English Indoor Rowing Championships – Juniors Race Report


19 PBs, 8 hours on a coach, 6 medals, 3 first aiders, 1 human pyramid and half an hour of karaoke: this could only be a City junior day out. The popularity of the idea of a trip to the English Indoor Rowing Championships increased somewhat with two key details: the event took place in a velodrome and we would travel there by coach. Indeed, the juniors were not even deterred by two not insignificant problems: you have to do an erg test when you get there and you have to leave at 6am. And so, demonstrating their stupidity and the unwavering patience of their parents, a contingent of 19 juniors, aged 12 to 18, took to the ergs.



Having arrived in Manchester (which some juniors learned on the way is in a place called The North), they quickly came to realise that the trip may have been an error. Whilst standing in the middle of a velodrome was exciting, the very loud and over-zealous commentary was not. With no opportunity to change their minds, they all threw themselves into the challenge and, over the course of the morning, all juniors pushed themselves hard to all pick up personal bests in their races. To top the clean sweep of PBs, two juniors picked up well-deserved medals, with Alice winning silver in the women's J18 category Amy (rowing as Rob Roy) picking up bronze in the women's J16 event. Not content to sit back through Amy and Alice's medal presentations, the rest of the squad achieved brief notoriety, with an unofficial prize of "best girly scream" for their animated support of their fellow squad members' achievements...

And whilst there were far too many individual performances to mention in turn, there should be a few special mentions: 
In the J15 categories, Karim and Pernille both took a massive 7 seconds off their average split (much to Pernille's surprise post-erg when, struggling to breathe, and having pulled a 1.59 average, she said "I think I managed to get under 2.05").

In the WJ12 category, the youngest of the Potterill clan, Floss, put in a great effort and set an example to some of the more experienced juniors by staying calm throughout the day - despite having never rowed before and having only been on an erg since being entered for the race.

And in the WJ13 category, Isobel was determined to prove that she is every bit as tough as her older brother and sister and took her brother's advice to "just push yourself until you throw up" literally. After going 70m further in the 3 minute race than she had before, she ensured that she could claim points in the family rowing rivalry by attracting first aid attention - twice.

With the individual events done, the girls turned to the team relays, where four rowers (assisted by two 'team managers') race for 3000m, with no rules on how often to changeover. Whilst not necessarily winning prizes for the most gracious or efficient changeovers, the City juniors were far more successful in the race than they had been in training, where injuries had included being hit on the head by the handle, getting caught on the chain and forgetting to release feet before falling off. Alice and Amy were joined by Anna and Izzie to add to their individual medals with a silver in the team event, making the most of limited opposition, but beating some adult teams in the process.

With increased confidence as a result of remarkably competent team changeovers, the juniors decided to once again steal the limelight after the team prizegiving and to test out their newly found agility when a group photo quickly turned into an attempt at a human pyramid (13 juniors is, it seems, one too many).

And so, with a long day completed, one question remains: will the training for next year's competition be focused on improving erg scores or on building a bigger human pyramid? On the basis of Tuesday's training session, Charlotte's bet is on the latter...

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