This weekend Boston will again play host to the February Assessments, the second trials period this season after Early ID’s in November. Here, all the athletes who attended EID’s will be joined by their J16 counterparts, some of whom have already raced EID’s and placed highly. It's going to be a hard and heavy weekend for all athletes, and we've listed some of the ones that we think will perform exceptionally well.
Julian van Gelderen – Windsor Boys School
Coming into EID’s, it's fair to say that Julian wasn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds when considering the fastest scullers. At NSR, despite placing well in their semi, his eight didn't race the final (DNS) which probably gave him the rest he needed to ease his way into the champ single final, coming 8th. His sculling was very impressive from what we saw at EID’s, and barrelling down the course with his snood on, we think he could be down for a very quick time.
Felix Rawlinson – Radley College
Hailing from Radley College, Felix spent last year racing in Radley’s 2nd 8+, really highlighting the depth of talent that the school produces. Last year’s 2nd 8+ field was tough, and he finished 4th just behind St Pauls. Felix is also no stranger to sculling, as he plans to single scull the 165km from Oxford to Putney Bridge over 4 days in support of Teenage Cancer Trust in March. A mean feat, but can he convert his presumed endurance to speed across the 5km stretch at Boston?
Check out his Just Giving page here.
Joseph Murphy – Leander Club
Unlike Felix, Joseph’s last year as a junior was jam packed with high profile events. He was fourth in champ quads at NSR. He got a bronze medal in the double at Coupe de la Jeunesse. He was a semi finalist in the Fawley at Henley, which is as close to a bronze medal as that event allows. Certainly a consistent year. While this season he seems to have improved the colour of the medals he is winning, there’s no denying that Leander’s golden boy will be giving it his all this weekend, and he has the talent to come away with a seriously fast time. However, we've heard talk that he isn't in a fit state to race due to illness or injury, so he may not start at all tomorrow.
Joseph Middleton – St Pauls School
The Early ID trials in November are typically reserved for J17 and J18 athletes but do allow J16 athletes to enter. One such is Joseph, whose performance certainly raised a few eyebrows in his direction. While his list of achievements is likely only limited by his young age, he was a key member of the St Pauls J15 8+ which triumphed at National Schools in the incredibly close final over Westminster. St Pauls keeps on churning out quality athletes, and if the past few years have been anything to go by, Joseph’s rowing career could have great potential to it.
Daniel Hallsworth – Trentham Boat Club
Trentham is not a boat club often brought up in general conversation. I’m sure that Stoke-on-Trent’s finest is probably unknown to many school rowers. But what perhaps is more well-known are the events which Daniel has won, namely NSR and JIRR in a coxed quad, and the GB vs France fixture, in a single. After also attending the GB camp in Spain, he has made a real name for himself and will look to capitalise on this at the weekend.
As always, we can expect the numerous returners from worlds and coupe to perform well in the singles and pairs they’re been placed in – expect names like Dom Sullivan and Ollie Parish to be near the top. Also, judging from NSR results, the particularly speedy crews such as Westminster and St Pauls will likely send all prospective J16s they can, and can likely make light work of many seniors attending.
Lauren Henry – Leicester Rowing Club
Aside from writing an excellent blog of her many wins (yes we found it) Lauren looks on track for another sensational performance at trials this weekend. This season alone she has clocked wins at Boston Head and Henley Sculls, being the fastest woman of the day at both events. Previously, Lauren has also won BRIC and British Junior Championships, as well as making it to the third round of Henley Women’s Regatta in her single. We don’t know much about Leicester Rowing Club, but we do know that Lauren will be in it to win it.
Izzy Lack – Tideway Scullers School
Izzy will be looking to represent GB for her second year, as last year she raced for GB in the quad at Coupe de la Jeunesse and Munich Regatta. While not medalling, at home she has enjoyed more success with Tideway Scullers, taking a gold at Met Regatta and medalling at the Senior British Championships. TSS consistently produce fantastic scullers and Izzy is no exception to that. She has already built upon her already impressive result at EID’s last year, lets hope she can do the same for tomorrow.
Lucy Miles – Putney High School
Talking about successful junior careers, here’s one to shout about. Lucy Miles from Putney High School has won NSR, raced GB vs France, won the Women’s 8 and Women’s 4 at Coupe and won The Groton School Challenge Cup at Henley Women’s Regatta. And she still has another year to do it all again! A seriously talented sweep rower, Lucy will no doubt be able to scull her way to success at the weekend, and we’d place her very high in our race rankings.
Hannah Medcalf and Amber Harwood – Kingston Rowing Club
These two will be looking to dominate the pairs races at the weekend as they have a huge amount of experience together. Both members of that incredibly dominant Kingston RC J16 4+ which had wins last year at NSR among many other events and was selected to be the GB four for the GB vs France fixture, which they also ended up winning. This season their four is virtually unchanged, and they recorded an incredible 31 second winning margin at Fours Head. The whole crew will be well drilled and very eager to prove themselves at these trials. I imagine the other girl’s pairs will not want to be directly in front of these two at the start.
Again, returning GB representatives like Olivia Morgan, Mia Andersen and Megan Hewison will be placed highly alongside athletes from strong programmes such as Marlow and Henley. Judging from NSR results, Headington and Henley will both be looking to enter loads of athletes, yet some of the school programmes like Teddies and Latymer may end up dominating the J16 field.