington have begun to recruit from abroad in pursuit of complete domination and this will only make them stronger. They’ll win this event at a canter.

Kings School Chester

Coach- Paul Townshend

Key Athlete- Sarah Lusher

Notable Results- 1st place in WJ18 8+ at Wallingford Regatta, 1st place in WIM3 8+ at Nottingham City Regatta

A crew that has gained a remarkable amount of speed since the SHORR. These girls first caught my eye at the Head of the Trent, where they won WJ18 8+ and WJ16 8+ by comfortable margins. They had a slightly disappointing run at the SHORR, coming home 10th and a whole minute and a bit behind the winners. They really performed at Wallingford though, where they stormed to a quite brilliant win against much fancied Lady Eleanor Holles, having been down at the 1k mark. They consolidated this with another good performance at Nottingham City, winning their event ahead of Nottingham University. I think these girls can make the final this weekend and will be challenging for a medal. A dark horse.

Lady Eleanor Holles

Coach- Jonathon Cheeseman

Key Athlete- Amy Polglase

Notable Results- 2nd at SHORR, 2nd in WJ18 8+ at Wallingford

Another crew that have really turned their fortunes around with the introduction of a new coach. Cheeseman, who had a very successful spell with Haberdashers Monmouth previously, has had an instant impact upon proceedings at LEH and they’ve really stepped on this year, finishing 2nd at the SHORR. They’ll have been disappointed with their result at Wallingford and will have addressed the second half of their race, which was a weak point for them. They’re a strong crew and will be looking to claim that silver medal at the weekend ahead of KCH, SWB and other competitors. Can they do it? With Cheeseman in charge, anything can happen but they’ll have a hard job making up 10 seconds on SWB. Watch out for their WCH4- on the Sunday too.

Sir William Borlase

Coach- Harry Lyons/ Robin Dowell

Key Athlete- Olivia Radcliffe

Notable Results- 3rd place at the SHORR, a win in WIM38+ at Bedford Regatta

Another crew that falls into the category of silver/bronze medal contenders. I like these girls and their ability to produce good quality boats year on year; a testament to the set up down at SWB. I think these girls may just have slipped past Lady Eleanor Holles in the running for the silver medal as they had an exceptional performance at Wallingford in WELI 8+, finishing fourth in a very quick time. These girls had some strong results through the winter and have gained a lot of speed since the SHORR. They’ll be looking to close the gap on Headington although I feel that jump may come a little too soon. My favourites to take the silver medal.

Sir William Perkins School

Coach- Tom Cannon

Key Athlete- Hattie West

Notable Results- 5th place at SHORR, 4th place in WJ18 8+ at Wallingford Regatta

A crew that have been knocking on the door of the above clubs but haven’t really received much of an answer just yet. They finished fourth at Wallingford and looked pretty strong but it is fair to say that they are still a class apart from crews such as Sir William Borlase and Lady Eleanor Holles. They have some great athletes in their ranks, including the very talented Hattie West and they often produce world class athletes- take Sarah Locke for example. They just don’t have enough to really send a top boat to compete for the win at big competitions. I think they can make the final on Saturday but not much more.

Great Marlow School

Coach- Ben Tipney

Key Athlete- Francesca Reynolds

Notable Results- 7th place at SHORR, 1st place in WJ18 8+ at Wallingford Head

It has been a pretty solid year for these girls so far, with a number of good results. They beat an LEH crew at Wallingford Head in December to win WJ18 8+ and recorded a time 2 seconds slower than Sir William Borlase. However I do feel that Sir William Borlase have stepped on since then, as demonstrated by recent results. They made the final of WIM3 4+ at Bedford Regatta and were beaten in WELI 8+ by Thames RC in a time that was only four seconds slower than a similar Thames race against SWB. I think these girls could possibly sneak into the final although this still depends upon the quality of the rest of the field.

My prediction for the final- Headington, Lady Eleanor Holles, Sir William Borlase, Kings School Chester, Sir William Perkins, Great Marlow School

My prediction for the win- Headington

If I have missed anyone, let me know!

Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from-