ROWING: SA Schools Rowing Championships - St Andrew's College

ROWING: SA Schools Rowing Championships

Cricket vs Grey High School
March 4, 2024
Debating at the Merrifield Tournament
March 6, 2024
Cricket vs Grey High School
March 4, 2024
Debating at the Merrifield Tournament
March 6, 2024

ROWING: SA Schools Rowing Championships

The annual SA School Rowing Championships took place this last weekend, and for the St Andrew’s College rowing team, this would be the culmination of 10-day training camp over half term as well as a season beginning at Knysna in October last year.

Spanning over three days at the world-class venue of Roodeplaat Dam, Pretoria, our boys had to race heats and semi-finals to qualify for a final in which they could earn themselves a medal.

To put the task into perspective, 1100 Competitors took part: approximately 750 boys and 350 girls. By number, the largest organised sporting event for junior athletes in South Africa. Earning a spot in one of the finals is a major achievement.

Our Under 14s and 15s raced over the 1-kilometer course, with a highlight of Saturday’s racing being the College Under 14 A Octuple performing strongly in their heat to qualify for their final and in the hunt for the medal positions. Unfortunately, following the start of the final race, the crews on either side of College both moved out of their lanes, leading to a clash that relegated our crew to the back of the field. Although their chance of a medal was lost, our boys were not deterred by this calamity and showed great resolve to rally themselves and finish the race strong in 7th position, overtaking one crew and catching those ahead as they came through the finish line.

Rafael Carrara and Jock Estcourt, representing our Under 15s, in one of the most competitive age groups in South African rowing, were looking to improve upon their performance from Buffalo sprints two weeks prior, Carrara put a consistent performance in both his heats and semi-final in the single sculls, racing against 55 other competitors in his event. Despite a season’s best performance, the final was just beyond his reach.

Our Under 16 and Open rowers came up against strong inland opposition on their first day of racing in the smaller boat classes. Max Estcourt, having raced strongly through the heats and semi-finals came agonisingly close in the sprint to the line in the 1st sculls event, coming in 5th place. Under 16s of Chris and James Jarvis also raced well in the pairs event, placing in 5th.

Going into the second day of the event, our Open and U16 rowers showed great resolve to qualify three crews for their respective finals in the Fours and Eights categories. The Open coxed four of Nicolaas Swart, Joe Kroon, Connor Moorcroft, Max Escourt, and Callum McMurray, qualified in a competitive heat and their final, were able to maintain their efforts to resist a late surge from a strong Rondebosch crew in the last two hundred meters, securing our first medal in the open age group. The Under 16 eight of Olona Kamba, Jared Mattison, Will Farquharson, Marcel Llewellyn, James Jarvis, Chris Jarvis, Matthew Theron Zac Fletcher, and cox Thereso Lesese, shook off their disappointment from their Under 15 result last year and earned a strong 3rd place behind St Benedict’s and St Stithians.

On Sunday, the Under 16s in their coxed 4 of Matthew Theron, Chris Jarvis, James Jarvis, Zac Fletcher, and Thereso Lesese continued their form from the day before and achieved their 2nd bronze medal. The Opens were racing the premier events in 1st and 2nd 8s, and in the curtain raiser to the 1st 8 finals, our 2nd 8, made up of Reece Powell, Rafael Carrara, Aidan Flanagan, Ma Ande Mfingwana, Alex Herbaut, Tristan Murray, Stuart Todd, Max Kay and Callum Spring, who have been holding up the tail end of most of their races this season, accelerated in the last 500 meters of the 2-kilometer race, and consolidated their 3rd place position to achieve their best result of the season and a Bronze medal!

In the final and premier event of the weekend, the Boys 1st 8s, our crew of Joshua Herring, Joshua Stapylton-Smith, Aiden Wood, Joshua van Renen, Connor Moorcroft, Max Estcourt, Joe Kroon, Nicolaas Swart, and Callum McMurray at cox. At the halfway mark, the crew had a lot of work to do but came back through Jeppe and Rondebosch to put themselves in a race to the line for 3rd position against a resurgent St John’s crew. With every stroke in the last 200 meters to the line, College moved further up against St John’s but ultimately finished two seconds behind to take 4th position. St Benedict’s took 1st place with St Stithians in 2nd.

Our rowers should be commended for their display of teamwork and dedication and have made huge strides from last year, not only in the overall medal count but with the consistency of effort and quality of performances across the age groups.

We also recognise DSG who in their first season back in the sport have added a positive dimension to our rowing environment that we have missed for the past few years. The College boys gave all their support to the DSG crews including the 1st Quad who raced exceptionally well to qualify for the final of the 1st Quads event, a massive achievement for a group who only started rowing in October last year.

Thank you not only to the coaches but also to the school transport division, travel office, and teaching staff who gave up their time to ensure the boys were well looked after throughout the tour.