Posted: 16 June, 2021
It had been a long 615 days since the last ‘on-the-water' rowing competition had taken place at Strathclyde Park so, with a lot of excitement, 210 rowers from 12 clubs around Scotland pulled on their lycra one-pieces and turned up to compete at the 2021 Junior Summer Regatta on Saturday the 5th of June. It wasn’t just fun for the competitors – coaches, umpires and volunteers had all been looking forward to the return to rowing.
In the months before, many hours of meetings took place to ensure that we could offer an event that complied with the ever-changing COVID-19 situation as well as finding a way for all junior athletes to get involved, regardless of their age or ability. Jen Thomson, Chair of the Regatta Organising Committee, said, “We were aware that some clubs and athletes have had greater opportunities to train on and off the water in the last 15 months: it was essential for us to create a regatta that would welcome back all of our members and provide good racing for everyone who entered, with an opportunity to compete against crews of similar speed, regardless of age/ability.”
Coaches and clubs embraced the opportunity to put on something different and inclusive. After a consultation with the clubs, a new type of regatta was born: age groups were combined, there were short time trials in small boats, with side-by-side finals scheduled straight after the time trial, and later on in the day, straight finals in larger boats where the fastest time in any race would win the prize. In the smaller boats, the finals were organised using the time trial results, which meant that the side-by-side finals were all close and very competitive! Every athlete also got given a ranking at the end of the event based on these races - this should let coaches and crews fairly compare their crews against other similar participants.
On the day, the return to competition was fantastic: good weather, (relatively) calm water and plenty of smiling, excited club members and coaches back at Scotland’s international-standard rowing course. The regatta wouldn’t have been such a success without the hard work of the many volunteers who helped in advance of the competition and on the day: stakeboat volunteers, marshals, umpires and the Regatta Organising Committee. We also have to thank the Scottish Rowing staff and North Lanarkshire Council for their help delivering this event.
We are now looking forward to the next event, The Lochdown Regatta, which will take place at Strathclyde Park on the 24th and 25th July. We are holding a Zoom Consultation Meeting at 7pm on Thursday the 17th of June. If you want to know what we are proposing for this event and want to be involved then register here https://bit.ly/3znx0bt