Rowing has been a sporting option at Inst since the 1950’s and Inst remains one of only 4 schools in Northern Ireland to offer the facilities which allow boys to participate in such an activity. Training takes place at the purpose-built Boat House in Stranmillis, South Belfast. The Inst Rowing Club offers a great opportunity to participate in this fun, energetic, outdoor team sport. The Club competes at events all over Ireland and the UK, including attending the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.

Rowing: Portadown Regatta 2/5/15

Tomorrow, Saturday 2nd May, is the annual Portadown Regatta, held a 1km stretch of the river Bann in the south side of the town.

RBAI Rowing Club will be well represented with a total of 13 crews (listed below) competing in the two-lane event.

This is the first regatta in the summer rowing season for the Inst boys and we will be hoping to get a few wins out of our selected crews as they face opposition from Methodist College, Coleraine AI, Belfast RC, Portadown RC, Bann RC, as well as crews from Dublin and Carrick-on-Shannon.

The racing starts at 8-30am, with the first RBAI crew racing at 8-46am.  The racing will continue until 6-00pm, with races scheduled to start every 4 minutes.

Good luck to all the boys as they try to get their summer season off to the best possible start.

I would encourage any supporters interested to come down and enjoy the atmosphere of a local rowing regatta as well as get the opportunity to cheer on the crews in black and yellow!!

For further information about the regatta timetable please feel free to follow the link to the Rowing Ireland website…

List of RBAI crews for Portadown regatta:

Senior 4x-: Josh Hoy, Lucas Prodohl, Brent Whiteside and Andrew Mallon

Junior 18 8+: Brent Whiteside, Angus Harley, Jamie Dickson, James Emery, Conor Craig, Peter Bowman, Michael Gaston, Harry Hetherington and Michael Honan

Junior 18 4x-: Nick Reid, Angus Harley, Brent Whiteside and Michael Gaston

Junior 18 4+: Michael Gaston, Conor Craig, Darragh Patterson, Peter Bowman and Michael Honan

Junior 18 2x: Angus Harley and Brent Whiteside

Junior 18 1x: Nick Reid

Club 4x+: Josh Hoy, Lucas Prodohl, Nick Reid, Andrew Mallon and Rory Hulatt

Club 2x: Josh Hoy and Andrew Mallon

Club 1x: Nick Reid

Junior 16 4x+: Harry Hetherington, Jamie Dickson, James Emery, Tom Glynn and Michael Honan

Junior 16 1x: Harry Hetherington

Novice 4x+: Tom Glynn, Morgan Lavery, Daniel Lowry, David Patterson and Rory Hulatt

Novice 1x: Darragh Patterson

Rowing Results: 21/03/15

Last Saturday, on an unusually bright and warm day at Stranmillis, a number of Inst crews took to the water to compete in the Lagan Scullers’ Head of the River event.  This was the last race of the Head season and would be a good lead-in to the Regatta season, due to start on the first weekend in May.

There were three races in total, allowing the RBAI athletes to compete in more than one boat on the day.  Race one only featured a solitary sculler as the sole Inst representation.  Nick Reid has been making steady progress throughout this season and was looking to continue this trend with another step forward.  With a gentle tail breeze behind him Nick sculled his typical rhythmical style with confidence and managed to win his Junior 18 category by some distance.  In the process he also pushed the senior scullers all the way to the line, beating all bar the overall winner, Ex-Inst rower Matthew McKibben.  Well done to Nick on winning his category and finishing second overall.

Race two had two Inst boats competing.  The Junior 18 double of Angus Harley and Brent Whiteside, and the Junior 16 quad of Michael Honan, Harry Hetherington, Jamie Dickson, Sam Kennedy and James Emery.  Both crews were to start one place apart on the start list, with the double behind their opposition from Methody and the quad ahead of six boats looking to beat them.  Both crews had a fantastic start to the race and put themselves in very strong positions.  The double managed to overtake their Belfast rivals by one-third distance, so were able to race for time in the remaining part of the race.  By the end the double were comfortable winners of the Junior 18 doubles.  The quad also caught and passed the MCB double, but as the race wore on the battling crews behind started to close in.  In the final couple of hundred metres the quad slowed slightly giving MCB and Portora a chance to attack.  In the end the quad finished a very respectable third in their category, beating four other crews in the process.  A special mention goes to Sam Kennedy for a strong performance in his first race for RBAI Rowing Club.

The final race of the day had a number of Inst boats involved.  The senior double of Lucas Prodohl and Josh Hoy had a tough race against some of the top athletes in Ulster.  They worked hard during the race but were just out-performed by their much more experienced opposition.  The Novice Quad is a new crew of Darragh Patterson, Conor Craig, Conor Hamill, PJ Bowman and Michael Honan.  This untested boat performed well against a number of much bigger crews and finished third in their category, giving room to build for the remainder of the season.  Harry Hetherington raced in the Junior 16 single in race three and put in a strong performance, in his second race of the day.  He put in a solid row to finish in second place.  The final crew of the day was the Junior Quad of Nick Reid, Angus Harley, Brent Whiteside and Michael Gaston.  This crew were up against one crew from MCB for the race win.  After a strong start by the Methody crew the Inst boys settled into their rhythm and started to pull them in.  Over the next 2,000 metres the RBAI boat closed down their Belfast rivals and coming out of the penultimate bridge had a hint of an overlap.  As the finish line approached the Inst boat started to up their pace, but the Methody boat worked hard to stay in front.  After a race long battle both crews had given their all, but it was the RBAI boat that came out on top.

A mention should also go to Instonians Matthew McKibben, Johnny Curran and David Roy for their performances for Belfast Boat Club and Queen’s University on Saturday.

Well done to all the competitors, coaches and supporters of the Club for their efforts on the day.  A great day was had by all and a dominant set of results achieved by the Junior 18 squad by taking a clean sweep of their events by winning the Single, Double and Quad.

The next event for the RBAI Rowing Club will be Portadown Regatta on Saturday 2nd May.

Rowing Results: 28/02/15

Last Saturday, in a very cold and wet Enniskillen, the first VIII took to the water to compete in the annual Erne Head.  This gruelling course is 6km long (three times the Olympic rowing course distance) and features a number of testing bends, as well as flow, wind and eddys not usually encountered on the predominantly tranquil Lagan waters.

The VIII that travelled consisted of Andrew Mallon, Lucas Prodohl, Brent Whiteside, Angus Harley, Nick Reid, Josh Hoy, Michael Gaston and Harry Hetherington, with Old Boy Rory Hulatt assisting with the coxing duties for this tough course.  The crew were up against the best in Irish School, Club and University Rowing, with the added bonus of some Irish International boats thrown in there (including Instonian Chris Beck).

The conditions got increasingly windy and wet as the day progressed, leading to an earlier start time than planned, to try and avoid the incoming weather front.  As the crews waited in the start area the rains came down heavily and the rain continued for most of the race time.  The boys were up against some tough opposition and after a solid start made every effort to stay in touch with the crews in their category.  This wasn’t made easy by the rough water encountered in some sections of the lough.  As the race drew on the boys started to fall back from their rivals and finished the race just off their starting position.

It was a valiant effort in tough conditions, and will hopefully give the boys some determination to push on even harder in their training as we start to leave the winter months behind and look forward to the summer regatta season.

The Clubs next outing will be at the Lagan Scullers’ Head of the River on March 21st.

Rowing Results – Lagan Head of the River 7/2/15

On a reasonably bright Saturday morning almost 200 crews took to the Lagan for the first competitive Head Race of the season.  Heads are long-distance rowing races, usually in excess of 2,500 metres, and are run in a time-trial fashion.  Lagan Head was split into two races.  The first was a 2,700m course from the Albert Bridge to the boathouses in Stranmillis.  The second was a gruelling 4,200m course starting in the bouncy waters of the channels by the Odyseey arena, again finishing at the boathouses.

The first race was predominantly smaller boats and featured in excess of 100 crews competing.  In this race was an RBAI Club 4x+ of Josh Hoy, Lucas Prodohl, Andrew Mallon, Brent Whiteside and Michael Honan.  The boys were up against Commercial from Dublin, a very seasoned crew with much more experience to draw upon.  The boys started solidly and over the race distance not only caught, but also passed the Dublin opposition.  They also caught up to a number of other crews and posted the 10th fastest time overall.  Well done to the boys, with a special mention going to Michael, who in his first race showed excellent composure when under pressure from other boats and steered a fantastic line.

The novice 4+ of Daragh Patterson, Bailie Thompson, PJ Bowman, James Emery and Rory Hulatt also featured in the first race.  They put in a very commendable race and managed to finish 11 positions above their starting place.  In the process they also managed to beat a number of more experienced crews.  A very good result for an improving group of athletes.

The other boats racing over the short course were the Junior singles of Nick Reid and Harry Hetherington and the Junior 2x of Michael Gaston and Angus Harley.  The 2x had a difficult race, with a collision with some debris causing problems for them in terms of steering and pace.  The singles performed slightly better, with Nick Reid being within 35 seconds of the fastest sculler.  This is a big improvement and a sign of the progress being made by Nick.  Harry also put in a strong showing, coming home just over 20 seconds behind Nick and within a minute of the fastest competitor.  This is even more encouraging given that he was racing an age category above where he should be.  Well done to both boys.

The second race featured 50 crews composed mainly of 8’s with only a handful of 4’s venturing down to the unpleasant conditions that lie beyond the Lagan Weir.  The wide expanse of water made specifically for allowing access to large vessels also allowed the wind to create some very testing conditions, which neither crew felt totally at home in.  The senior 4x- of Josh Hoy, Lucas Prodohl, Brent Whiteside and Andrew Mallon got a nice high starting position, but this simply meant they were rowing in the wake of the biggest and fastest boats.  After a difficult race of two halves they came home in 29th position, a commendable result given the first four-man boat to brave the race.  They also came home as the third fastest four, another positive given the only two crews ahead of them were from Trinity College Dublin.

The final Inst boat in the main race was the Junior 18 8+ of Nick Reid, Angus Harley, Michael Gaston, Bailie Thompson, Conor Craig, James Emery, Daragh Patterson, Harry Hetherington and Rory Hulatt.  This was a very difficult task for the young and inexperienced crew.  The conditions and water were very new to the boys and after 7 out of the crew had already raced that morning it was going to be hard race either way.  With that in mind the crew set off with a positive mind-set, eager to prove themselves against the much more experienced crews from Bann, Portora, Methody and Coleraine Inst.  The Portora and Bann crews were showing their Championship standard status and put in some good performances to beat most of the senior crews.  But behind them there was a good fight going on for third.  In the end Methody took the honours by 10 seconds, with CAI an agonising 3 seconds ahead of the RBAI crew after over 4,000 metres of racing and just about 500 strokes.

Well done to all crews and coaches for their efforts on the day and a big thank you to all the supporters, in terms of parents, friends and old boys who came out to cheer on the boys.

The next outing for the Club will be in Enniskillen for the Erne Head of the River on March 28th.

Rowing Event – Lagan Head, Saturday 7th February

The RBAI Rowing Club will take to the Lagan this Saturday, 7th February, for the first of the winter Head of the River Races.  The two races will feature crews from all over Ireland and will provide strong competition for all involved.

There are two races beginning at 10am and 1pm.  The first race will feature over 100 boats of all sizes and will be raced over a 2,700 metre course meandering from the Albert Bridge, beside the Maysfield leisure centre, up to the Boat Houses at Stranmillis.  This race will feature 5 Inst crews, racing as numbers 111, 119, 139, 140 and 144.  The first crew to start is numbered 101!!

The second race is a demanding 4,200 metre event, utilising the full course available on the Lagan taking the crews from the Odyssey Arena up to the Boat Houses.  This will be a real test of endurance for the boys and is only open to 4 and 8-man boats.  This race will feature 50 boats.  RBAI Rowing Club will race 2 boats in this main event with the two crews starting 5th and 14th.

This is the biggest event on the Lagan rowing calendar and a very good opportunity for anyone interested in the sport to get close to some very high-level racing.  A few good spots to watch the race include the towpath near the Ormeau Bridge, the towpath just before the King’s Bridge, the final turn at the Governor’s bridge or the railway foot-bridge near the Waterfront Hall (for the second race only).

Once the racing is over feel free to also come along to the Boat House and show your support to the boys and their coaches for their continued efforts.