LEANDER CLUB athletes made a strong start to the racing season last weekend, when
LEANDER CLUB athletes made a strong start to the racing season last weekend, when their eight and quad recorded the fastest times over the two-mile course at the Reading University Head.
The Leander eight included athletes hoping to contest the Ladies Plate at the Henley Royal Regatta in four months’ time, while the lightweight quad had world championship contender Sam Mottram at stroke.
Despite recording a time seven seconds faster than Oxford Brookes University, it was Brookes who won the eights officially.
GB duties meant that the Leander crews could not be confirmed until after the closing date for entries, so Leander raced for “time only”.
Barney Stentiford, who rowed in the three seat, said: “It was a strong start to the head season but we’ve still got quite a lot of work to do before the Tideway Head in three weeks’ time so we’re looking forward to getting down to some harder training.”
Conditions over the course were bitterly cold, with an easterly breeze adding to cold temperatures for athletes and spectators alike.
Meanwhile, Upper Thames Rowing Club won the Masters D pennant.
The crew of Davina Guinness (cox), Pete Jacobs (stroke), Dan Sadler, Mark Shimmin, Zad Rogers, Gareth Morris, Neil Hewlett, Nick Horne and Nick French fought off a strong challenge from local rivals Marlow to win in a time of 15 minutes and 29 seconds.
The women’s crew raced hard in the Intermediate 3 and Intermediate 2 categories, finishing second in both by a narrow margin.
The women’s quad goes from strength to strength and their recent successful head results have given everyone confidence ahead of this weekend’s Women’s Head of the River race in Putney. The senior men also produced a good result in the afternoon division, showing again that they are a force to be reckoned with in domestic rowing.
Their two eights were comfortably ahead of most peer crews and go into the main head race of the season, the Eights Head, with hopes of their highest finishing place ever.
The Oratory School also took to the water with two eights. Matt Mackay had the most support of the day rowing past his parents’ house on the Oxfordshire bank.
Both eights performed well for only the fourth time on the water this year, the senior eight narrowly lost to Canford School and the junior 15 eight braved the stiff headwind and completed the course in under 19 minutes.
After competing the two crews had their annual dinner at Leander Club that evening.