GB Triallists 2014/2015 Season- Top Ten JM Sweep Oarsmen

The second of my four part mini series, which will run us through the major players on the junior circuit. With 2014 something of a vintage year in terms of medal haul [two silvers and a bronze], all eyes are on GB to better that in Rio next year. As has become tradition, World Rowing and the junior company have the honour of using the Rio rowing lake as a tester before the 2016 Olympics; a fact that should provide ample incentive to the aspiring junior athletes. With two returners from our silver medal winning JM4+, let’s take a look at some of the top guys from this years batch…


Charlie Elwes [Radley College]

Previous GB Representation- Junior World Championships, JM4+, 6th place, 2013; Junior World Championships, JM4+, 2nd place, 2014

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The big man from Oxford, Charlie burst onto the junior scene as a nipper in the Radley first VIII in 2012. Word was that Radley had bred a big puller who was only J15 and his fearsome power had earned him a place in the top crew; that turned out to be a pretty astute decision from the management as the boys in white and red went on to make the final, losing out to a indomitable unit from Abingdon School. Charlie has an absolutely monstrous ergo and a real desire to be the best. There’s a story that always make me chuckle; having seen Sam Meijer’s name ahead of him on the April 2k data sheet last year, Charlie decided to re-do his test. If rumours are to be believed, he pulled 5:57 which is a new British junior record. Looking at his 6:10 R24 score, I would say that a sub 6 minute score is very believable. Charlie will be key to GB success this summer.


Tom Digby [Abingdon School]

Previous GB Representation- Junior World Championships, JM4+, 2nd place, 2014

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In much the same manner that Charlie did, young Tom Digby has been sending shock-waves through the junior circuit over the past six months. Dave Currie identified his talent and bumped him up into the Abingdon first VIII when he was only in his J15 level. The move proved to be decisive; Abingdon won Championship Eights at the National Schools Regatta and Tom raced himself up into the top ranked boat for the JWRC. Another lad who isn’t afraid of a big ergo, it’ll be interesting to see how Tom gets on under Ali Brown. He’ll be around for another two years so his development will be important.


Luke Towers [Pangbourne School]

Previous GB Representation- Junior World Championships, JM8+, 4th place, 2014

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A member of the impressive Pangbourne four from last year, Luke had a cracking season last year. Pangbourne triumphed in the Child Beale Cup at the National Schools Regatta before Luke joined the rest of the stern three from the eight to win gold in Championship Coxless Fours. His involvement with the Great Britain men’s junior eight was also very promising; the boat was missing the top four athletes from the squad and still managed a strong finish in the ‘A’ final. Pangbourne are going through a very strong phase at the moment and I expect Luke to be featuring highly through the year.


Alex Lindsay [Eton College]

Previous GB Representation- NA

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Some may question why I’ve put Alex in here but, to me, it is a very obvious choice. Although his ergo may not be the strongest, he is undoubtedly a capable and technically skilled oarsman with the potential to be a major player in the junior arena. He stroked the Eton College first VIII to victory at Henley Royal Regatta last year and was an integral part of the top crew all year. He trialled in the GB system last year, finishing thirteenth at the February Trials in a pair with fellow returner Francois Gouws. Henshilwood trusted Alex with the stroke-seat of his eight so there must be something there.


Will White [Bedford Modern School]

Previous GB Representation- Coupe De La Jeunesse, JM4x, 10th place, 2014

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Having switched allegiances to the school at which he is a pupil, it appears Will has also changed disciplines, leaving two oars for one. The Bedford based athlete raced at the Coupe last year but the performance of his quad was a little below par so Will will be looking to rectify that [Apologies for that sentence, blame Will for his inconsiderate name]. I’ll be interested to see how he takes to the new discipline of sweep but, as proven at the HOCR, a good sculler usually provides a competent sweep oarsman. He’s got a decent ergo score and I expect to see him feature highly.


Jonathan Naylor [Canford School]

Previous GB Representation- Coupe De La Jeunesse, JM8+, 4th place, 2014

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Another lad who had a cracking season last year, Jonny has been adding his considerable talents to the Canford cause over the past few years. They won at the Schools Head of the River before Jonny raced himself into the eight for the Coupe De La Jeunesse in July; it’ll be interesting to see who he races with at the February trials after losing his partner in crime, Aryan Sheikhalian. He’s not a show-stopper but will be pushing for a place on the plane to Rio, having already represented Great Britain at European level.


Alex Slater [King’s School Chester]

Previous GB Representation- Coupe De La Jeunesse, JM8+, 4th place, 2014

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I can’t lie, I’m very impressed by the resurgence King’s School Chester appear to be undergoing at the moment. Their senior squad performed very impressively last year, beating Eton at the Head of the Trent and Shrewsbury at the North of England Head before slightly tailing off in the summer. Alex Slater was a key part of that and his escapades for Great Britain will make him a natural leader at KCH this year. He’s got a very strong ergo [6:25:4 at R24] and I think we’ll be seeing more of him in the latter stages of the trialling process.


Nick Plaut [Westminster School]

Previous GB Representation- NA

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This could be construed as bit of a punt but the lad from Westminster was one of the major players in the success of his J16 Championship Eight last year. Westminster are aiming for domination on the sculling and sweep scene and I’ll be fascinated to see whether Nick sculls this year alongside Sam Meijer or whether the latter races an eight with the rest of the J16 cohort. Nick has had a good season so far, finishing second at the Pairs Head in J182- before racing well at the Armada Cup. I could be wrong but I think this guy could be a strong candidate for selection in the summer.


Seb Benzecry [St Paul’s School]

Previous GB Representation- NA

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This guy was probably the top athlete in the St Paul’s J16 eight that finished second at the National Schools Regatta last year and his performances were rewarded with a promotion to the first VIII for Henley. Seb has had a pretty impressive start to this season, picking up a bronze medal in Youth Eights at the Head of the Charles before winning consecutive coxed four events at the Head of the Schuylkill and the Fours Head of the River. He’s got a decent ergo score and, having watched St Paul’s produce three athletes for GB representation last year, Seb is probably their best hope this year.


David Wilcox [St Edwards School]

Previous GB Representation- NA

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Although stroke is a relatively new discipline for David, he’ll be learning under the best at St Edwards. Having enjoyed a real golden spell in junior rowing, St Edwards may find it harder to scale the lofty heights they achieved last year but the recruitment of David Wilcox on a sixth form scholarship will undoubtedly help. The former Wallingford RC man raced to a silver medal in the J164x category at the National Schools Regatta last year and the transition to rowing may prove difficult. However, David’s power and strength will help a great deal and, with a R24 ergo of 6:28:8. he could well be in contention come summer.


That’s all for my JM preview. Other names to watch out for are Ben Brophy [Tideway Scullers School], who raced at the Coupe last year, Francois Gouws [Eton College], who was also a winner of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley, Ben Wright [Sir William Borlase], who was the stroke-man of the SWB J16 eight last year, David Bewicke Copley [Eton College], who has an absolutely monstrous R24 ergo for a J17, Chris Zahn [Hampton School], who was a member of the Hampton first VIII last year, Sam Hamilton-Peach [St Edwards School], whose formidable stature may prove decisive in selection and Freddie Davidson [St Paul’s School], who has been racing alongside Seb and Arthur Doyle this season.

My junior women’s preview will hopefully be out tomorrow,






I am the editor of a rapidly growing blog based around the junior rowing circuit within the UK. From launch in June 2013, the website has experienced vast growth in both its reader count and view count while the article range has expanded. I currently work with a team of 10 people, all of whom voluntarily write articles for the blog. In our first year, I looked to expand from the standard previews and reviews that had gained initial success to building relationships with clubs and conducting interviews. This move proved successful and we are currently exploring new routes to further improve our platform. The blog has led to involvement with Regatta Radio, Rowing & Regatta, Row 360 and British Rowing.

  • Bill

    You know nothing

    St Peters for the win thi year as evry fooool know