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Keswick School Satellite Rowing Club make race debut at Derwentwater Regatta

July 20, 2015

Thanks to support from Active Cumbria, Lakeland Rowing Club, based at Derwent Water Marina, Portinscale, nr Keswick on Derwentwater have set up a satellite rowing club for Keswick School students and within 6 weeks the Club has coached 10 very keen and capable Year 10 students from complete novices to successfully competing in their first competitive regatta. Even better news is the news that the Keswick School scullers are to continue to develop and improve their rowing, by becoming the first Junior Members of Lakeland RC where they will to row throughout the summer and for the rest of the year and beyond. 

The Schools new scullers signed up for a 6 week course starting on 28th May and attended a 2 hour coaching session each Thursday evening after school. The 10 students were divided into two crews of 5 (4 rowers and 1 cox per boat) and learned how to scull and also to cox.  Rowing coaching took place both on a dry land rowing rig but mostly on the water on Derwentwater. The junior scullers learned the basics e.g. how to rig and launch their boats, the basic of the rowing stroke all the way to the fun part, that is, racing starts and how to build up to race pace!   

To set up the Keswick School club Lakeland Rowing Club, sourced a spare lightweight racing Quad (a boat for 4 rowers each using 2 oars and a cox) thanks to generous support from Chester Le Street ARC, and 4 pairs of loaned blades (oars) from Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham.  4 of the Clubs’s qualified British Rowing instructors coached the Keswick School rowers using a 6 week learn to row curriculum which was approved by British Rowing. Each week the Club had volunteers to help drive a safety boat as well as help with launching and landing the boats. 

The finale of the Keswick School learn to row course was they competed in their first regatta, Lakeland Rowing Clubs Sprint Races, as part of the National Trust Derwent Water Regatta held on Saturday July 11th. 

This was Lakeland Rowing Club’s first ever Regatta which as staged along the Derwent Water, Keswick Foreshore with racing over 500m from Friars Crag into Crow Park bay, surely one of the most stunning rowing courses in the country as well as a great location for spectators to watch the races. 

In all we had 58 rowers taking part in 25 races, with rowers competing from Talkin Tarn ARC (including one crew of J 15 Juniors), Hexham RC, Chester Le Street ARC and Lakeland South (from Windermere). 

The rowers had all sorts of conditions to contend with including strong winds and choppy waves (not ideal for rowers) and lot’s of other craft who drifting into to the racing lanes which all added to the excitement of the day.

The Keswick School J15 Students proved to be the stars of the day racing over 500m from Friars Crag into Crow Park bay. Two Keswick School crews rowed brilliantly, competing against each other as well as some serious competition from Talkin Tarn ARC Juniors and also gave their absolute all in some very windy and choppy conditions. The Keswick School students were also very sporting, by standing on the lake shore edge all day cheering on other competing crews an and helping out other crews with launching and landing their boats.

The Keswick School crews were:-

Keswick School (David’s Crew) - Cox, Aaron Horne, Stroke Connor Faulder, 3 Matthew Prescott, 2 Steph Mills, Bow Tom Hind

Keswick School (Nick’s Crew) - Cox, , Sam Holmes (replacing Jack McCarthy who was away for the regatta) , Stroke Tom Sowerby, 3 Jemima Green, 2 Ben Holmes, Bow Robert Spedding

Following the excitement of the Regatta the Keswick School scullers are to join Lakeland RC as Junior members. All 10 rowers will be returning next week to start to learn to row smaller boats such as a double (a boat for two rowers using two blades each, and no cox) and single sculls. These type of boats require more balance and therefore will be a big step up for the new scullers. 

After the success of this first learn to row course, both Lakeland RC and Keswick School plan to run more learn to row course for a further 20 rowers starting when the next term starts in September. We also hope that the first intake of rowers will help with coaching their peers. 

All this with the help and funding of Active Cumbria to whom we’d like to say a big thank you.

Photograph from Al Johnstone.