The club’s annual swim test and capsize drill happened a couple of weeks ago, where all of the juniors and new adult members too part. The swim test comprised of swimming four lengths of the pool in light clothing without stopping, treading water for three minutes and lifting yourself out of the pool in the deep end. The majority of the club passed this with flying colours, a couple of people struggled and have since been advised to wear bouyancy aids until the next test where they will have the chance to improve on how they performed this time. Bewdley Captain Kat Carlyle “It is important for members to be competent in the water and know they can look after themselves should they fall in. All our members declare they can swim 100m on the membership forms and this has to be proved, not only for them to know they can still do it but for us as a club to know our members are safe while on the water. The swim tests are going to be run four times a year to give everyone chance to be able to attend one”.
The capsize drill didn’t quite go according to plan, it all started off very well with everyone passing first time, then we had a few nervous ones that took a couple of attempts to get it right. All was going well until one of blade handles got wedged between the footplate and side of the boat whilst the spoon was stuck on the bottom of the pool which created too much pressure on the boat and it cracked. We tried to persevere but the more people we put in the boat the bigger the crack became, until inevitably we re enacted the famous Titanic moment!
With a large entry of boats taking part at Stourport and seeing some close races, we came away with only four wins for the club over the weekend – The Clifford brothers taking victory in three of the events. The first win on Saturday saw the younger of the brothers Sam winning the J16 1x event. The turn of the older brother Callum was to come in the IM2 4+, after recently stepping up a category by winning at Bewdley the established crew won comfortably to step up yet again this time to IM1 for their race on the Sunday which they then went on to win as well. The crew of Dave Bedford, Callum Clifford, Matt Hocking and Aston Carter have showed their hard winters training has really paid off. Especially for Matt who started the season as a novice having only started rowing last winter off the back of one of our Learn to Row courses. Another good winters training for this crew could see big things happening next year. The other win from Sunday came in the way of a very close race between Bewdley’s Womens Masters B 2x and Upton which Serena and Lou pushed that little bit harder to win by just two feet!
Some other close fought races were the Vet D 8 who lost by the handicap margin they were given, the Mixed IM3 8 of juniors who came up against a much senior and more experienced crew of Worcester, the other Mixed 8 this time a senior crew of IM2 rowers who beat their London composite opposition from Mortlake and Quintin off the start to be leading over half way; much to their amazement. This wasn’t to last long though, the effort they put in off the start took too much out of them and they couldn’t content with the turn of pace that the composite crew showed and eventually lost by 2.5 lengths. But the closest race of the regatta came from the Men’s Novice 4+ of Chris Brown, Steve Gough, Karl Edwards and Nick Price coxed by Briony Cartwright. They raced their heart out to produce a dead heat against host club Stourport, they weren’t going to give that win away easily and in the re row they again provided a spectacular race and lost by the narrowest of margins, only 1ft.
Bewdley had 100% success, with Terry Gibbons winning his Masters G 1x event and after many attempts Mel Gunn finally won her novice singles. I managed to catch up with Mel after her win and this is what she had to say:
“I started rowing at Pub n Club in 2008. We were beaten in the final by a crew half our age, but I’d caught the bug! After a couple of seasons of sweep oar my father, (now aged 82 and still rowing) taught me to scull and I doubled with Mary for a while, coached by the brilliant and much missed Bob Potter. During that time Terry and I first tried the Mixed Double and had a couple of seasons of competing and coming second….but then just over 2 years ago the breakthrough came. We won our first pot at Bridgnorth in June 2013, following that success with wins at Ross and Worcester. The next season was also good, and we started having some coaching in both the double and singles. In Sept 2014 I raced a single for the first time and was narrowly beaten, encouraging further attempts this year! Having been soundly beaten by many teenagers I resolved that Warwick would be the last attempt at winning in a true Novice race, but luck was on my side and my opponent was one I had beaten before. The start at Warwick must be the most impressive in the country, with the castle rising out of the river almost close enough to touch, but the finish was even better because I got there first!! This novice win has been a long time in the coming, but it was worth the wait!
Thanks must go to Nocker for great coaching and inspiration last year, and Mick Edmonds this year for telling me I could do it!! Also my family who have put up with long hours of training and absent meals!! And Terry whose enthusiasm for sculling never fails!!”
Mel has put in a lot of miles in the single and it’s finally paid off – Well done. Have a look at the photos of Mel being thrown in for the honorary loosing your novices dunking!