Wallingford Long Distance Sculls 2015 – J171X

This event features a very impressive 38 entries, and many of these come from very prestigious sweep oar schools, which should lead to some interesting racing – it’s always good to see how successfully these rowers make the transition from the one oar to two. There also some very talented scullers who performed well throughout their J16 year, so I’m looking forward to seeing who has made the step up from last season. Here are a few names that could be looking to be near the top of this event:

Maidenhead Rowing Club – O’Mahony
Last season, O’Mahony showed great promise by winning silver in the J16 single at the National Schools’ Regatta. Despite this, he failed to amaze at the J16 GB trials, which could suggest that he doesn’t show as much speed when it comes to the longer distance head races. Even so, he’s clearly a talented sculler and I think he’ll be tough to beat by any standard. It’s worth mentioning that Maidenhead have a wealth of athletes in this category, and they always produce some strong scullers – particularly at this point in the season. Watch out for the boys in green!
Shiplake – Rollet-Manus
Rollet-Manus has only moved to Shiplake this season and spent the bulk of his rowing career at Henley Rowing Club. He therefore knows his way around a single scull, something we saw at the British Rowing Championships in Strathclyde where he won the gold medal (in an admittedly weakened field). Still though, he should certainly be near the top of these results and will do well at the weekend.
Eton College – Adams
Adams was a member of both Eton’s gold medal winning J16 eight and coxless four at National Schools last season, so is clearly a great athlete in a sweep boat. This should make it very interesting to see whether he is capable of moving a single in a similar way. Don’t write him off, as he is clearly a very talented athlete.
Eton College – Drinkall
Drinkall also competed in both of these crews with Adams, and is therefore also a highly talented sweep rower. Once again, it should interesting to see how he makes the transition across to two oars, and would be nice to see him challenge more experienced scullers! Word on the street is that Drinkall was very close to making Eton’s successful 1st VIII as a J16 last year, so I’d be surprised if this guy doesn’t have some good pace. It would certainly be a turnout if an Etonian took the top spot this year; they aren’t a school that’s particularly well associated with sculling. However, with such a strong J16 contingent last year, it’s all to play for.
Maidenhead Rowing Club – Sneller
Although not quite being finalist standard, Sneller finished in the top twelve at National School’s regatta last year in the J16 single, and is therefore a pretty decent sculler who has the potential to be successful this weekend. It will be important for the sculler to steer a great line – getting the corners just right at Wallingford can make a massive difference in terms of time, and I’d like to see this guy do well here in a really talented field.
Shiplake – Bloise-Brooke
Blois-Brooke won a medal as part of Shiplake’s coxless four at National School’s last year, so certainly has the potential to move a single quickly too and therefore could be strong. I don’t think he’ll challenge the more experienced scullers and he may struggle to keep up with the Eton boys who beat them in the four at National Schools’, however I still think he’ll do well.
Shiplake – Newman
Newman also competed in the coxless four with Bloise-Brooke and will also be looking to put in a decent performance against the rest of the field. Similarly, he may not be right up at the top but I expect a fairly solid result.
Eton College – Norman
Norman was part of Eton’s winning J16 eight at National School’s this year, and also finished in fourth place in the pair. He is clearly a very capable athlete and should be able to produce a decent result in the single scull too, but I don’t expect him to be the fastest sculler from Eton.
Eton College – Pearson
Pearson was also part of both of the eight and pair with Norman last season, so I would expect him to be of a similar, fairly high standard even if he is unlikely to be finishing right at the top of the results.
Watch out for the entry under Dart Totnes-Riou – after the heroic escapades of the club’s own Matt Swiss last year, who managed to storm his way into a spot in the Junior World’s double after coming in as a relatively unknown presence in the junior scene. Dart Totnes are a good club, and it would be exciting to see another guy like Matt Swiss rise up through the ranks – perhaps will see this with Luke Riou.

Prediction
I am going to predict that O’Mahony of Maidenhead Rowing Club will take the win, with Rollet-Manus of Shiplake coming in at second place. These two have both shown excellent results in the single scull at a national level already, and although Eton have some fantastic athletes competing, their scullers simply won’t be experienced enough to take these two on. Despite this, I don’t think the likes of Drinkall and Adams should be underestimated. It would definitely be interesting to see if they could give the scullers a run for their money, and I don’t think they’ll be too far behind!

FootSteerer

FootSteerer