Derwentwater-based Lakeland Rowing Club put in a multi-medal-winning performance in extremely challenging conditions at the North of England Sprint Championships on Saturday.
Twenty-one members aged from 13 to 64 took 12 boats to Hollingworth Lake near Rochdale, and over the course of a ten-hour rowing day, competed in 33 races over a 500m sprint course.
The day started early, as with Lakeland’s first crew due to row just after 8.30am, the club’s trailer left its Keswick HQ at 4.45am.
Conditions were extremely tough at the championship, which is the last major regatta in the North of England rowing calendar, with heavy rain, strong winds and unexpected cold.
Despite this, the club’s first senior victory came just before midday, when James Waterfield, from Whitehaven, triumphed in the Masters A single sculls category for rowers aged 27-35.
The pairing of Nick Cowan and Sam Ayers, both from Eaglesfield, amassed three wins between them: first in the Mixed Masters D (average age 50-54) doubles over another Lakeland crew and one from Runcorn RC.
Nick sailed to victory in his Masters F (age 60-64) singles heat and final, then the pair topped it off with a win against younger competition in the Mixed Masters C (average age 43-49) doubles category.
Sam Ayers said: “It was great to get two race wins under our belt at this event. Hollingworth Regatta was our last opportunity to race before the World Championships in Budapest and we couldn’t have asked for better preparation than winning both events against some of the strongest mixed crews in the North of England.”
Next stop for Nick and Sam will be the World Rowing Masters Regatta at Lake Velence in Hungary later this month.
Two more victories rounded off the day for the seniors: Fiona Williams, from Cockermouth, and Julia McCumiskey, from Keswick, won the Women’s Masters C doubles, while Celia Whittam, from Troutbeck, and Gordon Jack, from Greysouthen, took the Mixed Masters E/F (average age 55-64) doubles.
Eight junior members also attended the regatta, five of whom were racing for the first time, some having only learnt to row two months ago.
Holly Lock, from Gilgarran, was the first to win a medal, in her first-ever race in a single scull in the Women’s J15 singles, seeing off competition from Lancaster School and Trafford RC.
Doubles partnership Adam Wilson, from Low Lorton, and Cameron Regan-Teasdale, from Dacre, found success in the J16 doubles, their second medal as a duo.
New rowers Sam Robinson, from Keswick, Sam Wilson, from Keswick, and Keir McIntosh, from High Lorton, took part in their first race in a J16 coxless quad with more experienced Cameron in the bow, performing admirably in very choppy conditions.
Later in the day, Tom Strong and Liam McCumiskey, both from Keswick, also racing for the first time, were the youngest ever entries for the club. They rowed well together, coming second in their heat of the J13 doubles.
Julia McCumiskey, one of the club’s junior coordinators, said: “All our junior members showed a huge amount of commitment and great potential. It’s a great pleasure to see them enjoy racing and succeed to the level they have this year.
“The whole club looks forward to rowing in the championships at Hollingworth every year, as it’s a very well-organised event where we have a history of winning.
“With a total of eight medals this year, you can bet we’ll be back next time, aiming to do even better!”
Beginners, or returning rowers, who would like to know more about opportunities at Lakeland RC can visit www.lakelandrowingclub.com or find the club on Facebook – just search for the Lakeland Rowing Club page.