From our Rowing Coordinator: Rowing at St Mary's
This year has been a year of transition for our school boat club. As well as starting the year with a new head of rowing, Mr Frazer, we have also been able to add to our experienced coaching group with a new rowing coach.
With 150 girls accessing rowing across the school and 70 girls actively involved in our rowing club, it has been great to see girls of all levels enjoying the sport and making good use of our facilities on the River Cam.
Our Learn to Row (LTR) programme has seen girls from Year 7 through to Year 12 enjoy rowing for the first time, with some progressing all the way through to competing in local races. We have also seen many of our Year 9 LTR squad make the jump up to our J3 squad, enthusiastic to take part in the additional sessions.
On the racing side of things, it has been a successful year with lots of wins across various local events including the Cambridge Winter League and City Sprints. On top of that, this year saw St Mary’s return to the Schools Head of the River for the first time since 2016 with our 6th Form VIII competing in Girls School’s 1st VIIIs and a first entry into Henley Women’s Regatta with our Year 11 quad.
As well as these, there have been some stand out results from our J1 and J2 squads, announcing themselves on the national stage. We had four crews competing at the Junior Sculling Head for the first time including a strong 6th place for our WJ14 4x+. Add to this winning the Women’s J14 doubles at the Junior Sculling Regatta held at Eton Dorney and it has been a year to celebrate.
The competitive highlight of the year, however, must be our first ever medal at the National School’s Regatta. Competing against all the top school and club programmes from across the UK, including crews making the trip from Northern Ireland, St Mary’s backed up a strong time trial to row a cracking side-by-side race, coming back from third at halfway to take a hard-fought silver medal in WJ14 coxed quadruple sculls out of 53 crews taking part, ranking them 2nd in the country. This was backed up with our 2nd crew finishing 3rd out of all the 2nd boats to show the depth in our racing squads.
Rowing at St Mary's
Away from the river...
Outside of competition, this year has seen the club make several significant steps, the most important of which is becoming British Rowing affiliated. As well as giving the club more access to resources provided by British Rowing, it also enables us to compete under our own flag at off-Cam races and to have our own blade colours which will be arriving in the Autumn in the form of a brand-new set of blades.
We look forward to seeing where our girls can go next year after what has been a year of such promise.
With sessions running five days a week in addition to games, 15 races spread across the year for our J1, 2 and 3 squads and training camps, it has a busy year but one that has seen our girls thrive whilst challenging themselves to progress, whether that be in making the boat faster or just in building confidence in themselves as rowers.
Oilver Frazer, Rowing Coordinator
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