Championship Girls' 1x
With north of 40 entries, this years Internationals Cup is highly contested and with such a variety of talent and such emphasis on an individual athletes season, it'll be interesting to see the how the podium ends up on Saturday.
A clear front runner comes in the form of of Holly Dunford, Molesey's top junior sculler. With a gold in Lithuania last summer in the double at Junior Worlds and being honoured with the SportsAid "One-to-watch" award, this weekend will show how effectively the talented international has been able to transfer her skills into the single scull. Ironically, she is without a gold national medal despite her status as a Junior World Champion, so no doubt she will be out to take that on Saturday. Ellie Alexopolous, 5th at February trials in her single earlier in the year, is Molesey's other entry, and after returning from a back injury will look to challenge the top of the field.
However, a challenge to Dunford comes from Agecroft sculler Georgina Dooley. With a gold at Brit Champs in 2017 along with a category win at Scullers Head, Dooley has proven herself on the national stage both in both seasons, demonstrating her undoubted talent in the boat class. She was fourth in the C final at Senior Final Trials, 8 seconds behind Dunford who won the minor final, so needs to pick up the pace a little to catch her, but could still pose a threat.
There are several athletes who have done well in the trials system so far, including Royal Chester's Georgia Shirely and Shiplake's Olivia Morgan who went on the GB Spain camp back in December. Morgan took a convincing win in the Junior 1x at Wallingford, 14 seconds clear of Thames' Megan Duthart who finished second but should still hope to climb closer to the front runners here after seeming to not race her single for a considerable length of time before Wallingford.
Amelia Standing of King's Chester and Olivia Caesar of Monkton Combe won gold medals at Coupe last year in the four, so whilst they may not be as experienced as some of the well seasoned single scullers, will certainly have the power to push the top end of this category. Latymer's Olivia von Stauffenberg of their top quad has had success so far in the trials process, so will also be one to watch at the top end of this category.
Let's not forget the vast presence of regional underdogs in this category, unspotted talent provides an unreliable external factor onto the finishing order. Outside of the big club and school names, scullers such as Laukyte and Forster may prove to be challengers, along with J17 entrants like Mileham and the strong Irish contingent here to push them as internationals in the field. Last year's surprise winner, Hannah Scott, was of Ireland's Bann RC, so the locals may have to watch their backs with potential strong Irish competition. Similarly, Fulham Reach showed promise at the Junior Sculling Regatta, with Rosa Thomson taking the bronze medal in singles there, so she could be an unexpected underdog.
A wide range of old hats and fresh faces will hopefully provide fierce competition in this years fight for the Internationals Cup.