Five New Inverness Rowing Club Medallists*! Achieve Success At Strathclyde Park Regatta
At the recent Annual regatta at Strathclyde park at Hamilton, Inverness junior sculler of the regatta was undoubtedly Alex Todd*. He won his heat, semi-final and final of Open Novice Single, leading every race from start to finish. In the final he beat four visiting crews - Wooler of Warrington, Spink, Withers and Guy of Durham University BC - and Scottish sculler Jones of Dundee University BC. This puts him in a strong position for the Scottish Championships next month. However, the race that Alex was most worried about was the 2000m Junior18 1X event the next day, so after completing each 1000m race for Nov 1X he carried on and raced the second 1000m of the course, just to "see what it felt like"!
On Sunday he was racing his Junior 18 heat alongside the best junior scullers in the country and found himself dropped well behind in 6th place out of 7. The bike path supporters thought he'd give up but he was merely gathering himself for an attack. With 500m to go, Alex started to move through the field and very nearly clinched a 3rd place qualifying spot but came 4th. "I really enjoyed that race - it felt better than the 1000s" he said later.
The other surprise victory came from the Junior Girls' composite Novice Quad Sculls - Melissa Murray* (Nairn Academy), Becky Sweenie* (Inverness College), Amy Watson* (Inverness Royal Academy) joined by Kirsty Binning and Aidan Telfer (cox) from Castle Semple RC. This "scratch crew" got to know each other on the way to the start and right from the first 150m they moved into the lead and stayed there! The girls were all absolutely delighted and already looking forward to reclaiming their title at Scottish Champs in June.
Joining the ranks of the winners was the Masters Women's composite C/D eight - Sarah Brennan, Hazel Smith, Hazel Geddes and Jenny Baird* in combination with Belfast RC and Belfast BC. The "C" crew won convincingly over Tyne RC "D" and Strathclyde Park RC "C".
Top Inverness club juniors Sara Johnston and Heather Gordon encountered strong opposition from visiting Irish and English crews but still compared very well with Scottish opponents. The Inverness RC J18 2X won their heat then placed 3rd behind two New Ross BC Irish doubles yet ahead of Strathclyde Park RC and Loch Lomond RC. In the W J18 Singles a large entry of 20 crews meant three heats and only two to qualify for the final. Sara Johnston led her heat down the course but was pipped at the line by Aberdeen Schools RA Topp - still qualified. Heather Gordon held a strong 3rd place behind Buchanan of Glasgow Academy and Forster of Chester le Street (England) but sadly did not qualify. A slow start put Johnston in the back of the pack, and despite a big push in the last 500 metre mark she remained in 6th. However three of the crews ahead of her are not Scottish so will not race at the Scottish Championships.
Johnston and Gordon's best race was their first ever W J18 Coxless Pairs event where opposition was once again very tough. The girls produced an excellent race staying well within the pack to finish 4th out of 7 very experienced crews. Very significantly they managed to beat last year's Scottish Home International Regatta W J Coxless Pair which augers well for Sara and Heather who are striving for Home International Regatta Team Selection in July 2018.
The Inverness RC Masters Men's Coxed Four had a storming race with Glasgow RC and Castle Semple RC. Following a disastrous start leaving them in last place they fought back to catch Castle Semple and finished a close second, half a length down on Glasgow and one seat up on Semple. The Inverness RC Masters women's Quads Sculls crew came 3rd out of 6 while their Coxed Four crew came 3rd out of 3.
Junior Novice Double scullers Amy Watson and Lexie Leaver managed to qualify for their final but finished well back in the field. Melissa Murray and Becky Sweenie just missed qualifying as did Ally Addison and Archie Grey in their Junior 18 Double sculls event. Inverness RC Men’s Masters Coxless Pair Robert Gordon and Dave Rothwell survived their first 2000m R2 Pair race (4th out of 5) then claimed a good 2nd place in the Masters C/D 2- behind St Andrew BC beating a younger Glasgow RC combination.
Next weekend sees Inverness RC members taking part in the Castle Semple regatta at Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire.
Report prepared by Susanne Standish-Hunter (Chief Juniors Coach)