Rowing To Victory
Tuesday 23rd June 2015
One of Queen Anne’s sporting stars, Sheyi Blackett, L6, shares with us her recent rowing achievements at the Reading Amateur Regatta and the Henley Women’s Regatta.
“Lately, I have been preparing my single for the upcoming race off for a spot in the Junior GB Final Trials Selection. After a long and intense speed week, I ended with a few 1k races on our home stretch as Reading hosted the Reading Amateur Regatta on Sunday 14 June. I was entered into two categories, Junior Women’s Singles and Intermediate 3 Women’s Singles. In both categories I managed to reach the final! Not surprisingly, both finals were against some of my squad members so it was just like a normal training piece, the only difference being that one of us would walk away with a nice shiny medal. With regards to the Junior Women’s Singles event, I beat my teammate by just over a boat length. At that point I knew that “speed week” had paid off!”
“The following week was Henley Women’s Regatta. This takes place on the first 1500m of the Henley Royal stretch. It lasts three days and women from all over the country and other parts of the world come together to take part. Our Coxed Four raced on Saturday, first in a time trial, which would determine the speed order of all twenty-four boats entered and the fastest sixteen were to be seeded into racing. Our first race after the time trial was against Sudbury; we had beaten them before by two minutes in a long head race. Our plan was to execute the first part of the race with the rest becoming easier. We cruised through beating them by four boat lengths. Sunday came and nerves were in the air because racing was only going to get harder. In training we had produced great speed so we knew we had it in us to win, but anything could happen. Our first race of the Finals day was against Marlow who we know well and who had won Bronze at Nationals. However we were bigger, faster and stronger. We needed no more or no less than before and we did the same job beating them by over two lengths. Our next opponent was an American crew who we beat by two lengths. We were in the Final! Tense moments were shared on the start line and we knew we needed to do exactly what we had done previously as per our race plan… and no more. We raced off the start against Shiplake Vikings taking a length in the first kilometre…the crowd roared as we had tonnes of support on the embankment. As the race crept on, Shiplake crept back as well but we held on to finish, celebrating like champions! We had won Henley Women’s Regatta 2015!”