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National Rowing Championships

National Schools' victors Jamie Steel (Stroke) & Iona Riley (Bow) who held Silver medal position for most of a strongly contested Women's Under 14 Double Sculls final, launched a massive final push with 750 metres to go, collided with a buoy in the process and slipped sadly out of medal contention. Missed Bronze by a second. Congratulations to all our athletes most of whom produced SBs despite the sweltering heat.

Four ASRA girls have been chosen to represent Scotland at the Home Countries Rowing International to be held at Strathclyde Park next weekend: Joy Davies & Lucy Bonnamy in the Women's Junior Coxless Pair, Seonaid Crosby, Joy Davies & Lucy Bonnamy in the Women's Junior Eight and Jamie Steel will cox the Women's Junior Eight.

 

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Scottish Rowing Championships

At the Scottish Rowing Championships at Strathclyde Park on the 10/11 June, ASRA racked up a total of 7 Gold Medals, two more than at the same event in 2005.

Our ASRA Girls took all four titles in the Women's Junior Under 14 Division in both the sweep and sculling disciplines. Rachael Hadjitofi (Bow), Catriona Bain (2), Iona Riley (3), Jamie Steel (Stroke) coxed by Niall Rundle won Women's Under 14 Coxed Fours & Coxed Quads, Iona and Jamie not unexpectedly repeated their National Schools win in Women's Under 14 Doubles and Iona completed the set with an brilliant individual virtuoso performance in Women's Under 14 Single Sculls. With Katie Hiscox for Rachael Hadjitofi in Bow, Catriona Bain (2), Iona Riley (3), Jamie Steel (Stroke) then went on to win the Women's Junior Under 15 Coxed Fours event.

Elsewhere our Novice Boys - Lewis Masson (Bow), Evgenij Sinclair(2), William Vickers(3), Tom Hunter(Stroke) & cox Niall Rundle - put up an extremely gutsy - if not always elegant - performance to bring home the Boyd Cup and Girls' Captain Lucy Bonnamy & partner Joy Davies saved an otherwise fairly bleak weekend for our senior girls with a stylish win in Women's Junior Under 16 Pairs.

Congratulations to all who took part - winners and losers - and our grateful thanks to all the parents who undertook the long journey south to support the squad and to those parents and supporters in particular who once again rolled up their sleeves and helped unload the trailer and stow away our equipment in record time at the end of a very long weekend.

ASRA WJ15 4+ moving through Heriot's at the 750 metres mark

 

Iona Riley powering her way to Gold in WJ14 Single sculls

 

Blair Sorbie putting in a brave effort to stay with the leaders in MJ12 Single sculls

 

WJ14 Coxed Quad at the winners' pontoon

 

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National Schools' Regatta

At the prestigious National Schools' Regatta at the English National Watersports Centre, Nottingham on 26 - 28 May, where annually around 3500 rowers contest 48 different rowing events, ASRA's Junior Under 14 Scullers - Iona Riley (Hazlehead Academy) & Jamie Steel (Harlaw Academy) won Gold and the Tristan Hewins Cup for their outstanding performance in the Girls' Double Sculls event beating the best scullers in their age group over three rounds from 20 Clubs all over England. This is the first time in 40 years that Aberdeen rowers have brought home Gold from this, the biggest and toughest Junior rowing regatta in Britain.

Both our J14 Boys Double - Gary Wilson & Atholl Wallace - and our J18 Girls - Joy Davies, Beady Rice, Seonaid Crosby, Lucy Bonnamy & cox Jamie Steel - were unfortunate to be drawn in the tougher of the two semis on offer in their respective events and to end up fourth in both with times that would have seen them qualify comfortably for the final, had they been in the other semi. Our J16 Girls - our J18s with Danielle McNaughton replacing Seonaid Crosby – were also more than a little unlucky - having survived the processional elimination process in some style - to be allocated lane 1 in their semi - the observably slowest of all the lanes in the prevailing wind conditions on Sunday. It cannot be denied however that the SQA exams which are now in full swing and the consequent lack of crew outings have definitely left their mark on both the technique and fitness levels of our senior girl rowers in particular.

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Castle Semple Regatta

At the Castle Semple Regatta, Lochwinnoch, on Saturday 20th May ASRA crews survived the wet and cold conditions and a 5:30 a.m. start from Aberdeen to record three excellent wins:

  • Men's Novice Fours: William Vickers, Jonathan Wright, Johnathan Lockhart, Tom Hunter & cox Graham Doig - beating stout opposition from Edinburgh, Strathclyde & Heriot-Watt Universities as well as Aberdeen Boat Club.
  • Women's Junior 15 Fours: Rachael Hadjitofi, Iona Riley, Catriona Bain, Jamie Steel & cox Niall Rundle - reversing last week's defeat at Aberdeen with an explosive push in the last 100 metres of the race.
  • Men's Junior 13 Single Sculls: Atholl Wallace - with last season's Junior 12 Scottish Champion demonstrating in no mean fashion that one year on he remains without any doubt the fastest sculler in his own age group.

A protest has been lodged with the Castle Semple Race Committee about their merging the Men's and Women's Junior 14 Events into one. Even the best girls in that age group have little or no chance against their male equivalents and this seems to have escaped their notice. The prestigious National Schools' Regatta, the Scottish Championships and the British Championships all recognise this fairly obvious truth and run separate events at J14.

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NE Regatta on the Dee

At the North East Regatta on the Dee on 13/14 May, our ASRA crews despite exam pressure notched up a total of 19 wins. A disappointing lack of Southern Juniors once again, but thankfully George Heriot's sent up a full squad who gave our J15 and J16 Girls in particular a torrid time and a great deal of food for thought. In order of event number, wins were:

  •  Women's R2 Fours: Joy Davies, Beady Rice, Seonaid Crosby, Lucy Bonnamy cox Nina Scott
  •  Men's J16 & J15 Fours: Gary Wilson, Jonathan Wright, Johnathan Lockhart, Atholl Wallace
  •  Men's J 14 Fours: Gary Wilson, Jonathan Wright, Daniel McSherry, Atholl Wallace
  •  Men's J15 Double Sculls: Johnathan Lockhart, Atholl Wallace
  •  Men's J 14 Double Sculls: Blair Sorbie, Daniel McSherry
  •  Men's J12 Sculls: Blair Sorbie
  •  Women's J15 Double Sculls: Iona Riley & Jamie Steel
  •  Women's Novice Double Sculls: Iona Riley & Jamie Steel
  •  Men's R2 Sculls: Colin Wallace (Saturday & Sunday)
  •  Men's Novice Sculls: Johnathan Lockhart
  •  Men's J16 Sculls: Johnathan Lockhart
  •  Men's J 14 Sculls: Atholl Wallace
  •  Men's J12 Sculls: Blair Sorbie
  •  Women's J14 Sculls: Iona Riley
  •  Mixed Novice Quad Sculls: Tom Hunter, Johnathan Lockhart, Iona Riley, Jamie Steel
  •  Men's Novice Double Sculls: Tom Hunter & Johnathan Lockhart
  •  Generation Double Sculls; Jim Steel (ABC) & Johnathan Lockhart (ASRA)
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Strathclyde Park Regatta

At the Strathclyde Park Regatta on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April our ASRA girls racked up 7 straight victories and two fine second places against strong opposition from all the main Scottish and several Northern English rowing centres.

  • Women's Junior 14 Singles: Iona Riley (2nd - Jamie Steel).
  • Women's Junior 14 Doubles: Iona Riley & Jamie Steel (2nd - Catriona Bain & Rachael Hadjitofi).
  • Women's Junior 14 Fours: Rachael Hadjitofi, Iona Riley, Catriona Bain, Jamie Steel (cox Niall Rundle).
  • Women's Junior 16 Fours: Danielle McNaughton, Beady Rice, Joy Davies, Lucy Bonnamy (cox Nina Scott).
  • Women's Junior Pairs: Joy Davies & Lucy Bonnamy.
  • Women's Novice Fours: Danielle McNaughton, Beady Rice, Joy Davies, Lucy Bonnamy (cox Nina Scott) - 1st out of 18 crews!
  • Women's Junior 18 Eights: Katie Hiscox, Danielle McNaughton, Beady Rice, Jamie Steel, Catriona Bain, Iona Riley, Joy Davies, Lucy Bonnamy (cox Atholl Wallace).

Disappointing days for the boys who failed to medal but who put up some gutsy performances nevertheless. The main difference was perhaps that the girls had the advantage of the Gent Easter Camp behind them where they had done significant amounts of practice as racing units.

Congratulations to all who took part (J12s in particular) and grateful thanks to our long-suffering parents who rolled up their sleeves and got wired into the trailer unloading at the end of an extremely long weekend.

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Gent Spring International Regatta

In Belgium on the 15th & 16th April at the Gent Spring International Regatta, the 11 ASRA rowers who had previoussly attended our 5-day rowing camp at Blaarmeersen acquitted themselves with distinction against superlative opposition in their age categories from Belgium, Germany, England & France.

Our J16 Girls (Lucy Bonnamy, Beady Rice & Joy Davies plus Seonaid Crosby - fresh from GB Camp at Hazewinkel - won Bronze in JW18 Coxless Fours against formidable opposition from Lady Eleanor Holles but this sole medal success does not reflect adequately the series of excellent individual and team performances strung together by our athletes over the weekend.

In WJ18 Pairs, Lucy Bonnamy & Joy Davies came 9th in a field of 16, as did Johnathan Lockhart in JM 16 Sculls and Atholl Wallace came an extremely creditable 10th out of 29 in MJ14 Sculls. Our J14 Double - Iona Riley and Jamie Steel - came to within a whisker of winning bronze on the Saturday, 0.09 the time difference between themselves and the girls of TVK Essen in third place and on Sunday three of our J14 Quad took first 10 places in a field of 29 in WJ14 Single Sculls - heat winners Iona Riley and Jamie Steel coming 5th and 9th respectively and Catriona Bain 10th in the overall rankings. They then turned about and joined star newcomer Rachael Hadjitofi to come again a nail-biting fourth in the final of Women's J14 Quads, this time only 0.41 of a second away from bronze.

Complaints from our German opposition based on Belgian local rulings led to our J14 scullers having to abandon their accustomed "big blades" and to row at considerable disadvantage, it must be said, with borrowed Macon blades on the Sunday. Our gratitude nevertheless to the coaches of local Belgian Club - KRSG - for sportingly supplying us with the necessary blades on the day.

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Scottish Schools HORR

At the Scottish Schools' Head of the River Race on the Clyde on Saturday 18th April, ASRA won both the Women's Junior 15 and the Men's Junior 15 Pennants.

Our ASRA Girls' J15 Four - Katie Hiscox (Cults Academy), Iona Riley (Hazlehead Academy), Catriona Bain (Aberdeen Grammar School), Jamie Steel (Harlaw Academy) coxed by Niall Rundle (Aberdeen Grammar School) were quite outstanding with their winning time of 15 minutes 51 seconds over the 4K course and not only crossed the finishing line 44 seconds ahead of their nearest opposition in the WJ15 division - George Watson's College - but also beat the best Womens' Junior 16 time by a phenomenal 24 seconds.

Not to be outdone, our ASRA Boys' J15 Four - Gary Wilson (Aberdeen Grammar School), Jonathan Wright (Harlaw Academy), Johnathan Lockhart (Robert Gordon's College), Atholl Wallace (Meldrum Academy) coxed by Daniel McSherry (Harlaw Academy) put an almost incredible 61 seconds between themselves and their nearest opposition - the MJ15 crew from George Heriot's of Edinburgh.

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GB Junior Selection Trials

At the GB Junior Selection Trials at Boston (Lincolnshire) on 18th and 19th February the Scottish pairing of Polly Swann of Heriot's and our own Seonaid Crosby could only manage a disappointing 7th place out of 11 over the timed 5K course. A particularly galling result since our girls were a clear second at the the 2500 metre mark. All is not lost yet however since it is almost certain that the girls' performance was good enough to ensure an invitation back to the Peterborough Closed Trials (over 7 kilometres this time!) on the 12th of March.

Both Polly and Seonaid will in fact race at Women's Tideway in a GB Junior Eight on the 11th March and have not been required to take part in the Peterborough Closed Trial on the 12th. They have also been invited to move on directly to the next stage in the GB selection process - the Spring Assessments at the National Watersport Centre, Nottingham from the 1st to 3rd April.

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Durham Small Boats Head

At the Durham Small Boats Head on Saturday 3rd February, a crew of George Heriots School and ASRA were the fastest women's four over all four divisions. The S2 crew of Ursula Braun, Polly Swann and Ealasaid Manson of GHSRC and Seonaid Crosby of ASRA finished 2 seconds ahead of the time posted earlier by the Heriots J18 crew.

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Scottish Annual Indoor (Ergo) Rowing Championships

At the Scottish Annual Indoor (Ergo) Rowing Championships at the Wishaw Sports Centre on Sunday 4th February, ASRA members won the magnificent total of 11 medals - 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze. Gold went to Graham Doig in the Boys' Junior 12 category, to Ewan Bain in the Boy's Junior 11 category, to Catriona Bain in the Girls' Junior 13 category, to Jonathan Lockhart in the Boys' Junior 14 category and to Seonaid Crosby in the Women's Junior 18 category. Silver went to Iona Riley ( J13), Jonathan Wright (J14) and Joy Davies (J16). Bronze went to Gary Wilson (J14), Lucy Bonnamy (J16) and Tom Hunter (J18 Lwt).

Not everyone could win a medal of course, but our gratitude nevertheless to all of our athletes who gave it their best shot despite lingering illnesses and the threat of imminent examinations. The only sour note - the disappointingly and unacceptably large number of last minute call-offs.

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Aberdeen Eights HORR

At the Aberdeen Eights Head on Sunday 29th January on the Dee, our Novice Girls - Bow Katie Hiscox (Cults Academy), 2 Jamie Steel (Harlaw Academy), 3 Catriona Bain (Aberdeen Grammar), 4 Danielle McNaughton (Mearns Academy), 5 Beady Rice (Robert Gordon's College), 6 Iona Riley (Hazlehead Academy), 7 Joy Davies (Aberdeen Grammar), Stroke Lucy Bonnamy (Cults Academy) & cox Judith Herbert (RGU) took the Women's Novice Eights title in a field of five by a winning margin over 3K of 20 seconds. Second place went to the students of the Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. The same crew with one change - Seonaid Crosby sitting in for Katie Hiscox - came a creditable second in the Women's R2 Division, the win by 11 seconds going to Gary Bain's ABC/AUBC/RGU development squad.

Our Novice Boys Michael Chalmers (Aberdeen College), Atholl Wallace((Meldrum Academy), Gary Wilson (Aberdeen Grammar), Tom Hunter(Robert Gordon's College), Ibrahim Dali-Ahmed (Cults Academy), William Vickers (Westhill Academy), Jonathan Wright,(Harlaw Academy) Johnathan Lockhart (Robert Gordon's College) & cox Daniel McSherry (Aberdeen Grammar) also put up a good performance to win the Men's Novice Eights title ... unfortunately unopposed but in some style and in a very respectable time of 11 minutes 8 seconds.

Congratulations to all who took part... in particular Karen Wilson, Pippa Davies & Blair Sorbie who had to fill in at the last minute for club members who disappointingly failed to show on the day.

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Glasgow Rowing Club HORR for Fours

At the Glasgow Rowing Club Head of the River Race for Fours on Saturday 26th November on the Clyde, ASRA failed to win a race category for the first time in many years. Lady Luck however was not on our side, it has to be said. Hopelessly inadequate embarcation arrangements at the Glasgow Uni Boathouse prevented our J15 Boys reaching the Dalmarnock Railway Bridge checkpoint on time and a draconian 40 second time penalty imposed on our J16 Girls at the start - whose stroke Lucy Bonnamy was in any case unwell - almost certainly contributed to their lack-lustre performance in their race. Our Novice Boys too were unfortunate to have to stop rowing after a promising start when Fraser Humphreys at 3 had an excruciating attack of cramp in his left leg and could not go on.

All that said, the standard of our rowing and sculling was nevertheless still well below what our coaches had come to expect of our crews in practice on our home waters, our J14 Boys for example went down to George Watson's by 2 whole minutes and our J15 Girls - Jamie Steel, Iona Riley, Catriona Bain, Katie Hiscox and cox Nina Scott - while putting up the best ASRA performance of the day trailed in after their opposite numbers from George Heriot's and George Watson's by a losing margin of 20 and 17 seconds respectively.

Clearly an immense amount of work will have to be put in by crews and coaches over the next two months if we are to do ourselves justice over the same course at the 2006 Scottish Schools' Head in early March.

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GB Rowing Trials

At the first ever GB rowing trials held on the Caledonian Canal, Inverness, on Saturday 22nd October, ASRA's Seonaid Crosby continued her remarkable improvement curve in single sculling to come in a well-deserved first of the Scottish GB aspirants in the Women's Junior 18 category beating in so doing close rivals Nicola Santoni of Strathclyde Park RC by 3 seconds and Laura West of Nithsdale by 8 seconds over the 5K course. Next stop on the GB selection trail...Boston in November.

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Aberdeen HORR and Small Boats Head

At the Aberdeen Fours Head of the River Race on Saturday 15th October, ASRA's girls won Women's Novice Fours (Jamie Steel, Joy Davies, Iona Riley, Lucy Bonnamy & cox Nina Scott) coming first in a field of eight and some 25 seconds ahead of the next placed Novice crew from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. 

In the Second Division ASRA's Beady Rice, Joy Davies, Seonaid Crosby, Lucy Bonnamy & cox Jamie Steel came a very creditable second out of seven in Women's R2 Fours - beaten in the end by a strong quartet from Dundee University Boat Club.

In a lively internal battle between the ASRA boys at Junior 15 and in the regrettable absence of Southern Junior opposition, Johnathan Lockhart's crew of Niall Rundle, Daniel McSherry, Atholl Wallace & cox Ilyes Dali-Ahmed beat Ibrahim Dali-Ahmed's crew of Jack Hughes, Richard Fraser-Wilson, Gary Wilson & cox Beady Rice.

In the Aberdeen Small Boats Head on Sunday 16th October ASRA's Lucy Bonnamy & Joy Davies won Women's Novice Doubles, Iona Riley & Jamie Steel won Women's J16 Doubles and Johnathan Lockhart won Men's J16 Single Sculls. In the Second Division the ASRA quartet of Jamie Steel, Joy Davies, Iona Riley, Lucy Bonnamy repeated Saturday's victory - this time in Women's Novice Quad Sculls and coxed on this occasion by Ilyes Dali-Ahmed. Atholl Wallace and Richard Fraser-Wilson beat off determined opposition from their club-mates to win Men's J14 Doubles.

Our sympathy must go to Karen Wilson who having put in good performances at both days of the regatta slipped on the bank in front of the boathouse after the close of racing and had to be transported off to A & E with a suspected broken ankle. The club sends her best wishes for a swift and complete recovery.

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Strathclyde Park Small Boats HORR

At the Strathclyde Park Small Boats Head of the River Race on the 1st October, gale force winds compelled the organisers to cancel the second division of the race. The first division did however take place despite the horrendous weather conditions and our team pulled off category wins in Women's J16 Doubles (Lucy Bonnamy & Joy Davies) and in Men's J14 Doubles (Johnathan Lockhart & Jonathan Wright). Our J13 Mixed Quad (Iona Riley, Gary Wilson, Atholl Wallace, Jamie Steel & cox Daniel McSherry) - unfortunately without opposition in its own class - also sculled well to come overall 6th out of 32 and first home of the non-Strathclyde Park based crews and there was a significantly improved performance too for Seonaid Crosby who came in only a second behind Nicola Santoni of Strathclyde Park Rowing Club in Women's J18 Single Sculls.

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Aberdeen Sprint Regatta

At the Aberdeen Sprint Regatta on Saturday 3rd September there was unfortunately no outside Junior opposition for Aberdeen Schools. Nevertheless there were some outstandingly good performances both in races between our own club members and against senior rivals Aberdeen Boat Club.

Our new Boys' Captain, Jonathan Lockhart, established himself as ASRA's leading sculler with wins at J14, J16 & J18 and in Open Novice Sculls against stout opposition from ABC. ASRA's Novice Girls (Rhona Miller, Beady Rice, Catriona Bain & Katherine Hiscox) put in a series of stylish performances to dispose of all the other five crews in their event and ASRA's Mixed R2 Eight (Colin Wallace, Seonaid Crosby, Jonathan Lockhart, Lucy Bonnamy, Johnathan Wright, Michael Chalmers, Joy Davies, Jamie Steel & cox Atholl Wallace) beat ABC's powerful semi-final winner over Clyde in the final of that event by a canvas.

Surprise upsets came in the form of the victory of our WJ14/15 Girls (Jamie Steel, Iona Riley, Beady Rice & Catriona Bain) over our sitting WJ16 crew (Lucy Bonnamy, Seonaid Crosby, Joy Davies & Rhona Miller) who came in fourth at Nat. Champs and in the defeat by a length in WJ14 Single Sculls of Jamie Steel by relative newcomer and excellent sculling prospect Iona Riley.

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Home Countries International Regatta

At the Home Countries International Regatta in Cardiff on Saturday 23rd July, the Scottish Junior Women's team put up their best performance in years to finish equal on points with England and only lost out on the title on count-back following a late disqualification of the Irish boat from the first event of the day. Seonaid Crosby of Aberdeen Schools rowed at five in the Scottish Junior Women's Eight which so nearly settled the match for Scotland. They led the field at 500 metres but finished an unfortunate third in a finish which saw England, Ireland and Scotland overlapping on the line.

Jamie Steel of ASRA coxed a strong Men's Junior Eight to yet another nail-biting third place with England, Ireland and Scotland overlapping in a blanket finish.

Home International cogniscenti will recognise what an improvement these performances represent in terms of Scottish Junior Eights results in recent years.

Our gratitude goes to Bournemouth University who sportingly lent the Scottish girls their brand new Stelph Eight and blades to help solve acute equipment problems on the day.

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National Rowing Championships

At the National Rowing Championships of Great Britain in Nottingham from 15th - 17th July, in the Womens Under 16 Coxed Fours event, our girls - Rhona Miller (Cults Academy), Joy Davies (Aberdeen Grammar School), Seonaid Crosby (Robert Gordon's College), Lucy Bonnamy (Cults Academy) & cox Jamie Steel (Harlaw Academy) - reached the final via an emphatic win in Saturday's repêchage only to miss out on the medals by just under a boat length to the girls of Evesham Rowing Club on Sunday.

Our sculling group showed improvements all round but struggled predictably in events which were in most cases a year above their present age group. A full dress rehearsal however for the Nat. Champs. in 2006! Two Scottish caps for the Association this year: Seonaid Crosby has been selected to row in the Scottish Junior Girls' Eight in next Saturday's Home Countries International in Cardiff and Jamie Steel will cox the Scottish Junior Boys' Eight.

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Scottish & Scottish Schools' Championships

At the Scottish & Scottish Schools' Championships, at Strathclyde Park, Motherwell on the 11th and 12th June, crews from ASRA won five golds over the two days. This is clearly slightly down on our 1999 - 2003 average of eight wins at the Scottish Championships, but given the relative youth and inexperience of the majority of our present members, the future remains reasonably bright.

  • Schoolgirls' Under 15 Coxed Fours: Katie Hiscox, Jenny Hiscox, Rhona Miller, Lucy Bonnamy (Cults Academy) cox Shanna Taylor
  • Women's Under 14 Double Sculls: Jamie Steel (Harlaw Academy) with Morna Spence (George Watson's College)
  • Wylie Cup (Novice Schoolboys): Arthur Tutenuit (Aberdeen Grammar School), Gareth Bonnamy & Ibrahim Dali-Ahmed (Cults Academy), Lewis McAra (Hazlehead Academy) cox Gary Wilson (Aberdeen Grammar)
  • Men's Under 12 Double Sculls: Atholl Wallace (Meldrum Academy) & Daniel McSherry (Broomhill Primary)
  • Men's Under 12 Single Sculls: Atholl Wallace (Meldrum Academy)

Our J15 sweep crews - boys and girls- lost out in nail-biting finishes by just about a length to strong opposition from George Watson's College and Strathclyde Park Rowing Club respectively, but given continued commitment and hard graft they can confidently look forward to closing the gap still further (or altogether!) when battle is next rejoined.

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