The Club's Results

National Championships, Summer 2003

Eton Boy in his single scull (Under 23 1x)

Single sculls
Alex Summers
2nd of 4
Time: 8:23
On paper this was a tough heat. Next to me was Johnny Logan, a lightweight with local knowledge who'd put in some good performances through the year at GB trials in Boston; then came Phil Vincent, the bronze medallist in junior sculls at last year's championships from Worcester, with Ashley Prestidge, a member of last year's Junior World Championships 4x, completing the heat. Only one of us would go straight to the final, with last place being eliminated.

The Worcester sculler was first out of the blocks and was a good length up on the field after a couple of hundred metres. No stranger to last place at the stage of the race, I dropped to the best part of a length down on the other two scullers before working my way back towards the rapidly tiring Vincent.

By the halfway marker, Logan had disappeared into a comfortable lead, while the rest of us were more or less level. A series of strong pushes through the middle of the race saw me break through to about a length up on the other two, allowing me to match my speed to Vincent, who continued to fall back gradually.

Just as his start was quick, however, so too was his finish, and I was almost caught napping after a few hundred metres of relative paddling, conserving energy for the repechage, when Prestidge was forced to work hard for his third place and almost overtook me. In the end I just managed to secure the better lane for the next race .3 of a second up, doing no more work than I had to... (Alex)
2nd of 5
Time: 8:21
As I returned from my wind down paddle the previous evening, the NCRA sculler who had come third in my heat walked up to the raft to tell me his back had twinged just before the start and he probably wouldn't be able to make the repechage the next day. He was also racing in M4x-a race in which last year's Junior Worlds quad (broadly speaking) were pipped on the line for the gold by this year's crew- so I wasn't too surprised to see an empty lane at the start.

This made the repechage something of a formality, with only two of us to be eliminated out of 5, and by 500 gone I had an uncharacteristically healthy lead. The wind, which had been swirling around all weekend, somehow managed to be blowing slightly from my side of the course for all my races, and though gentler than it had been in my heat, there was still a fairly stiff headwind. I put in some bursts a bit earlier this time round, and had soon broken clear, and was able to reduce my work rate by halfway.

The Chester-le-Street sculler in the lane next door, however, wanted to race for lanes. I hadn't expected to be in quite such a comfortable situation, and was in two minds as to whether to stay in front. Several times I demonstrated I could take half a length at will, but eventually decided to paddle home with about three hundred metres to go. A short burst for the line saw me home second just in front of Chris Mollinson, the only big name in the rep., who won the Fawley last year, but hadn't been in a boat between then and April. (Alex)
Time: 8:41
The wind had picked up again for the final a few hours later. I was back in lane 1, next to the Chester-le-Street sculler, with Andy Barron, a Marlow sculler who'd also won the Fawley a few years ago in lane 3. Someone from Burway had got straight through from the easy heat, Logan had drawn lane five while Mollinson made up the numbers.

The stronger wind and repechage contributed to an all too familiar lethargy. Sure enough, I was almost immediately a length or so down, but I gradually managed to work my way back to level pegging with the Chester-le-Street sculler by halfway. In the meantime, the three scullers in the middle of the course who hadn't raced the rep. were long gone, and Mollinson had drifted gradually backwards, struggling in the crosswind.

After a fairly fierce fight through the third five hundred, I managed to break the Chester-le-Street sculler, leaving only a forlorn wind for the line in the vacuum behind the chase for the medals. I was very pleased to come fourth, though, and even more so to finally break my record of never having beaten another crew at Nat. Champs. Bring on St. Neots... (Alex)

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