Junior Performance Pathway

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Monday, 01 September 2014 12:00 Written by Administrator Last Updated on Sunday, 28 August 2016 13:24

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England is an island nation with ample rivers and lakes. The recent Olympics showed we were good at sailing, canoeing, rowing, swimming and cycling; in contrast, recent world competitions have shown that we are rather less impressive at rugby, football and cricket - the very sports taught in our schools by games-playing PE staff.

Very few children like contact sports; many lack catching, throwing, kicking or racquet skills. So if you can't kick, throw, catch or strike a ball well, then the sport of rowing could be for you.

For youngsters with the talent, time and ambition Nottingham Rowing Club have developed a progressive pathway to enable its athletes to reach the very top in the sport of rowing. As a British Rowing 'Start' club there is also a route for those with the necessary anatomical attributes (height, weight, armspan) to be coached by Julie Edwards at the National Watersports Centre (at Holme Pierrepont). Club members Katie Bartlett and Kyra Edwards are already on this programme.

Nottingham Rowing Club is fortunate in that it has over 20 qualified coaches. The Club too gives financial support to athletes via the President's Fund or the Carl Smith Memorial Fund but is always on the look-out for sponsorship.

Starting with local regattas like Nottingham City, Burton or Peterborough, youngsters go on to the National Schools' Regatta and the British Rowing Junior Championships. The next step up is the international circuit, which starts for 15 and 16 year olds entering the Anglo-French Match, moves on to the 'Coupe de la Jeunesse' for 17 year olds and on to the European and World Junior Championships. Every 2 years the Youth Olympic Games is open to top juniors.

For the U23s and beyond there are the World Rowing Championships and the European and World University Championships. Ultimately there is of course the Olympic Games.

Currently Nottingham Rowing Club has youngsters at all levels of progression. At this summer's local Nottingham Sprint Regatta Max Parker won J18 Sculls and Ellie Townsend and Rachel Heap won WJ15 Double Sculls. This is first step on the ladder for the newcomers.

At the National Schools Regatta Charlotte Brown and Priya Jenkins won the bronze medal in the WJ15 Double Sculls and at the British Rowing Junior Championships Katie Swales & Siena Hayes won WJ16 Double Scull Bronze.

Faisan 'Fizz' Shah and James Mawby won Gold at the National Schools Regatta and after trials went to the Anglo-French Match and won gold there too.

Kyra Edwards, WJ17 National Schools Champion, and Connor Gamble, with his fine record at National Schools, have just returned from competing in the 'Coupe de la Jeunesse' in France. Kyra was 5th in the A final which was won by Italy; Connor won the B final ahead of Poland.

Rowan Law and Anna Thornton, WJ18 National Schools Champion, competed for Team GB in the World Rowing Junior Championships in Germany,  sculling in the Junior Men's and Women's Quadruple Sculls respectively. Both of the boats progressed to the finals - no mean achievement in itself - where Rowan won a silver medal and Anna a bronze. Anna then went to Nanjing (China) for the World Youth Olympics, where she was 2nd in the B final, which places her 8th overall in the event.

The outstanding example of the progressive pathway in action is Katie Bartlett. Once a pupil at Trinity School (Aspley) and now a student at Loughborough University she has been called up seven times in seven years for international duty. She has won at all levels nationally, and has just returned with a silver medal from the World U23 Rowing Championships where she rowed in the  GB Women's Eight.

All the youngsters are pupils at local schools. Our next intake to the club will be in August 2015 when we will be running 2 junior summer schools which provide interested juniors with the basics of rowing. From these course a number will be invited to join the club's junior development squad. Anyone interested in following the Nottingham Rowing Club progressive pathway should contact Ashley Hewitt, Junior Coach. It may of course be that you just want to 'mess about in boats', in which case Ashley will point you in the right direction too!