The first major event of the rowing year, Wallingford Long Distance Sculls pits the very best of the Upper Thames Valley (and a few from further afield) against each other down a 4250m course, and it's a great opportunity for scullers to get their name out there early and make the most of their summer training.
Amounting to 80 entries this year the single scull J18 event is always one of the most looked at races of the day. A good chunk of the entries come from Radley college BC, Hampton college BC and Westminster BC who are obviously keen to show how they have progressed in the first few weeks of the school year. St Pauls BC have also provided 4 entries who promise to provide fierce competition to those in the rest of the group. Keep an eye on Sawhney and Von Bismarck From Westminster who both represented GB at Coupe de la Jeunesse in the summer in the four and the eight respectively. These athletes should set a high benchmark for which their competitors must reach. There are also a number of entries from Star and arrow club which should post some good times whilst entries from Maidenhead BC and Ross RC could chuck a spanner in the works for any of the schools looking to dominate the podium. Whilst the boys from Westminster offer international pedigree Henry Martin and Fred Dreyer from Radley college BC are rowers who know how to win having been bowman and three-man of the 2nd eight which won national schools gold. All the schools will be looking to show their speed early as to throw their name in the hat as they look forward towards the rest of the circuit. Despite this, the club single scullers will look to ruin the party and take the top spots.
W J18 1x
This event see’s 30 crews take to the water in what could be a great opportunity to put your name on the map for the rest of the season. Headington BC have provided a strong squad for the 1x entering 8 crews showcasing their depth as they have put more than one crew in all of the J18 women’s events on offer. The same goes for Henley RC who have entered five singles into this event. All of these athletes will be desperate to place themselves as highly as possible and separate themselves from the opposition, whilst also showing which Boat club has the greater squad depth. Another strong contender in this event comes in the form of Latymer Upper school who have entered 4 crews. These crews will look to ruin the fun for Headington and Henley and throw the competition and circuit wide open. Other crews in this event to watch out for come from Pangbourne, Westminster, and St Georges College who should all post good times and challenge for the top 10 at least.
There are 10 entries into the double sculls event for J18 men this year. With Emanuel BC, Maidenhead RC, Sir William Borlase BC and Wallingford RC all providing one entry. Whilst Pangbourne college BC and Royal Grammar school High Wycombe BC provide two entries, and Westminster BC provide 3. At this earlier stage of the season, crews will be looking to perfect the basics whilst also setting impressive times that send statements to the other crews across the circuit. By providing three crews Westminster have shown their strength in depth which suggests they have some early season speed whilst Maidenhead will be looking to put down an early marker on what they hope will be another successful season in the field of sculling. Many of the athletes in these crews are racing in later divisions and so may look to save their real speed until the afternoon. But knowing how competitive these events can be we can expect to see some exciting racing with the possibility of some very close times. Whilst Maidenhead and Westminster will fancy their chances it would be wrong to discount the possibility of Pangbourne college BC and Emmanuel BC from putting out a strong showing on the day.
W J18 2x
This race will see 22 crews compete on the water in division 3 for the top spot of women’s double sculls. Again LEH are providing a strong contingent of rowers by entering 9 crews which will look to prevent any other crews from reaching the top positions. This number of crews will also give the added incentive of beating their crewmates which may well give them a psychological advantage over other entrants. Headington school BC and Henley RC have also entered crews into this event as it looks like the battle for top spot in the 4x will translate across to the 2x as the rivalry is re-ignited this season. The Maidenhead 4x has split into two double sculls to have a crack at the top spots in this event and I wouldn’t be surprised if these crews put on a great performance. Pangbourne college, Westminster school and Abingdon school have also all entered a single crew each which will have been supported by some world-class coaching which could see them produce some excellent results. All in all, this event should make for some quick racing and a chance for revenge on the results of the division 1 4x racing earlier in the day.
This event takes place during division 3 and holds eight entries. Both Radley college BC and St Pauls BC have entered one boat into this event. Having both entered quads into the open event in division 1, these boats are likely to not be top crews. This doesn’t mean racing won’t be fast and exciting with both schools being known for having extensive programs. To challenge them in this event is a crew from Maidenhead, which could be the makings of a top four for this season, however it is very hard to predict this early on but we can expect any crew from Maidenhead to show significant promise and pedigree. Two crews from Wallingford BC will look to cause some panic amongst other crews in the event whilst a crew from Sir William Borlase BC will be hungry for success this season as they attempt to challenge the schools and clubs around them. This event on the whole, could provide the fastest racing of the day with all crews vying for the podium finish.
W J18 4x
This event see’s 14 crews take to the water in an attempt to lay down an early marker of who will be on top of the women’s circuit as we get stuck into head season. This event should see the most fierce racing in the women’s J18 categories with the big hitters of LEH, Headington BC and Henley RC entering 9 crews between them. LEH BC have laid down the biggest statement pre-race day by entering 5 crews. At this stage of the season these crews are unlikely to be strictly top boats to bottom boats and so mixed crews will probably be prevalent amongst the entries. This won’t take away from the reputation of LEH as they will look to place all 5 crews as close towards the podium as possible and aim for that top spot. Henley RC and Headington BC will also look to make statements of their own on the water. Headington BC have already done so off the water by entering some questionable crew names, no doubt to throw off the opposition. The legacy of Headington rowing has recently been undermined by Henley’s achievements but expect there to be very little between these 2 sets of crews and LEH as they all hunt down that gold medal position. Whilst these 3 Boat clubs may steal the spotlight, don’t count out crews from Maidenhead RC and Pangbourne BC from putting in some big shifts to surprise the pack. Whatever the result, great racing is guaranteed.