Wallingford Long Distance Sculls 2015 – WJ16 Preview (1x, 2x, 4x)

Wallingford long distance sculls is a great event to start off the season. It allows coaches to try out athletes in smaller boats, giving them the opportunity to work on technique and race against other crewmates. This preview will look in detail at all the WJ16 events on offer – the 1x, 2x and 4x, each article by a different writer.

WJ16 1x

A relatively large entry of J16 scullers this year at Wallingford suggest small boats has been a key part of the summer for many young athletes. A range of clubs have chosen to come along, and I will start my preview with the athletes who have had competed in small boats before. I’ll then look into others who performed well in crew boats last season, and give my opinion of if they can take it into the scull.

Henley RC- Orr is an obvious favourite for this event. Orr won the WJ15 1x at JIRR this year by almost 10 seconds, and received a gold medal at National Schools as part of the Henley J15 women’s eight. Rumour has it she has an outstanding 2k for her age, and her raw power is what makes her move the boat so fast. Notably she is also the younger sister of the Orr twins, who both represented England at home countries this summer. However she didn’t race GJ15 1x at national schools, and gold medallist Reading RC- Sendall will be pushing off her with her position near the front of the pack. Reading rowing club is known for a very strong junior set up, and Sendall shows the success that can come from that even at a young age. Reading RC- Richards is another testament to this, as she came 3rd in the single at National schools, and should be on the pace and competing for the top spot. Maindenhead RC- Harris received a bronze medal in the GJ15 2x at NSR this year, so has already shown some sculling proficiency, and will be a possible threat if she can transfer those skills into the single. Other girls with small boat experience are Wallingford RC- Frye who qualified fourth fastest at NSR, and Reading RC- Prior, Notthingham RC- Clark, Barlow who all competed in doubles at NSR but were knocked out in the semis.

Wallingford LDS is a chance to get all the athletes improving their small boat skills, so for a few of these entries I wasn’t able to find any single or double results, but the athletes still deserve a mention for their role in larger crews. Firstly all Henley RC girls deserve a mention for their outstanding season; every girl entered was part of their gold winning GJ15 8+ at national schools, and I can assume all contributed to them winning every WJ15 event at JIRR for Thames Upriver. ROSS RC also have four girls entered here, who may have been in the JIRR four or quad, coming 2nd and 4th respectively. Finally Maindenhead RC’s four entries Tomasik, Antioco, Ross-Masson and Harris made up the gold medal winning four at National Schools. These girls must be strong, so the question really is if they can transfer that to a scull, but if they do I believe one of these girls may finish in a very good time.

Prediction
Henley-Orr or Reading-Sendall for the win, single experience will make all the difference over this long course. Third to Reading-Richards, with Wallingford-Frye and one of the Maindenhead RC girls making the top five.

GoingFastBackwards

WJ16 2x

These J16s are racing in the first division, whereas the quad event is in the third division, meaning that some girls will double up and do the double in the morning, and the quad in the afternoon. I’m assuming this is the case with Henley RC, who as mentioned above are really at the top of their game when it comes to junior women’s rowing. Henley-Orr should be a very strong entry, with Orr being the younger sister of the Orr twins who have represented their country in the sport. She’s a strong sculler, and I’d imagine that this would be the fastest J16 girls double on the course this weekend. I would imagine that the other Henley RC entry will be strong, and at this point in the season, it’s likely that Henley will be fielding matched boats. I would, therefore, assume that Henley-Brown will be looking for either first or second place. Certainly the two Henley boats have the capability of, like in the quads, making up first and second in their category. Also pushing for the top spots will be the Latymer Upper School entries. Latymer had a good J15 contingent last year, where both the first and second quad made the NSR final of their respective events, and they’ll be looking to build from this. Predicting past these results is somewhat difficult; many of these scullers, at clubs such as Lea and Stratford-Upon-Avon BC, look like they’re pretty new to the game, without showings at NSR 2015. However, the strength of Lea RC‘s junior women program should see them perform well here. With a strong entry in the quads, Ross RC might also be ones to watch here, with some good performances in the J15G8+ at NSR and School’s Head, and the fact that eight Ross girls represented the West Midlands at JIRR this year. It’s certainly pretty up in the air as to who is the form crew at the moment!

Prediction

I think that the two Henley RC crews will head up the field – led by Henley-Orr – and then Latmyer-Williams will take third place.

Rowing Girl

WJ16 4x

Ross RC finished 4th in the WJ15 8s at both National Schools and the Schools Head last season, along with representing West Midlands in the WJ15 4x+ and 4+ at JIRR. They seem to have a talented group of WJ16s who will be hoping for a good result this Saturday. It is, of course, a big step up from J15 to J16, with crews not only physiologically stepping up dramatically due mostly to the introduction of a weights program to most J16 crews, but technically crews also make a massive step on. Ross RC will need to make sure that they are able to bring up these young athletes, as often it’s a club that doesn’t see quite as much success in the J16, J17 and J18 years. Ross RC may well, then, field a strong quad – but it is impossible to ignore the Henley RC entries in this category. Henley are a serious force in Junior Women’s rowing – particularly in J14, J15 and J16 (although the success does carry through to seniors as well). One need look no further than the past two year’s National Schools, where Henley topped the medal table on both occasions. Issy Jonsson, who rowed in the top J15 coxed quad at Henley, that won emphatically, lends her name to the Henley – Jonsson entry, and I fancy that this will be their top boat. Henley – Moss should be formed of part of the absolutely dominating force of the Henley J15G8+ that destroyed the competition at NSR last year, and this is a boat that should go very fast. There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe these girls – they’re a force of nature in their category and they should, barring a crash (which is a serious concern at a regatta such as Wallingford), take the one-two. Abingdon RC will struggle with the pace set of these other crews – there were no noteworthy performances from their J15 girls at NSR last year – but I imagine that if they have aspirations of going onto bigger and better things later in the season, they’ll use this head as a stepping stone; another training piece, in essence. It’s a rather non-established program in terms of juniors, so it will be interesting to see if it can make an impression on the race. In terms of J15 girls at NSR, Abingdon outperformed Kingston RC in all events, and assuming these are the same girls, it will be unlikely that in such a short space of time Kingston will have found enough speed to reverse this. It’s good to see Shiplake Vikings fielding a quad. It’s a small program that boats out of Shiplake College, that invited both junior and senior rowers to take to the water between Shiplake and Sonning – but it’s not a competitive program, and it won’t be able to compete with the big names like Henley. However, if these girls have aspirations of tackling the upper echelons of junior rowing, Wallingford LDS is a good place to start – a fun, winding course that serves as great, constructive training.

Prediction

For me, both Henley RC boats will take this race by storm, with Henley-Jonsson winning the race, and Henley-Moss coming in second. Third will be the strong Ross RC – Howell.

Good luck to all crews!

Five Man

RowingGirl