8 April 2022
St Helen and St Katharine students had a fantastic three days of rowing in March 2022, representing a number of local rowing clubs at regional and national competitions to bring home a boatload of achievements despite terrible weather conditions.
Running along a 4.5mile racecourse, students spent the first of the three days taking part in the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race (WEHoRR) – the largest women’s rowing race in the world, with 2880 women entered into 320 crews. Pippa (L6D) and her crew won the Women’s School/Junior category (WJ18), finishing 19th overall, only beaten by university crews and top clubs in the country. Meanwhile, Matilda (11L) and her crew – all aged 15–16– finished in 31st place in the same WJ18 category, a remarkable achievement boding well for the team’s future in rowing.
On the second day, a handful of students took part in the Schools Head of the River Race (SHoRR) running over the same course from Chiswick to Putney. During this, Pippa (L6D) and her crew won the Championship Girls Eights WJ18 while Matilda (11M) coaxed her crew to victory in the Girls 2nd Eights category, and Matilda (11L) stroked her crew to victory in the WJ16 event where the team set a new course record. On the same day, Niamh (11L) rowed with her U17 crew – sadly, the team did not win in their category, however Niamh has said that she loved the experience and has already signed up and started training for her next race.
And finally, on the third day, the Oarsport Junior Sculling Head for students aged 14–18 was held at the Dorney Lake Olympic venue. The event consisted of two consecutive 1800m races with the combined times used to produce each team’s overall results. Matilda (11L) raced in WJ16 quad scull and beat 45 other school crews by over 25 seconds to win the competition, whilst Lilian (9M), who rowed for Henley, won silver. At the same event, Lucy (9L) and Niamh (11L) had a terrific time rowing in the rain with the Wallingford Rowing Club crew, Florence (9M) raced for Thames Scullers, and Pippa (L6D) rounded off her week with a fantastic hat-trick victory and won the WJ17 quad scull.
Josie (9K), Ella (9K) and Ira (8K) also attended the Junior Sculling Head at Dorney Lake, representing Hinksey Rowing to come 2nd out of 36 in their category.
Students were incredibly pleased to have been able to attend three amazing sporting events, showing great resilience to not only compete in three back-to-back events in one week, but to also be victorious in all of them. Their attitudes and sportsmanship were exemplary, with students making many new friends and continuing their pursuit of excellence both on and off the water.