National Schools’ Regatta 2017 – Championship Girls’ Quads

This event, with 26 entries, is bound to be very exciting. This year, the podium is going to look very different compared to last year, with only one of the top five clubs from last year even returning to this event. This gives lots of opportunity for generally less dominant clubs, as well as more dominant clubs that don’t always prioritize this event, to come through. Headington and Henely will probably hog the medals, but there should be a good battle for bronze among lots of teams.

Headington: Headington stand out as the favorites in this event. They appear to have prioritized this crew, with their winning championship double from Nationals last year making up half of this crew. Although they will have been more focused on the eight through the year, they have already gotten strong results in the quad. Big winning margins at the Junior Sculling Head as well as Hampton Head should shape up well for 2k racing. The girls in this boat are extremely experienced, with two GB Coupe rowers, Semple and King-Smith, as well as Wuethrich, who recently represented Switzerland at the European Championships. These girls will be looking to continue all their success straight through to Henley, where this year they may be favorites to win.

Henley: Similarly to Headington, it appears Henley has roughly taken the top half of their eight and put them in a quad. Given the overall quality of the Henley rowing club junior girls, as well as results this year, this should be a formidable crew. Their season started well, as half these girls won Fours Head in the quad. Lottie Orr has already represented GB at Munich this year, and she wouldn’t be put in this crew if Henley weren’t in this race to win it. A strong win in the WJ17 quad category at Junior Sculling Head shows that perhaps this isn’t the year they will overtake Headington, but they have younger girls showing potential, and next year may be their time to truly shine.

Gloucester Hartpury: After an incredible season last year, with an NSR gold in the championship four and a Henley quad win for the third year in a row, Gloucester is inevitably looking a bit weaker this year. Their top sculler, GB trialist and rower Zoe Adamson, is not racing in this boat. However, even if this crew is frankly a bit slower than some extremely quick crews in years past, Gloucester should still put out a lot of speed and will be one to watch.

Warrington: Warrington faces a similar problem to Gloucester, in that it will be extremely difficult for them to match last year’s result. They have only one returner from their winning National Schools championship quad, and missing their star sculler, Lucy Glover, will really hurt them. This club can definitely keep up its positive momentum and get a good result, as long as expectations are lowered slightly from last year.

Nottingham: Nottingham return to this event this year after a 6th place finish last year. It’s hard to say how they will do, especially given that some of their top girls have left to row for Becket this year. Interestingly, Nottingham has entered the Girls 4+ event on Saturday despite winning a medal in the championship eight at Nationals last year. Four girls from that four, including the cox, are rowing in this quad. It seems strange that such a successful club would relegate themselves to a non-championship event, and stranger still that their cox is rowing. It doesn’t make this boat seem particularly promising, but a good result would be if they can hold onto their position from last year.

Laytmer: Laytmer is looking poised for an A-final finish this year. Last year, they had a solid 12th place overall finish. This year, they are the only team to put two quads in this event, showcasing their depth and their ambition. They have had a consistently strong, although not dominant, season so far in the quad, with fourth place at Fours Head, fifth place at Hampton Head, and a second place finish at Schools Head. Their J17 results are actually quite promising, with fourth place at the Junior Sculling Head in the WJ17 quad, so this will be another crew that may be able to come back even stronger next year.

Saint Pauls Girls School: SPGS deserve a mention for their work in this boat this season. They recently won the Junior Sculling Regatta, notably beating out a strong Marlow Quad. Last year SPG managed a bronze medal in the championship four at Nationals, but it’s hard to see them on the medal stand for this event this year. Nonetheless, they should be able to put out a strong showing and beat out some traditionally stronger sculling teams in the process.

Special mentions go to Sir Williams Perkins, Shiplake, and Globe, who could all find their way into the A final.

Final predictions:
Gloucester, with Laytmer right behind