The National Schools’ Regatta took place at Dorney Lake over three days from the 24th - 26th May. The Boat Club took various crews to the event, which began with elimination time trials followed by semi-finals and finals. The time trials saw crews racing over 1,900 metres, with the top 12 crews in most events going through to a side-by-side race.
The J15 girls’ quad were the only RSSBC crew to race on the Friday and faced a formidable challenge by taking on 67 other crews to qualify. The girls put in a strong performance, coming in 18th and securing a spot in the C final. This was a closely fought affair, with the girls coming in 6th.
On Saturday, eight Shrewsbury crews raced. The time trial results saw the 1st VIII come 3rd of 28, the 2nd VIII 1st of 12, the J16 VIII 9th of 18, the J15A VIII 10th of 25, the J15B VIII 15th of 21, the Girls’ J15 VIII 14th of 25, the Senior Girls’ Coxed Four 16th of 19 and a Senior Girls’ double 16th of 50.
The 1st VIII came 4th in the A Final, missing out on bronze in a photo finish. The 2nd VIII also came in 4th in their A final. The J15A VIII won their B Final, and the J16 VIII came third in their B Final.
On Sunday, four Shrewsbury crews raced: the Senior Girls’ top boat making their first appearance at the Regatta; the 1st VIII split into coxed and coxless fours; and the J16s racing in a coxless four.
All four boats progressed from the time trial into the side-by-side racing, with the Girls’ 1st Quad making a strong statement by coming first in the time trial out of 40 crews. The girls built on this performance to control their semi-final and come in first, putting themselves in a strong position for the final.
The Girls’ Championship Quads is arguably one of the most prestigious events at the regatta, along with Boys’ Championship Eights, with the top programmes using the event in preparation and hopeful selection for Henley Royal Regatta. All six crews that qualified for the final were within three seconds of each other across the two semi-finals.
The Shrewsbury Quad made a strong start in the final and set up a long and powerful rhythm that held them in the top three through the first three timing marks, just off the fast-starting Gloucester Hartpury crew and in a tight battle with Henley Rowing Club. Both those clubs have been dominating the junior girls’ rowing season in recent years, with Gloucester Hartpury having won three of the last four Henley titles.
In the closing stages of the race, Shrewsbury held their form excellently and staved off challenges from Headington School and Tideway Scullers. A boat-stopping crab in the Gloucester boat in the last few strokes saw them drop from first to fourth as Henley claimed gold and Shrewsbury silver.
The result in the context of Shrewsbury’s rowing history is significant and sets the girls up fantastically for an assault on the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup and Henley. The result not only placed them as the top school crew in the event but, along with the 1st VIII’s performance in the Championships Eights, places Shrewsbury School as arguably the top co-educational rowing school in the country.
The Senior Boys’ coxless four came 6th in the A Final, the coxed four were 2nd in the B Final, and the J16 coxless four came 5th in the B Final.
Director of Rowing