Chesterton and Parkside pupils impress at Try Rowing annual Boat Race Day
Teams of Year 8 pupils from Chesterton and Parkside Community Colleges competed against each other at Rob Roy Boat Club’s annual Try Rowing outreach Boat Race Day at Milton Country Park.
The scheme goes into state schools to provide a taste of rowing, and is funded through a legacy from ‘Curly’ Galbraith, who started the junior rowing squad at Rob Roy.
Despite a broken blade, a narrowly avoided capsize, and several collisions, there were medals all round.
Chesterton’s pupils were the strongest on the rowing machine relay, but the Parkside teams just beat them on the water.
“The standard has been extremely high this year,” says Jo Burch, Rob Roy Boat Club’s director of junior rowing. “Not only have all the pupils shown real aptitude for what is a new sport for them, but they have all absolutely committed to trying their hardest. It is so rewarding to watch them meet the challenge.
At their pre-race briefing, Burch had told the pupils: “This could be the start of someone’s Olympic rowing career. Last week, I met Anna Watkins, GB Olympic Rowing Gold Medal winner. She began her sculling career at Rob Roy BC, and we have had several former juniors who have joined the GB squad, so this could be where your dream starts.”
The coaching for this year’s Try Rowing pupils was provided by current members of the Rob Roy junior squad, who are all Try Rowing graduates and recently became the first junior crew from the club to race at Henley Royal Regatta. They will be racing at the National Junior Rowing Championships this week.
“It is fabulous to see our busy juniors prepared to give up their time to coach the next generation of potential scullers. They are such brilliant role models,” said Burch.
“Curly’s legacy also allows us to award Try Rowing scholarships to deserving pupils, inviting them to row with the Rob Roy BC junior squad next year. Normally we award two, but this year it was so difficult to choose between the pupils that we are awarding four scholarships.
“We have been able to do so thanks to some extra funds from the Tesco Community Grant Scheme.
“Not only are we grateful to Curly’s family and Tesco, but we’d also like to thank the Cambridge Sport Lakes Trust, which manages Milton Country Park, for their support.”
Andy Thornely, head of PE at Parkside and a former Rob Roy junior rower, said: “Pupils compete hard to be selected for Try Rowing – to be able to introduce them to a new sport which, for some of them, becomes a life-long passion is a real privilege.”
The teams were: Chesterton – Rhys Collier, Kalina Evans, Ilan Gill, Lilly Goodbrand, Eva-Jean Hoy, Lino Lee, Julian McNiff, Maja Meglicka, Emily Moore, Elliott Souster Viera, Idriis Tabulo, Clarice Van der Aa; Parkside – Harvey Barker, Sebastian Bunke, Laura Hofman, Adam Johnson, Lola Laogan, Alessandro Manes, Charlotte Moller, Poppy Philippo, Francesca Savage-Weeks, Alice Watts, Belle Wilkes-Reed, and Agnes Davidson.