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Teenager breaks regatta record with five wins
Published 18/08/14

A TEENAGER broke her own record at this year’s Wargrave and Shiplake Regatta as she won five trophies.

Lucie Daman, 19, of Wargrave Road, Wargrave, won the ladies’ double sculling skiff, ladies’ single punting (handicap), ladies’ and gentlemen’s double punting (handicap) and the double punting in canoes as well as the Vassal Adams Trophy for the most stylish punting.

She also appeared in the final of the Dongola Grand Challenge Cup as part of the Six Pack team which lost out to Old Grey Goose.

She was among 400 entrants who competed in 31 events on Friday and Saturday, watched by about 4,000 people on the riverbank.

Miss Daman, who has been competing in the regatta since 2007, has now won a total of 17 titles — and she even had a year off in 2012 due to injury. This year’s haul broke her own record of four wins set in 2011.

The former pupil of the Abbey School in Reading, who will be studying sports science at Birmingham University from next month, said: “I really enjoyed the regatta this year. It was well run and there were lots of people on the bank supporting the competitors.

“The most enjoyable race was the double punting in canoes and I also liked the skiff races, although I was in two races in a row so after winning one I had to jump straight on a boat and go back to the start line.

“I think the first time I won at the regatta was in 2009 and after that I won every year except 2012 when I took the year off.

“I absolutely love it and I’m always really sad when it’s over. Everyone comes together to cheer you on and there’s so much noise and support.”

Veteran racer William Konarzewski extended his winning run at the regatta with two victories on Saturday.

Dr Konarzewski, 64, won his first competition at the regatta in 1984 and retained the Mardon Challenge Cup for the gentlemen’s single Canadian canoe. He was also in the Old Grey Goose crew that won the Dongola Grand Challenge Cup.

Dr Konarzewski, a consultant anaesthetist, has a home in Shiplake and trains out of Bolney Ferry boathouse.

Elsewhere, a crew with a combined age of 403 was pipped to the post in the final of the veterans’ dongola competition in which each team member must be aged at least 45 and the combined crew must be over 299 years.

The Ronnettes, who are made up of Tim Hodges, 69, Mike Stubbs, 70, Judith Stephenson-Hodges, 70, Annie Moore, 67, Carlton Barnard, 52, and Ron Lee, 75, were beaten by a crew called Managed by Charlotte, 80 years their junior.

The Ronnettes, who are named after Mr Lee, formed in 1995 and have competed every year since.

Mr Hodges, of High Street, Wargrave, said: “It was close — we were beaten by about two feet in the end. They came through really strongly at the end and had a good finish but we came second, which isn’t too bad.

“We have competed as the Ronnettes for 19 years. Occasionally we have slightly different personnel but the only time we haven’t taken part was the year that the regatta was cancelled. We will come back next year and try to win it.” A mother-of-two took part in the regatta just three days after swimming the Channel for charity.

Hannah Young, of High Street, Wargrave competed in the ladies’ double punting in canoes with friend Rebecca Worthington dressed as Superwoman. The pair were beaten in their heat by Jemima and Philippa Prior.

The spectators enjoyed good weather throughout the weekend and there were dozens of gazebos erected along the riverbank.

There was also a play area for children with a bouncy castle, stalls selling food and drink and a large bar area.Peter Symons, honorary secretary of the regatta, said: “The regatta went really well. We were very lucky with the weather — apart from a shower on Friday, it was sunny throughout.

“The racing was very good. There were more close races than ever before and the highlight was undoubtedly Lucie Daman’s performance. She won all but one of the events she went in for and five in total, which as far as we know is a record.

“The regatta is taken very seriously by the people who compete and the level of skill these days is very good. It’s not a ‘falling-in’ regatta. When people do fall in it is funny but we take it quite seriously. The standard of racing is extremely high and we are the biggest dongola regatta in the world.”

Seventy swimmers took part in an open-water swim at the start of the second day.

Matt McQuillan won the men’s 1km race in 14 minutes and 34 seconds and the fastest woman was Susie Freeman in 18 minutes and 17 seconds.

In the 2km race, Matt Baker won in 26 minutes and 37 seconds while Jo Hall took the women’s title in 38 minutes and 37 seconds.

Published 18/08/14

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