Maidenhead Rowing Club juniors had a hugely successful weekend at the National Schools Regatta held in Nottingham from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th May, winning a huge total of nine medals and turning in a number of other fine performances.
This is the largest and considered by many to be the most competitive junior regatta of the year, with many dozens of clubs and schools and well over a thousand competitors participating over three days with races every six minutes over nine hours on the Friday and over eleven hours on Friday and Saturday.
All Friday events, mainly for younger crews, were raced on a 1000m course and all Saturday and Sunday events were over 2000m.

For all events with more than 12 entrants, a time trial was held to determine the boats going forward to the semi-finals. In events with very large entries, 18 time trial qualifiers raced again in three six-boat semi-finals with the first two from each semi-final progressing to the final. In other events, 12 boats progressed to two semi-finals from which the first three progressed to the final.

Overall, the club finished 7th out of 68 clubs and schools in the medal table, with the equal second highest overall number of medals. Lola Harris - easily our smallest competitor - came home with a remarkable three medals after rowing on Friday and coxing on both Saturday and Sunday.
James Hanson, club captain commented: "Our Maidenhead juniors did themselves and our club proud this weekend. Through hard work and perseverance they produced fantastic results from both the girls and boys squads. A special mention should go to all our volunteer coaches of which all work tirelessly to make our juniors great and which are priceless to our club."
Maidenhead Rowing Club Medal Summary
Gold - J15 Single, WJ15 Coxed Four
Silver - WJ15 Coxed Quad Sculls, WJ14 Coxed Quad Sculls (+1), WJ14 Coxed Quad Sculls (+2), WJ16 Double Scull, J16 Single Scull, J16 Quad Sculls
Bronze - WJ15 Double Scull
Friday events
Gold Medal
Junior 15 single sculler Victor Kleshnev got through the time trial and won his semi impressively. Victor then stormed his final, leading his opposition from the start and maintaining the lead till the finish line for a beautifully executed gold medal and the award of the KCS Wimbledon Centenary Sculls Trophy.
Silver Medals
There were two events for WJ14 coxed quads. Because of the huge number of entrants, clubs and schools may enter both a 'first' boat in the "+1" category and a 'second' boat in the "+2" category. With eight girls in this age group, Maidenhead entered a crew in each, for the first time.
The "+1" boat of Lola Harris, Olivia Webster, Immie Harding and Millie Holgate, coxed by Olivia O'Mahony progressed without trouble first through the time trial and then comfortably won one of the three semi-finals to progress to the final. In the final, Marlow RC pushed out to a boat length's lead on the wind-sheltered side of the course while the light Maidenhead crew had to battle in a wind-affected lane 4 against attacks from the City of Bristol crew. Nevertheless, the Maidenhead girls endurance showed as they refused to be caught and secured a very well deserved silver medal.


The "+2" boat of Beth Sinnott, Izzie Bird, Lena Tomasik and Georgia Howell, coxed by Polly Bennett, also tackled the time trial well and then came a close second to Henley RC in their semi-final. The final was a close and tough affair in which any colour medal or none was possible all the way down the course. The Maidenhead crew put up a tremendous fight in the last 500m to safely secure a silver medal closely behind Henley RC. Below, you can see the girls racing in our Mattel sponsored Kanghua boat.
Bronze medal
In the WJ15 double sculls, Eliza Harding and Rosie Harris faced a huge field of 44 crews but nevertheless progressed smoothly through the time trial followed by their semi-final. Fighting hard in the final for second place behind eventual winners Avon RC, they were eventually pipped on the line by the Trentham crew rowing in a wind sheltered lane so had to settle for an extremely fine bronze medal. A great achievement as Eliza had recently suffered interrupted training due to a back problem that was eventually solved by a change of mattress on her bed!
Other crews
The pairing of Edoardo Marshall and Elliott Kemp raced in the J15 double scull. Their performance in the time trial had secured them a place in the semi-final, where they managed to come second and progress to the final. After an unfortunately faulty start in the final, the boys fought against the best doubles in the country to secure a very close 4th place: Elliott has only been rowing for about a year and this is a brilliant achievement for him!
Saturday events
Gold Medal
The Maidenhead Junior 15 Girls Coxed Four crew of Maja Tomasik, Eliza Harding, Talia Antioco and Naomi Ross-Masson, coxed by Lola Harris had only raced once before in a coxed four but took confidence that they had beaten older WJ16 girls on that occasion. Nevertheless, Nottingham was going to be their first standing start race and there was an element of the unknown. They proceeded smoothly through the time trial and then won their semi-final, going into the final as marginally the fastest boat. In the final, their lack of starts experience showed initially as they were only in fourth place after 100m. However, by 250m gone, they had pushed to the front and from there Maidenhead were never headed, rowing long and relaxed and gradually extending their lead all the way down the course to cross the line a full two lengths ahead of second placed Great Marlow School and Headington School in third to win gold medals and the award of the Katrina Jacks Memorial Trophy. A very fine win from a talented crew. 
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Silver Medals
The WJ16 double scull of Abbie Bird and Kate Woffinden proceeded smoothly through the time trial and semi-final. In the final they were in first place at the 500m point but slipped back to third by halfway. Coming into the final 500m still in third behind both Warrington RC and Avon RC they put in one final effort to close the gap on leaders Warrington and narrowly overhauled Avon to collect a fine Silver medal just two and a half seconds behind the gold medallists.
In the J16 Quad sculls, Maidenhead entered two crews. The  ‘A’ crew of Victor Kleshnev, Edoardo Marshall, Elliott Kemp and Sean O’Mahony (three of whom are J15s racing up a year) had to battle Kings Worcester School, who have been putting out consistently good results throughout the season. The boys had a brilliant, but nail-biting race where they emerged victorious over KSW, in the semi-final. The first place meant that they were through to the final, which was one of the most competitive races of the day. The boys sculled ‘beautifully’ according to the commentator, in the final where they were 4th for almost the entire race, and in the last 500m put out a massive burst, putting them in the lead and surging for gold, head to head with Kings Worcester again. Unfortunately, the experienced KSW opposition seized the win, by just 0.35 seconds but the Maidenhead boys’ silver was an amazing achievement considering they’d rowed together for much less time than the other crews, and with three J15’s punching way above their weight.
Other crews
Maddy Dobson, racing in the highly competitive Girls Championships (WJ18) single sculls performed well in the time trial and then came a strong third in her semi-final to qualify for the final. In the final, Maddy came a battling sixth place. To finish in the top six junior girls single scullers in the country in this toughest of events is a great achievement.
The J16 Quad ‘B’ crew of Ethan Walters, Jordan Felstead, Charlie Collins and James Leatherbarrow also qualified through the time trail but had by far the most competitive semi. They fought bravely but finished sixth, which still includes them in the top 12 crews in the country.
Sunday events
Silver Medals
In the WJ15 Coxed Quad event Naomi Ross-Masson, Maja Tomasik, Talia Antioco and Rosie Harris, coxed by Lola Harris progressed through the highly competitive time trial of over 40 boats and then came second in their semi-final to a fine Henley crew. In the final, Henley got away fast  in the favoured wind-sheltered lane and the Maidenhead crew  were left with a tough task racing in a wind affected lane against a Headington School crew which had been slightly faster in their semi-final. Three of the Maidenhead crew had raced three times the previous day (in winning the coxed fours event) and twice before the same day, so they were feeling the effects. Nevertheless, displaying very cool heads and putting in an enormous sustained effort, they gradually squeezed ahead of Headington, resisting all attacks from behind, until they opened up clear water over Headington in the third 500m. Headington fought back with a tremendous finishing sprint in the last 200m but by then the Maidenhead girls had enough of a lead to secure a very fine silver medal.
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Maidenhead had two entries in the J15 Single Sculls.  Sean O’Mahony had come second in his semi and so progressed to the final, which was dominated by Tyler Skow from the American School. Whilst the first position was secure, the silver and bronze were being eagerly battled for. The last 250 metres were truly nail-biting, with Sean edging up on James Beattie from Kings Worcester, slowly gaining on him metre by metre, until eventually crossing the line in the silver medal position. This was a very determined performance in a hugely competitive event.

Other crews

Maidenhead's Jonathan Sneller, also in the J15 Single Sculls, managed to qualify for the semi-finals, where only 12 boys would end up racing in the semi-finals after a time trial featuring over 40 national standard scullers, many of which had done well at the GB February Assessment. Jonny had unfortunately been given the worst lane in the semi, where the cross wind made racing very difficult. Despite a very good start, Jonny had to finish 6th, while still fighting and bravely trailing a sculler from the prestigious Leander club, who was 5th at GB February Trials.

The J16 double of Charlie Collins and Jordan Felstead had made it into the semis, where they had led off the start and then stayed third for most of the race. The boys narrowly missed qualifying for the final when they were overwhelmed by Bedford School, and ended up 4th in the semi, still a brilliant result.


Maidenhead also entered a crew in the WJ15 "+2" WJ15 Coxed Quad event for club 'second' crews. This crew, Beth Sinnott, Olivia Webster, Izzie Bird and Immie Harding, coxed by Olivia O'Mahony was comprised entirely of WJ14 girls, all of whom had also rowed (and medalled) in the WJ14 events on Friday, rowing up a year for the experience. The progressed to the semi-final but no further. Nevertheless a fine effort from these young girls.

In the WJ16 single Sculls Abbie Bird reached the semi-final but missed out on the final. Nevertheless she was beaten only by other GB trialists in a very high quality field.