Last Saturday, 28th June, saw the annual RBAI Rowing Club “At Home” Regatta take place on the banks of the River Lagan. Being hosted at Lagan Scullers’ Club, the day featured a number of races and prizes, as well as an opportunity for the boys, coaches and parents to enjoy a burger in the lovely surroundings and make the most of some glorious weather.
The racing on the day was mainly focussed on the Inter-House races, which offered the rowers the opportunity to represent their House, as well as settle some in-house rivalries about who was the fastest in each year group. The races were very close and all the boys showed the improvements in boat-handling skills and speed-work that they have developed over the course of the year. In the end it was strength in numbers that won out as Pirrie took the spoils on the day, with 4 wins out of their 6 competitors. They were followed, in order, by Jones, Larmor, Dill, Stevenson and Kelvin.
The other racing to take place was aimed more at being a fun element, but that was definitely not the case when the parent-son coxed pairs took to the water. The Harley family were aiming to make it 3 wins in a row, so all the other crews knew who they had to beat. Run as a time-trial, with 2 crew side-by-side, the racing was again very close, with only a few seconds separating first and last.
In the end the Harleys once again proved to be an unstoppable force, by the smallest of margins from the Welch family, closely followed by the Lowrys, Bowmans, Lloyd-Humphreys, Donnellys and Hammersleys, with less than 1 second covering crews from 5th to 7th.
Whilst the parent-son racing was going on a couple of guest crews decided to take to the water. The first one featured the Inst pairing of Mr Peak (Head of PE) and Mr Menown (VP). The other one featured the Instonian combination of Chris Beck (QUB medical student and current Rowing Ireland Lightweight International) and Gareth McKillen (QUB civil engineering student and former Rowing Ireland Junior International). This was going to be a formidable pairing to beat…and the ex-Inst rowers did their best, just beating the teachers pair by the slimmest of margins!!
The final stage of the day was the boat-naming and prize-giving. The boat-naming was for the Principal to officially launch the new Hudson coxed 4, recently purchased for the Club by the School, as part of the Rowing Club’s long-term boat replacement strategy. The new black and yellow boat was named “Talos” after the machine, from Greek Mythology, which patrolled the seas around Crete, keeping the island safe from invaders.
Once the Principal had christened the new boat it was time to hand out the prizes for most improved rower for each year group. These awards indicate a real step forward for someone during the year and often open much debate amongst the coaches. This year’s winners were:
Year 11 – Mark Austin
Year 12 – Alexis Gowdy
Year 13 – Tim Lyons
Year 14 – Angus Harley
The final award was for a special contribution made to the Club over the individual’s time. The award this year went to Peter Bowman (year 14) for his dedication to the Club and training, general positive attitude and his tireless efforts in relation to his role as Club Secretary.
I must say a big thank you to everyone involved in the organising and running of the event. The STERN parents do a fantastic job of making the day fun and lively and their current lead-organiser, Gillian Hetherington, will be greatly missed in that role in the future after a number of years dedicated service, with her expert BBQ-chef, Robin, at her side. I would also like to thank everyone involved over the year in making the Rowing Club such a safe and enjoyable environment for the boys to train and compete in; from the efforts of the coaching team of Mr M Warnock, Miss R Davidson, Mr J Hoy, Mrs A Honan, Mr R Ballantine, Mr M Gaston and Mr D Roy, to the towing assistance of Mr R Caruth and Mr G Keatley. Everyone who contributes makes a big difference to the boys time within the Club and it should not be over-looked.
Finally, I would just like to wish everyone a relaxing summer and remind you, that if you are looking for more RBAI Rowing action, Henley Royal Regatta is taking place from 28th June to 2nd July, with Lucas Prodohl (Inst Rower 2010 – 2015) competing for Trinity College Dublin in the University 8’s (Temple Challenge Cup) event, and current RBAI rower Tim Lyons will be competing in the Junior 18 single and Club single at the Irish National Rowing Championships on 14th – 16th July, in Cork. Good luck to Lucas and Tim.
Yours in Rowing,
Master-In-Charge, RBAI Rowing Club