KRC men competed at the British National Rowing Championships at Holme Pierrepoint Nottingham on the weekend of October 22/23. We entered in a new 'Club Shield' category for 4- and 8.
Both days conditions were fair across the lanes with a direct tail wind. At times the last 500m were a bit choppy but far from difficult.
On Saturday we raced the 4-. The crew was from bow Leon Taylor, Mark Roberts, John Keen-Tomlinson and John Ciccarelli. The format was a 1900m time trial of all 4s from all categories with the first 12 going to semi finals A/B, the next 12 into semi finals C/D and so on. We finished 12th just squeaking into the A/B semis. All other crews in our semi were high performance but we stepped on from the time trial. Out in lane 6 we stuck with University of Edinburgh in the adjacent lane and came through them in the final 500m. We also rowed through Molesey A. Both these crews had Under-23 World Championship medal winners on board. We finished 4th and qualified for the B final.
In the final we stepped on again. At about 1250m in we were moving dramatically on the field and it looked like we were going to move through Molesey and Edinburgh and then go after Tideway Scullers. Unfortunately we couldn’t maintain sufficient pace and we finished 4th. Just 3.5 seconds behind TSS who had 2 world medal winners in their crew and 2 seconds off Molesey and Edinburgh. The best news is we were 6 seconds ahead of London RC who were the only other non high performance crew to make the A/B semis. Therefore we were awarded the Club Shield for the 4-. This was a big statement by our crew about the progress we are making at KRC.
On Sunday we raced the 8. The crew was from bow Ben Handy, Hal Bedford-Payne, Jonty Webber, Sam Tunbridge, John Keen-Tomlinson, Mark Roberts, Ali Lee, John Ciccarelli and cox Scott Cockle. In the time trial we were the wrong side of the A/B semi final cut off just 1 second off 12th and 7 seconds off 5th. It was all very close. So we were in the C/D semis.
We led our semi from almost the first stroke and won by about half a length. Following 2 hours rest we went back out for the final. Winning the semi meant we had a central lane which tends to be an advantage in 6 lane racing. This time we flew off the start and had almost a full length at half way. Then UL started to move on us a little but got no closer than half a length. Coming up to the line we maintained our composure and good rowing and crossed the line clearly ahead of Nottingham University in 2nd and UL who were 3rd. Overall we were 3rd in the Club Shield for the 8.
These were the best performances since I have been coaching at KRC. Both crews showed good maturity on top of their good technique, fitness and toughness. Hopefully a good indication of our potential for the coming season.