National Schools’ Regatta
The three-day NSR opened for St Edward’s with two really strong performances from our Shell boys and girls. The boys produced three high class races that showed them to be one of the best crews in the country. A superb time trial qualified them for the semi-finals where they showed class, courage and real strength under pressure in one of the closest races of the whole regatta. Needing to finish in the top two to qualify for the final for the first time since 2005, they came second, 0.4 of a second behind Shrewsbury and 0.09 of second in front of Dulwich with Abingdon, Latymer Upper and Cheltenham trailing in behind. Their exertions perhaps told in the final itself but their 5th position was the best result a St Edward’s octo has ever achieved at National Schools, beating Hampton by over a length, just behind Winchester, Shrewsbury, St Paul’s and Radley.
The girls qualified for the semi-finals and raced extremely well. An early mistake made qualification for the final very difficult but the girls raced strongly back through the field to come 4th, just missing out on the final and only one second behind The King’s School Chester.
Following this strong start to the regatta the stage was set for our older crews to take to the stage on the Saturday. It proved to be a mixed day. Our boys’ 1st VIII came into the regatta with hopes of mixing it with the medallists but a slightly off day saw them miss out on qualification for the final and finish 7th overall. Frustratingly, their time in the B final would have placed them 4th overall. They clearly are a crew with a great deal to look forward to at Henley Regatta.
The girls’ 1st VIII also raced hard in their semi-final but were unable to progress to the final. They rowed beautifully but were undone by the strength and power of some of their competitors. It was great to see them race with such commitment and they led the field to 250m before the greater strength of the opposition told. Our Fourth Form boys also missed out on qualification for the final but raced well in an extremely tough field as did our Fourth Form girls who raced very well to qualify for their semi-final. All three finished inside the top 10 in the country in their events.
After a day of near-misses, the real highlight was seeing our second senior boys’ crew win their semi-final and then blast out in their final to lead by half way. A couple of crews were able to inch past them in the second half of the course but they demonstrated real strength of character to hold on for a fantastic bronze medal. They have worked extremely hard and their medal was a great reward for their commitment.
On the Sunday we had several small boats racing and the boys were determined to put the disappointment of Saturday behind them.
The senior girls split into a four and a pair. The pair of Tilly and Ashlyn just missed out on qualifying for the semis but came 16th overall in an extremely tough field of 29 top class entries while the IV missed out on the final in a high class event but finished 11th overall in their final event for departing senior girls’ coach, Tom Burton, who will be greatly missed.
The boys split into two championship IVs, coxless and coxed. The coxless IV qualified for the semi-final and raced very well before being run out of it in a close race but they achieved a top 10 ranking overall in an event which is arguably one of the best events at the regatta. It was then very much a case of saving the best to last as the championship coxed IV produced the highlight of the weekend for St Edward’s in the last race of the regatta. Their bronze medal, behind Radley and St Paul’s, was a superb demonstration of power and class, and a great way to finish the regatta on a high. The two IVs will now re-combine to race in the VIII at Henley and we have a group of boys who will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to peak for the final regatta of the year.