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Castle Semple Rowing Club took our largest ever contingent of rowers down to Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham for the British Junior Rowing Championships from 14th - 16th July. Historically we have only ever taken one or two juniors down for this event each year so we were delighted to be able to take 13 juniors with us this time. After a concerted effort over the last few years to move on from producing high standard single scullers in to developing crews as well, the club are proud of the fact that we were able to enter 8 crews in to different events spread over the J14, J15, J16 and J18 categories.

Day 1 saw Eilidh Miller and Katie McGhee completing a series of drills and skills test as well as a 500m sprint in the J14 Omnium. The girls set the standard for the club for the rest of the weekend by coming a fantastic 12th out of 74 crews in the WJ14 2x Omnium. They held their compusure throughout and only dropped points on one test. It is worth noting that in the slalom test they were the 5th fastest crew overall (and also beat all the male J14 2x at this test too) Lesley Afuakwah officiated for British Rowing at the Roll Ups test station and thoroughly enjoyed assessing the athletes and getting the opportunity to meet and work with other coaches too.

Time trials started early on Saturday morning and our Juniors put in a solid shift. By the end of Day 2 we had 6 out of 7 crews through to the AB Semis. Matt and Craig made it through to the C Finals in the OJ16 2x where they took 5th after catching a crab just after the start.

The crews who made it through to the AB Semis on the Sunday were as follows:-

WJ15 2x - Natalie Miller and Molly Barry
WJ16 2x Katy Maltby and Ruth McClure
WJ18 2x Katrina Bryce and Niamh McClure
OJ18 2x Craig McFadzean and Aidan Telfer
WJ16 4x Kirsty MacArthur, Ruth McClure, Colette Smith (SPRC) and Olivia (SPRC)
WJ18 4x Niamh McClure, Kirsty MacArthur, Eilish Murphy and Katrina Bryce

Sunday was an earlier start than the previous days and unfortunately Ruth McClure had taken ill over night. All credit to Ruth for managing to put in 3 races on Sunday despite feeling sick and being unable to hold down food. She helped her WJ16 4x in to 4th place in the AB Semis and then 2nd place in the B Final. By the time she raced in the 2x with Katie Maltby, it was too much to ask and they had to scratch their B Final after completing their AB semi. Well done to Katy Maltby for stepping up to do her first ever 2k race at the British Championships in an age group above her own.

B Final results were as follows:

WJ 15 2x Molly and Natalie 1st with a convincing win
OJ18 2x Craig and Aidan. pipped in to 5th position in the last few strokes.
WJ16 4x Kirsty MacArthur, Coleet Smith, (SPRC) Olivia McPherson (SPRC) and Ruth McClure - 2nd place
WJ16 2x scratched due to illness.
WJ18 2x Niamh McClure and Katrina Bryce 5th

A Finals
WJ18 4x Niamh McClure, Kirsty MacArthur, Eilish Murphy and Katrina Bryce - Bronze

Our WJ18 4x were third in their TmeTrial and 3rd in their AB Semi which placed them in to the A Final and put them in contention for a Bronze medal. The girls worked well together as a crew and they produced a well executed and determined race. They were 100% out to win their medal. This is not a given and upsets happen so full credit to our girls for their team work, positive spirit, determination, composure and focus as they raced down the course to take Bronze. A special mention must be made to Kirsty MacArthur who was also competing in the WJ 16 4x as well as the WJ18 4x and had to to step out of one quad and straight in to the WJ18 4x on both days. A fantatsic effort and just reward for all the winter erg training.

The last medal won at British Junior Rowing Championships by a Castle Semple Junior in Semple colours was back in 2011 when Emma McDonald took Bronze in the WJ18 1x so a big thankyou to our girls for getting us back on the podium again.

A huge thank you also to our supportive parents who came down and made a weekend of it. It is great to see this level of enthusiasm and I think they should have won a medal for being the loudest support. Thanks also to Niall McClure for organsing the accomodation for everyone. This is not the easiest or most straightforward thing to do and I am glad that it is him doing it now and not me!

Also well done to our Juniors for working so hard, having the ability to get themselves prepared for racing, and for being the happy and supportive squad that they are.. Being able to take a group of juniors away and know that you can trust them without being on their case all the time is as important as what they produce on the race course. A fantastic end to a season. have a rest and enjoy because we will be starting all over again very soon.

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