News & Events

Leeds Floods

The Boxing Day floods in Leeds caused significant damage to Leeds city centre and resulted in national media coverage. Less well understood was the damage to BAM Nuttall’s temporary works we’re using to build the new Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme in the heart of the city from the railway station to Knostrop Weir. Although the project recovered quickly, a less well publicised consequence of the serious flooding was the sweeping away of the Leeds Boat House pontoon which was swept away in the surge of water. The pontoon was recovered using a crane but had suffered damage and is currently operating at a reduced capacity. The rowing club provides and invaluable service to local people and students from Leeds University and BAM Nuttall, as a close neighbour, was pleased to offer financial help to the club repair the pontoon and bring it back into full service.

Andy Vipas and Jonathan Bulmer from the BAM Nuttall site team met David Cottrell, Chair of the Trustees for Leeds Boat House to hand over a £500 cheque. David said that the contribution, together with other funding streams will restore the pontoon to its pre-flood condition and thanked BAM Nuttall for helping them out. Andy, Site Agent for the project, added that building defences like these in a city centre have a major impact on communities and businesses during construction, and if we can help local community projects than we’re pleased to do so.




Remembering Mike

All of us at Leeds Rowing Club were desperately sad to hear the news about Mike Hill. He played a vital role in the formative years of the club and has been a good friend to many of our members.

Mike started to row with us in our early years, and later took on a volunteer coaching role with our senior ladies, becoming their Head Coach in August 2010. He really was instrumental in developing the squad, and laid the foundations for their success.

Whilst he left Leeds to pursue a new coaching career in London in 2012, Mike remained a committed friend of the club and would often be on hand to offer advice and support at events across the country. He could often be heard shouting support from the riverbank at events ranging from St. Neots and Peterborough Regatta’s, to Metropolitan and Henley Royal Regatta.

He regularly visited Leeds, and always dropped in to the club on his return, helping to develop training and equipment links with the tideway clubs. He was very excited to see our new boathouse and recognised what an important step this was for the club.

A true gentleman of the sport.

Youth In Focus at the Opening of New Leeds Boathouse

More than 100 people attended the official opening of the new Leeds Boathouse, the new base for Leeds Rowing Club and their University counterparts, Leeds University Union Boat Club, on the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal, in South Leeds.Boathouse Opening

The site, which boasts a boat store capable of holding more than 50 boats, as well as substantial land training facilities, has secured the future of both clubs and will allow for significant growth in participation within the Yorkshire region.

Paul Bennett, World Champion in the GB Men’s Eight, who is originally from Leeds, attended the event and was happy to compete in the club’s scratch regatta (in Leeds RC colours) to mark the start of a new era for rowing in the City. During a speech to assembled crowds, he talked about how the clubs had made him feel so welcome and that he was certain this facility would inspire future generations.

Paul BennettPreviously, the University’s rowers had to travel to York to train, while the city club has a base at Waterloo Lake in Roundhay Park. It is the first time since the 1980s that rowing has taken place on the Aire and Calder Navigation, when a previous boathouse at Swillington closed its doors.

The boathouse has been built as the result of a partnership between the University of Leeds, Leeds Rowing Club, British Rowing and Leeds University Union. It has been funded by the University, British Rowing, Sport England and WREN, which awards grants for community projects. The land has been allocated to the project partners on a long-term lease by the Canal and River Trust (CART), which has supported the project from the outset.

During the event, University of Leeds Vice Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands and Annamarie Phelps, Chair of British Rowing cut a ribbon formed of the colours of the two clubs. During their respective speeches, they both drew attention to the future of the sport and talked about how this facility would play a vital role in shaping the sporting lives of young athletes.Regatta(1)

David Cottrell, vice chair of Leeds Rowing Club and chair of Leeds Boathouse Ltd, the boathouse’s parent company, said: “This project has been planned over many years and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many club members, partners and supporters who have been involved in its development and delivery.

“In practical terms, the new boathouse will mean we are able to increase our membership threefold and bring the sport to many more people of all ages and abilities. It’s fantastic to think that this facility could help produce the next generation of stars for Team GB, from the Yorkshire region, and help them realise their ambition.”

The event was attended by local television and received widespread coverage in the regional press. Both clubs will now start training at the facility, alongside Leeds Rowing Club’s base in North Leeds.


Sunbeams Nurseries Fund New Rowing Boat For Next Generation of Olympic Stars

Sunbeams Day Nurseries have funded a new boat for Leeds Rowing Club, which will be used by the club’s burgeoning junior section. The substantial donation coincides with the opening of a new £1.2m rowing centre of excellence on the canal in South Leeds.

Noah (left) and Jacob (right) survey the new boat, decorated with hand prints from the nursery.

Noah (left) and Jacob (right) survey the new boat, decorated with hand prints from the nursery.

The boat was officially launched at a special ceremony attended by over 100 rowing club members, as well as the children and parents of the nurseries. The boat has been decorated with hand prints of Sunbeams youngsters, to reflect the involvement of the nursery and to promote the importance of an active lifestyle from a young age.

The new racing boat is a lightweight double scull – the same boat class that Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking rowed to victory at the London 2012 Olympics. It will be used by the club’s 25 strong junior section, at regattas up and down the county and allow them to compete at events which have, up until now, been impossible to enter competitively.

Kate Plews, Managing Director of Sunbeams said: “We’re delighted to be able to help Leeds Rowing Club’s junior members by providing funding for this new boat. Our nurseries have a focus on providing a healthy lifestyle for children from a very young age and encouraging youngsters to take part in sport. Rowing is fun, sociable and helps to promote an active lifestyle, so funding this boat fits in with what we aim to achieve in our nurseries.”

Des Kelly, Junior Coordinator at Leeds Rowing Club said: “Ever since the Olympics, we’ve been inundated with eager youngsters looking to get into rowing. This new boat will allow them to compete at events across the north as well as nationally important regattas. In recent years, our rowers have represented Yorkshire at an inter-regional level and as the club grows, we’ll be able to grow our membership still further.”

Sunbeams has three nursery sites in Yorkshire, based in Leeds, Halton and Harrogate. The business also runs an after-school club, and caters for age ranges of 0-12 years old. Leeds Rowing Club was set up in 2006 and has had to grow rapidly in order to cope with demand generated by rowing’s success at recent Olympic games.


Gent Visick Signs Up To Support Leeds Rowing Club’s Olympic Plans

Yorkshire’s only industrial property specialists, Gent Visick, have signed up to help Leeds Rowing Club in their plans to provide an Olympic legacy in the region. The Leeds based business has become the first corporate partner for the community club, a move that will help them to capitalise on a surge in popularity created by the Olympic effect.
Leeds Rowing
The partnership comes about as Leeds Rowing Club are set to move into their new clubhouse in South Leeds, which is being shared with the University of Leeds. Construction was completed this month on the £1m facility, which has been part funded by the National Lottery, British Rowing, Sport England, Wren and the University of Leeds. The Canal and Rivers Trust have offered the site to the club on a long-term lease. A grand opening will be held on Wednesday 17th September.

Rupert Visick, Managing Partner of Gent Visick commented: “It was important to us that we support a cause that promotes healthy lifestyles and provides opportunities to a wide section of the local community. The rowing Club has been one of the success stories of community sport in Leeds, and we’re delighted to be involved in their future plans.”

David Saul, Chairman at Leeds Rowing Club said: “Gent Visick have been really supportive of our club, at what is an extremely exciting time for us. We have plans to treble the size of our membership over the next five years, and reaching out to local businesses is key to the success of those plans.  The demand for the sport is massive and we’ve been oversubscribed since recent Olympic successes, especially with Yorkshire athletes like Andrew Triggs Hodge setting an example for local youngsters.”

Mark Goldstone, Head of Business Representation at West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce concluded: “I’ve been happy to help advise Leeds Rowing Club with their expansion plans over recent months, an important part of which has been engaging the business community. This contribution from Gent Visick demonstrates the increasing role that businesses have in supporting these type of regionally significant projects. I’m certain that both parties will have a lot to gain from this relationship, and it’s something we’d support other businesses looking to do.”

The donation will go directly towards facilities and equipment, which will allow the club to cater for more members. The company’s employees have also been invited to attend a session at the club to get them on the water and give rowing a try. Leeds Rowing Club are now on the lookout to develop more business partnerships to help build a new fleet of boats and help generate further Olympic success from the region.


Opening Date Set For New Leeds Boathouse

The new £1m boathouse in south Leeds has been ‘topped out’. Work on the boat store finished earlier this year but construction on the rest of the project is nearing completion, with an opening date set for September 17th. The main boathouse and associated training facilities are now ready for fit-out and the construction company will also concentrate on landscaping work and access routes for rowers to launch their boats onto the canal.

Leeds Boathouse_2

The project is being delivered through a unique partnership between the University of Leeds, Leeds University Union, Leeds Rowing Club, British Rowing and the Canal & River Trust, and is funded by University of Leeds, British Rowing, Sport England, WREN and Leeds Rowing Club.

The new boathouse will help both clubs to increase participation and help to satisfy the demand generated by successive successful Olympic Games for the sport.

Rob Wadsworth, Head of Sport at the University of Leeds said, “we’re excited that the building is now finished and that we can look forward to getting our rowers on the water at the start of the new academic year. This will make a real difference to our students, with improved facilities and much reduced journey times. We think that the facility looks fantastic and work has progressed well, as expected.”

Chairman of Leeds Rowing Club, David Saul said, “this project has been a long time in the planning and seeing the works nearing completion has been a real boost for our club. Our members are excited about the prospect of this new facility and we’re now in the process of raising funds to buy the new equipment we need to help the club grow.”

Alan Meegan, of British Rowing Facilities said, “this new boathouse will be a fantastic boost to the rowing clubs, the area and the region. Rowing is a fantastic sport, which is enjoying great popularity at present. This facility will help to meet that current demand and ensure we are able to cope with those needs, well into the future.”

Leeds University Union’s Activities officer Fi Metcalfe said, “the LUU Boat Club are coming out of a fantastic year; despite their regular commute to York to train on the River Ouse the women’s team still managed to qualify for the Henley Regatta for the first time in years. Not only will the new boat house help to capitalise on their success and make rowing more accessible to our 30,000 students, but we also hope that it will help foster links between the club and the wider community in south Leeds.”

The boat store will house a fleet of up to 50 boats, and will be shared by the two rowing clubs. The stretch of canal provides 4km of good quality rowable water and brings the canal into use.

The project partners are now looking for businesses and additional interested parties to get involved to help develop the clubs further as there is an opportunity to extend the dry side and community facilities while the contractors are on site this summer.

It is only through the cooperation between a diverse range of organisations that a project of this scale has been able to go ahead and fulfil a clear need for an improved rowing facility for the city and the region. Cooperation and coordination have been key elements of the planning process and have allowed the project partners to access the necessary funding avenues.


Family Fun Day

The club’s annual family fun day will take place on Sunday 7th September. The event is open to club members and their families, and will include scratch racing and a BBQ. The event will also be attended by Sunbeams Day Nursery, who have been long term supporters of the club and have just funded a new boat for our junior section.


2014 Racing Update

The club continues to perform well at head races and regattas throughout the country. Highlights of the 2014 Regatta season undoubtedly pivot around a breakthrough performance by our women’s 1st four, who reached the semifinal at Henley Women’s Regatta. This backs up their outstanding form, in winning Nottingham Regatta earlier in the season. The crew of Michelle, Meg, Nicola, Val and Harin (Cox) raced exceptionally well in their time trial as one of the quickest qualifiers. A succession of impressive performances ensued, to place our crew amongst the cream of the club rowing circuit. Special mention should also go the 2nd four, who missed out on qualifying through the time trial by the smallest of margins.

10299100_10154212653480577_1449439308756456097_nIn addition to this success, we now have National Champions in our midst! Des and Naomi stormed to victory in the National Masters B Mixed 4X- (composite crew) final and also achieved silver in the Mixed 2X-. This represents our first success on this level.

Other notable performances throughout the year include our Novice men’s four winning at Nottingham Regatta, a great way for a crew to lose their novice status, which underlines our commitment to coaching those new to the sport.

Our masters crew have also enjoyed success, by winning at Bradford Regatta in the club’s oldest boat, Reg.

The club also enjoyed some great performances at Durham Regatta, York, Peterborough and Metropolitan Regatta as we look forward to the later part of regatta season.


Work Set to Start on £1m Rowing Facility in South Leeds

Work on a new £1m boathouse, which will be the new home for rowers from the University of Leeds, and Leeds Rowing Club, is set to commence in South Leeds. The new facility will increase participation in the sport and help to satisfy the demand generated by the successful 2012 Olympic games.

Left to Right - Rob Wadsworth (University of Leeds), David Cottrell (Leeds RC) and Alan Meegan (British Rowing)
Left to Right – Rob Wadsworth (University of Leeds), David Cottrell (Leeds RC) and Alan Meegan (British Rowing)

The project is being delivered through a unique partnership between the University of Leeds, Leeds University Union, Leeds Rowing Club and British Rowing and is funded by University of Leeds, British Rowing, Sport England, Wren and Leeds Rowing Club.

New facilities will include a boat store, training / changing facilities, community space, car parking and direct access to a 4km stretch Aire and Calder Navigation Canal.

Rob Wadsworth, Head of Sport at the University of Leeds said, “The boathouse is a huge boost to the development of rowing at the University of Leeds, and the City of Leeds and its catchments.”

“It will also mean that the University Rowing Club will have a base within the city rather than their current location in York, enabling the clubs to have increased training sessions which we hope will boost participation numbers across students and staff and enable the teams to be more competitive at BUCS.”

Chairman of Leeds Rowing Club, David Saul said, “We are a young, vibrant and growing club, so we are desperately in need of larger and more modern facilities to cope with the demand generated by the increased interest in rowing following the Olympic Games. Our club is currently bursting with enthusiastic members, and we have a waiting list for those wanting to try the sport of the first time. This new facility will allow us to continue to grow as a club and continue to provide a great experience for rowers of all ages and social backgrounds.”

Alan Meegan, of British Rowing Facilities said: “British Rowing has identified Leeds as one of three key strategic development areas across the UK and so we are pleased to commit significant funds to this project. We have recognised that there is enormous potential in the region to develop the sport of rowing, and we are delighted to be involved with this facility. Not only will this benefit the existing clubs, but there will also be opportunities for new members, as well as schools and community groups to get involved.”

The project partners have been working frantically to raise funds for the project, which is set to capitalise on the rise in popularity of rowing, and greater demand for new facilities. Builders will first start work on the boat store, which will house a fleet of up to 50, and is due to be available in March with the ancillary facilities to be completed in June.

The project partners are now looking for businesses and additional interested parties to get involved to help develop the clubs further as there is an opportunity to extend the dry side and community facilities while the contractors are on site this summer.

Christmas Dinner

The club is now getting to a size where we need to think about bigger venues. This year’s excellent dinner was organised by Dani Markendale, and held at Headingley Stadium. The food was excellent, the company was fantastic, and the speeches weren’t too long! A great night was had by the whole club, and awards were given out for achievements throughout the year as has become a permanent fixture.

Huge thanks should also go to Val Polo, who organised another wonderful raffle, and raised over £1,000 for club funds. Pictures can be found on our facebook group.

Four’s Head

For the first time in the club’s history, Leeds RC sent three women’s coxed fours to the Tideway to compete in Head of the River Fours, on the same day that we sent two further crews to compete at Rutherford Head.

Despite arriving with plenty of time in hand, some poor organisation at the boating area meant we boated late and raced out of sequence. This worked well for Leeds RC I who raced side-by-side with a Cambridge University women’s coxed four for almost 1km, which pushed the crew to fight all the way to an impressive 12th place. Leeds RC III had a similarly strong race and fought hard to climb the rankings, as did Leeds RC II, a boat composed of our women’s development squad who put in an excellent performance.

496 entries, 450 raced; 50 crews raced in our category. W IM2 4+ -> Leeds RC I (Jessica Brush, Valentina Polo, Michelle Watson, Megan Andrews, Cox – Henry Clarke) = 12th in category, 368 overall; Leeds RC III (Lucy Conn, Nicola Santoni, Julia Stirrup, Rosemary Charter, Cox – Jasmine Jones) = 21st in category, 394 overall; Leeds RC II (Jenny Visick, Rachel Murphy, Natalie Gould, Liz Sharman, Cox – Joseph Hitchen) = 42nd in category, 435 overall. All crews very happy with their performance and it was important for the club to show how competitive our top women’s crews have become.

All crews finished significantly higher than their starting position. As a final race for the Senior and Development squads, this culminated a successful start to the season and shows extremely good potential for the year ahead.

Thanks to Joe Hitchen from Oxford for coxing; Gent Visick for sponsorship of transport, Rosie for driving the trailer, and Brad the mini bus!

York Small Boats Head

A large contingent enjoyed the excellently run York Small Boats Head, and we were delighted to support another local club and their event. We had a large number of crews in each of the three divisions, and all squads had some good races, including two wins in womens coxed fours, which transpired to be the two fastest women’s fours of the day, and women’s double sculls. This is the second year running that Leeds has produced the fastest women’s coxed four.

We boated from St. Peters, as we were collecting a boat from them to add to our fleet. Our thanks go to them also.

Nottingham Autumn Head

The stream was extremely strong, which led to the organisers cancelling some events. We sent ladies crews and two men’s single sculls to this event. The only winner was Nick in Senior singles, but all the crews blew out some cobwebs and set a good base for winter training.

Unlike last year, the journey was incident free, and we arrived at Nottingham without the need for RAC assistance, which has to be a positive.

Peterborough Regatta

The 2013 regatta was massively oversubscribed, which is great news for the sport, but bad news for competitors. A huge number of Leeds RC entries were rejected, which was disappointing. However, a great event was had by all who attended, and those who were not able to race, made good use of the bar and campsite facilities.

New Boathouse Moves a Step Closer

It has been announced by Sport England that the project to build a new boathouse on the banks of the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal, will benefit from £150,000 of legacy funding.

The University of Leeds, who are project partners, submitted the Inspired Facilities bid earlier this year. The award is part of £1.6m awarded from the fund to projects across Yorkshire, and sets a major milestone for the new boathouse project.

British Rowing and the University of Leeds have backed the plans. The project partners are currently applying to other funding bodies and seeking corporate backing to raise the outstanding funds.

Leeds Rowing Club has shown a clear demand for expanded facilities, with several hundred people on the L2R waiting list. Additionally, the Olympic effect has seen a surge in demand, especially from young people. Similarly, the boat club at the University of Leeds had 500 students interested in learning to row last year. A new boathouse will help to accommodate new members of all ages and backgrounds.

St Neots Regatta

The club was well represented at St. Neots Regatta in late July, sending men’s, women’s and mixed crews. There were wins on the Saturday for the WIM3 4x- and WNov 2x, while on Sunday, the WIM3 4+ won their event.

The weather held for the majority of the regatta, save for a deluge immediately after the last race of Saturday. The crews wisely took shelter in the beer tent, where they were stranded until the rain abated at approximately midnight.

Henley Royal Regatta

Following an indifferent start to regatta season, the men’s coxless four of Jason Naylor, Julian Pearce, Daniel Humphrey and Robbie Veitch, worked hard in the weeks preceding qualifying, to gel as a crew.

In good conditions, a large entry to qualifying was an indication of the tough task ahead. Following missing out by just one place in 2012, the crew set a good tempo down the course. Ultimately, it wasn’t to be and the crew were 10 seconds off the last qualifying place.

The squad has built numbers over the season, and added strength in depth. The aims for next season will be set out early, and a concerted assault on Henley is likely to feature foremost in those plans.

Henley Women’s Regatta

Henley Women’s Regatta

This year the club once again sent a women’s coxed four to Henley Women’s Regatta. The crew were Lucy Conn (stroke), Nicola Santoni, Michelle Watson, Valentina Polo, and were coxed by Henry Clarke. The Club Fours category saw a large number of entries, necessitating time trials, with 16 crews to qualify out of 27. After a confident row, the crew had qualified for the knock out stages of the regatta.

In some slightly blustery conditions the crew lined up under starters orders against Maidenhead. The crew did not have a clean start, losing a length to their opponents early on. A thrilling race ensued, with club mates and relatives screaming at the live video feed. Both crews battled hard, and the lead swapped several times.

Upon finishing, the umpires congratulated the crews on a spectacular race and declared their verdict: Maidenhead by 1 foot, in a very fast time. The crew showed great spirit and produced one of the most memorable races of the club’s history, which bodes well for the future development of the squad.

Leeds Car Rentals Supports LRC

Leeds Rowing Club are pleased to announce that Leeds Car Rentals will sponsor the 2013 Henley Royal Regatta Crew.

Leeds Car Rentals

The car and van hire specialists, based on Cardigan Road, have been long-term supporters of the club, supplying towing vehicles for events over the past two years.

The sponsorship continues this support, and will allow the men’s Henley crew to fit in additional training ahead of the qualifying races in Henley-on Thames, on Friday 28th June.

Leeds Car Rentals

Racing Season in Full Swing

Leeds RC kicked off racing season with an impressive win at our first ‘international’ event. The women’s senior crew powered home 20 seconds ahead of their opposition, at Strathclyde Regatta, to take top honours.


Meanwhile, the whole club has been racing hard and achieving impressive results with events around the country. Crews from all our squads have raced at venues far and near, including Durham City Regatta, Nottingham Regatta, The Junior Inter Regional Regatta and the Metropolitan Regatta at the Olympic Venue, Dorney Lake.

Crews put up an impressive fight at Durham Regatta in early June, with several scullers making the final of their events, and running their opposition close. The senior men fought hard over the 1800m long-course, and through the infamously narrow Elvet Bridge, as part of their on-going preparations, only to be knocked out in the semi-final.

The senior crews are now busy training for their respective appearances at Henley Women’s Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta, where the club will be represented for the third straight year.

Meanwhile, other squads, including our impressive junior scullers, will represent the club at events nearer to home, including Bradford and Peterborough.

Testing The Water

A substantial number of the club’s athletes recently attended the stretch of water that the new clubhouse will be built on, to ‘test the water’ in a range of different boats.


Men, women and junior athletes took fours, and quads down to the canal at Thwaite Mill to gain valuable experience on the 4km stretch of water and to check it’s suitability following an initial assessment in single sculls in 2011.

The crews reported excellent ‘mirror like’ conditions, and were very impressed with the stretch of water. Crews hope to attend the canal on a more regular basis in coming months, ahead of construction commencing on the new facility which is being built in partnership with The University of Leeds.

Yorkshire Head

The river conditions were good for the last head race of our season, which is more than can be said for the weather. Conditions were wet throughout the day and all crews were soaking before the start line, meaning the best prepared would be at an advantage.

The club were unable to replicate previous successes at the race, and only came away with one win, but plenty of learning points. Congratulations to both men’s IM3 fours; the more senior crew won, but the other crew were only 15 seconds behind to make it a Leeds one/two.


Stew and Oyster Stock up for Leeds RC

Leeds Rowing Club are delighted to announce a new sponsorship partner. Our newest local venue, the Stew and Oyster (Oakwood), have agreed to become the club’s social sponsor for the year.

The ale house, owned by a local brewery, have donated a substantial sum to club funds. In return, the LRC have already held a variety of events at the venue, ranging from a fundraising pub quiz to monthly committee meetings.

The management have been very supportive of the club and its events, and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship developing.

Head of the Trent

The senior crews were race hungry after the postponement of Durham, and the decision not to race at the rearranged event. Despite an early start, the club arrived incident free (ref Nottingham Autumn Head…..) There were no club wins, but some useful miles were covered with some crews racing above status and competing well.

South Yorkshire Head

Leeds RC continued their policy of supporting local races and were very pleased to attend the extremely well run event at Doncaster Rowing Club. Decent competition was available in most events, although the lack of higher status events caused some selection headaches.

The club celebrated a very successful day, with wins for the men’s novice coxed four, women’s IM3 coxless four, men’s novice single scull, women’s IM3 coxed four, women’s novice coxed quad, women’s J18 double scull and women’s novice double scull.

It was another good day for inter club relations, with all squads well represented. Our thanks go to Doncaster for being such good hosts.


Christmas Dinner

Loch Fyne once again hosted the event, and made the club feel very welcome indeed. A raffle helped to raise funds for the club on the night.

The usual awards were distributed, with highlights including Michelle and Nick sharing the achievement award for their respective successes over 2012. Richard Ansell, men’s senior coach, was celebrated with the club contribution award, whilst Suzanne Gallagher won the most improved rower award.

The celebrations carried on late into the night, with a certain member even dancing off a severely sprained ankle!

Rutherford Head

Whilst the men made the earlier start to the season, the club showed strength in depth by sending women’s crews north to race on the Tyne. As is always the case, cold conditions greeted the rowers, who gained good experience on a tidal, if rather bleak, stretch.

The women’s IM2 four beat some notable opposition to win their event, taking scalps such as Newcastle University and Durham University (both on home water) to set a quick time. The women’s IM3 coxed quad also won their event, ensuring a successful day for the club.


York Small Boats Head

The club sent a large contingent to the eminently well run event, held over 3km upstream over three divisions. Conditions were cold but calm, and York City were excellent hosts.

There were wins for the women’s IM3 coxed four (who were also the fastest women’s four of the day), women’s coxless quad, men’s senior single scull, men’s novice single scull and women’s J18 double scull. There were some very pleasing performances from all squads, and some great club camaraderie.


Fours Head

For the first time, the club were in position to send two men’s crews to fours head, one coxless IM1 crew and a coxed IM2 four. The line ups were experimental and late changes were enforced by injury.

Despite the national (and international) field, the start order effectively encouraged a showdown with local rivals York City Rowing Club. In the end, honours were even, with the York coxless four taking honours, whilst the Leeds coxed four overhauled their counterparts (who started one place ahead) by under a second.

The coxed four were pleased with the experience, whilst the coxless were disappointed with their performance on the day.

Dee Autumn Head

Crew were only entered in the afternoon division, which meant a leisurely start for Leeds competitors. Both men’s coxed fours competed at IM2 level, in experimental formations. The faster of the two crews missed out on the pennant by just under 15 seconds.

Grosvenor Rowing club laid on another spectacular race and one that is rapidly becoming a permanent fixture on the Leeds RC calendar.

Leeds RC Turn Heads at Nottingham

Leeds RC had an eventful day attending Nottingham Autumn Head – the first race of the winter season. Not long after joining the motorway, the hire van ground to a halt on the M1.

After about an hour of strategising and frantic phone calls, we managed to agree for the RAC to tow us the remaining 50 miles to the race. When we arrived, in style, Nottingham RC helped us to unload the trailer and rig boats just in time for the start.

The men’s coxed four were narrowly beaten to victory by York City RC. The coxless four fared less well, finishing third in their category. The Women’s four were beaten, again by the York Club, but some pride was salvaged by Thirzah and Michelle who won IM2 doubles. Amy and Jenny, who had been bumped up from J18 doubles, also acquitted themselves very well.

The fact that we raced at all is testament to the club spirit, and all our members pitching in to make the best of a challenging situation. As for the RAC, we just told everyone they were our new sponsor…


Christmas Celebrations
After a year of successes, the date for the club’s annual christmas dinner has been decided. The event will take place at Loch Fyne Restaurant in the City Centre and will feature the usual mix of speeches, awards and merriment.

New for this year, there will be an auction to raise money for the club. The cost of the three course meal will be £22 per person and payment is required before November. For further details, speak to Jules or Naomi or refer to the email.

Leeds Rowing Club Makes the News

The club hit the headlines this autumn with our support for The British Heart Foundation’s campaign to increase clothes donations to their shops. Club members Jules, Dan, Dom, Thirzah, Milly and Naomi posed for press photos in the Merrion Centre.

Despite getting some curious looks from passers by, the charity were extremely grateful for the help, which generated a page of coverage in the Yorkshire Evening Post. The exposure also gave the club the chance to talk about its future as we look toward a new boathouse.

“We’re a young club, but we’re already competing at the highest level, having sent crews to Henley, Fours Head and Metropolitan Regatta in the past year. The next step is to work with Leeds University to build a major new boathouse with expanded facilities to help keep the people of Leeds and Yorkshire fit and healthy.”

More information about the BHF’s Great British Bagathon can be found at


Bradford Regatta

Bradford Rowing Club once again hosted an excellent regatta towards the end of the season, which gave some of our members the chance to race locally. It was a great introduction to competitive rowing for 8 members who have only been doing the sport for a few months.

In the primary events, we had a women’s coxed quad of Suzanne, Emma, Jenny, Alison and Rosie (cox). They had a fantastic start and powered all the way through the race to win comfortably. The men’s coxed quad of Josh S, Bradley F, Jonny, Rob and Henry (cox) had only had a couple of sessions in their crew, before the race. The borrowed boat caused a few steering problems and the crew struggled with timing but there was a lot of power in the boat and there is a lot of potential in the crew.

There were lots of junior entries, a masters 4+ and a handful of small boats. An enjoyable day was had by all and we were made to feel very welcome by our hosts.

Bradford 2012

Peterborough Regatta

The club put in a spirited effort to try and retain the Victor Lodorum at Peterborough Regatta, but fell agonisingly short, losing narrowly to Cantabrigian. The trailer was as fully loaded as it could be and we made a record number of entries.

The weather was set fair for the weekend, with spells of sunshine and light winds over the two days. Saturday saw wins for the women’s IM3 quad, men’s IM2 coxless four, IM1 coxed four, mixed quad and novice single. Sundays racing saw wins in mixed quads, women’s quads, men’s singles, mixed four and a women’s four. Additionally, a men’s four crossed the line first in their thrilling final on Sunday, but were disqualified for a lane infringement.

The overall prize, for most club wins over the two days, came down to a duel between Leeds and Cantabs, with the latter securing the honours in the closing stages of the regatta. Another superb club performance to cap off a memorable season.

Peterborough Regatta

Olympic Effort For Club Rowers
Leeds Rowing Club gathered on the Super Saturday of the Olympic Games, to ‘row the channel’ in aid of the club development programme and St. Gemma’s Hospice. A team of male and female rowers took rowing machines down to The Light shopping centre, to give members of the public a go on an indoor rower and to complete the 34,000m effort.

The rowers took 1000m turns and the feat took two hours and ten minutes from coast to coast. We also had our coxed four, named by The Light, outside the centre which attracted plenty of attention and gave members of the public the opportunity to see a racing shell at close quarters.

Youngsters were also given the opportunity to row for 30 seconds, after which they were presented with a ‘Future Olympian’ certificate. The club raised a total of £285, which was split between the club and St. Gemma’s Hospice.

Olympic Effort

Henley Update
Both men’s and women’s crews came agonisingly close to qualifying for their respective Henley Regattas this season.

The women battled against one of the strongest streams ever seen at Henley Women’s Regatta, and were unfortunate to have the format of the competition revised, in the end just missing out on a qualifying place.

The men were also frustrated by a strong headwind and missed out as the fastest non-qualifyer in the coxless fours event at Henley Royal Regatta.

The results have increased the senior squads resolve to make a sustained assault on the competitions next year, especially after some encouraging results at the Metropolitan regatta.

New Sponsorship Deal
Leeds Rowing Club is proud to announce a new sponsorship deal with Experis, a world leader in IT and Finance workforce solutions. The deal includes sponsorship and naming of the men’s coxless four which has already raced at the Olympic rowing venue, Dorney Lake and will race at Henley Royal Regatta in the coming days.

Club Development Officer, Julian Pearce said: “We’re extremely grateful for the support that Experis have shown us. The money will help us to continue to build the club and move us up a level. The branding looks great on the boat and we’re taking the Experis name to all the events we attend.”

The newly named boat competed on the Olympic lake in early June, and beat some of the top club crews in the country, attaining 3rd place on consecutive days. The crew will race at the qualifiers for the world famous Henley Royal Regatta on Friday 22 June.


Durham City Regatta – Sunday 14th May
How short are our memories? I’ve just looked back at last year’s Durham City report and find the following – ”The weather forecast was proved wrong once again and the warnings of dire weather with rain all weekend was fortunately proved wrong” – so it wasn’t that much different this year was it? Unfortunately Saturday’s racing was actually cancelled due to flooding and Sunday’s racing took place with a very fast stream and a high wind which made starting almost impossible. That said, our crews coped magnificently with the conditions and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, we even came home with a few pots. Here goes with the first regatta report of the season:

Ladies Novice 4x+ Rachel, Laura, Jayne, Dani, Henry (Cox): This crew had the honour of opening our racing season for us this year and the difficulty of the conditions showed by them being on the start line for over 15 minutes whilst their opposition desperately tried to manoeuvre in the wind and stream. Eventually the starter said go and they were off and quickly established a small lead which they extended to over a length by the 400m mark. Unfortunately a huge gust of wind upset the boat causing a shipwreck which stopped the boat. Their opposition took their opportunity to race past and win by about a length.


The girls rowed well in difficult conditions

Ladies IM3 2x – Rosie Charter & Naomi Assame: In very poor conditions, Rosie’s arm cramped up very early in the race and they were unable to continue competitively.

Ladies J14 1x – Louise Nicholas: Lulu became the Club’s first event winner for this season. She started well and established a very early lead then, rowing strongly and steering very well, she extended this lead all the way along the course to win by an easily verdict. A strong result in the Inter Regional Regatta and a win here shows a lot of promise for the season ahead. Well done!!

Ladies IM3 4+ Lucy, Vicki, Caroline, Helen, Henry (Cox): This crew “gelled” very well together and rowed very well however the Durham crew were a little too strong and they were beaten by about a length.

Ladies J15 2x – Louise Nicholas, Georgia Denham (City of Sheffield): Fresh from her win at J14 1x, Lulu was very soon back in the boat and stepping up an age category to race with Georgia in the double. This was to be Georgia’s first ever race so she was understandably a bit nervous but it didn’t show in the race. They got off to a good start and quickly established a lead. Rowing rhythmically and powerfully they rowed right away from the opposition to win by a couple of lengths. And so, to the final, against an experienced York Crew. The race was close all the way down the course with the lead changing hands a couple of times. At the line it was judged to be a Dead Heat so they had to return to the start line and do it all over again. In the re-row they were unable to repeat the feat of the previous race and were eventually beaten by a couple of lengths but an excellent debut by this crew.

Mixed Elite 2x – Des Kelly, Naomi Assame: Des and Naomi were slightly down off the start of their first race but quickly got into a good rhythm and, rowing neatly, rowed past their opponents to take the lead and win, qualifying for the final. In the final they took an early lead and rowing very well together, they extended that lead all the way to the finish to win the Event. Excellent result.

Ladies IM3 1x – Angela Blythe-Smith: Disappointingly there were only two entries in this event but you still have to beat them!! And that’s exactly what Angela did, getting off to a fast start, she quickly drew out to over a length lead and continued to extend this to several lengths by half way. At that point, she was caught by a massive gust of wind and the boat stopped allowing her opponent to recover some of the deficit. However, Angela recovered well and rowed away again to record an easily verdict winning the event.

Open J14 2x – James Eaton, James Howard: These boys only started rowing in the winter and have made excellent progress so that Des thought that they were ready to have a go at racing. And how right he was, although they were beaten by a small margin, they raced very competitively throughout a very close race. Very well done.

Leeds rower set to make a splash at the Boat Race

A Leeds lad is set to compete on the boat race course this Saturday in Oxford University’s Isis boat, the traditional reserves race which takes place annually as a precursor to the main event.

Joe Dawson, educated at Leeds Grammar School and now studying Classics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, learnt to row with Leeds Rowing Club, based at Roundhay Park. Inclusion in the squad represents a major milestone in any rower’s career and places Joe well for further success moving forward.

The reserve crew squads were finalised at the weigh-in on Monday April 2nd, where it was announced that Joe would race in the five seat as part of the crew’s ‘engine room’. The end of the race will be broadcast on BBC 1 at around 2pm on Saturday, just before the top crews line up at the start underneath Putney Bridge. The 2012 Reserve Boats

Joe’s former team mates at Leeds Rowing Club are hoping to turn Leeds ‘dark blue’ this weekend, as they turn out in support of Joe and his crew. Leeds RC’s Chairman, David Saul said: “We’re enormously proud of Joe. It’s a fantastic achievement and we’ve wished him the best of luck for the race”.

Joe Dawson

Local rower Joe Dawson (centre) practices with his crew on the Thames

The news Joe had been selected for the crew came a day after two other Leeds RC crews completed a gruelling 51 kilometre race between Lincoln and Boston. A ladies coxed quad and a men’s double scull raced the annual Boston Marathon, both setting new course records for their class of boat. The women’s crew were racing in aid of Cancer Research UK and have raised over £3,000 by completing the challenge. The men’s crew broke the record time which had stood for 18 years.

Money can still be donated via

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Two crews from Leeds Rowing Club enjoyed sunshine and perfect conditions at the Boston Marathon, both achieving new course records into the bargain.

A women’s coxed quad of Milly Shepherd, Crystal MacLeod, Naomi Assame, Karen Smith and Angela Clare set a new course record for IM2 4X+ of 4 hours 34 minutes, smashing the previous best by over half an hour. The crew were originally entered to row the race in September, but had to wait until April as weed on the 50 kilometre course meant it was cancelled in the autumn. The crew were raising money for Cancer Research UK and have raised over £3,000 for the charity.

A men’s novice double scull also put in a late entry and achieved another course record for their event. Toby Gamlen and Julian Pearce beat the previous record, which has stood since 1994, by three minutes, completing the course in 3hours 48 minutes and also bettered the IM3 course best by 30 seconds.

The weather was kind to all the competitors as a chilly start was supplemented by strong sunshine throughout the day. The gruelling event, which includes carrying the boat over a lock, is an annual test of endurance for rowers from across the country. Thanks must go to the crew’s support team and to everyone who helped raise so much money for a good cause. Huge thanks must also go to Kate O’Connell, an original crew member for the September race, who was not able to compete this time around due to being heavily pregnant.

Watch a video made by the girls here

Money can still be donated via

Scullers Head
The club’s second outing on the tideway this season provided more success. Leeds RC saw two representatives compete over the championship course, in the annual race for single sculls organised by Vesta RC. Kris Johnson came fourth in category and an excellent 128th overall out of more than 450 competitors proving once again that she has the ability to mix it with the best. Christian Hill also competed in his first event on the tideway and acquitted himself admirably achieving a final position of 268th. He was one of the youngest competitors on the water.

Head of the River Fours

Fours Head Of The River

The clubs second visit to this event, held over the championship course on the tideway, was a successful one. Racing again at IM2 4+ and having finished 24 out of 43 (and 273 overall) in 2010, the top men’s crew were looking for a top 220 finish this time around.

Some transport problems, which included a 40mph technical issue in one car on the way down, as well as taking the scenic route around Putney with the trailer on the Friday evening, meant that our crew welcomed a relatively civilised start time of 11:30. Boating from the Putney embankment was the usual organised chaos / great atmosphere.

The crew set off number 304, being chased down by Leeds University, the organisers obviously wanting to keep the troublesome northern crews together. The four set off well, the cox having negotiated some space in front and behind, which allowed the crew to row the majority of the race untroubled, other than watching the crews behind fall away. Approaching Hammersmith Bridge, the Leeds RC supporters club had gathered, with what is surely one of the most intricate banners ever created, and spurred the crew on for the final few kilometres. Passing Harrods, the crew overtook Evesham and took another couple of crews on the Putney reach. Not even a near ejector crab from the Leeds RC bowman could dampen spirits in what had been a very enjoyable race.

As is usual with a race containing over 400 crews, results took their time in coming. An initial scan, showed that the crew hadn’t raced at all. Iphones in hand, the crew tweeted the organisers to enquire the reason for our absence. Credit to them, twitter appears to be the way of getting things sorted, as the updated list showed a finishing position of 180th. Later revisions, checking and disqualifications gave a final position of 178th, or 15th out of 65 IM2 coxed fours – an overall improvement of over 90 places from 2010.

A special mention should also go to ex club member Joe Dawson, who raced for Isis III (Oxford University). His Senior 4- finished an extremely creditable 43rd overall.

Dee Autumn Head

A strong and daunting tide greeted the arrival of our trailer on The Groves, the fantastic setting for the small but perfectly formed Dee Autumn Head, run by Grosvenor RC. So strong and daunting in fact, that boating and start times were delayed by more than an hour! When we eventually went afloat, debris still hampered crews trying to get up to the start, with all manner of objects sailing by.

The IM2 4+ were in final preparation for Fours Head the following week and eager to prove their speed. Unfortunately, they were impeded by some truly awful steering from a (bow loaded – grrrr) unnamed North Lancashire University… and ended up missing out to Sheffield University, by three seconds. The IM3 4+ enjoyed a less incident riddled procession down the river, overtaking several crews in a field of eight boats. They finished up a respectable fourth. The J16 2x were pleased with their row and provided the only Leeds RC medal winners of the day. Only one brave representative from the women’s squad competed, setting a respectable time (somewhat late night affected) of 17:06.

Thanks are due to all the rowing clubs on this beautiful stretch of river, for holding a professional and well attended event. The warm soup and massive video projections of the recently completed race were great additions to the day.

Nottingham Autumn Head

Our first head race of the season was the Nottingham Autumn Head, 4000m downstream on the Trent. All the crew boats raced in the afternoon division, which meant the usual scramble for coxes. We eventually enlisted the help of both Leeds University and a much welcomed ‘testimonial’ return from Jenny K!

The men’s IM2 4+ were sandwiched between two Nottingham RC crews, finishing 20 seconds behind the winners. An IM1 2- faced a more experienced pair from Nottingham and Union, and succumbed to a 25 second deficit. Top billing has to go to the Novice 4+ who annihilated the opposition in their category to take the honours – some great promise there. The Women’s IM2 4+ (Watson) were edged out by 11 seconds by Nottingham RC. The Women’s IM2 4x were also beaten by a Nottingham RC outfit, with the other Women’s IM2 4+ ending up 3rd of four in category. Christie faced some tough opposition in J16 1x, but set a respectable time of 16:49. Special mention to new member, Nick M, who put the other Leeds crews somewhat to shame, by winning his event (rowing for his old club) and beating all the Leeds crews in the process!

Kris Johnson raced over the longer course in division one and was the fastest woman on the water – winning W Elite 1x into the bargain. Her overall finishing position of 18th in the division meant that she had beaten all other female competitors and plenty of male competitors.

Leeds Rowing Club Wins Victor Lodorum at Peterborough

Victor Ludorum

The club celebrated our most successful regatta season to date, with the showpiece club event of our racing calendar, Peterborough Regatta. The regatta has been an important part of our season, since we founded just five years ago. It’s a measure of how far we’ve come, that we won the Victor Lodorum, for the most successful club at the 2011 regatta. This is even more of an achievement considering how the points system is weighted, being awarded per winning seat, and therefore favouring clubs which enter the ‘big boats’ such as eights.

Wins in nine senior events, and many more finalists in close finishes in other events, announced Leeds as a rowing force to be reckoned with. Over 1000m on Saturday 13th August, crews won Open IM1 coxed fours (course record time for this event), Open IM2 coxless pairs (composite with Tyne United RC), Women’s IM3 coxed fours (where we also got 2nd place) and Women’s Novice double sculls. On Sunday 14th August, crews won Women’s IM2 coxed fours, Open IM3 coxless pairs, Open IM3 single sculls, Women’s IM3 coxed fours, Women’s IM3 coxless quadruple sculls and Junior 15 double sculls (course record time for this event).

This fantastic club achievement, from across the squads, shows the strength in depth the club has managed to achieve, in year one of our three year forward plan, and is a ringing endorsement of the squad system. The club will now look consolidate on this, and build on our achievements throughout the squads in the coming years.

The success compliments the senior squad accomplishments earlier in the regatta season, where the Men won at Nottingham Regatta and got through to the Thursday of Henley Royal Regatta, and the Women took two boats to Henley Women’s regatta, and the quad comfortably won their first round clash.

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal

Club 4- (Wyfold Challenge Cup) Julian Pearce (steers), Matt Sharman, Dan Graham, Simon Harris (stroke): The men had prepared themselves to qualify for the event, and were extremely surprised that the entry was exactly 32 crews, meaning qualifying would not be necessary for the first time many can remember. This was justification that the crew should race in the Wyfold rather than the Britannia, where qualifying was held the weekend before. The men took the opportunity to travel down and practice over the qualifying weekend anyway, soaking up the sights and sounds of the town, practicing steering the course and sampling the atmosphere of the draw (in which incredibly, we were picked against our nearest neighbours, Bradford Amateur Rowing Club).

Race day dawned bright and still, and the West Yorkshire showdown was scheduled for the penultimate race before ‘luncheon’. The Leeds crew weighed in an average of 2lbs lighter per man than Bradford, but were un-phased by this slight deficit. The first stroke of the race turned out to be the crew’s worst of the regatta, with a ‘seat issue’ giving Bradford the early advantage, leading to the barrier. The crew quickly composed themselves, to lead by a length at Fawley, and despite strong pushes from Bradford, a hold call and subsequent push saw the Leeds crew win by 2 ½ lengths. The Bradford crew were very gracious and came to shake hands at the end, and offer their support for the Thursday.

On the second day, the crew had an early afternoon race against Henley RC ‘B’ who had beat Leeds in the IM2 4- category at Metropolitan Regatta by some 20 seconds. The crew knew they had a tough challenge ahead, but raced in a much more composed way than the previous day. In the end, Henley won by 2 ¼ lengths, but an excellent Leeds put down a respectable time and this represented a great start to Henley Royal Regatta for such a young club.

Princess Royal Challenge Cup (1x) Kris Johnson: Following her success at Henley Women’s Regatta, Kris Johnson entered the Princes Royal Challenge Cup at Henley Royal. This is an international event for Lady scullers and there were 18 entries including 12 from overseas and, with only 8 places in the Regatta main draw, qualification was going to be tough. When the list for the qualifying race came out there were 12 scullers in the qualifying race and only two places available in the regatta.Kris sculled really well and very strongly and by half way she was clearly catching the sculler who had started one place in front of her. When the race was over it was announced that Kris had qualified with one of the two fastest times. Kris was the only BRITISH lady remaining in the event.

The first round on the Friday ensured that Leeds RC was represented for the first three days of the regatta. Kris raced strongly against an opponent from the USA, who ended up as the beaten finalist. It was an honour to have the Leeds RC name represented amongst some of the best single scullers in the world.

Henley Women’s Regatta

Club 4+ Sally Morris, Catherine Grayson, Vicky Loverseed, Kersty Bletso, Liz Harries (Cox): Our Ladies coxed four raced really well putting in a good performance whilst losing to one of the semi finalists in the event, Sons of the Thames. A bit unlucky drawing them in the first round! The crew battled through a torrential rainstorm, eventually losing by a verdict of three lengths.

Senior 4x Thirzah Francis, Kay Robinson, Crystal McLeod, Michelle Watson (Stroke): The crew faced stiff opposition in the senior category, and acquitted themselves excellently, proving they can row with the best. A win over Worcester RC in the first round, with a verdict of ‘Easily’ was a fantastic performance. They were beaten later in the day by a strong composite outfit from London RC and Imperial.

Senior 1X Kris Johnson: The clubs most decorated rower won this event – well done Kris! A fantastic achievement after all her hard work. She beat a sculler from Isle of Ely RC on the Friday, followed by victories over Cardiff University and Bath University with victory in the final over Wallingford RC by 1 length. A fantastic effort.

Bradford Summer Regatta

Bradford Summer

Open Novice4+ : We had two crews in this event our juniors men’s four of James Nicholas, Sam Croft, Tom Nicholas, Luke Kay (Str), Kersty Bletso (Cox) and our senior crew of Vincent Golding, Andy Dalton, Josh Tindall, Frank Hurcum (Str), Jenny Kneeland (Cox): First to race was the Juniors against a highly polished Bradford Grammar School crew. The juniors rowed well and hard but with a little less cohesion than the BGS crew which drew away to win by about a length. Our senior crew drew Bradford and raced very strongly to win by several lengths and progress to the final against BGS. In the final they lost about ½ length on the start but once they got up to speed they matched the BGS crew for speed and held them right to the finish. The final verdict being ½ length so a bit more start practice needed perhaps.

Ladies Open IM3 4x+ Georgie Ramseyer, Val Polo, Caroline Bell, Lucy Conn (Str), Jenny Kneeland (Cox): With their win at Durham being a fading memory except for the silverware which Is polished every night I believe, the crew was ready and raring to go in this higher classification, and they did not disappoint. With Jenny shouting instructions to “destroy the opposition” they did just that. Taking an early lead they rowed right away from the opposition leaving them trailing in their wake to record a win of over 3 lengths. Those trophy shelves are beginning to creak already!

Open Novice 4x+ Paul Welsford, Jack Wilson, Josh Tindall, Jez Welburn (Str) Vincent Golding (Cox): A strong start by our crew put them in front by half way and all the supporters hoping that this was going to be their day. And so it proved, with loud support from the bank the crew finished the race strongly winning by 2-3 lengths and proving that Leeds were the masters in the quad events by winning all the Open quad events at the regatta.

Ladies Novice 4x+ Helen Ritchie, Claire Etherington, Angela Blythe-Smith, Liz Harries (Str), Jenny Kneeland (Cox): Having already seen the IM3 quad win, this crew was also fired up for a similar performance and again they did not disappoint. They took an early lead and rowed right away from the opposition to win the event by another 3 length margin.

Open J15 1x – James Nicholas: This was James’ debut race in a single and he came up against a much more experienced racer from York. James raced really well avoiding the banks and buoys in the centre of the course but lost by a couple of lengths. His opponent went on to win both J15 and J16 events.

Open IM3 2x Ben Coverdale, Tom Coverdale (Str): Ben and Tom had to work the hardest for their win because, with 5 entries in the event they had the misfortune of not getting a bye and would need 3 races if they were going to win the event. The first race was the hardest against a very determined Bradford crew on home water. The boys took a lead but were never able to break free and the final verdict was ¾ length victory to Leeds. The semi final and final were more straightforward with Ben & Tom leading early and rowing further and further away giving handsome victories of 2 – 3 lengths in both of these races.

Ladies J13 2x Orla Kuster, Lulu Nicholas: Lulu and Orla were drawn against the very good York crew that had beaten them at York Regatta the previous week. Undeterred by this and looking very relaxed they went out determined to give York a good race. They raced and steered very well but, as last week, York were a little too good for them and beat them by about 2 lengths.

Durham Regatta

Despite the Pimms tent reminding us that it was summer, it clearly wasn’t and I’ve been to warmer Head Races. The whole weekend was cold, windy and wet but again didn’t deter our crews from putting in some excellent performances against some tough opposition. Yet again the regatta had a full programme and started at the unearthly hour of 0800am on Saturday morning so a big thanks to Jez who took the trailer up to Durham on Friday night to ensure that the boats were all there ready to race.

Saturday 11th June

Open J15 1x – Christian Hill: Christian had the dubious distinction of being our first racer again. Christian allowed his opponent to take a small lead off the start. No matter how much effort Christian put in, on this occasion he was not quite able to pull this back and was beaten by just about half a length.

Open IM2 4+ Julian Pearce, Matt Sharman, Dan Graham, Simon Harris (Str), Jenny Kneeland (Cox): The IM2 (and above) fours had to race the long course at Durham – 1800m and including at the half way point, the renowned Elvet bridge. On the apex of a sharp bend and with arches barely narrow enough for a boat to pass, this obstacle was built 800 years ago specifically in order to give the advantage at the regatta to local crews…. Not wanting to risk negotiating it coxless in a borrowed boat we are very grateful to Jenny for being prepared to cox! In the first round we raced Durham ARC B crew and took an early lead. By the bridge we were 2½ lengths in front, but a slight scrape and a big push by DARC reduced the gap to just ½ length before we strode out and took a convincing lead once more, finishing 2 lengths in front. In the second round we were drawn against Tees RC, who we know well. The crew produced an excellent start and again took an early lead, about 1½ lengths by the bridge. This time we were not impeded by the bridge and stayed comfortably ahead to win again by about 2 lengths. In the final we raced the Durham ARC A crew, who proved to be a greater challenge. Despite a very fast start we found ourselves down after the first 10 strokes and DARC rowed an extremely aggressive first 500m, taking about 1 length lead. It was clearly their strategy to throw everything into the first half of the race and unfortunately it worked. By the bridge they had extended this to 1½ lengths and despite a strong push out of the bridge we weren’t able to put them under pressure. Overall, this was a good performance but we were caught napping in the final.

IM2 8+, Simon Harris, Dan Graham, Julian Pearce, Toby Gamlen plus four and cox from Tees: Tees had been impressed with our rowing at Nottingham and the Met and suggested a composite eight. After just one practice, without the full crew, the boys were hoping for an easy first race to work their way into the competition. Unfortunately the York University crew opposing us were quite strong and took an early lead. Despite maintaining an aggressive rate the differences in style between the Tees and Leeds boys showed and we couldn’t quite convert our power into effective boat speed, losing eventually by about 1½ lengths.

J16 1x – Alex Metcalf: A good entry into this event and Alex suffered the double whammy of NOT getting the first round bye and drawing the likely strongest opponent in the first round too. Elliott from Tees we know well as Dan’s doubles partner so we knew him to be fast and Alex had never beaten him previously. Alex was understandably nervous going to the start but he knew what he had to do which was to get in front and stay there and that’s exactly what he did. Starting fast he took a lead off the start and extended this to a length by half way. Elliott pushed hard approaching the bridge and reduced the deficit to ½ length but Alex responded and pulled back out to win by one length. The subsequent rounds were not so tough and Alex went on to win the semi and final by several lengths to be our first and only event winner this weekend. Well done Alex.

Ladies IM1 4x- Thirzah, Kay, Angela, Crystal (Str): With Michelle unavailable for the weekend, the crew had a swap around from the Metropolitan and Angela stepped in to race and give Thirzah some more race steering practice over the 1,800m course and through “the bridge”. In the event their first found opponents obviously decided that “the bridge” was too difficult and scratched so not much steering practice there. In the final we were up against a very strong crew from Durham School who took an early lead which they maintained to the finish.

Ladies IM3 4+ – Kersty, Sally, Catherine, Vicki, Liz (Cox): After their experience at the Metropolitan last weekend, the crew was very positive about racing at Durham despite the massive entry of 18 crews in their event. But their confidence was well founded as they took a very early lead in the first race against Van Mildert and extended that throughout the race finishing with a very comfortable 3½ length win. Their second round race against St Chad’s was won in similar comfortable style, never being behind at any point in the race they went on to win by a massive 4 lengths. And so onto the Semi Final where they were matched against a Durham University crew with “good pedigree” or so my spies on the bank report. Unfortunately DU students are unable to read a watch and they were 45 minutes late arriving at the start. Our crew had been on the water for the whole of that time in the very cold conditions and was very cold by this time. Despite the regatta published rule, enforced earlier in the day, that you are disqualified if you are late to the start, DU rowed up, nice and warm, turned and were allowed to race. Our crew took an early lead off the start and was leading by half a length when the lack of feeling in the fingers caused a massive “boat stopping crab”. DU seized the opportunity of going past and establishing a lead which they never relinquished going on to win by 1½ lengths. This also happened to the other semi finalists from Liverpool, who were kept waiting for a similar time by another local crew with the same result.

Open IM2 1x Tom Coverdale: Welcome back Tom! An early start for Tom but his opponent scratched which is a bit unreasonable when you’ve travelled up ready for an early race however, onto the second round. Tom drew a sculler from Stephenson College who (and I quote Tom) was a little fitter who went on to win and contest the final.

Open IM3 4+ Vincent, Jez, Josh, Frank, Luke (Tees RC, cox): The crew were a scratch combination racing above their status, and unlucky to draw a strong crew from Van Mildert College in their first round. Unfortunately the lack of practise was exposed on the first 10 strokes and we allowed the opposition to get away. Thereafter we settled into a very powerful rhythm and for the first half of the course we hung on to overlap and looked at one point to have got the opposition rattled. Unfortunately a couple of wobbles let them escape and after that our speed dropped, so we lost by about 3 lengths. Still a good effort given the odds. Special thanks go to Luke for stepping in to cox, it was suggested that he could make a fine career as a sergeant-major…

Ladies J16 2x Amy, Jenny: Drawn against a very good crew from Cambois who had performed very well at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta, Amy & Jenny obviously had good opposition in this event. And it proved to be a very close race with Cambois initially in the lead but Amy & Jenny rowed very strongly to catch and overtake them establishing a lead of about a length approaching the finish. Unfortunately their steering let them down at the line and they hit the bank at the crucial moment allowing Cambois to pull through and win. This was an excellent performance from a crew with only a couple of races under their belt but they are getting better with every race. Well done Amy and Jenny.

Sunday 12th June

J16 1x – Alex Metcalf: After his success yesterday, Alex was raring to go but today was an even bigger test as the race was over the 1,800m course and through “the bridge”. His first race warmed him up nicely and he won well but the other half of the draw was falling apart with scratchings and row overs meaning that no one was actually going to race before the final. So, onto the second round, the race was very close with Alex pulling out a small lead of about a length by the 700m mark. He maintained this lead and even extended it right through to the finishing straight where he was warned by the umpire for wandering a little towards the other lane. Alex then had to make a steering adjustment around a buoy allowing his opponent to slip past and win.

Open Novice4+ Vincent, Frank, Josh, Simon (Str), Liz Harries (Cox): Unfortunately the starter held the race for an interminable time after the “attention”. This unsettled the crew leading to a poor first couple of strokes which ended up with the boat careering towards the bank. After sorting out the direction and getting going they set off in pursuit of the opposition rowing very strongly and making up the distance all the time. Sadly the finish came too soon but the crew showed good speed after a slightly chaotic start.

Metropolitan Regatta

Another bleak summer weekend with bright sun making us forget that the wind was howling across the Olympic venue making it almost impossible to get attached to the stakeboast and giving clear advantage to the low numbered lanes. Lets hope that they sort out the wind before the Olympic regatta in 2012, but I digress, back to this year and how our senior squad performed against quality opposition.

Saturday 4th June

Open IM2 4- Julian Pearce, Matt Sharman, Dan Graham, Simon Harris (Str): The crew entered both coxed and coxless fours, in order to compare the strength of the opposition in each category. For the latter, they were rowing for the first time in a new boat, borrowed from Southampton University and re-rigged by Richard in the nick of time… Despite less than ideal preparation the crew won their heat in a respectable time of 7:09. The conditions were breezy at this time in the morning, but after the gales at Nottingham regatta this wasn’t enough to bother us. The other heats were faster, so we knew the final, later in the afternoon, would be tough. Also by that stage the wind had increased in strength. The crew started well but couldn’t match the pace of the Henley RC and Thames RC A boats which took an early lead. At 500m we were in the chasing pack, with Thames B at the back. By 1000m we were still overlapping the boats in 3rd and 4th and seemed well placed. However in the second 1000m we lost cohesion a little in the wind and the pack got away. Still the result of 5/6 in the final in a time of 6:59 was a very promising result given our unfamiliarity with the boat.

IM2 4+, Pearce, Matt Sharman, Dan Graham, Simon Harris (Str), Jenny Kneeland (Cox): For the 4+ event the crew were back in our own familiar boat with Jenny helping us to uncork the anger bottle… There was a long delay for this race and we were kept waiting for 30 mins before the start. The cross-head wind was very strong by now, and in lane 7 we seemed to suffer from it the most. The crew were rather stunned to be completely dropped by Goldie (Cambridge University, lane 6) in the first 250m, since we had defeated two Goldie crews convincingly in the same event at Nottingham 2 weeks before. This seemed to take the wind out of our sails and the crew did not row at its best. The results of 5/6 in 7:35 was a bit disappointing. We were perhaps a little unlucky as the two crews that finished 1st and 2nd in this race (Oxford Brookes and Goldie) were very strong and also finished 1-2 in the final. Or perhaps we were just star-struck after having the safety check on the boat performed by Matthew Pinsent!

Ladies IM2 4+ – Sally, Catherine, Vicki, Kersty, Liz Harries (Cox): Rather unluckily the crew found themselves in the least favoured lane (Lane 7) but they were not deterred by this and were determined to row well. In the event they started very strongly as is a trademark of their racing this year and were leading out of the blocks. However the pace of the other boats especially those in the sheltered lanes began to tell and they gradually pulled away from our crew. They eventually finished 7th in the heat but their 500m splits were very consistent showing that they had rowed well over the whole course and of course they were now warmed up and ready for the IM3 event.

Ladies IM3 4+ Sally, Catherine, Vicki, Kersty, Liz Harries (Cox): The crew had a slightly better draw for this race being in one of the middle lanes. Again they had a storming start and were ahead and then well in the pack for the first 500m. Thereafter the pack pulled away and staggeringly, although they did a faster time than in the IM2 race, the result was the same. There are some really fast IM3 crews out there. Overall, our crew was eliminated from both events but rowed really well and were positive about the experience, leaving Dorney looking forward to the next regatta at Durham and, of course, the Met next year.

Ladies IM1 4x- Thirzah, Kay, Crystal, Michelle (Str): A big step up to IM1 in a top regatta for our crew and once again we were drawn in an unfavourable lane. The crew rowed very well with good cohesion despite the conditions and kept with the pack for the first 500m but over the next 500 the other crews began to pull away a little. A big effort in the third 500 saw our crew regaining contact and overtaking the crew lying 4th. They then maintained 4th position to the finish. A really great effort in a high status, high quality event.

Ladies Elite 1xs Kris Johnson: After Kris’s success at the Metropolitan Regatta last year, hopes were high for a repeat in the higher classification. This event had attracted a high quality field with two overseas competitors presumably over here for the “Henley Regattas”. Conditions were poor and Kris had drawn one of the high numbered lanes so it was always going to be difficult but, with 3 to qualify for the final, there was always a chance. Kris started well and was always in the race pushing hard in the last 500m to ensure a place in the final. Again, in the final, due to the wind, the fastest competitors for the heats were put in the low numbered sheltered lanes. This left Kris with a battle on her hands. She raced very strongly but today was not going to be her day.

Sunday 5th June

Ladies Elite 1xs Kris Johnson: Our only competitor today and slightly better conditions with less wind but lots of rain. Today’s event was a straight final late in the day. Kris made no mistakes despite the long wait to race, taking the lead and controlling the race throughout, she was able to pull away for a comfortable win. Brilliant performance, well done Kris!

New Kit Sponsor for Juniors Sparks Success

Stratton Services have kindly agreed to sponsor new kit for the Junior members of Leeds Rowing Club. Stratton Services Limited was established in 1999. It has been providing a service for 11 successful years. Stratton provides a complete engineering service, consisting of: Design, Full Manufacture and Installation.


The Junior section have been proudly showing off their new kit already, at events up and down the country. Club members have already achieved wins at Durham City Regatta, Doncaster Regatta and a very strong performance at the National Schools Regatta, signalling the start of a successful partnership between the Club and Stratton Services

National Schools Regatta

Dan Guerrero represented the club at the National Schools regatta recently. This is the major event for schoolboys to aspire to. All the big schools enter and recently, they’ve accepted juniors from club crews too.

The regatta was held at Holme Pierrpoint and once again the wind was blowing hard and the water was “monstrous” i.e. the waves were huge again. This caused a suspension of racing and then a cancellation of side by side racing altogether and the regatta was reduced to 1,000m time trials in one lane. Not put off by all of this, Dan raced magnificently well and came 4th in J16 1x out of 24 entries. This is a great achievement for Dan and the Club.

Doncaster Regatta

Our entry at Doncaster was mainly juniors and what a fantastic day it was for them with 5 pots from seven events entered. Another good day for the junior squad and well deserved after a hard winter’s training. Well done everyone.

Open Novice 1x Alex: First to race was Alex in Nov 1x. In his first race he had an easy win as he did in the 2nd round. The final was a different matter against a strong sculler. Both scullers rowed well and it was close to the boat house (half way) when Alex put in a strong burst and pulled away to win.

Open Novice 4+ Tom Gabriel, Luke Kay, Tom Nicholas, James Nicholas, Sam Croft (Cox): Next to race was our junior coxed four which was racing for the first time in an open event. As Sam was at the rergatta to cheer his dad on, he coxed the boat which, as you can imagine, meant that out cox didn’t have to take any excess weights. They had a bad start & made friends with the bank but came back strongly against a much more experienced Leeds Uni crew. The Uni crew showed their prowess & won by 2 lengths going on to win the category.

Masters 1x Des: Next to race was Des the “des”troyer in Masters 1x, not sure where this name came from, perhaps one of his juniors can explain. Anyway, the first race was close off the start but by half way, the “des”troyer had pulled away into a comfortable lead. At this point he appeared to decide that life in the other lane was a lot better and apparently the cows on the bank looked worried at one point but he went on to win. In the final he faced a really strong opponent from York St John. The race was very close but Des was about 1/2 length down when the YSJ sculler decided to visit the bank & what ensued was described later as 2 billiard balls ricocheting down the course. Des was pipped by 1/2 length at the finish & YSJ potted the black (got the pot).

Ladies Novice 2x Amy & Jenny: After their strong performance at Durham, Amy and Jenny were entered again only to find that there was no opposition in their category so they were moved up to open Ladies Novice 2x. In only their second regatta together they showed great maturity. They had a bye to the final but their opponents had already had a warm up race. The final was close off the start with the Bradford crew taking an early lead. The girls were having none of that & mounted a really strong push to take the lead which they never rescinded winning by a comfortable 1½ lengths.

Open J16 1x Alex: Fresh from his win in Novice singles, Alex started his J16 campaign against an old rival from Doncaster. Alex has beaten him several times before but this time his opponent was determined and the race was close to half way where Alex put in a burst and began to pull away strongly whereupon his opponent inexplicably gave up, turned round and paddled back to the boathouse. In the final Alex faced another opponent from Doncaster who drifted a little into Alex’s lane pushing him close to the bank. Alex pushed hard and pulled out of the way going on to win by 3 lengths.

Open J15 1x Christian: Following on from his success at Durham, Christian again raced very maturely, cruising away from his opponent, making it look effortless and notching up another victory.

Ladies Junior 14 2x Orla & Lulu: Following their debut at Durham, Lulu and Orla were again entered in J13 2x but there was no competition so they were moved up an age category. Although they were nervous at racing the older girls, but they didn’t let it show in the race. Rowing very well together they raced away from there opponents to finish 2 length ahead at the finish to win their first event as a double.

Ladies J18 1x Amy: After her encouraging performance at Durham where she narrowly lost to the event winner, Amy was again entered in J16 1x, hoping to go one better. Unfortunately there was no opposition to race her and she was put in the J18 event. With the confidence gained at Durham, she put in another fantastic effort. Racing against a much older and bigger opponent, she rowed really well but was about a length down by the boathouse. The other girl then started to tire and slow & Amy ramped up the pressure. If it had only been 650m she would have had her but finished just 1/2 length behind.

Open IM3 4+ Simon C, Josh, Jez, Vincent: The crew didn’t get off to the best start and Sheffield Hallam led early in the race. The crew put in a really strong effort to pass their opponents but were just shaded at the finish.

Nottingham Regatta

The men’s first four opened their regatta season belatedly but in winning style at Nottingham City Regatta. The regatta, held over the 2000m course at the National Water Sports Centre where we had trained in March, was to be a test of whether our winter’s training had really equipped us to be competitive at a higher level of racing. Having had to withdraw from Poplar, the boys were determined to prove their speed. It was another wild day at Holme Pierrepoint but the squad didn’t let that upset them and raced superbly – and showed what we are made of. Thanks are due to the support team of Michael, Liz (our lucky number collector), Jen, Thirzah and all the family supporters. A great day – but this is just the beginning!

Open IM2 4+ – Simon Harris, Julian Pearce, Dan Graham, Matt Sharman, Jenny Kneeland (Cox): The 4th race of the day necessitated a 6am start at the boathouse but we arrived without incident to find Holme Pierrepont bathed in sunshine and only a hint of the wind that was to develop during the day. In the semi final the crew raced to an early lead, then dropped into 3rd and finally finished 2nd of 4, behind London RC in a time of 7:43. By the time of the final the side-headwind had risen somewhat. Faced with much heavier crews from proud Clubs like Goldie (Cambridge University Boat Club) the boys were not phased and again started quickly, this time placed 2nd after 500m to a Warwick University crew enjoying the relative shelter of lane 1 nearest the leeward bank. The race developed as a duel between Leeds, London and Rob Roy (another Cambridge Club) for 2nd place. With a steely resolve the boys held on until the last 500m when they could not prevent Rob Roy squeezing through, but did enough to hold off the London RC crew who had beaten them in the semi, and their time of 8:08 left Goldie A and Goldie B trailing by 11s and 17s respectively. 3rd place amidst such company was a fine result, and more pleasing was the crew’s real disappointment at having just lost to Rob Roy (who were later to take 3rd place in IM1 4+).

Open IM3 4+ – Simon Harris, Julian Pearce, Matt Sharman, Toby Gamlen, Jenny Kneeland (Cox): In the afternoon battle was resumed with a smaller but no less determined crew in the IM3 category. The wind by this time had risen to almost gale strength, such that marshalling crews on the way to the start and getting attached to the start were in themselves no small challenge. In lane 6, most exposed to the wind, and with a crew averaging only 70 kg, the odds were stacked against us. But although the crew finished 2nd in a much slower time of 8:36, this was one of the gutsiest rows, into a wall of wind, that any Leeds men’s crew has produced. Both this semi-final and the immediately preceding one were won (by some distance) by the crews in the more sheltered lane 1. We were encouraged for the final – especially when we drew the more favored lane 2, and when the wind subsided significantly. Starting well, the crew lay in 3rd after 500m, behind Royal Chester (lane 1) and Derby (lane 3). The 3 crews were locked together through the first 1250m, before Chester found the going too fast and dropped back. At 500m, we trailed Derby by 1/4 length. The rate rose, together with the delirium of the commentator ‘Leeds, Derby, Leeds, Derby, LEEDS!!!’ only exceeded in volume by the cries of the fantastic Jenny ‘How much do we want this???!!!’. The crews crossed the line and no-one knew the result! After a heart-pounding delay the call came for lane 2 to collect the prizes – we had won, in a time of 7:54!

Ladies Elite 1x – Kris Johnson: Having recently returned from South Africa’s national trials, Kris opened her domestic regatta season at Nottingham winning Elite singles by a large margin.

Durham City Regatta

The weather forecast was proved wrong once again and the warnings of dire weather with rain all weekend was fortunately proved wrong. Except for a few torrential showers, the weekend was brilliant and so was the clubs rowing. Overall the club had nine finalists and recorded 5 event wins, so well done everyone with a special mention for our Junior squad who raced brilliantly all weekend and are a credit to themselves and everyone who coaches them. Here goes with the first regatta report of the season:

Saturday 7th May

The regatta started at the unearthly hour of 0800am so a big thanks to Des for taking the trailer up to Durham on Friday night and to Rosie who volunteered to drive up to Durham as “trailer chaperone” and then back to Leeds again. But the effort was worthwhile as we were represented in the very first race of the regatta.

Open J15 1x – Christian Hill: Having arisen at some unearthly hour that is generally unknown to teenage boys unless they are coming home, Christian had the dubious honour of rowing in race number 1 of the weekend. There was a large entry in this event and unfortunately Christian didn’t draw a bye and so had four races to look forward to if he was going to win the event. Racing against a Durham racer who hadn’t had to wake up so early, Christian rowed powerfully and soon established an early lead which he increased throughout the race to win comfortably and qualify for round 2. In round 2, he had to race a rower from Tyne who had a bye in the first round but this didn’t affect the result as Christian once again pulled away to another comfortable victory. The semi final was a bit closer but with the same result and Christian was able to record his thirds race win of the day. The final was a very close affair with the two scullers neck and neck but with Christian looking in control. In the final 200m, Christian finally broke his opponent and sculled away to win well and record our first regatta win of the summer. Well done Christian.

Open J16 2x – Dan Guerrero & Elliott Sharp (Tees RC), Alex Metcalf & Pat (Tyne United): We had interest in two composite crews in this event. First on the starting blacks were Dan & Elliott. Their opponents (Talkin Tarn) took a slight lead off the start but steered a little wide and Dan & Elliott took full advantage sweeping past and into a comfortable lead and progress to the second round. Alex & Pat’s first round opponents scratched so they progressed to the semi final to face Dan and Elliott guaranteeing us a finalist in this event. The semi final was close but Dan & Eliott prevailed and gain a place in the final to race York. In the final the York crew took a slight early lead but an incident with a buoy caused Dan & Elliott to almost stop rowing allowing York to extend their lead which they never lost.

Ladies J16 1x – Amy De Vlught: This was Amy’s regatta debut and her nerves weren’t helped by being told that “she had no chance” against her opponent. Anyway, despite losing a little on the start she raced really well giving her more experienced opponent a real fright. Amy sculled and steered well and lost by less that a length. Her opponent went on to win the final by several lengths so well done Amy, a really good debut performance.

Masters B/C/D 2x – Rafa &Des: This quote produced the best quote of the weekend, it goes something like “you had them off the start dad”. Unfortunately, it was only the start and Rafa and Des were unable to progress to the next round.

J16 1x – Dan Guerrero: Another event with a big entry and, again, our sculler was unlucky and didn’t receive one of the byes so Dan had the prospect of four races to win having already raced three times in the double. Undaunted, Dan started with a difficult row against a boy from York. Losing by about half a length at halfway, Dan increased his pace and rowed past his opponent for a good win and progress to round 2. This proved much easier and Dan had a comfortable win. Dan raced the semi final very strongly, leading throughout he qualified well for the final where he was due to meet a very strong sculler from York who beat his doubles partner in the semi final. Dan’s performance in the final was very mature. He sculled strongly throughout and the race was very close with Dan mainly slightly in the lead until his opponent finally cracked in the last 100m and Dan went on to a well deserved win by a couple of lengths.

Ladies IM3 2x – Rosie Charter & Liz Harris: First race for this double who were rowing up a status. They had a good start and a very close race but were always behind losing narrowly at the finish to the crew that went on to win the event.

Open J18 4- – Alex Metcalf, 3 boys from Tyne United: A J17 composite crew racing in J18, the boys raced neck and neck with Cambois over half of the course to the point where the bay beckons the unwary. The boys steered a little wide into the bay and were overtaken so they have learnt a big lesson i.e. it’s always as well to row the same distance as the opposition.

Ladies J13 1x – Lulu Nicholas: This was Lulu’s first ever regatta race against a much more experienced sculler from York. She sculled very well and steered excellently but was beaten by a good opponent. This was an excellent debut by one of our juniors who has worked really hard this winter. Well done Lulu.

Ladies Novice 4x+ Lucy, Caroline, Val, Georgie: Lack of racing experience let the crew down a little and they were not really ready when the starter shouted go (Coach has offered to fall on his sword for inadequate preparation!!). The crew wasn’t straight and, despite the cox having her hand in the air, the race was started so, advantage to the opposition. Having had such a nightmare start, the crew settled down to row as well as they do in training but were unable to make up the deficit given away at the start.

Ladies J16 2x Amy, Jenny: Another crew debuting in regatta racing but Amy was clearly encouraged by her good performance in the single and the double was really “buzzing” before their first race. Amy and Jenny rowed and steered very well to record their first race win as a double. They bettered this in the semi final progressing to yet another final for the Leeds Junior squad. In the final they found themselves up against a much more experienced racing crew and weren’t quite able to pull off another win but this performance is very encouraging for the rest of the season.

Ladies J13 2x Lulu, Orla: Another good entry and the crew didn’t get a bye again, this appears to be a recurring theme!! In the first race Lulu and Orla drew a crew from DARC who clearly knew the course. From the start DARC went into a slight lead but poor steering by the opposition and some excellent steering from our crew allowed them to pull ahead and win by a large margin. In the second round they again found themselves slightly down off the start but quickly established a good rhythm and pulled ahead. Again, some poor steering by the opposition allowed them to establish a commanding lead and progress to the final. The final didn’t quite go to plan and they were unable to repeat their winning ways but what an encouraging start for our two youngest racers. Well done Lulu and Orla.

Ladies IM3 4+ – Kersty, Sally, Catherine, Vicki, Rosie (Cox): The crew didn’t have a great start and never really settled into their race rhythm. They were always behind but drew level with a couple of hundred metres to go but the opposition rallied and drew away again.

Ladies IM3 4x+ Lucy, Val, Claire, Dani, Liz (Cox): The Novice ladies squad had clearly learnt from the morning’s poor start and was ready and waiting for the starter this time. Racing up a category was a big test for them but they started well although they were slightly down off the start but quickly got into their racing rhythm and were able to hold and then come back at their opposition. The race was very close throughout with the crew obviously showing their race pace but they were just shaded by about half a length at the finish. This was a very encouraging performance.

So, at the end of a long days racing, the trophy cabinet was filled by 2 hard won Junior Squad trophies and so, onto Sunday.

Sunday 8th May

Open J16 2x – Dan Guerrero & Elliott Sharp (Tees RC): Dan and Elliott entered the 1,800m time trial on Sunday morning. They raced very strongly and, of the 40 boats in the time trial, they were placed 12th overall winning the J16 2x event and they were second fastest junior double overall, only 0.05 seconds behind the J18 winners from Doncaster.

Open IM3 4+ – Crew 1: Matt Hartup, Josh Tindall, Jack Wilson, Dominic Key Crew 2: Des Kelly, Rafa Guerrero, Dan Guerrero, Elliott Sharp: We had two crews rowing in this event. First to race was Matt’s crew. The crew had been together for just a week. After some very good starts holding the 1st IV in practice, they got a poor start on the day and immediately conceded a length. They pushed on well in the middle of the race and closed the gap to a quarter of a length but weren’t able to sustain this pressure and unfortunately lost by 2 lengths. I understand that Des’s crew signalled the renewal of Rafa’s racing career (perhaps??). The crew raced well but lost by a mere ½ length.

Ladies Novice 2x – Milly Shepherd, Naomi Assame: Milly and Naomi started off steadily and were slightly down off the start and their opponents moved steadily out to a one length lead. However the race remained close and magnificent steering (this was commented upon by the commentator as the “best steering that he’s seen all day”) in the closing stages brought the crews level and a final push for the line saw our crew win by 1ft (or 25.4cm for the younger members of the club!!). So another trophy in the bag for Leeds RC!!

Ladies IM3 1x – Angela Blythe-Smith: This was Angela’s first race in a single and she was racing up a category to gain experience. An uncertain start saw her opponent take a lead off the start and a little poor steering in the early stages allowed he opponent to get clear water but Angela then began to scull more confidently so that she was able to maintain the deficit at about 2 lengths against a good opponent. An encouraging debut in a single.

Ladies IM3 2x – Rosie Charter & Liz Harris: Rosie and Liz were unfortunate not to get a first round bye in this well contested event. In the first round, they raced very well, it was a close exciting race throughout but they won a close verdict to progress to the second round. In the second round, their opponents had obviously seen the form of our double and didn’t turn up so they progressed to the final against a Doncaster crew who had a bye to the final as they obtained a first round bye and their semi final opponents didn’t turn up. In the final, Rosie and Liz had a good row but the Doncaster crew proved to be much too powerful, but making the final in their first regatta was a really strong result.

Open J15 2x – Christian Hill, Chris Andrews: Christian and Chris had an excellent first race, overpowering York and winning by 2 – 3 lengths. In the final they came up against a more experienced crew from St Leonards and, although they rowed very strongly, it was not quite enough and St Leonards went on to win by about 2 lengths.

Ladies Novice 4x+ Lucy, Caroline, Val, Georgie, Milly (Cox): The last Leeds crew to race in the regatta so they had a long wait but, fortified by “Champions Breakfast” or so I’m told, the crew showed that they had learnt the lessons of yesterday and were ready and raring to go on the start line. This time they made no mistakes and shot into an immediate lead off the start. With Milly urging them on they pulled out to over a length by half way and continued to pull away to win by about 3 lengths. The commentator even commented that “they’d had obviously done lots of winter training”. An excellent win in the first regatta of the season and Novice no more!!

A really good weekend with some excellent performances. Well done everyone who raced.

New Boats

The club has managed to purchase three brand new boats, to replenish the clubs fleet. We have purchased a 75kg coxless quad/four, and two coxed fours, one weighing in at 80kgs, the other at 70. This has only been possible through the fundraising efforts of our committed members, so thanks to all – we now have a fleet to be proud of and are able to take racing to the next level. We are in the process of trying to secure sponsorship of these new boats, so that we can continue to build on the good work already done. Naming rights are also being sold, and anyone interested in this should contact the club development officer at

Saturday 4th December 2010 – Leeds University Indoor Rowing Competition

With the lake frozen, the Clubs top indoor rowers turned out in force. The event was held with 12 heats, each involving 16 ergs. In the first heat of the day at 9:30 am, Frank came 3rd in 7:17 and Sam Croft 2nd in 7:11 – both PBs and a particularly impressive result from a junior! Their final placings in the heavyweight men’s category were 33/51 and 30/51. In the next heat Richard came 6th in 6:57 with Dan 2nd in 6:39, ending up 21/51 and 9/51 in heavyweight men. Next up in heavyweight women Laura smashed her PB to come 4th in the heat, and the final rankings, in 7:38. Two heats later and it was the lightweights turn. Jules and SimonH were rather put off by two of their opponents rushing into the lead, then stopping rowing at 1K. Simon finished 3rd in 6:56 and Jules 2nd in 6:53, again the final placings were the same as the results of the heat. Lastly but not least, SimonC had a terrific battle in his heat, eventually finishing 2nd by a mere 0.3 s in an impressive 6:29 – again, this was his final position in the heavyweight category.

Sunday 21st November 2010 – York Small Boats Head

This was a great day out for the club and we were rewarded with excellent racing conditions. The club had many crews racing, and here are a selection of our results and first mention goes to our winners:

J16 1x Dan Guerrero who sculled really well winning a close battle with his double partner from Tees. And don’t forget Alex who came 3rd in this event after already racing in a pair.

Ladies Novice 4x+ Kersty, Kay, Sally, Angela, Cox Hannah For their second row of the day, this crew was entered in a quad, a boat that they had never rowed or raced in before. So well done, it’s always nice to take home some of the glassware.

Besides our winners we had some other noteworthy performances so:

Congratulations to Christian and Amy who raced in Open J16 2x. This was their first race together and this crew was my pick for “Crew of the Day”. Despite Christian being a year young for the event and the fact that they were racing open, they put in a really good performance coming 4th out of 6 in the event but also beat most of the J15 2x and some of the J17 2x.

Well done Dan and Elliott in who were placed 2nd in Open J16 2x, only 6 seconds behind the winning York crew despite having already battled each other over the course in singles only a few hours earlier.

Well done our Ladies IM3 4+ who raced with great determination and placed 3rd in an event won by a very good Leeds University crew.

Also our Ladies IM1 4x- who raced for the first time in our new quad and were only 40 seconds behind the winning York crew despite no time in the boat together.

Our Ladies IM3 4x- drew a few admiring remarks from the suspension bridge and rowed really well. Unfortunately they were impeded and had to settle for second place, a mere 9 seconds behind the winning crew. That new boat is looking worth the investment already.

Henry rowed really well in his single and was placed 2nd in IM3 1x. Henry also combined well with Tom to race in a double and was rewarded with 3rd place in IM3 2x

Finally, a special mention to our ladies Novice squad who formed 2 quads, with some of them racing for the first time. They raced well, and showed good signs of progression – some scullers to look out for in the future.

Sunday 14th November 2010 – Tideway Fours Head, Chiswick to Putney

IM 2 4+: Thirzah, Jules, Dan, SimonH, Toby. This was the main goal for the autumn for the men’s senior squad. A long drive down to Putney the night before, in time for a practise on a glass-like river Thames! An early start in the morning, having to boat at 8:30am – the race started at 09:30 but with over 500 crews taking part, Leeds RC did not start until about 10:30. Several supporters had assembled at Hammersmith Bridge, even with a banner to celebrate the Club’s first competitive outing on the Tideway. The crew had a solid row and executed the race plan well, rating 30 for most of the 6.8 K course. We didn’t quite meet our target of top half, coming 24 out of 43 in IM2 fours and 274 overall. A very useful experience though for the crew and it was good to be involved in one of the sport’s biggest events in this country.

Saturday 30th October 2010 – Dee Small Boats Head, Chester

IM3 4+: Amy, SimonH, DanGm, Jules, Toby. A 4K Head race, again on an attractive course with a lot of good competition and again good conditions though overcast during the race. The crew was placed 2nd of 15 IM3 4+s, 5th fastest 4+ overall, 17 seconds behind fastest IM1 crew and 27s ahead of next fastest IM3. A really good result, the crew rowing especially well on the first half but keeping the rating up throughout and looking a class above many of the opposition.

Sunday 17th October 2010 – Nottingham Autumn Head

IM2 4+: Amy-SimonH-DanGm-Jules-Toby. The 3.8K head race on the wide river Trent at Nottingham in excellent conditions with a good standard of crews present. Amy steered a great course and the crew finished 3 of 4 in IM2 4+. Beaten by Kingston A by 21s, by York City RC by 0.3s, and beat Kingston B by 50s. This was a good row especially the 1st half, at 30spm throughout and aggressive. A solid result as the crew had just settled into a new order (and bowside rig) one week before.

W Sen 1x: Kris Johnson won this event and was 2nd lady home, only being beaten by an Elite 1x.

Leeds Rowing Club Makes Waves on Regatta Circuit

Leeds Rowing club has been celebrating its most successful season to date, with wins at key regattas and even success at the London 2012 rowing venue, Dorney Lake. The club has recorded wins at events up and down the country, as well as notable success for the first time at a National level.

Club member, Kristine Johnson has represented Leeds in a single sculling boat at the National Championships in Scotland, where she came second, Henley Women’s Regatta where she also came second and at the Metropolitan Regatta at Dorney Lake, where she recorded consecutive victories at intermediate 2, intermediate 1 and senior level. Following these results, she was asked to row for England at the Home Countries Regatta, where she won gold in the single scull and the eight.


Kris Johnson. Photo courtesy of

Other club victories this year have included wins at Durham, Teeside, St. Neots and Peterborough regattas. The men’s and women’s squads have shown excellent improvement, and there has been great success for the junior squad, with members being selected to row at regional level. The club is now looking to take measures to ensure that competitiveness continues to develop. A lottery grant towards new training equipment will see the club’s fleet of racing boats rejuvenated in time for the winter time trial season.

Speaking last weekend after the club’s main season goal, Peterborough Regatta (where the club had 14 crews through to finals, winning 4 events) Head of Rowing, David Saul said: “It’s been an exceptional year for Leeds Rowing Club. We’ve come a long way in our short history, and we’re now bearing the fruit of all the hard work our volunteer coaches have put in. Leeds Rowing Club is beginning to challenge at major races, and we are now able to target the bigger events, such as the Head of the River race in London, and perhaps even Henley Royal Regatta.”

Rowing is a sport open to people of all ages and backgrounds, which has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years. High profile events such as the Olympic Games and the University Boat Race have helped encourage people to take up the sport.

Peterborough Regatta 2010

Our end of season visit to Peterborough was the most successful ever for the club. In summary we had 14 crews involved in finals and came away with 4 trophies, the most ever finalists and trophies from this regatta. This was a terrific team effort from everyone involved, the racers of course but also family and friends who, despite the weather, travelled all that way to support the crews and the coaches who spent so much time making sure that everyone got into the right boat at the right time. Well done everyone. Highlights of the weekends racing outlined below:


Saturday was an awful day with a strong wind and frequent torrential downpours but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the crews who even broke the world record for the number of people sheltering under one gazebo. And so, to racing:

Open IM3 4+: Toby, Simon, Matt, Julian & Milly. Even being first race of the day didn’t faze our crew who were determined to bring back the silverware from Peterborough and they quickly showed this by winning their heat to progress directly to the semi final. Their semi quickly developed into a three boat race with our crew not quite settling and being beaten narrowly into 2nd place by City of Cambridge, both of these crews progressing to the final. In the final the crew rowed at a slightly lower rate than in the semi and developed a really strong rhythm leading the whole way down the course until the last few strokes when they were surprisingly overhauled and just pipped on the line. Richard and the crew were inconsolable but determined the next day would be a different story.

Ladies IM3 4+: We had two crews in this event. Sally, Kersty, Naomi, Rosie & Kate had a traumatic start to the day finding that their boat had no riggers. Fortunately Richard hastily improvised by re-rigging the Genesis boat for them and they duly raced well in an unfamiliar boat, winning their heat and qualifying for the semi final. Unfortunately they started fast but were unable to hit the same irresistible rhythm in the semi final and were eliminated.

Kay, Thirzah, Crystal, Sarah & Toby were the next to race and they did enough to secure a semi final place by coming second in their first race. Moving on to the semi in one of the unfavoured outside lanes, the crew started quickly and raced very strongly throughout to place second and qualify for the final. The final again saw them start very quickly and settle into a really good rhythm but didn’t quite have the boat speed to win the event, eventually finishing 3rd in the final.

Ladies IM3 2x: Milly, Kate. Only two crews turned up for the first race so Milly and Kate were able to row over to “get the feel” of the course and progress to the final. In the final, they found out how tricky the wind was and had some issues with steering, finally completing the course in 4th place.

Open IM3 1x: Dan Graham and Henry. Henry didn’t row his best in poor conditions and was eliminated in his heat. Dan on the other hand raced very strongly winning his heat and qualifying directly to the final. After a long wait, Dan started the final well and was leading by over a length coming to the line. Unfortunately, like the IM3 4+ he was surprised by a very strong finish by the sculler that he had beaten into second place in the heat and was pipped on the line. This was becoming the story of our finals!!

Mixed IM3 2x: Angela, Jez. Jez and Angela started steadily but were having issues and were keeping up well with the others despite very few outings in this combination. Unfortunately, steering let them down and they had some major adjustments to make whilst their opponents disappeared into the distance. A few more outings necessary before the next race perhaps?

Open Novice 1x: Andrew. Andrew was determined to finally win something after a hard year’s training with little reward. He started fast and cleared his opposition within 10 strokes and then cruised to the finish. The final was more or less the same as Andrew raced to our first trophy of the regatta and he’s finally got a point! Well done!

Open Novice 4+: Xun, Dan, Josh, Simon & Kersty. After a frantic start the crew accelerated strongly and cleared their opposition with good strong rowing at exactly the rate that Richard had instructed. They maintained their form right to the end of the race to qualify directly for the final. In the final the crew tensed up a little and didn’t row at their best, coming third just a little behind Richard’s old college.

Ladies IM1 2x: Michelle, Laura: At last, a bit of luck with the draw, 5 entries in this event and Laura and Michelle got the bye into the final where they had to race a crew that had beaten them earlier in the year. This time they rowed well but the result was the same with Laura and Michelle being a much closer second this time giving them a lot of confidence for tomorrow.

Open Novice 2x: Jon and Jez. After the break for thunder and lightning Jon and Jez had the misfortune to be drawn in the lane which was still full of weed. After 3 strokes they got their oars caught in a massive lump of weed and had to stop rowing. By the time they were untangled, their opponents had disappeared into the distance. They did however get a large roar of support for chasing their opponents all the way to the finish in vain.


Sunday was a wet day and the crowds on the bank were thinner. A larger Leeds contingent had stayed over and those in the hotels seem to have had a better night than the campers once more!

Open IM3 1x: With Andrew winning Novice yesterday we had 3 scullers in this event including Dan who so narrowly missed out in yesterdays final. In the first round Henry again did not produce the form of earlier in the season and was eliminated. In his first race at IM3, Andrew put in a very fast time but narrowly lost to a Peterborough sculler and had to go to the repercharge. Dan made no mistake winning his heat and going straight through to the semi final. Andrew’s repecharge was a more stately affair, he established a lead from the start and cruised to the finish, just doing enough to qualify for the semi final. Dan and Andrew were drawn in the same semi and it was noticed that Dan, Andrew and one other sculler had all posted the same time for the first rounds and the fourth sculler was very close so the scene was set for a great race and so it proved. The four scullers were neck and neck for about 300m with Dan possibly having a slight advantage. Not wishing to be pipped at the finish again, Dan put in a huge effort and pulled out about 1 length lead over the others. Andrew also pushed at about 350m and was momentarily sitting in second but he couldn’t maintain this effort and the 3 scullers crossed the line almost together. Andrew lost out being placed 4th with the same time as the 3rd placed sculler – a good performance in his first effort at this category – and, on times recorded, all four scullers in this race would have won the other semi final. Dan, of course went forward to the final and made no mistake this time. Sculling strongly he established a lead and was never seriously challenged winning by over a boat length. Great effort, well done.

Open IM3 4+: Toby, Simon, Matt, Julian & Milly. The crew quickly put yesterday’s disappointment behind them and got straight back to business winning their heat in style and qualifying directly for the semi final. The semi final was a tight affair with Leeds and Stratford establishing a lead over the others but racing each other neck and neck down the course. The Leeds crew finally got their bows in front, winning their semi and getting a better lane in the final. In the final the crew made no mistake, storming off to a great start they quickly established a lead and extended this throughout the race leading by over a length at the finish. After too many close finishes no-one was going to catch them this time! A great regatta for this crew and well done for making it to IM2!! Julian and Milly even went for a swim to celebrate!

Ladies Novice 2x: Kersty & Sally. A new experience for this pair and it was soon clear that they were much quicker in a straight line than their opponents so they decided to make their first race in a double “interesting” for the supporting hordes. So they tacked down the course, firstly rowing straight at the bank, this slowed them down quite a lot and put them behind. Having corrected their course, they decided that lane 2 was a better lane than their allocated lane and proceeded to try to “bump” the crew from Milton Keynes who were in that lane. Having been warned by the umpires, they got themselves back into lane 1 and set off in pursuit of the other crews. Once going straight down the lane, they quickly overhauled them finally getting their bows in front just before the line and hence qualified directly for the final. In the final they met a very fast crew from Auruiol Kensington who rowed right away from the field but this was a very creditable debut in a double.

Ladies IM3 4+: Again we had two crews in this event. First to race was Kay, Milly, Thirzah, Sarah & Toby and they started off just like yesterday with a very fast start so that they had opened out about a length lead within the first half minute. They continued to extend this lead throughout and easily qualified for the final. Next on the starting blocks were Sally, Kersty, Naomi, Rosie & Hannah. They also started very fast and led by almost a length at half way. The other crews then began to creep back but a final effort kept our crew over half a length in front and a second crew into the final. In the final, Rosie’s crew started very fast and they drew out about half a length lead over the field. Sarah’s crew strangely did not start as fast on this occasion and settled into the chasing pack. Rosie’s crew led all the way, with the other crews creeping back on them and unfortunately were overhauled a few strokes from the line and finished 3rd with Sarah’s crew finishing in 4th. This was a great effort by our two crews after two days racing and 3 final appearances. Well done both crews.

Ladies IM2 1x: Again we had two crews in this event. Laura also had the double to race shortly afterwards so raced the first round conservatively, coming second and qualifying directly for the final. Crystal was re-united with her sculling boat but hasn’t spent a lot of time sculling recently. She showed her pace by leading at the start and to about 150m but thereafter her lack of time in the boat showed and she was overhauled and was unable to qualify for the final. In the final Laura raced very well but finally finished 2nd, but what a result for someone who was a novice sculler at the start of the year!!

Ladies IM1 2x: Laura & Michelle. No such luck with the draw today and Laura & Michelle had to race to qualify for the final. With Laura also sculling, they raced conservatively, doing just enough to qualify for the final. When the final came they made no mistakes, racing really well they developed an early lead and held this all the way to the finish making this a great end to their season. Well done

Open Novice 4+: Xun, Dan, Josh, Simon & Kersty. After narrowly missing out yesterday, the crew had high hopes for Sunday. Unfortunately they had a long wait before getting into the action and tensed up. They were also unfortunate in being drawn in the outside lane with the crew beside them failing to turn up, while the two crews on the other side of the lake were locked together all the way down the course. They were disappointed with third place, which meant that they missed out on the final, but their time would have won the other semi-final and they should be proud of their improvement this season.

Open Novice 2x: Jez & Jon. After the “weed” incident of yesterday, Jez and Jon were relieved to draw a different lane. They raced hard but were unable to qualify for the final.

Ladies IM3 2x: Kate and Milly were really pleased to race straight down the lane without “steering issues”. This allowed them to show their speed, and stay in contention for the whole race, but was not quite enough to qualify for the final. A big improvement on Saturday, well done.

Women’s Henley

Kris Johnson has had a fantastic season already winning 4 events in one weekend at the Metropolitan Regatta. Kris must therefore have had a lot of confidence going into Women’s Henley where she contested Senior 1x. Her confidence was justified and Kris competed really well winning three races to qualify for the final which she narrowly lost by a mere 1 length. Fantastic achievement, and Kris has qualified to race at Henley Royal Regatta.

York Summer Regatta

Sunday was a bright if blustery day in York and a good one for the Club! Most of our crews won races, many lost by very close margins, and four won their events:

J15 1x: Dan Guerrero – once again was in our first race of the day at 9:12 am, and started well with a victory over a St Peter’s School sculler. In his next race he faced a formidable opponent from Newark RC and lost by a couple of lengths.

J15 1x: Christian – racing above his age category drew Alex in the first round. The all-Leeds race was a close one but with Alex emerging victorious by ¾ length.

J15 1x: Alex – proceeded to the final where he too fell victim to the sculler from Newark.

Nov 4+: Thirzah(c), Josh, Ben, Simon Croft, Dan – were lining up to start their first race when they were told that their opposition had scratched. They took the opportunity for a row over which settled the nerves, and proceeded to their second semi-final in a week! Here they faced St. Aidan’s college, Durham, and despite being a length down at half way showed great fighting spirit to come back to half a length in the closing stages before slipping back to a one length deficit at the finish. A better race though from the guys, who showed more control and clear-headedness in their row. And thanks to Thirzah for great coxing.

WNov 4+: Milly(c), Thirzah, Danielle, Georgie, Katy – The women in their first regatta rowed with good cohesion and strength. They were unlucky to face a more race-hardened crew from Van Mildert College, Durham, and lost, but will learn from the racing experience.

Nov 2x: Tom Coverdale, Ben Coverdale – the brothers sculled well in their first heat, beating a Lincoln RC crew easily. They were given a bye in the semi-final and then raced a York City crew in the final. Again they sculled well, Ben steering a good course, and gradually pulled away to win by 2 lengths. The victory screams could be heard at the other end of the course – well done.

WIM3 2x: Vicky, Jenny – raced a good Bradford crew and lost by 1 ½ lengths.

J18 1x: Henry – raced a straight final against a York City junior who has been racing IM1. Henry was in touch for 300m but couldn’t match the York sculler who was exceptionally strong in the second half.

Nov 1x: Tom Coverdale – lost by 1 length to a good sculler from Hull University.

IM3 1x: Henry – again did exceptionally well, beating his first round opponent from York City by 1 ½ lengths, then providing one of the races of the day in his semi final, with his signature last 20 charge coming from behind to squeeze past his opponent from Sheffield City. In his final against a Lincoln RC sculler he came very close to repeating the semi final crowd pleaser, but didn’t have quite enough and lost by 1 foot! Well done to Henry though who only won Novice a month ago but is clearly showing the speed necessary to win at the next level.

J16 1x: Dan Guerrero – racing above his age category, Dan faced a good sculler from St Peter’s School. Despite being 1 ½ lengths down at half way he fought back well over the second half of the course, only to lose by ½ length.

J16 1x: Alex – also racing above his age category, Alex faced another St Peter’s sculler and also lost.

J14 1x: Christian – sculled confidently and smoothly to win his first race against a St Peter’s sculler. In the semi-final Christian couldn’t find the same speed and lost.

MxIM3 2x: Julian, Laura – the combination of Julian and Michelle, was changed due to injury and a scratch double was formed: despite this they sculled well and won both their races with some ease. Well done and another trophy.

WIM3 4x-: Vicky, Jenny, Kate, Karen – having won coxed quads in a slightly different combination at Durham the previous week, the women were brave to enter a coxless event despite never having trained in such a boat. In the event they again sculled well and Kate steered an excellent course, beating their first round opponents from Sheffield City by some 3 lengths and the home crew from York City by 2 lengths in the final. Well done again to the women scullers.

WNov 2x: Milly, Kate – Milly pretended to be nervous about this event but has clearly been concealing her sculling talent up to now. The women sculled excellently to win their semi-final by 3½ lengths, and narrowly lost their final to York City.

IM3 4+: Milly(c), Julian, Matt, Simon Harris, Chris – with new recruit Chris filling the bow seat (and shedding blood to do so!) the men had one of the first races of the day, in which they beat a York University crew easily. They then beat a St Peter’s crew by an even greater distance in their next race. The semi-final, against University College Durham, was an altogether closer race, with the lead swapping hands several times and the winner unclear until the announcer told us it was Leeds, by 1 foot! The final was the last race of the day, so that no-one was left on the water when the crew lined up against another crew from St Peter’s. This was a much stronger outfit than their second crew, and the schoolboys took the early lead. The Leeds crew rowed with better fluency than in their first three races and great courage to push back into the lead in the last 300m, but couldn’t quite sustain their dash for the line in the last twenty strokes this time, and lost by 1/3 length. Frustration for the men, who have been so close to winning in all of their last 5 competitions, but many more positives than negatives as we know they have the speed to win soon!

Durham Saturday

Saturday was a fine day with sunny spells and large crowds on the bank (and in the Pimms tents) for one of the North’s major rowing events. The advance party who had travelled from Leeds on Friday night were woken by the testing of the loudspeaker system at 7am!

J15 2x: DanG+Elliott Sharp (Tees RC): Our first race of the day. DanG and his new partner sculled well and went on to win all of their races. More silverware for Dan: congratulations!

J15 1x: Alex: Alex sculled well, winning his first race by a commanding 3 lengths, and losing his second to a good Tyne sculler after being close for the first half of the race.

J18 1x: Henry: Henry had another close race, again leaving his push just a little too late and losing by ½ length to a sculler from Queen Elizabeth High School.

WElite 2x: Michelle, Laura: In the absence of an Intermediate women’s 2x event, Michelle and Laura set their sights high and entered the Elite competition. They certainly rose to the occasion, and raised their rating to 34 too, losing by just ¾ length to the eventual winners from Marlow RC.

Novice 4+: Sarah, Dom, Ben, SimonC, DanK: With Dom stepping into the breach as stroke in place of the injured Tom L the novice four were definitely short on practice, and a little blurry-eyed for their first race at 9:18. However they easily beat their opponents from Tees. In the next round they were unlucky to draw a good crew from St John’s College, and despite rowing with power and aggression they lost by 2½ lengths – St John’s went on to reach the final in this 19-crew event.

IM3 4+: Sooze, Des, Fraser, Henry, Jez: This crew had not had much preparation and although they rowed aggressively, keeping their rating above 34, they lacked the cohesion required at this level and lost to St Aidan’s College by 1½ lengths.

IM3 4+: Milly, Julian, Matt, SimonH, Toby: After reaching two finals last weekend at Peterborough the crew’s expectations were high. Unfortunately we were kept waiting at the start for the first race against Van Mildert, until our opponents were finally disqualified 35 mins after the race time. The crew were cold after sitting immobile in the shade for so long and had just 15 minutes to regroup and try to focus on the next race. This they won, by 1½ lengths, against a spirited Bradford Grammar School crew, but rowing some way off their best. Having got the frustration out of their system they then rowed much better in the semi-final against Dutch crew ASR Nereus, Amsterdam. This was a thrilling race with the lead changing hands several times, and unfortunately the Dutch just pipped us on the line by 3 feet! A great race by the Leeds crew and surely our time will come.

Durham Sunday

Sunday was a wet day and the crowds on the bank were thinner. A larger Leeds contingent had stayed over and those in the hotels seem to have had a better night than the campers once more!

WIM3 4+: Brad, Milly, Thirzah, Sarah, Kay: The women’s first race was at the unearthly hour of 8:06, requiring some of the crew to leave Leeds at 5:30! They also had to recruit Brad to cox their first race – Brad was delighted to weigh in and be told he was the heaviest cox of the competition! The women rowed well and lost by just ½ length to University College Durham, who went on to reach the final.

WIM3 4+: Karen/Toby, Rosie, Naomi, Kersty, Sally: The other women’s four raced just 2 minutes later, but were more fortunate with their opposition in the first round, and beat St Hild and Bede College easily. In the next round they were awarded a bye when their opposition scratched. In the semi final they rowed well and were unfortunate to lose by 1 length, after a close fought race, to Durham ARC, who went on to win the final.

WIM3 4x+: Sarah, Vicky, Laura, Karen, Jenny: The women were rowing in a new combination, in a borrowed boat. Nonetheless they sculled extremely well, winning their first race easily, their second (the semi final) against Cambois RC by just a canvas, and the final against Bradford ARC easily. This shows what depth we now have in women’s sculling in the club – congratulations.

J15 1x: Alex: Alex sculled well but lost by a length to a very strong sculler from Yarm School.

J18 1x: Henry: Henry had a straight final against a sculler from Chester-le-Street. He sculled powerfully and, although down by 1 length at midway, this time he timed his final push superbly and rowed through the other sculler to win by 1 length. Congratulations Henry!

IM3 4+: Des, Joe, Henry, Jez: After yesterday’s row, the crew decided to scratch for the Sunday event. Their place, and crew number, were taken by a crew from Doncaster RC. To our entertainment, the announcer didn’t seem aware of the crew change, and when the Doncaster crew progressed to the final, he was still telling everyone that Leeds were in the race!

IM 3 4+: Milly, Jules, Fraser, SimonH, Toby: With Fraser subbing in for Matt and after coming so close in the semi final on Saturday, the crew were hopeful of greater success. Unfortunately they couldn’t quite find their rhythm in their first race, and despite a powerful charge in the last 20 strokes were beaten by St Mary’s college, Durham, by ¾ length. St Mary’s then lost by just a canvas to Nereus of Amsterdam, who had just beaten us on Saturday, and Nereus went on to beat Doncaster in the final.

Nov 4+: Sarah, Josh, Ben, SImonC, JonOC: Despite being in a field of 12 the men found themselves in the semi final without rowing a stroke, after being awarded a first round bye and seeing their second opponents scratch. Their start was rather messy but they were getting in to their stride and back in to the race when disaster struck with a spectacular overhead crab from Jon. Unfortunately Jon was struck hard in the rib cage and although they bravely tried to carry on it was soon clear that Jon was hurt too badly to continue. Hard luck guys and swift recovery Jon we need you back!

….. and other Club Members in the news. I’m pleased to report that Dave Coverdale raced at The British Masters Championships on Sunday with his old University crew. Once again Blue Star showed that they hadn’t lost their technique and they raced to Silver medal position losing the Gold medal narrowly to a crew from Upper Thames.

Metropolitan Regatta Saturday and Sunday

Pride of place over the weekend goes to Kris who went all the way “down South” to race at the Metropolitan regatta on Dorney Lake, one of the major domestic regattas. Kris made a massive breakthrough this weekend and won 4 events over the two days, a just reward for all her efforts over the last two years. On Saturday she won IM2 1x and IM1 1x and on Sunday she won IM1 1x and Senior 1x. These results changed her status from IM2 to Senior in one weekend Congratulations Kris on a magnificent effort.

Peterborough Saturday

The sun shone brightly and the conditions on the course were almost perfect, promising some good racing and so it proved:

Mens IM3 4+: Our first race of the weekend and very early it was too. SarahB-Des-Joe-Henry-Jez got off to a reasonable start but were unable to settle at a good racing rate being as low as 29spm mid-race and so were unable to qualify to progress further.

Mens IM3 4+: Milly-Jules-Matt-SimonH-Toby. This crew started well and settled into a good rhythm at about 34spm. They were near the front throughout their qualifying heat and finished strongly as the other crews faded to win their heat and progress through to the semi-final. That first race was always going to be a hard act to follow and, in the semi, they settled a little lower at 31spm but were still easily able to pull away from two of the opponents but not quite able to catch the higher rating crew from Jesus College. First two was all that was needed to qualify for the final which was almost the last race of the day. In the final, the crew were again unable to emulate the first row but finished a close 2nd behind a strong Peterborough crew and 2 lengths ahead of the Jesus college crew that won their semi. They also recorded the fastest IM3 4+ time of the day in the first round, 3:28 – just three seconds off the category course record proving there is speed in the boat.

Ladies IM3 2x: Laura and Michelle. At the half way point, Laura and Michelle had the race well under control with a large lead which they maintained all the way to the finish to qualify directly to the final. In the final they raced very strongly and settled at a high rate for them, about 30spm, but whilst this enabled them to pull far away from two of their opponents they were unable to match the pace of the much higher rating crew from Norwich and were eventually beaten by just over a length. This was another very good performance for the club.

Ladies IM3 2x: Kate and Vicky were also entered in IM3 2x. In their qualifying race they had a few issues with steering and the buoys but were still able to row fast enough to qualify for the repercharge. In the repercharge they had a much better race and went about 20 seconds faster than in the heat but unfortunately it wasn’t quite fast enough to qualify for the final.

Ladies IM3 4+: Rosie, Naomi, Kersty, Sally and not forgetting the awesome Toby in the cox seat! This crew raced really well in the first race with a good rhythm settling at 34spm but despite this they were lying 4th at half way although they were under 2:00m for the 500m. However their pace and rhythm then began to tell and they rowed right through the field narrowly failing to win the heat but qualifying for the repercharge in a fast time. Unfortunately they were unable to repeat the row in the repercharge and settled at a lower and less effective rate. This meant that they were much slower to half way and, although lying second, they were 2 lengths behind the leading crew. As in the first race, they then began to reel the leaders in but were not quite able to catch them finishing 2nd and thus were eliminated.

J18 1x: After racing in one of the first races of the day, here was Henry in one of the final races of the day. Of course he had three races in the Leeds Uni IM3 8+ in between! This was Henry’s first entry in the often highly competitive J18 category. Henry was up against a competitor racing at IM1. Henry rowed well but was unfortunately beaten by a more experience sculler this time.

J16 1X Dan was set a tough test this weekend which was to race in his own age category as well as up a age level. Dan had previously raced at this level at the Junior inter regional’s and performed well. Dan did very well in his heat comfortably reaching the final in second place just 2 secs behind. Dan G gave it all in the final and sculled in a controlled way finishing 3rd.

J15 1X This proved to be a extremely competitive event. Dan again rowed very well and looked in control finishing second in his heat to a large City of Oxford rower. Dan finished 3rd in the final to bigger opposition who sculled very well.

J15 1X Alex. As with Dan’s heat, Alex faced stiff competition in his heat. Unfortunately Alex didn’t quite get his start right which made it harder to keep in contention with the pack. Alex’s has been working well on developing his technique and I know felt frustrated at his result.

J15 1X Christie like Dan was set the task of racing up an age category this weekend. He rowed with a long fluid style and looked in control all the way finishing 3rd.

J14 1X Christie – Christie was up against a silver medallist from the Junior National Champs in his heat. He again rowed very well and finished just 1 second behind in second place. Christie’s goal for the final was to finish 3rd which he did behind both of the silver medallists at the Nat champs.

Masters D 1x: Rafa was focussed on Dan’s efforts all day but rowed in a very stately fashion, nothing hurried about his race coming 3rd out of 4 in his race

Peterborough Sunday

Mens IM3 8+: DanG-Des-Matt-Jules-Joe-SImonH-Jez-Henry-Toby: 4th out of 4 in heat. After a short practice the night before and rowing in a borrowed York University boat, the crew were optimistic of a good showing. They started well and were well in contention after 250m but lost a bit of cohesion on the second half of the race. Nevertheless a creditable performance given we never practice in 8s and some of the crew had never raced in one before.

Mens IM3 4+: SarahB-Des-Joe-Henry-Jez 3rd out of 4 in heat. The crew had a more aggressive and faster row than on Saturday, but were unlucky to be drawn against two fast crews.

Mens IM3 4+: Milly-Jules-Matt-SimonH-Toby. 2nd out of 3 in heat, 2nd out of 4 in semi, 3rd out of 4 in final. The men were consistently quick to 250m in each of their races but were overhauled by Churchill college in their heat, by Warwick RC in their semi, and by both of these crews in the final. Neither Churchill nor Warwick had been racing on Saturday, and after 3 races on Saturday and 3 on Sunday the final may have been a race too far for us. The Warwick crew were exceptionally quick and the fact that the Leeds crew, in their first week racing in a new combination, were so close to them in both the semi (where Leeds did a fast time of 1 min 38s) and in the final bodes well for the rest of the season.

J15 2x: (DanG+Dom Parnell from Nottingham): 1st out of 3 in final. Dan and Dom rowed very well and won their final easily.

Novice 1x: Ben Coverdale: 2nd out of 3 in heat, 2nd out of 4 in semi, 3rd out of 4 in final. Ben sculled very smoothly in all his races and did exceptionally well in a strong field of 14 scullers.

Masters C/D 1x (Rafa): Scratched – Rafa was so focused on being Dan’s supporter that he forgot his own race!

J18 1x: Henry: 2nd out of 2 in final. Henry adopted his usual tactics of lying in wait for 350m then sprinting to the finish. Unfortunately on this occasion the push wasn’t quite enough and he lost by ½ length. A very good performance though against a very strong sculler.

J16 1x: DanG: 2nd out of 3 in final: Dan rowed strongly in the year above his age group. Unfortunately he also came up against a good sculler but should be encouraged by beating the third placed sculler by some distance.

J15 1x: DanG: 3rd out of 3 in heat: DanG was drawn against two very fast J15s and unlucky not to reach the final.

J15 1x: Christian: Unfortunately Christian had to borrow a boat due to a clash, and arrived late at the start and was disqualified.

J14 1x: Christian: 2nd out of 4 in heat, 4th out of 4 in final. Christian sculled very strongly in an exciting heat. He was not far behind in a close final.

Mx IM3 2x: Mike-Laura: 3rd out of 4 in heat: the double rowed very tidily and were unfortunate to finish just outside 2nd place and be eliminated.

Womens IM3 8+: Michael-Rosie-Naomi-Kersty-KateOC-Milly-Sally-Sarah-Kay: 2nd out of 4 in semi, 4th out of 4 in final: The women showed the men that practising in an eight wasn’t really necessary, rowing well in their semi to finish second to a strong Christ’s College 8. In the final they again rowed well and belied their lack of practise, finishing within two lengths of Christ’s College who won overall.

Womens IM3 4+: Toby/Des-Rosie-Naomi-Kersty-Sally: 2nd out of 3 in heat, 3rd out of 3 in repecharge. The women were beaten by a strong Peterborough crew in their heat but were pleased with a good row and fast time of 1 min 53s. Unfortunately they couldn’t find the same boat speed in the repecharge.

Womens IM2 4+: Toby-SarahB-Kate-Milly-Kay: 2nd out of 3 in final: The women rowed well and finished a close second to yet another Peterborough crew, well ahead of Bedford RC in third. A good performance at IM2 level which should encourage the women for the rest of the season.

Womens IM3 1x: Vicky: 2nd out of 2 in heat, 4th out of 4 in final. Vicky came up against a very strong Nottingham sculler in the first round but rowed smoothly and progressed to the final. Again she sculled smoothly but in an outside lane became isolated by the fast starting scullers alongside.

Womens IM3 1x: Laura: 1st out of 4 in heat, 2nd out of 4 in final. Racing in a 1x for the first time and in a borrowed boat Laura sculled extremely well. She sculled powerfully in her heat, catching her opponents in the last 100m. In the final, she started well and was always in contact with the other two scullers. The woman from Nottingham proved too strong but Laura overtook and then held off the sculler from Champion of the Thames to achieve a very impressive 2nd place.

Monday 31st May 2010 – Leeds Rowing Club Fun Day

Ready to race

Leeds Rowing Club Fun Day Regatta. Photograph courtesy of Quintessential Studios.

Saturday 15th May 2010 – Tees Regatta

Our first race was at 9:06 am requiring a very early start. Thanks to Jez and everyone who got the trailer loaded and drove up on Friday night to enable people to start from Leeds at 6:30 rather than 5:30 am!

Mens novice 4+ (SarahT, Josh, Ben, SimonC, DanK): This was the first regatta race for three of the novice crew, and unfortunately they didn’t show the kind of form they have been displaying on the lake. The first race started poorly for them and they were always behind, although once into their rhythm the other crews made little ground. The crew progressed to a 2-boat repecharge, and performed better, but again lost to a higher-rating if scrappier crew.

Womens IM3 2x (Michelle, Laura): The women were in a three-boat semifinal from which, rather bizarrely, only one crew were to progress, even though one lane was being left empty in the final. Although the women demolished one of their opponents and rowed powerfully and smoothly, they again lost out to a higher-rating crew.

Junior 15B 2x (Alex, DanG): The boys rowed superbly in a two-boat final to beat a crew from York. Starting strongly they gradually drew away from the first stroke, completely dominating the race to finish winners by a clear distance.

Masters B/C 2x (Brad, Michael): Brad and Michael decided to try a masters race, rather than novice 2x, at this regatta but unfortunately found themselves against three older crews, so were held back for 7 seconds at the start while their opposition raced away. The conditions which had been sunny and flat at 9:00 am had by now changed to a strong headwind. They managed to row through one of the crews, but in the conditions couldn’t claw back the deficit on the other two.

Novice 1x (Henry): Henry had a fantastic day, coping well with the adverse conditions and emerging winner from a strong field of nine scullers. In the first heat Henry showed his strength through the first half of the race and comfortably won the heat. This took him into the semi final where he found himself against the winners of the other two heats, Lincoln and Yarm. With first two home making the final, Henry settled into his row and paced it perfectly to ensure he was within the top two. In the final, Henry found himself against a very strong competitor from Lincoln who dominated the race up until the 700m mark leading by about 2 boat lengths. However, Henry made an amazing push for home over the last 30 strokes and drew level with the Lincoln competitor at the line. We had to wait for the commentator to confirm the result – a win for Henry, praise for his Churchillian ‘never-say-die’ attitude from the commentator, and no longer a novice sculler!

Junior 15 1x (DanG and Alex): After racing together, the boys then took on each other (and seven other scullers) in their singles over three races if they wanted to win. Both qualified comfortably from their heats, to face each other in the semifinal. Fortunately two out of three were to qualify for the final, and having both pulled away comfortably from the third sculler, they were able to conserve energy (though Dan made sure he won!). It was great to see 2 Junior Leeds sculler’s make it into a final in which Dan always had a slight lead which he extended to a couple of lengths at the finish, while Alex finished a comfortable 2nd after a powerful second half. Well done again to the boys who were completely dominant in this age group.

Womens IM2 4+ (SarahT, SarahB, Crystal, Milly, Karen): The women were drawn in a straight four-boat final against some very impressive opposition. They had a good start and were contesting 3rd place for most of the first half, but couldn’t sustain their pace into the strong headwind.

Womens Novice 2x (Vicky, Jenny): The women had a two-boat straight final against Lincoln, and looked untroubled from the start, rowing neatly and drawing away to a commanding lead even at halfway. They can be proud of rowing very well and they will certainly be competitive at IM3.

Mens IM3 4+ (Milly, Julian, Jez, SimonH, Toby): The men rowed to the start expecting a three-boat semi final, then found that due to two crews dropping out they were actually in a four-boat final. Not liking the headwind conditions, the crew had been told by Richard to ‘win ugly’, and they certainly got 50% of this right. The start was good, with only one crew, from Hull University, taking a lead and the other three boats glued together. Over the first quarter, the Leeds boat slipped behind, then made ground back on the third-placed Yarm crew with a mid-race push. Thereafter it was a race for third place, with Yarm successfully hanging on. Again the winners of the event were a very strong crew and the men will now work towards greater smoothness and length at the next regatta.

Overall this was an enjoyable and friendly regatta, well run and organised. The juniors again did us proud, and it was great to see Henry, Vicky and Jenny winning their first sculling points.

A special mention for another of our Juniors, Chris Andrews. Chris was also racing at Tees but for his school St Peters which is always a difficult call but school comes first during term time! Chris is still very much part of our club and his efforts and achievements are as important to us. Chris was entered into 2 races, J14 quad and single sculls. In both Chris rowed extremely well and reach both finals, only narrowly missing out in both to achieve second place in the quad. His single scull final was extremely exciting and we thought he had won it as he seemed to cross the finishing line first, but due to the staggered finish was pipped by a bow ball into second place.

Meanwhile Kris was racing at Poplar Regatta in the Docks (London). Kris was entered in IM2 and IM1 1x and I understand that the conditions were “wild” i.e. very rough and, looking at the times, it was a “howling head gale”. In the IM2 event, Kris won her heat comfortably, if you call racing in those conditions comfortable. She then went on to place second in the final a mere length behind the winner. The IM1 event was a straight final with Kris again coming 2nd to the lady who won the IM2 event. These are better results than last year and a great reward for all Kris’s effort over the winter

8th-9th May 2010 – Durham City Regatta

The weather was kind to us at Durham and the club had an excellent days racing. Pride of place must go to our juniors who recorded two wins and a near miss but everyone who raced performed well with great promise for the rest of the season.

Open IM3 4+ (Julian, Jez, SimonH, Toby): The men’s 4 had the honour of starting our regatta season for us at a very early hour. They raced really well against the home favourites (Durham) and they were overlapping the whole way but our final burst just failed to take us past the Durham crew with the final verdict being ½ length to Durham. The Durham crew went on to win the event and dealt with all the remaining competition very easily, so the crew can consider themselves unfortunate to come up against the event winners in the first round. Conversely they should be very pleased with a performance that shows that they have the pace and determination to challenge for victory very soon!

Nov 1x (Henry): Second on the stakeboats was Henry, who raced as hard as he could against a very experienced sculler from Stephenson College, eventually losing by 1½ lengths. His opponent went on to win the event rather more easily than his first round so, once again, we appear to have been unlucky in the draw but an encouraging scull by Henry who would surely have defeated many of the other scullers in the event.

J15 1x (Dan and Alex): Two entries in this event and we didn’t have to wait long for our first win of the season. Alex had a bye to the final and Daniel was drawn up against a competitor from Talkin Tarn. Daniel showed his dominance from the offset and finished comfortably over his competitor to reach the final against Alex. The all Leeds final was exciting throughout with both scullers racing hard for dominance over the other and both in with a chance of winning for most of the race. It came down to the last 100-150m when Daniel edged his way ahead to cross the finish line first. Well done both scullers.

J14 1x (Christian): Christian was entered into J14 1x and found himself against a competitor from St Leonards School. Christian dominated from the start, sculling very well and powerfully and more than comfortably won the race and the event.

J15 2x (Dan, Alex): Daniel and Alex also entered the J15 2x, the first heat was against St Leonards School, a pairing that Daniel and Alex had met before and lost to. Undeterred, Alex and Daniel showed their strength and commitment to win a closely fought battle – a great achievement for both. For the final they met a crew from Durham. This race was close and exciting, the whole way down the course. After a clash or blades near the finish, a re-row was agreed which was just as exciting as the first row. Both crews raced well and, this time, steered very well. Again Leeds showed their strength with both crews neck and neck right up to the 700m mark when Durham put in a push and sneaked over the finishing line first.

Ladies IM3 2x (Michelle, Laura): Michelle and Laura raced very well and dominated their first race from the start, sculling out to a very comfortable lead against a composite from Sunderland and Sunderland University. Similarly, in the final, they were so dominant that they had a couple of lengths lead before half way and continued to row away from their opposition all the way to the finish. A really good start to the season which is a great reward for the hard work that they’ve put in this winter.

Ladies IM3 4+: We had 2 crews entered in this event. Rosie, Naomi, Kersty and Sally drew a Durham crew in the first round, and having seen their opposition in the gym were a little apprehensive before the start. In the event the crew raced really well being neck and neck with Durham the full length of the course. The final verdict was half length to Durham who went on to win the event in great style. This showed, like the men’s crew, that they were close to the pace and shows great promise for the season. Milly, Kay, Sarah and Karen raced next. Their first round opposition was withdrawn/disqualified for having too many points so it was straight into the semi final. In the semi final they raced very well being neck and neck with the opposition throughout the course but unfortunately, just failing to be in front at the finish. As the crew hadn’t actually been out in this configuration before, this was a really good row and the whole squad can be pleased that they can put out a number of competitive configurations and compete well.

Saturday 24th April 2010 – War of the Roses

Saturday was a beautiful day which saw a large contingent of the Clubs ‘senior’ members at Bradford Rowing Club for the ‘Wars of the Roses’, a (not-too-serious) competition between the ‘masters’ rowers of Yorkshire and Lancashire. RichardA, Dom, SimonC, Brad, Rafa, RodW, PeterT, JonOC, Milly, Kersty, KateOC, Karen, Lucy and Georgie were all competing, PeterW and Liz were prevented from doing so by injuries but came along to support, DanG and Karen did a great job of coxing and wannabe veterans Julian, Fraser and Rosie were there to see how it’s done (and for the curry).

The afternoon kicked off with knock-out racing in coxed fours, randomly drawn from the various clubs and mixing rowers with between 6 weeks and 60 years of experience! Some entertaining racing ensued over a 400m stretch which was plenty long enough for some of the competitors! All the boats were equipped with old-fashioned macon oars which led to reminiscence and problems squaring in equal measure. There were some good performances from crews including Milly and SimonC, but the four with Rafa (I won’t take the rating up much…) at stroke and Rod plus two others from Ancholme and Runcorn rowing clubs emerged as overall winners after an exciting final in which they beat a crew featuring Kersty in the bow seat.

Next came a similar competition in coxed quads, with crews mixed up again. The racing was even closer with better matched boats. RichA salvaged some pride with a close-run victory over Dom, whilst Kate O’Connel won bragging rights with a victory over Jon which saw her crew through to the final, and this time the crew with Brad, plus scullers from Doncaster, Runcorn and York were the overall victors. Brad will have to keep rowing for some years though to match the experience of his bow man, who was 78!

The competition was rounded off with a race between an eight drawn randomly from the Yorkshire rowers and one from the Lancashire rowers. There was a lot of merriment as five of the Yorkshire names drawn came from Leeds and we hastily settled on a crew with Dom at stroke, Kate at 7, Richard at 6, Milly at 4 and Peter at bow. After a brief row to the start it was quickly off, and to everyone’s enjoyment the boat moved up quickly on Lancashire and went on to win by clear water. Lancashire had won this race on the two previous years, so it just shows that they needed more Leeds rowers in the crew!

The day was rounded off with a staggeringly good (and plentiful) curry at Bradford’s boathouse. Thanks are due to the organisers for a day which everyone enjoyed enormously.

Bank Holiday Weekend – Universities Regatta

The club had two of its members racing for their Universities over the Bank Holiday weekend along with Georgie’s daughter Ella who is proposing to join us in the summer so I’m sure that we can count her as one of our members. The weekend was mainly cold, wild and damp as you all know, but this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm over three days of intense racing.

Tom Coverdale: Tom was our first racer, racing for Newcastle University in lightweight Intermediate 1x. Raced over 2,000m and with 28 entries in this event, this was a pretty daunting prospect in a high quality event, especially if you have never raced 2,000m before. In the first race, Tom did what was necessary and qualified for the semi final, mission accomplished and a fine achievement. With the field reduced to the final 12, the competition was hot, Tom rowed well to come 4th in his semi final and just missing that vital 3rd place to make the final.

Andrew Saul: Andrew had a very busy weekend. His first event was also lightweight Intermediate 1x. Racing for Durham, Andrew’s race was almost over before it started because the boat marshals wouldn’t give him a lane number due to a misunderstanding by officials. A quick chat with the officials got him a number but the wrong one! He was actually given Tom Coverdale’s number but Tom was already on the course with the same number! He then had to race to the start to find his opponents already on the stake boats and received an official warning for being late. Not ideal preparation for his first ever 2K race. Anyway, he rowed sensibly to secure the important qualifying place for the semi final. In the semi, he raced really well, starting steadily, he was positioned 4th or 5th at the 500m mark by which time he had settled into a good race rhythm and pace. He then paced the final 1,500m rowing well through the field as they slowed to finish in 2nd place and qualify for the final. Then the wind began to blow and the course got really rough. Andrew struggled in the poor conditions and finished 6th out of 7 in the final having had the 3rd fastest qualifying time going into the final.

Moving onto Sunday, the conditions were again very poor. Andrew was racing heavyweight Intermediate 2x. His crew had a good start and settled into 2nd place by the 1,000m mark where they “caught a boat stopper” which left them in 4th. Setting off again, they made the bad error of cruising home thinking that they were safe in the 3rd qualifying position but, of course, they were 4th and didn’t qualify for the semi final – a bad mistake and big lesson learnt here. On Sunday, Andrew was again out in a double rowing in Championship Lightweight 2x. The conditions again caught them out and, in a severe tail wind and rough water, they could only manage 4th in their heat, just outside the qualifying position for the semi final.

Ella: Ella was rowing for Loughborough Beginners squad having taken up rowing last October. Having already won the Universities Head Beginners 4 and Novice 4’s at the Yorkshire Head, they had great hopes to do well. In the event they excelled. Sunday was Beginner 4+’s, and with Georgie spectating, they rowed really well to win their first race in the 2nd fastest time with Queens Belfast looking ominously fast in the other heat. In the semi final, they were kept apart from Queens but came up against a quick Cardiff crew or, perhaps, they were just saving themselves for the final which their second place in the semi secured for them. The final was a hard fought affair with the “ominously fast” Irish out in front leaving three crews battling for places 2–4. At the finish line, Ella’s crew were just edged out in 4th place but what a great result to come 4th in a major regatta in your first year of rowing.

Bank Holiday Monday was even better. Ella told me that they had only had a few outings in the VIII but it certainly didn’t look like it as they cruised down the course to win their first race with clear water between them and the second crew. So, onto the semi final and what a race that proved to be. Coming into the last 500m Loughborough were judged to be lying 4th with those “ominously fast” Irish way out front and things weren’t really going to plan but then they turned on the after burners and stormed through the field to take 2nd place at the line and a place in the final. I’m afraid that I didn’t actually see the final but I know that Loughborough rowed really well to take third place behind the “all conquering” Irish but what a fantastic result to get the Bronze medal.

Leeds Rowing Club Summer Dinner

The date and venue of the inaugural Leeds Rowing Club Summer Party has been confirmed. Club members, friends and family are invited to join the party on the evening of Saturday 26 June, at the Lakeside Café, Roundhay Park from 7:00pm.

The club hopes to make this an annual formal event, which will run alongside our other main social of the year, the Christmas meal. The ticket price will include a carvery dinner, and entertainment at the event will include a ‘race night’ whereby you can bet on horseracing. The dress code will be formal wear, so guests are encouraged to dress smartly for the event.

Tickets are on sale now, until May 30th, from Laura, Julian and Vicky, and will cost £25 per person. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Leeds Rowing Club’, alternatively pay in cash or via BACs (bank details available from Richard Ansell). All profits from the sale of tickets and the race night will go towards club development.

13th March 2010 – Yorkshire Head of the River Results

The club had a really encouraging day at the Yorkshire Head and performances are beginning to reflect the hard work put in at the Gym over the winter. Results for our crews as follows:

Mens IM3 4+: Karen, Des, Jules, Simon H, Toby. 3/3 in 19:20.5 (winning time 18:40.7) Although we shouldn’t be satisfied with last place, this was an improved performance, finishing only 5 seconds off second place. We beat 3 novice 8s and 2 vet 8s. Last year’s Leeds crew did 22:06. Although on analysis it appears this year’s conditions were about 40 seconds faster, that still means we have gained 2 minutes. It’s hard to benchmark against the performance at Doncaster as none of the same 4s seem to have been racing.

Mens Nov 2x: Brad, Mike. 4/6 in 20:15.3 (winning time 18:49.6) Considering Mike hadn’t rowed in a head race for twenty years and Brad had never raced in a head race before this was a pretty good result. Deciding not to get unsettled by the juniors (Dan and Alex) ambitious race plan to overtake them, they focused on their own race plan, keeping a steady rate and steering a good line. Since this was their first race this year after missing a lot of water time, it is a good bench mark.

J16 2x: Alex, Dan. 2/3 in 20:26.4 (winning time 20:04.0) An excellent row by Dan and Alex who were racing in a category above their age group and gave York City J16 2x and our men’s novice 2x a good run for their money!

Mens Nov 4+: Laura, Josh, Simon, Dan, Joe. 8/12 in 20:52.1 (winning time 18:08.4) This was not only faster than any other 4+ on the day, but faster than the fastest Nov 8+! The novice four also beat last year’s time for the Leeds Mens Sen 4 crew by a big margin.

WIM1 1x: Kris. 1/1 in 20:52.4 Kris was not only the fastest woman sculler but was just 40 seconds behind the winning male IM1 1x. A significantly better performance than last year and well deserved for all the effort that she has put into her rowing over the last year.

WIM3 4+: Toby, Rosie, Sara, Karen, Kay. 3/5 in 21:20.7 (winning time 20:32.1) This ladies 4 rowed strongly again putting in a very good performance beating last year’s race time by over a minute.

J16 2x: Luke, Tom. 3/3 in 21:21.3. A promising row from a crew that have only doubled together twice this year, and a good experience for them in terms of learning to negotiate bridges and bends which are daunting at the best of times for a novice crew.

WIM3 4+: Julian, Milly, Naomi, Kersty, Sally. 4/5 in 21:55.3 (winning time 20:32.1) This ladies crew also rowed well with a higher rate than at Doncaster and a correspondingly better relative performance. They also beat last year’s crew race time by almost a minute. Overall this is very encouraging for the ladies squad to have two much stronger crews than last year.

Nov 1x: Henry. 5/5 in 22:04.7 (winning time 20:03.3) Henry didn’t row as well as he could and was disappointed with his row, however I’m sure that this was a good learning experience and I’m also sure that he will be happier with some of the shorter distances this summer.

WIM3 2x: Michelle, Laura. 3/5 in 22:09.4 (winning time 20:25.0) Michelle and Laura had a few “issues” with the bank, trees, etc. They rowed well between the obstacles but it really wasn’t their day!

It may have gone unnoticed but the club had another couple of rowers in the race. The Coverdale family was out in force. Dave rowed in a York Veteran B 8, finishing 12th overall. Meanwhile, Ben was rowing in the York University IM3 8 which finished 5th overall and, staggeringly, still didn’t win IM3 8 event, missing out by a mere 3 seconds after 5k.

Well done everyone, now let’s look forward to some warmer weather and idyllic days by the river during the regatta season.

WNov 2x: Vicky, Kate. 3/3 in 22:24.2 (winning time 21:03.5) Vicky and Kate had some “issues” with their sculls i.e., they had the wrong ones and weren’t able to row satisfactorily.

21st February 2010 – English Indoor Rowing Championships

Hot off the press! Richard Ansell competed at the English Indoor Rowing Championships in Manchester. He raced in the Lightweight 40-49 category and finished with a great time of 6:47 placing him 5th of 16 entries. The winner did 6:33 which is impressive for a lightweight veteran so get pulling those ergos lads, looks like your coach is leading by example!

21st February 2010 – Universities Head

Two of our club members raced in the Universities Head for their respective universities. Ben Coverdale was racing for York in an intermediate 8 which was placed 16th out of 33 entries and a championship coxed 4 in which they were placed 12th out of 30 entries. Andrew Saul was racing in a championship coxed 4 for Durham and was placed 21st out of 30 entries. Both Ben and Andrew were taught to row at Leeds before going on to row for their universities.

13th/14th February 2010 – GB Trials

The second GB trial assessment took place at Dorney Lake and once again, Kris Johnson was flying the flag for Leeds Rowing Club. The format for this assessment is a time trial to seed the crews for side by side racing later in the weekend. Kris was entered in Ladies Heavyweight division and, racing with all those Olympic and world superstars, Kris was placed 28th of 48 scullers racing in the time trial and then placed 3rd in the “F” final. This is a fantastic effort on Kris’s part and shows what a lot of determination and training can do!

13th February 2010 – South Yorkshire Head Results

The weather might be keeping us off the lake but that doesn’t mean that the club is inactive for some of our members have been out there performing as if nothing was stopping us training. Firstly a few words about the South Yorkshire Head at Doncaster:

The weather was ice cold but absolutely calm so a great day for racing and our crews responded with some excellent rowing and some good results. Pride of place goes to our ladies 4+ which won IM3 4+. I have received the following report of their race from our correspondent in the cox seat:

Ladies IM3 4+: Rosie, Vicki, Sarah, Kay. To quote Friedrich Nietzsche “…and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Our esteemed colleague Rosie was this quote made flesh as her women’s IM3 four sat in the debris strewn and (apparently) biologically dead River Don start area this Saturday. Her haunted eyes speaking volumes of the devastation rowing can cause to the human mind.

Fortunately she had pulled herself together sufficiently by the time she rolled her crew over the start line to give just about a textbook demonstration of how to row a head race. From the off the whole crew settled into a pacey rhythm with a high rating. Even dramas induced by wayward doubles, over enthusiastic attempts to take the inside line and the urge to dive up the slide were succinctly recovered from as the pressure climbed in the first 2 kilometres.

But as the Doncaster boathouse was hauled into sight the girls decided to stop messing about. Teeth were gritted, pins were pulled and Rosie even decided to take her sunglasses off (clearing indicating the gravity of the situation). On command the crew responded as one to a push command and built the power relentlessly to the finish over the final kilometre, reeling in and overtaking a Bradford men’s quad whose collective neck they had been breathing down for much of the course and significantly closing the gap on a number of other boats ahead. Despite all the blood boiling power the crew were laying down in the dying metres of the race they all maintained excellent form and rhythm, whilst still committing 100% to each stroke. All in all this was a great row and an exhibition in control, determination and power from Kay, Sarah, Vicki and Rosie. Nice one guys!

We also had a number of other notable performances:

Men’s IM3 4+: Des, Jules, Simon H, Toby. The crew rowed strongly in a division with fierce competition. Although placed 6th out of 7 in their classification, they beat all the novice 4+s by a considerable distance so are clearly in the correct classification.

Men’s Novice 4+: Simon H, Simon C, Dan K, Ben. A really good row by a crew of rowers, some of whom learnt to row at Leeds in the last year, (some of the ergo times are awesome), and for whom this was their first competitive outing. The crew rowed well and were placed 2nd in the Novice classification. A really good result with lots of promise for the summer.

Ladies IM3 4+: Kersty, Naomi, Milly, Sally. Our other ladies 4+ entry executed the race plan perfectly. I set them a time to beat of 16m which they easily beat with a controlled row.

Ladies IM3 2x: Michelle and Laura. A first race and a good time for this new crew showed that they have the potential for success in this event in the summer.

Ladies Nov 2x: Vicki and Kate. A good controlled row beating the course record for this event, which had stood for 10 years, by 19 seconds. Unfortunately this event had some excellent crews in it with 3 crews actually beating the course record and our crew was placed third in the event.

Novice 1x: Henry.A good row by Henry which was interrupted by a double running into him outside the boathouse. This collision caused Henry to stop whilst they untangled the sculls. Eventually Henry got started again and was placed 2nd overall by a mere 9 seconds. Disappointing for Henry but a very promising row going into the summer season.

J18 1x: Henry. A glutton for punishment, Henry volunteered to race a second time over the course. This time he was unimpeded and completed the course 1 second faster than his first row.

J17 2x: Luke and Tom. Tom and Luke rowed very well and were placed second in their category. An excellent result in their first race of the winter.

J15 1x Alex. Alex had an argument with a tree part way down the course which didn’t help his sculling or his rigger! Despite this handicap, he sculled well and was placed 3 out of 7 in his category and only 1 second behind the 2nd placed sculler. After his mishap, this was a very good and determined performance.

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