On Sunday 2nd March, a team of four Third Form oarsmen travelled to Manchester Velodrome in order to compete at the English Indoor Rowing Championships. In the individual event, both Tom Shepherd-Cross (O) and Ed Lewis (Rb) recorded personal bests to finish in fifth and eight places respectively before being joined by Boris Kwok (Ch) and Max Craik (PH) for the team event. Needing to cover 3000m on just one ergo in the shortest possible time, this involved each athlete rowing flat-out for 20 strokes before being replaced by each of the three other members of the team in rotation.
Despite having exhausted himself in the individual 4 minute event, Tom gave the RSSBC squad the very best possible start by keeping abreast of both the J14 and J16 teams from Trentham Boat Club in between whom we were sandwiched. Having spent most of the first half of term on ergos because of the floods – and having raced in a similar fashion on numerous occasions in the new Yale Boathouse – the boys' change-overs were very slick indeed, so Ed was able to pick up precisely where Tom left off. Being relatively fresh, Boris and Max were then able to provide an injection of real pace by raising the stroke rate a little before the whole cycle began again ... and again ... and again ... for the best part of ten minutes!
At the end of the race itself, there was a brief moment of confusion because the team had technically finished in ninth place but it wasn't clear how many of the teams ahead of them were direct competitors in their J14 category and how many were older J16 teams. However, when the final results were published, it soon became clear that their time of 9'58" was a full 15" seconds quicker than the J14s from any other school or club so RSSBC members were able to collect gold medals for the second year in succession.