July 18th and 19th brought the annual British Junior Rowing Championships, this time at Strathclyde Country Park on its four yearly rotation with Holme Pierre Pont.
With over 600 crews entered for the regatta, the racing days were long, but didn’t stop the crews being out on the water for a warm up at 7am each morning.
With a mere two weeks to go, following a call from Trent, Bethan Henry found herself in a women’s junior pair and double with Kellie, whose original partner had to pull out injured. Having agreed to meet up one early morning to ‘see how it goes’, they quickly found that they made a great team. Following this they embarked on some fairly intensive training to get themselves up to Nationals standard, as much as they could in a mere fortnight. With both girls being 18, this was to be their last chance as Juniors and as such were determined to give it all they had.
Friday 17th July found both Beth and younger brother Alex up at Strathclyde ready to rig boats and get out on to the water to practice. As Beth was racing, Alex may as well have a go in the J14 singles much to his delight – it’s not often one goes to the Nationals after all.
Saturday dawned with the girls and Alex out on the water at 7am to warm up and practice. The weather being typically British meant that they had to contend with a cross-wind, rain and the waves that inevitably follow poor weather. Today they had to contend with the time trial heats over a 1500m sprint to qualify in the top twelve to make it through to the terrifyingly long Sunday 2000m sprint finals. The girls had the aim of making it through to the Sunday in the pair and hoping to be around 15th in the double. Alex’s aim was to hopefully not capsize in the trying conditions.
With the girls taking to the water in their double first, they managed a very respectable 18th position in the heats taking them into the C final on the Saturday afternoon. With their hearts set on making the pairs finals on the Sunday they then set off and successfully achieved that goal much to theirs and everyone’s delight. Alex, with much trepidation, also took to the water and also made it into the top twelve, so both crews were set to race
another day. Before this however, Beth and Kellie took to the water in their double’s C final managing 5th place, and 17th overall nationally, with all the crews in their final coming in within 13 seconds of each other.
Sunday brought more sunshine and less wind much to everyone’s relief and following yet another warm up at 7am, the girls were back on the water to fight it out in the semi-finals in their pair. Rowing beautifully, belying their mere couple of weeks training, the girls made it into the B final with a time of 7.00.50 minutes, following which they managed a very respectable fifth place in the B final in 6.38.00 taking 22 seconds off their time, thus achieving 11th place overall nationally.
Alex also made it through his semi-final into the B final after achieving a time of 7.26.40 minutes where he managed to take 37 seconds off his time finishing in 5th place in 6.49.70 seconds in a truly magnificent show of effort. Well done to all those who entered in such a daunting but exciting competition.