National Schools Regatta 2014- Championship Girls Quad Preview

Another very strong entry standard.

My preview…


Coach- Bret King

Key Athlete- Molly Harding

Notable Results- 1st place in WJ174x at OJSH, 2nd place in WJ4x at HOR4

I think these girls just about take the favourite tag for this event. They are similar to the SWB male quad in that they have fantastic quality throughout their crew, demonstrated by the fact that they had all of their athletes inside the top 15 scullers at Feb GB Trials. They’ve been dominant for a couple of years now and they are still only J17- a truly frightening fact for their opposition. Bret King was wary and respectful of their opposition when I spoke to him a few months ago but it is hard to ignore the wonderful quality they have. Can they win? In that sumptuous fluid-design shell, I see no reason why not. They’ll have to have the race of their lives but these girls are capable of producing at the highest level.

Eton Excelsior

Coach- Alastair Horn

Key Athlete- Katherine Maitland

Notable Results- 1st place in WJ4x at HOR4

These girls have slipped off the radar over the past few months and allowed all the other crews to do the talking. This only leads me to presume that they’ve been on an intensive training regime or they’ve suffered an injury. Whatever the case, I cannot wait to see these girls on Sunday. They will need to have upped their game since HOR4 as Marlow, Gloucester Hartpury and Latymer have all stepped on in the fight for the CHG4x title. Eton Excelsior are another crew with talent in abundance and they’ll need every inch of that to displace Marlow at the top of the tree. The battle between these girls, Marlow and Gloucester Hartpury is a superb backdrop to this exciting event and is a real advertisement for the top end of junior rowing. I think these girls will fall just short behind Marlow though.

Gloucester Hartpury ‘B’

Coach- Tom Pattichis

Key Athlete- Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne

Notable Results- 1st in WJ4x at SHORR, 1st place in WJ184x at Wallingford Regatta

Another crew fresh from the design table and they’ve hit the ground running, dismantling a classy Latymer crew on two occasions. All the top junior women athletes appear to be concentrated at a few lucky clubs this year and Gloucester Hartpury are a fortunate recipient. No Flo Pickles on the entry list despite her strong performances at Munich for GB which will weaken the crew unless she races under a different name. Nonetheless, the Gloucester Hartpury boat will still be quick and they are one of the few crews that are capable of challenging the supremacy of Marlow. Their performance at SHORR in particular will have worried their competitors and their time in the WJ184x final at Wallingford was faster than the time of the SWB women’s eight. I think these girls will be challenging for a medal.

Headington School ‘A’

Coach- Ryan Demaine

Key Athlete- Hannah Tomlinson

Notable Results- 2nd place in WELI 4x at Wallingford Regatta

A new entrant to the quad scene but, if I were Gloucester Hartpury, Marlow or anyone else for that matter, I’d be concerned. Headington will have prioritised the eight at this stage but their lead in that event is such that they could afford the quad more time to paddle without jeopardising their chances of winning CHG8+. They’ve put arguably their top four girls into this quad and I, for one, can’t wait to see the result. They raced excellently at Wallingford and were only 10 seconds behind the GB composite boat for Munich. I think they can upset the established crews this weekend as their strength and versatility is so good this year. They had a crew that made the final of HRR last year and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them repeat that feat. I’m sure they’ll be in the final.

Latymer Upper School

Coach-  Michael Probert

Key Athlete- Georgia Hellard Timm

Notable Results- 1st place in WJ184x at OJSH, 2nd place in WJ4x at SHORR

A crew that were always going to struggle to live up to the hype surrounding last years HRR winning boat. They’ve been going well nonetheless and came second to a very strong Gloucester Hartpury unit. They have, as ever, some good little single scullers and they’ve dome quite well in smaller boats. Losing your four best athletes along with your coach is always going to be a tough pill to swallow but Latymer are a competitive unit and they lead the field out this year in the time trial. They should have no issues putting some distance between themselves and Staines but I don’t think they’ll have enough to contest medal spots. They definitely have the ability to make the final although there are plenty of crews who could intercede. I think Latymer will sneak it though.

Tideway Scullers School

Coach- Chris Williams

Key Athlete- Isabel Cole

Notable Results- 3rd in WJ4x at SHORR, 3rd in WJ174x at OJSH

Another glaring exclusion stands out to me upon studying the TSS entry; Saskia Budgett. Arguably more renowned for her sweep oar ability, she’ll still be a big loss for these girls. Nonetheless, this crew is an accomplished unit with a particularly fast double inside. The Isabel Cole/Megan Saunders combination are one of my favourites to take the prize in CHG2x but their quad stands a good chance of making the final. They’ve had some decent results through the winter and have just about kept in touch with the leading pack, closing the gap on Latymer at SHORR. These girls could cause an upset and push Latymer out of a place in the final.

Surbiton High School BC

A very talented group of scullers whose success is quite remarkable; they only acquired their own boathouse in October 2013! They’ve done exceptionally well and have actually produced some quality crews, including that excellent WJ164x last year which won a silver medal at NSR. These girls have rowed well this year, winning WJUN4x at Kingston Head before finishing second in WJ174x at SHORR behind the superb Henley crew. I think they are well capable of competing on Sunday and they are my dark horse.

Notable mentions to Weybridge, who finished third in WJ184x at Wallingford Regatta and King’s School Worcerster, who have picked up some good results through the year.

Good luck to all competitors!

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