Sandown Bay Academy students were a force to be reckoned with at the 2017 National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships last Friday at Lee Valley Park. The academy came away from the event with all rowers having finished inside the top half of their events and yet another national champion!
16 year olds Daisy Faithfull and Jamie Gamble were the first off, rowing alongside each other in a fiercely competitive category, filled with GB hopefuls. Having earned a bronze medal last year, Daisy was hoping to go better in this year’s event. She didn't disappoint! Daisy won her heat in style with a time of 7.39.3, but was forced to endure a long wait after some confusion over the results. However, the wait was worth it as an hour later she was presented with her well-deserved Gold medal by members of the Oxford Boat race crew. Daisy now follows in the footsteps of former student Ella Payne, who won gold in 2009 and 2010.
Jamie Gamble gave his best performance -not only rowing a personal best time but also finishing in 10th position, his top place at the championships. Next in to the pens were Sophie Atkin and Emily Faithfull, rowing in the Year 10 girls’ event. Spurred on by the academy’s fantastic early results, the girls finished 1st and 3rd in their heat with amazing rows! Emily would eventually finish 13th, with Sophie not far behind in 22nd! An incredible achievement, considering the 150 Year 10 girl entries.
Kirren Shaw was forced to compete in the infamous ‘Bull Pen’ but nevertheless rowed with great tenacity and resilience over the gruelling six minutes, finishing a creditable 35th place overall.
The Year 8 students, some in their first competition at this national scale, rowed beyond all expectations. Sam Evans Murray, Ethan Walters and Owen Denness, facing many athletes twice their size, rowed courageously to achieve PBs in finishing 43rd, 55th and 111th respectively, out of 253 competitors. Rachael Debenham in the girls’ event gave a brilliant performance. Pushing herself to the limit Rachael finished on the podium in her heat and went on to earn and unbelievable 11th out of 252!
Also accompanying the party was former student Joe Robertson, 16 and Riley Horrix, from Shanklin rowing club. Joe, a veteran of this event, gave a sterling, best-ever performance in the Year 12 category to claim 7th place overall whilst Riley, a promising young sculler, recorded a personal best in the Year 8 event to gain 50th place.