Guest Editor

Looking at life at Weybridge Rowing Club from a different angle

Somewhat irregularly we invite a guest editor to write an article for the Junior Squad site. We ask him or her to give a roundup of the recent events and any opinions they have on the current state of affairs at the club.

Summer 2011 - Josh Foulkes

I began rowing at the end of 2010, after the week long October beginner’s course, which exposed me to what was to become my everyday routine! (Minus the capsizing!:P) Rowing has been one of the things I have started in the last year, which has contributed greatly to it being one of the best years of my life! Which I can thank Zac Cole for, as I wouldn’t have got into rowing if he hadn’t himself.

After being accepted into the club, the training began, rather rapidly in fact! Initially, I began with just attending the weekends, which was usually restricted to just Sundays… (integrating all my other sports/ prior engagements) , and was within weeks asked to attend Thursdays, then Wednesdays… and Tuesdays …( not to my knowledge at this time) Concluding with the current arrangement of 6-8:30 Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-6:30 Wednesdays, and 8-12 on both Saturday and Sunday!

Surprisingly I now feel that EVEN THAT isn’t enough!

It didn’t take long for me to adopt the rowing club as my second home, along with all the people within which makes Weybridge such a great club to be part of, who on those days of no training I miss greatly! This goes for the amazing coaches we have too (especially Katy Knowles who has been my main coach from the start) 

The competition has been great for me from the word go, both within the club; ‘Ballard’; George A; and Zac; and between other clubs all around the country, which has really motivated me to ‘fight’ for success in training and events! – My first event was Hampton Head, in a coxless quad, which after waiting near the start for over an hour in the cold weather of January, was a tremendous learning curve as to the pressures and demands required for these races. After some more indoor training on the ergos and weekend water sessions, I began racing in frequent Head races, including Local Silver sculls, Walton/Weybridge, Burway and lots more, Two of which: Schools Head, and Head of the River were the most exciting to take part in. There was great competition of over 300 competing crews all racing the long stretch of the Tideway, which took our 4- crew at the School’s Head a total of 20mins 37seconds to complete. A long enduring race on tidal water – A new experience! Head of the river was then held about 1month later… (close to a week after the Oxford/Cambridge boat race – (same stretch of river!!)) which we participated in with a Weybridge Novice 8- Crew, and due to the tides, we completed in 20mins 39seconds (61milli-seconds…to be precise..) which didn’t seem to make logical sense, as it was slower than our 4- by 2 seconds!!! 

All these experiences have been really great however, and as summer is creeping in on us, so have the regattas, which for both me, and the club have been a hoard of great successes, (which is always good for confidence boosters/moral!) resulting in a collection of 4 event wins. Highlights being at Marlow Spring: my first ever win + a final, Ball cup: ‘Sneakily’ getting through to the final and winning in a double, and winning the J18 4- race, obtaining the ‘Ball Cup’ for our club, and finally yesterday’s event Marlow Town, where our 4- again succeeded in beating Windsor boys’ crew in  the final for victory! The greatest achievement for me I feel was my first single race, which although I didn’t get through the first heat, showed a great step up in my abilities, and has given me experiences for future races. 

I wish everyone the best of luck for the coming year, and would strongly recommend rowing as a sport for anyone! (Plus think of the up sides…fitness is something that you obtain very quickly!) Thanks to everyone at the club!

Winter 2009 - Natalie Dailey

A few days ago, I was asked by our head coach Jon Beagley to write a few short paragraphs on my first year at Weybridge.  I automatically accepted but when I sat down in an attempt to begin to write these paragraphs, I was at a loss for words, where do I begin? Always best to start at the beginning I thought.

I remember when I started in the 2008 D group last September; I instantly began to look forward to my Saturday mornings for the prospect of seeing some great friends and seeing if I could improve in any way possible in a sport that soon became more of an obsession.  After the D group ended I rapidly put mine and my sister’s names down to join the club, and after we began to get over the prospect of another early morning training session, we soon got stuck into any part of rowing we could. Before we knew it I had been entered into my first regatta, on May 17th at Maidenhead in a coxed quad, all of us were excited about our first competitive race.  It was therefore a bit of a disappointment for us when we got there and it was raining so hard the water was bouncing back off the water!  This was not going to get in the way of our good mood and as we went out to race in our first heat, the heavens opened and we laughed as the rain pounded down on us.  As we thought, we didn't win, but, we did do better than we were expecting to do when we beat a quad from Molesey.

 When it came to the summer, I was almost sad to go away on holiday as I knew I would be missing some fun racing opportunities such as the Gloucester and Ross weekend and other races.  As the year progressed we began to improve and reap the rewards of our hard work when Becky and I came in 2nd at Henley Winter head.

I now feel a lot more confident and really proud of what I have achieved through being at Weybridge.  My Mum and Dad have also begun to help out around the club and have quickly begun to love the place almost as much as my sister and I do. The coaches are some of the best teachers I have ever had and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for my sister, my friends and myself over the past year. I have met some really great people this year and I look forward to the next year as I hope to achieve more and hopefully get my first taste of victory.

Winter 2007 - Lloyd Cheesman's Column

I was introduced to Weybridge Rowing Club in September 2007 by my friend Oli Tomalin, who had been rowing at the club for almost a year. I began by attending Thursday night training sessions and soon enough started Saturday mornings. Immediately I felt the affects of the fitness training on Thursdays and was pleased to see my technique improving on the water. Initially I didn’t know what to expect, but in fact found it easy to make friends and with the encouragement of the club felt that I fitted in right away. Currently I row three times a week and look forward to each and every session, on the water and in the club house.
Good Luck to everyone in 2008.

Summer 2007 - Nick Mundy's Column

Throughout the past two or three months, we've had some great times and events. Of course, we haven't mentioned the traditional Dinner & Dance, which we all know was a great success, and thoroughly enjoyed.
Although after that, although there wasn't much action in terms of racing (except for Kingston SBH - well done to Kirsten, Diana and James Coxhead!) we still managed to have a lot of 'on the water' time on Saturdays and Sundays.

I myself began to help more on the coaching side of the Juniors, which I enjoyed very much, and hope to continue. The training I did included that of Katie and Rowenna, who had their first win only last weekend (14th Jan 07), which is obviously satisfying for all of the coaches, (as well as Katie and Rowenna) to see the results of the hard winter training.

Although I'm not one for product placement, I have to say last week I ordered a personalised sweater off the WRCjnr Shop. This sweater was great quality, and I think it looks pretty cool - trust me. So I'd strongly recommend that all the WRCjnr members get a product from the shop, or simply do what I did - e-mail the team with a custom order. They were very helpful in creating my order.

So, in the New Year, good luck to all competitors in the upcoming events, and let's try and beat the amount of wins which we achieved last season (around 35), and obviously we're already off to a fantastic start. Oh, and one bit of advice, whilst the training you're all doing now isn't any fun (even I can tell that being a cox) you need to remember it'll be worth it this summer when you're bringing home all the wins.

September and October - James Whittingham's Column

It’s getting darker in the evenings earlier, but still Weybridge Rowing Club is a hype of activity almost every day of the week. September saw the last two races for the junior section – Lea and Cambridge regattas. Lea brought about a deluge of wins: James Piercy won his first pot in his J14 single, a reward for his training efforts over the summer, the J16 4x cruised home in typical ‘grunting’ fashion, Chris Jones and Tom Capel overcame two other WRC juniors to win their J16 double and Alex Tarrant won his first novice race in his single. Cambridge also brought a number of good wins, highlighted by the N4+ who beat Milton Keynes, Medway Town and Peterborough by sticking to ‘keeping-just-ahead’ formula down the almost straight course and bumping them up to S4 level.

October has seen the Weybridge Silver Sculls take place, which provided one of the most gruelling head races on this stretch of the river for years. The river was rough, with cruisers not helping by providing extra wash for the hundreds of scullers to contend with. And to make matters worse there was an extremely strong stream to contend with. I prefer regattas. After personally getting a truly shocking time, I had to seek comfort in the soup upstairs in the canoe club, as ever provided by Sheila. Then towards of the month we had the Halloween party, full of dressed up juniors and teenagers who thought they were too cool to dress up. We were treated to some spooky guessing games and later the burgers of masterchef Jon Beagley. Of course, thanks again to Sheila, and those who helped decorate the clubhouse during the day. I’ve heard a rumour that if you say you know the social secretary you get free drinks at the bar – I’ll have to give it a try soon.

The last two months have also seen new coach Paul Wilcox take a hold of the junior section of the club, providing intense circuit and ergo workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m sure the many juniors who wake up the morning after with aching thighs and tight calves thank him from the heart.

So the glamorous days of summer rowing are over and we are already well into autumn and marching towards the Head season with high expectations for all juniors, including those making their debut in head racing. Try and enjoy the winter, it’s pretty cold – sometimes to the point you can’t feel your blue little fingers – often wet, and frequently windy. Heck, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Response: The Social Secretary would like to emphasize that all drinks purchased at the bar must be paid for in full at all times!

August - A Summer Special by Sheila Owens

Sun... Team Spirit... Endless BBQs...

The summer of 2006 will be forever imprinted on my memory as the summer of long, hot sunny days... and endless BBQs at the rowing club!

The team spirit within the Junior squad at the moment seems to me to be at an all-time high. This was exemplified wonderfully at the recent warm, sunny (again!) Staines/Burway double regatta weekend when there was such terrific support by the whole squad for each other. (Am I the only one to feel that the Weybridge support  on the bank is louder, more passionately-felt and more vociferous than that of any other club?)  We gave a really warm welcome to our two visiting Danish rowers, who commented to me interestingly that the competition that weekend had been much tougher than anything they’d met back in Denmark.  But both boys had such a good time and were made to feel so welcome by us that they have promised to return next year with their whole club!

However, over recent weeks and months we have had many new members of all ages join the junior section of the club and I would like to ask each and every one of you to make sure that we give them just as warm a welcome. It can be daunting turning up to a new rowing club where everyone seems to know each other and people huddle in little groups. If each of you just makes a point of getting to know one new member or introducing them around, it will make us an even stronger and friendlier club... and you will have done your bit in spreading the WRCjnr Team Spirit.


The juniors put on a terrific display of on-water competence in front of the Elmbridge Mayor and Mayoress at the President’s annual bash  - another warm, sunny day! – and it is so good now to see everyone sporting the new Weybridge 125th Anniversary T-shirts. Again this enhances the feeling of team spirit at the club. And we had a another BBQ!


The Rag Regatta – yes it was hot and sunny again! – brought the juniors and their families together for a day of fun and frolics on the river. There was some very interesting slaloming witnessed in the dongola event although the competition hotted up towards the end and some teams were even overheard discussing race tactics. Competition became so fierce at one point that some teams started ramming the competition and the mum’s “Winebar Wanderer’s” dongola team were so intent on winning that they showed no mercy whatsoever to a novice team of youngsers with an average age of 3 and a half  - well actually 7!!! But again the wonderful team spirit in the club was very evident and was a good advertisement for the people who wandered in from the neighbouring streets or the Wey towpath to see what was going on. And we had yet another a BBQ!


And now to even more BBQs... has there been a week gone past when we have not had a BBQ at the club? The weather on Thursday evenings (with one notable very stormy exception!) has been so warm and balmy this summer that BBQs have been the order of the day – can there be anything more idyllic on a Thursday evening after a good hard session’s training than to sit by the edge of the river with a BBQ and a glass of Orange and Passionfruit J20? I don’t think so!


As you are all aware, we have a fairly active social life at the club – Halloween party, Annual November Ball, Christmas Party Junior Party, Pre-Henley Ball, Rag Regatta to mention the ones I can remember – but I am always very open to YOUR ideas of things we could do better or differently or to receivefeedback about what has gone well or not so well. And I am always very grateful for any help, no matter how small!

So please do let me have your ideas by e-mail through the junior website – I can’t promise to act on them all but I’d appreciate your feedback and ideas.


Enjoy the rest of the warm, hot summer... and the BBQs!July

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June - Clive Capel's Column

June started out in flaming style with the sun-drenched Walton and Weybridge Amateur Regatta and Weybridge Ladies Regatta on consecutive days.

W&W started for me at 6am as I met up with the others whom Sheila Owens had press-ganged, cajoled or otherwise blackmailed into setting up the ‘Weybridge Rowing Club Gourmet Catering Service’ – which was to serve the multitudes all day long with delicious bacon butties, gorgeous ‘Outback’ burgers and mouth watering cakes donated by friends and family.  Hard work for the teams managing it, but a great success in terms of planning, execution and teamwork.


WRC kicked off with ‘Caroline’s Babies’ – the mens’ novice 4 with young Tom Whittingham (and his ever-present weights) and continued with a full programme of events to test our youngsters.  At the end of a good day’s racing, sunburn but no pots, despite valiant efforts all round.


More success at Weybridge Ladies the next day.  Another gorgeous day which ended up with wins for the WJ15 quad and two of the quad rowing in a doubles race.  It was tough watching our two WJ15 2x boats competing against each other in the second heat; neither wanted to win over the other, but their professionalism both in victory and defeat showed though and WRC came out on top in the final.


So, to the future; Star Sprint on the river Great Ouse at Bedford on 11th June and Egham on 25th June (just after the Pre-Henley Ball on 24th).  Bedford’s sorted – our biggest entry so far (I am wondering just how we will get everything on the trailer) and Egham is likely to be well supported too.  Star Club were, by the way, delighted that WRC were coming along with so many teams; a decent size entry is always appreciated and as we know, organising an event such as a Regatta takes a huge amount of effort.


Speaking of which I’d just like to say how very lucky we are to have Jon heading us up.  Quite how he fits in what he does I really don’t know.  He’s always there for me and my queries, and he’s always there for you guys, too.  Appreciate him!


All the best for June.

May - Nick Mundy's Column

April was a promising month. Not so long ago, although it seems years ago, was the Weybridge Rowing Club Junior party. I felt it went really well and was a good way for the juniors, old and new, to bond and have a chat.

Anyway moving onto the rowing side of things, the month resulted in a lot of results. On the 1st of April we had the Teddington sculls. Kirsten, Emma, Julia and Diana, coxed by me, came 1st position on the challenging 5km course, beating all our competitors by a long way. It was a good way to end the head season and start the regatta season. On the 30th we had our first regatta, Evesham. Tom C and Chris went through three rounds to beat Stourport in the final. Also the unstoppable WJ15 quad of Kirsten, Emma, Diana and Georgina, coxed by Julia, won by 3/4 of a length against Stourport.
At Thames Ditton, on the 13th of May, we did extremely well. James Coxhead won his event, as did James Whittingham. Jack Shepard, James Capel, James Piercy and James Amico, coxed by Tom Whittingham, won the plate, event so well done to them. I feel that May and June look promising, and we should see the results page fill up soon! Well done to everyone mentioned and I hope the whole junior squad can keep it up.
*All we need now is a few more boats!

* - Nick's reference to the need for more boats comes as a result of an ongoing campaign by Tom C, Chris and Jack to raise funds for three new boats. This campaign is headed by a presentation which we hope to make available to the public in the future.

April - Fred's Column

March bought the junior squad our first main races for 2006- Weybridge Vets & Juniors, and Teddington Sculls. So far, we have got three junior wins this year, which I feel is pretty good. With Evesham Regatta coming up in a few weeks, I expect that the junior squad will be bringing home more wins. Many members took part in the recent junior training day, which I expect many benefited from, and we will hopefully see the tips they picked up in their races to come. Hopefully we can bring home more wins than last year- if the members are still as dedicated as they are now throughout the year, then we will hopefully be able to beat the number of wins from last year

Well here's my favourite photo from this month, taken one day when we 'trained hard and had fun'.