At the beginning of their 150th anniversary year Exeter Rowing Club President Ray Grigg set a challenge for the rowers. This challenge was to win all of the senior championship categories at the West of England Amateur Rowing Association (WEARA) championships. Last Saturday at the final regatta of the season in Bideford it was confirmed that Exeter Rowing Club had achieved their goal and were victorious in the Men’s and Women’s Senior A, B, C and novice coxed fours for the first time in the history of the club.
WEARA currently has a membership of 17 affiliated clubs, who come together to compete at regattas all over the West of England between the months of June and September. For each of the championship events there is a team of 6 rowers per category and the categories are defined by the number wins the rowers have achieved. To win the championship the crews have had to perform at a high standard consistently throughout the season.
The junior squad have also had a very successful season. Poppy Bowyer has been producing consistent performances and won the WJ16 1x championship, her excellent sculling was commended by the squad coaches Sue and Dave Brooks. Tallulah Bowyer won the WJ14 1x championship and she is only WJ13. She won all 9 of her races very convincingly, Lula also won several doubles races with either Bee Spivey or Phoebe Campbell and stroked the WJ14 4x+ to victory on several occasions.
The J15/16 boys stepped up to the mark in the novice championships with Chad Allery, Robbie Eggen, Jack Doble, Dan Turner and Lewis Cosway (cox) winning the final novice race of the season and sealing the championship for the club.
The WJ16/18 girls raced in the WJ18 championship, they had a number of tough races to contend with and found themselves losing out to Totnes in two extremely close races (less than a canvas) at Dartmouth and Bideford. They were also called upon to race in the women’s novice 4+ championship, Lauren May, Millie Roberts, Anna Whittingslow, Megan Higgs and Rachel Boyer played a key part in obtaining the novice championship.
Behind the scenes of these series of wins are the squad coaches Sue and Dave Brooks (junior coaches), Jerry Copping (sculling coach), Peter Cork (women’s coach) and Stuart Redden (men’s coach). The coaches have been working tirelessly all season to arrange training sessions, organise their squads into the relevant categories, transport boats to the regattas and much more! The time and commitment the coaches have put in is hugely appreciated by all.
Sadly Bideford regatta marked the end of 3 years of coaching for the women’s coach Peter Cork. Pete started coaching at the club with just a handful of rowers in his squad, through his commitment and dedication the women’s squad went from strength to strength, earlier this year the women’s 8+ reached the quarter finals of Henley Women’s Regatta and the squad are now preparing for the next season with over 40 members! The women’s squad would like to thank Pete not only for the coaching and the amount of time he has dedicated but also for all of the fun and laughs had along the way – you are going to be greatly missed!
The 2014 racing season has been one of the most successful the club has seen. There has been a real team atmosphere with rowers and coxes mixing between squads and coming together to achieve their goals. The next big event for the club will be the 150th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Satruday 25th October. This is an opportunity to celebrate the success of the 2014 season and reflect on 150 years of Exeter Rowing Club.
By Kerri-Ann Upham