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ASRA Holiday Learn to Row Program - Summer 2024

ASRA Holiday Learn to Row Program - Summer 2024
We invite applications for the following Learn to Row course from young people who are in Secondary 
  • LTR 1: 8th to 12th July Mon – Fri: 13:00 – 17:00 Applications close Friday 21st June
  • LTR 2: 15th to 19th Jul Mon – Fri: 09:00 – 13:00 Applications close Friday 28th June
  • LTR 3: 5th – 9th Aug Mon – Fri: 13:00 – 17:00 Applications close Friday 19th July
  • LTR 4: 12th – 16th Aug Mon – Fri: 08:00 – 12:00 Applications close Friday 26th July
This LTR week cost £60 per person, but are heavily subsidised by ASRA and there is an expectation 
that if your son / daughter wishes to continue rowing after the LTR week, then this will be done with ASRA.
The ASRA boathouse is situated on South Esplanade West, Torry.
Your child will need a snack and a water bottle each day. As rowing is a demanding sport it is 
important to keep energy levels topped up and to remain hydrated throughout.
You will need basic outdoor PE kit to take part. It is important to pack enough kit for two separate outdoor sessions a day and a light waterproof in the event of rain. A change of socks is important as they can get wet whilst getting in and out of the boats. Obviously, the weather can be very varied, so please pack accordingly.
Noted below is an outline of the programme for the week.
Land Based – Technique on rowing machines
Water Session – Introduction to rowing
Water session – Re-cap on yesterday & Further technique work
Water session – Rowing games & Explore the River Dee
Water session – Manoeuvring skills
Outing – Mini Regatta         
Finish up
The coaches involved are qualified Scottish Rowing Coaches who are insured and fully disclosed. 
Application forms may be downloaded from our website. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
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Rutherford HOR

Braving the below freezing conditions of Rutherford on 2nd December, ASRA entered nine different crews into seven different events, winning four of them. It was a successful first division for the J18s with four of the ASRA boys - Henrik G, Callum S, Harris Pe, and Alec T, coxed by Iona D, combined forces with four boys from George Heriots School to win the OJ18 Eights in a composite and four of our girls - Charlotte A, Sophie S, Jem A, and Penny I - stormed through and overtook multiple crews to win WJ18 Band 1 Coxless Quads.

In Division Two some of our younger athletes saw some success as well when the J16 boys - John F, Finlay M, Hugo L, and Nicholas A, coxed by Harris Pa - won OJ16 Coxed Fours - Nicholas’s first regatta and first win with the club! The J18 boys - Alec, Henrik, Callum and Harris - were victorious again with a win in OJ18 Band 2 Coxless Quads. In Division Two unfortunately a lack of competition in WJ18 Eights saw both of our eights - J18 and J16 - being bumped up to Women’s Open Eights to race against some adult competition and a special shout out has to go to Mac M and Ainara L who stepped up in the week previous to the race to compete at their first event with the club in the WJ16 Eight. Great effort by everyone who attended and a really competitive (but cold!) regatta to finish off the year’s racing with.

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Henley Women's Regatta and Marlow Regatta

On Wednesday the 15th of June, three ASRA crews travelled south to compete at Henley Women's Regatta and Marlow Regatta. The crews were a Men’s J18 Coxed Four - competing at Dorney Lake in Marlow Regatta - and two women’s crews, a J16 Four and a J18 Eight, headed for Henley Women’s Regatta on the famous Henley stretch of the Thames.

The first race of the trip was the time trial for the J16 Girls coxed four on Friday morning where the four - made up of Gabrielle T, Jemima A, Emily J, Sophie J, coxed by Abbie P - raced well and qualified for the side by side racing in their event, The West End Amatuer Rowing Association Trophy. This trend continued with the formidable Womens J18 8+, made up of Freya H, Penny I, Maggie S, Tamara B, Sophie S, Anna D, Charlotte A, Ella B, coxed by Lily A, also qualified for side by side racing - making history in the process as the first ASRA crew to race in The Peabody Cup at HWR. The next morning, the women’s J16 coxed four raced against Wallingford Rowing Club in the first round of the competition. This turned out to be a tough race and, even though the girls fought well, Wallingford got the better of them and later went on to win the event. It was some really good racing from the J16 Girls and a great first experience of racing on the Thames. The Women's J18 Eight drew Kings School Worcester in their first side-by-side race on Saturday afternoon. They raced extremely well and beat Kings Worcester comfortably, making it through to the quarter-finals the following morning in which they would be racing the crew from Tideway Scullers School.

In the meantime our J18 boys coxed four were getting ready to race their time trial at lunchtime on Saturday at Dorney lake - the boys being the first ASRA crew to race at Marlow Regatta. The J18 Boys four - made up of our National Schools gold-medallists: Murray B, Sam D, Magnus H, Harris Pe and cox Samuel C - were hoping to gain pre-qualification for Henley Royal Regatta a few weeks later. After a good race in the time trial against an all-senior field they carried themselves into the C final. The ASRA boys final took place later that afternoon and after some once-again impressive racing the boys earned themselves 4th place in the final and pre-qualification for the Britannia challenge cup at Henley Royal Regatta.

The last race of a busy weekend for ASRA was the women’s J18 eight’s race against Tideway Scullers School in the quarter-finals of the Peabody Cup. After some great side by side racing the Tideway crew came through to win the race but with the silver lining for the ASRA girls pre-qualifying for the Prince Phillip Challenge Trophy at Henley Royal Regatta. This wrapped up a great weekend of racing with some really great experience earned and, for two of the crews, a place at Henley Royal Regatta secured. 

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ASRA at the GB U19 GB Rowing Trials

The GB Rowing Team Under 19 Regatta took place on Sunday 24th April at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, with Scotland’s junior rowers excelling despite the challenging circumstances.

In the women’s pairs event, ASRA's Maisie Aspinall and Zoe Beeson were the standout combination across both the time trial, which they won by over 5 seconds, and in their final.  Scotland demonstrated real strength in depth in this event producing 50% of the rowers who qualified for the A final.

A full account of the regatta can be found on the Scottish Rowing website using the following link:

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Aberdeen Head of the River Race

Despite the lack of outside junior competition at Aberdeen Head of the River Race ASRA put up a tough fight against senior competition to win a fantastic fourteen gold medals across the weekend. The eights racing on Saturday provided valuable practice to all three of the ASRA eights that are going on to race at the British Schools Head of the River on the 14th March on the Thames in London. Well done to all competitors across the two days, and see all of the weekend’s winners below:


  • WNov8+ (Isla, Penny, Tamara, Sophie, Anna, Maggie, Emily, Sophie, cox: Luke)
  • O8+ (Sam C, Gregor, Henrik, Callum, Magnus L, Murray, Sam D, Harris, cox: Lily)
  • WJ18 8+ (Ella J, Ella B, Freya C, Gemma, Rosie, Zoe, Maisie, Freya H, cox: Jack)


  • WJ18 2- (Maisie & Zoe)
  • OJ18 1x (Murray)
  • OJ16 2- (Harris & Magnus L)
  • WJ16 1x (Charlotte)
  • OJ18 2- (Murray & Sam D) 
  • WO 1x (Maisie)
  • OJ16 1x (Callum)
  • WR2 2- (Gemma & Sophia)
  • WJ18 1x (Freya H)
  • WJ16 2- (Maggie & Anna)
  • OJ14 2x (Iain & Rory)


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Inverness Fours and Small Boats Heads 2021

On the Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st November 18 ASRA athletes took part in the Inverness Fours and Small Boats Heads on the Caledonian Canal.

Some very tough and close racing against the best of Scotland’s rowing juniors saw the club take home four gold medals:

  • Men’s Junior18 Coxless Pairs: Alex Fowler & William Lawson
  • Women’s Novice Coxed Quadruple Sculls: Lily Arthur, Penny Irvine, Gabrielle Topp & Erin Gibson, coxed by Iain Petty
  • Men’s Junior 16 Single Sculls: Magnus Heidenreich
  • Women’s Junior 15 Single Sculls: Gabrielle Topp

Meanwhile on Saturday, down at the Early ID Sculling Trials in Boston, Lincolnshire, ASRA’s sweep pair stars, Zoe Beeson and Maisie Aspinall, opened up their challenge for places in this year’s GB quad by coming in 20th and 22nd respectively in a field of 120.

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Aberdeen Fours Head 2021

On Saturday 6th November, despite the stormy weather conditions, ASRA put forward a large team of competitors to race at the local Aberdeen Fours Head of the River. There was a strong field from across Scotland but ASRA managed to cinch a few victories on the day:

Division 1:

  • OJ16 4+ Harris Pearce, Magnus Heidenreich, Magnus Lawson, and Gregor McLeod, coxed by Iain Petty
  • WJ18 4+ Zoe Beeson, Maisie Aspinall, Freya Hughson, and Ella Brooks, coxed by Lily Arthur

Division 2:

  • OJ18 4+ Murray Bone, Alex Fowler, Sam Doherty, and William Lawson, coxed by Sam Cordiner
  • WJ18 4- Zoe Beeson, Maisie Aspinall, Freya Hughson, and Sophia Brew
  • WJ16 4+ Emily Simpson, Charlotte Arthur, Sophie Sinclair and Tamara Brew, coxed by Erin Gibson

Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions, the Small Boats HOR on Sunday 7th November was cancelled, but ASRA, of course, replaced it with a similarly gruelling session indoors. Well done to all of the athletes who competed! 

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Lockdown Regatta

A group of our younger and less experienced athletes, who weren’t racing at the British Junior Championships, travelled to Glasgow to represent ASRA at the Scottish Rowing ‘Lochdown Regatta’ on July 24th. There were a lot of strong performances at a well attended regatta, with some standout racing from the J14s and J15s, showing that we have very promising athletes coming through the club. Full results below and well done to everyone who competed!

  • 🥇 GOLD OJ15 4x+ (Gregor M, Harris P, Magnus H, Magnus L and Sam C)
  • 🥇 GOLD OJ14 4x+ (Harry M, Jack W, Mackenzie R, Calum S )
  • 🥇 GOLD OJ15 2x (Magnus L, Magnus H)
  • 🥇 GOLD OJ15 1x (Magnus H)
  • 🥇 GOLD WJ15 2x (Emily S, Sophie S)
  • 🥇 GOLD WJ15 4x+ (Ella J, Emily S, Isla P, Sophie S )
  • 2nd ONov4x+ (Gemma C, Kate G, Rosie W, Tegan J )
  • 2nd WJ14 2x (Gabrielle T, Lily A)
  • 2nd WJ15 2x (Isla P, Penny I)
  • 3rd WNov 2x (Freya C, Gemma C)
  • 4th WNov 2x (Kate G, Tegan J)
  • 2nd WJ15 1x (Emily S)
  • 3rd WJ15 1x (Sophie S)
  • 5th WJ15 1x (Isla P)
  • 6th WJ15 1x (Ella J)
  • 7th WJ15 1x (Penny I)
  • 2nd WJ14 1x (Gabrielle T)
  • 2nd ONov4+ (Magnus H, Dom R, Gregor M, Magnus L)
  • 4th OJ15 2x (Gregor M, Sam C)
  • 2nd OJ14 2x (Calum S, Jack W)
  • 3rd OJ14 2x (Harry M, Mackenzie R)
  • 3rd OJ15 1x (Magnus L)
  • 4th OJ15 1x (Gregor M)
  • 5th OJ15 1x (Sam C)
  • 3rd OJ14 1x (Calum S)
  • 4th OJ15 1x (Jack W)
  • 5th OJ15 1x (Harry M)
  • 6th OJ15 1x (Mackenzie R)
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British Rowing Indoor Championships Online

Following his J15 bronze at the Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships, at the British Rowing Indoor Championships Online on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December ASRA’s Magnus Heidenreich came 8th in a field of 31 in the Year 10 Race over 500 metres, with a mere 4 seconds covering places 2 to 8.

In the 5 minutes race for year 10 boys, he came a creditable 10th in a field of 27.

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Scottish Rowing Awards

Congratulations to ASRA athletes Miles Beeson, Abigail Topp and Megan Hewison and to coach, Holly Reid.


Miles Beeson, Junior Rower of the Year 2018/19!

Following on from a strong 2017/18 season where Miles raced to 7th in the world at the World Rowing Junior Championships 2017 in the Junior Men’s Pair, Miles is now studying and rowing at the prestigious Yale University in the USA.

However, despite being at University, Miles was still eligible to race at junior level and upon his return to the UK representing Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association, he successfully raced himself into the top boat for the junior men’s team, the Junior Men's Coxless Fours winning an incredible silver medal! Well done, Miles!


Abigail Topp and Megan Hewison - Scottish Rowing Crew of the Year!

Domestically the duo were the strongest junior women’s pair in Scotland, enjoying an unbeaten season in Scottish junior competition. After a successful season throughout the British Rowing GB Rowing Team trials, the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association pair were selected for the World Rowing Junior Championships 2019, Megan and Abigail raced incredibly well to win the B-final and place 7th in the world; a tremendous achievement!


Holly Reid - Community Coach of the Year

Holly’s continuous reliability and positive attitude encourages many athletes at Robert Gordon University Boat Club, Aberdeen University Boat Club & Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association to love the sport just as much as she does. Her love for rowing and her dedication to the sport is highly contagious as she continuously inspires and motivates athletes through her positive attitude and personal drive. An incredibly deserving winner, well done Holly!

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ASRA Girl's World Championships 2019

ASRA members Abigail Topp and Megan Hewison were selected to race the Women’s Junior Pair at the championships held in Tokyo, Japan from August 7th-11th 2019. The girls had a hard heat but placed 5th heading into the repechage where they then only missed out on the A final by 5 seconds to Italy. At the 1000m mark and 3 lengths down to the Lithuanian and American pair the girls then made a fantastic effort and raced to the finish winning the B final by clear water of 3.85 seconds and an amazing time of 7 minutes 34 seconds. The girls finished their last race together winning in ASRA style.

Abigail and Megan once again did ASRA and Scotland proud and they carry our best wishes with them as they leave us now to head off to university.

We also should mention ex ASRA member Miles Beeson who won an outstanding Silver in the Junior Men’s coxless four. This was also a phenomenal race for spectators to watch.

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J16 Boys Gold!

A wonderful achievement for the J16 boys in securing a place on the J16 GB team and then winning their coxless four race against France.

GBJ16 Gold

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GB J16 Team Trials

At the GB vs France J16 Team Trials held on Sunday 30th June at Dorney Lake, Eton,  ASRA’s J16 boys – Oscar Forbes (Albyn), Ashley Geddes (Grammar), Archie Innes (Harlaw) & Matthew Hughson (Grammar) - put in a magnificent performance to come first in the coxless four trial and so secure their place on the GB J16 Team to face the French at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham on Thursday 11th July. 

GBJ16 01

ASRA’s other J16 hopefuls, Scott Lewis (Mearns) and Michel Dearsley (Cults), in what was virtually a scratch pairing, came an impressive second in the coxless pairs trial and were duly teamed up with two Etonians to race-off in a coxed four for places in the second half of the GB eight. There they dead-heated for first place against the Eton A crew but sadly just lost out on selection after an exciting re-row. Three near misses in one day but a fantastic  series of races nevertheless!

GBJ16 04

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Henley Women's Regatta

At Henley Women’s Regatta held on the Thames from the 21st to the 23rd June , Abigail Topp and Megan Hewison, as GB final triallists, were unfortunately ineligible to compete in the event normally entered by ASRA’s J17/18 girls - the Girls’ Champion Coxed Fours event for the Groton Cup.

Instead, at the behest of Scottish Rowing, they teamed up once more with Heather Gordon of Inverness Rowing Club and Laura McKenzie of Loch Lomond Rowing Club, with whom they had struck HIR gold in 2018, and were entered in the Aspirational Club Coxless Fours event, essentially an event for adult club crews. That said, having come an impressive second fastest in Friday’s time trials, they put in strong performances the following day to defeat crews from Cantabrigian Rowing Club and Vesta Rowing Club, before finally losing out on Sunday to an experienced crew from Thames Rowing Club in the semi-final of their event.

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National Schools Regatta, 2019


From the 24th to the 26th May, at the prestigious National Schools Regatta, held annually on the Olympic course at Dorney Lake, Eton, 20 athletes from the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association took a break from their SQA commitments to join 5000 of Great Britain’s best young rowers to compete for national titles.

Of the seven race categories entered, our athletes succeeded in fighting their way through time-trials and semi-finals to reach the “A” Finals (last six) in five of them and the podium in one.

ASRA’s star J17 Four - Seth Turner, Chris Bardas, Xander Beeson & Jakub Zbikowski - who took gold in 2016, 2017 and 2018 at this regatta, had to be odds-on favourites in the Schools Fours Cup, but on this occasion just lost out in their characteristic charge for the line to the boys from Westminster School Boat Club by 0.6 of a second... nevertheless a brilliant silver for them and their cox Skye Ballance in a field of 17 crews, where all the home countries were represented.

Disappointment too for ASRA’s J18 girls who just a fortnight ago took gold for Great Britain at the Munich Junior International Regatta. Abigail Topp and Megan Hewison looked to have coped successfully with the double pressure of a punishing GB training schedule and school exams as they powered their way to a thrilling second position in a field of 27 crews in the time trial and all set to podium in the Girls’ Championship Coxless Pairs event, but sadly finally ran out of steam, as they ended up an untypically jaded fifth in the hotly contended final of the event.

A great deal of credit has to go also to our younger J15 and J16 athletes for reaching the “A” finals in....

  • J15 Coxed Fours (5th) Alex Fowler, Will Cooper, Joe Ritchie & Christy Probart, coxed by Skye Ballance
  • J16 Eights (6th) Harris Macdonald, Ashley Geddes, Scott Lewis, Oscar Forbes, Gregor Charles, Michel Dearsley, Archie Innes & Matthew Hughson, coxed by Skye Ballance
  • J16 Quadruple Sculls (6th) Oscar Forbes, Ashley Geddes, Archie Innes & Matthew Hughson
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Castle Semple Regatta 2019

At the Castle Semple Regatta, Lochwinnoch, on Saturday 18th May, ASRA’s athletes won 8 gold medals and came second in 5 further events in their last multi-lane regatta in Scotland before they move on this coming weekend to challenge the cream of English rowing at the National Schools’ Regatta on Dorney Lake, Eton.

Gold medals were won in...

  • Women’s Open Single Sculls: Megan Hewison
  • Women’s Junior 18 Single Sculls: Megan Hewison
  • Men’s Open Coxed Fours: Seth Turner, Chris Bardas, Xander Beeson & Jakub Zbikowski, coxed by Skye Balance
  • Men’s Open Coxless Pairs: Chris Bardas & Xander Beeson
  • Men’s J18 Coxless Pairs: Chris Bardas & Xander Beeson
  • Men’s Novice Fours: Alex Fowler, Joe Ritchie, Euan Fowler & Will Cooper, coxed by Steph Lowe
  • Men’s Junior 15 Fours: Alex Fowler, Joe Ritchie, Maisie Aspinall & Will Cooper, coxed by Julia Zbikowska
  • Men’s Novice Single Sculls: Euan Fowler

Congratulations also go to our rowers who came so close to gold in Women’s Junior 15 Quadruple Sculls, Men’s Junior 15 Double Sculls, Women’s Junior 15 Single Sculls, Women’s J14 Double Sculls & Women’s Junior 13 Double Sculls.

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Local Press Feature ASRA Girls

Abigail and Megan's achievements with the GB team at the recent Munich International Regatta feature in the local press.

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Scottish Rowing Spring Regatta 2019 (formerly known as the Strathclyde Park Regatta)

On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th April, having just returned from their annual training camp in Regensburg on the Danube, athletes from the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association put in a series of strong performances at Scotland’s National Rowing Centre in Motherwell, to win a total of 8 gold medals and three silvers in this, the first multi- lane event of the 2019 rowing season.


  • Scottish Universities “B” Eights Challenge Winners (and a brilliant second in Men’s Open Eights): - ASRA’s J16 Eight - Harris Macdonald, Ashley Geddes, Scott Lewis, Oscar Forbes, Gregor Charles, Michel Dearsley, Archie Innes & Matthew Hughson, coxed by Skye Ballance

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  • Men’s Open Restricted 1 Coxed Fours & Men’s Junior 18 Coxless Fours: Seth Turner, Chris Bardas, Xander Beeson & Jakub Zbikowski, coxed by Skye Ballance

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  • Women’s Junior 18 Coxless Pairs: Abigail Topp & Megan Hewison
  • Men’s Open Junior 15 Coxed Quadruple Sculls: Alex Fowler, Joe Ritchie, Jayros James & Will Cooper, coxed by Erin Gibson

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  • Women’s Junior 15 Double Sculls: Maisie Aspinall & Zoe Beeson

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  • Women’s Junior 14 Double Sculls: Zoe Beeson & Freya Hughson

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  • Women’s Junior 13 Doubles: Erin Gibson & Phoebe McCraith

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  • Women’s Restricted 1 Single Sculls: Abigail Topp

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  • Women’s Junior 15 Coxed Quadruple Sculls: Maisie Aspinall, Zoe Beeson Freya Hughson & Phoebe McCraith, coxed by Erin Gibson

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  • Women’s Junior 14 Coxed Quadruple Sculls: Freya Hughson, Charlotte Arthur, Ella Johnston & Charlotte Reynolds, coxed by Erin Gibson

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Schools' Head of the River Race 2019

Last week, as Storm Gareth subsided and Storm Hannah approached the UK, organisers of the prestigious Schools' Head of the River Race, which takes place annually over a 6.8 kilometre stretch of the Thames from Mortlake to Putney, were faced with a dilemma. Should the race, scheduled for 15 March, go ahead? Their final decision was to reduce risk by removing events for coxed fours and quadruple sculls, leaving the majority of the coxed eights events running, despite the forecast winds.

For the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association this decision meant the crew of Oscar Forbes, Ashley Geddes, Scott Lewis, Harris MacDonald, Gregor Charles, Michel Dearsley, Archie Innes and Matthew Hughson, coxed by Skye Ballance competed in the Men's Junior Championship J16 Eights. They rowed a strong race, overtaking two crews in the time trial format as they progressed down the river. Their final time (17mins, 33.4s) was the third fastest in their category, just 3.2s behind the category winner, Eton College, and the 21st fastest time of the day across all categories. Winning the bronze medal at this highly competitive national race is an encouraging result for the boys, showing they have continued to strengthen their performance from the great season they had last year.

Disappointingly, the crew of Seth Turner, Chris Bardas, Alexander Beeson and Jakub Zbikowski, coxed by Will Cooper, were left to support from the river bank due to the cancellation of their category – Schools’ Coxed Fours – in which they were also predicted to medal.

The focus of the club now turns to the summer regatta season and in the Easter holidays they will travel to Regensburg – Aberdeen’s twin city – for a one-week training camp to prepare.

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Aberdeen Eights Head on the Dee 2019

On Saturday 9th March at the annual Aberdeen Eights Head on the Dee, Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association’s J16 Eight beat all comers - including staunch opposition from an Aberdeen /Robert Gordon Universities’ composite, Glasgow and Dundee universities - to win both the first and second divisions outright.

It was a great warm up for this crew – Matthew Hughson, Archie Innes, Ashley Geddes, Gregor Charles, Harris Macdonald, Michel Dearsley, Scott Lewis & Oscar Forbes, coxed by Skye Ballance – who, next Friday ( March 15th) are off to the Thames to do battle at the Schools’ Head against what sounds like a Who’s Who of the best in Junior British Rowing, including Eton College, St Paul’s , Radley, Hampton and Westminster Schools. This ASRA crew in fact won the J15 Eights division in this race last year, but the step-up to J16 is a considerable one.

They will be joined on the Thames by ASRA’s J17 Four – Seth Turner, Chris Bardas, Xander Beeson & Jakub Zbikowski – who won the J16 division pennant in this event last year.

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