National Schools’ Regatta 2017 – Championship Girls Double

With 36 entries, this event is bound to be competitive. Some currently dominant clubs, such as Headington, have clearly prioritized the quad, but other teams, like Molesey, have stacked the double. With some lesser known clubs that are on the rise targeting this event, traditionally strong teams may be knocked off the podium.

American School:
ASL started the season well with a Pairs Head win. This double managed 3rd place at Hampton Head, behind Molesey and a Headington double. They also got first and second place finishes at Ghent Spring Regatta. A bad Wallingford result that was over 30 seconds behind Molesey puts them way of the pace, but a silver and gold medal in the WJ18 single at Junior Sculling Regatta shows way more promise for these girls. They should be contending for a top spot, but it will be tricky for them to try to get ahead of boats like Moesley.

This crew from Headington should be solid, although not dominant. Last year this was the priority boat and Headington dominated the event. Haskins and Rundle should have great experience from being part of their top eight, but Headington seems to be prioritizing the quad on Sunday. This crew will be fast, but probably not quite medal material.

Reading has a massive four entires in this event, although only their ‘A’ crew will likely display top speed. It’s hard to predict how that boat will do. Sendall is a younger athlete with a ton of power, but her results on the water aren’t consistent. Stevens has a fantastic run last year as a junior, winning the single at Henley Womens and placing second in the GB quad at Junior Worlds. This year she is an U23 trialist who hasn’t raced much as a junior. A promising double Reading put out last year at Nationals fell a bit flat with a 6th place finish in the A final, so this year these girls will seek to rectify that.

Isle of Ely:
Isle of Ely has got Kate Lyster on board, who was recently selected for Munich Regatta. It’s hard to actually find results for this pairing, but they certainly should be a strong crew based on Lyster’s international selection. Isle of Ely is becoming a greater force in women’s junior sculling, and after last year’s B-final in the championship quad, and elimination during the semi-final in the championship single, Ely will be looking for a solid A-final finish this year.

Molesey are probably the favorites for this event. They have #1 junior trialist Holly Dunford on board, and Molesey has done very well in all sculling events so far. Wins in the 4x at Schools Head and the 2x at Wallingford were good, although both races were greatly affected by the weather and can’t be considered particularly accurate at predicting future results. However, these girls did manage a win at Hampton Head. Even if they are technically the favorites, their winning margins have not been huge and these girls are certainly beatable.

Last year Thames did a good job to win a bronze medal in this event. Now one returner from that boat, Knight, joins current trialist Munyard. 7th place at Pairs Head and 9th place at Hampton Head indicated these girls were off winning pace early in the year, but a recent win in this double at Junior Sculling Regatta shows more promise. Still, these girls haven’t quite proven themselves this year, so it’s difficult to predict a top result for them, even though they could very well pull out a medal like last year’s double did.

Marlow has been a talented force in women’s junior sculling, but it’s difficult to see them take a win. At Pairs Head, a Marlow double with Bird on board managed a third place finish. At Wallingford, Marlow’s double managed to come in right behind Molesey time-wise, but the conditions at that race were terrible. This crew was able to place second at Junior Sculling Regatta in the WJ18 double, right behind Thames, which makes them fast, but perhaps not dangerous. Marlow’s depth is actually impressive, with a bronze medal double following behind this double and a silver medal winning WJ18 quad at that race. Lineups have changed through the year and it’s hard to tell if the four is actually the priority boat on Saturday, in which case this double will be even less formidable.

Tideway Scullers:
The Tideway girls will undoubtedly be an above average crew, but they have so far only been able to mingle around or below Marlow and Thames, which won’t be enough if they want a top spot. 10th place at Hampton Head in the double really puts them off the pace. They’ve won races such as Walton Small Boats Head and Ghent May Regatta, but these were not against top British crews, so it will be difficult to say they will be able to climb to the top of the field during Nationals.

Shoutouts go to Llandaff, Wallingford, Northwhich, George Heriots School, who could all find their way into the A final.

Final predction:
Molesey wins, followed by Reading then Isle of Ely somewhat behind.