Vesta Scullers Head 2015 – WJ181X

The weather is not looking the best, with wind gusts of 40mph, though its hardly surprising for the tideway so any scullers that are familiar with the unpredictable water have an advantage. Arguably any strong sculler who can keep their length and pace in tricky conditions will be a contender in this race. Scullers head is a great race; it really tests all the aspects of a rower: strength, technique, resilience and mentality. It is vital in this race that you keep your wits about you as having good steering and being able to judge your surroundings will shave minutes off your time. This race is much more complex than Fours or Eights Head; 6.8km will certainly feel very different in a single! I have the privilege of covering j18 women, it will be interesting as Scullers head opened a category for j17 so it really is the eldest junior female scullers out their fighting for the win.

Putney High School – Emma Andrews

Emma is a very strong sculler who achieved a lot last year in both her single and pair, she represented GB at Coupe and was in the A final at Nat Schools. Emma showed at early ID’s that she is not slowing down now, with a solid 5th place I think Emma will take the win on Saturday. She’ll be looking for a top spot in the Worlds team this year, and a blistering result here will certainly make the top GB coaches really sit up and take note.

Tideway Scullers School – Meg Saunders

Meg, similarly to Emma, has gone from strength to strength in her junior rowing carrier and her most recent result coming 11th at early IDs shows that she can take on a tough long distance race. Meg is very familiar to this stretch of river as well; Emma will have to watch out, as Meg will be chasing her down. Tideway always produces some great athletes at this level, and I have no doubt they’ll be a strong presence in junior women’s sculling this year.

Shiplake – Walker

I can’t find out much about Walker, but given the reputation of Shiplake this year for junior women she will be a strong sculler. If Walker can take on the Tideway and steer the course well she might be in for a good result. Shiplake are seeing a bit of a resurgence both for the girls and the boys, and this is exciting for the club, after having spent a few years not quite achieving all that they wanted. A strong result from Walker would be a big step on.

Westminster – Natalija Wollny

Natalija has not competed in a single yet this year but was entered for Hampton Small Boats head 2 weeks ago. Although it was cancelled, Natalija is showing she is ready for a challenge. With Tideway experience on her side and some good results last year, as well as the strength of one of the top junior programs in the country behind her, her confidence in a single scull will help her on Saturday.

Putney High School – Loftsteadt

Putney High School’s Loftsteadt is Emma Andrew’s Pair partner who was in the final of Nat School’s last year. Loftsteadt did not attend Early ID’s but from her results from last year she has shown she is a strong sculler and is also comfortable with this stretch of river which, if she uses on her side, she will be a strong competitor. She’s struggled with illness that really set her back at the end of the 2015 season, and the beginning of this season, but hopefully she’s on the rebound and is looking to push Emma all the way.

Thames RC- Gallagher & St Paul’s –Casson

These scullers know this stretch of the river so will be confident steersmen. Thames RC have been producing strong results this season in single sculls, showing they have had a strong start to the season. Similarly St Paul’s have produced many GB athletes in the past so single sculls are not unfamiliar to them. I believe these 2 scullers can get into the top 6 if they steer the course right and pace it well; but they’ll need to put in a very strong performance, considering the standard of the other entries here.

I predict Andrews to take the win, followed by Saunders then Shiplake Walker. However any one of these scullers have the opportunity to be in the top 5 with good steering and pacing.

Good Luck to all scullers racing!