Sheyi's Sports Diary

Friday 10th April 2015

Over the past few months, Sheyi Blackett, L6, has been busy competing in a number of large rowing events. Find out more about what inspires Sheyi by reading her review below:

“Lately I have been partaking in a number of big rowing events. It has been a real success and I have enjoyed every minute of it!

My first event was the The Women’s Eights Head of the River Race, probably the biggest women’s head race in the world. 300 boats were entered from many different clubs across the UK and abroad. My role was in the two-seat of the GB U23 Boat. We were compiled of different women from different clubs to create one of the best composites. This was an opportunity of a lifetime. We had trained only twice as a crew on Thursday and Friday and raced the following Saturday. The tideway flooded with boats on this early morning and 300 boats went afloat to begin racing, including the GB women’s squad who were favourites to win. After 7km of hard, fast racing, we had finished 9th overall.

Over these sessions with the crew I felt so prepared for what was to come. The following Monday 16 of March was Schools Head of the River Race. This huge event hosted by Westminster School had over 300 boats take part. All crews were of junior level and some of best schools, including the likes of Abingdon, Westminster and St. Paul’s had entered. Our crew represented Reading Rowing Club in the Junior Women’s coxed 4+ event. This was our very first time racing as a crew in this event and we had our motto, “Win by a minute, or lose by a minute” which meant that if we wanted to win it, we were going to win by a great deal, but if we were going to lose, we might as well lose it properly. Of course we wanted to win! With that mentality we went afloat and despite waiting over two hours to start, we raced the same 7km course, overtaking crews such as Weybridge, Shiplake and even some Eights teams to win the title by 11 seconds! We were elated with the result and I cannot wait for what the rest of the season holds for us as a crew.

On Friday the 20 March, Queen Anne’s participated in the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships, the biggest indoor rowing event in the world. After an early start, we set off from Queen Anne’s to Lee Valley Indoor Sports Park. The atmosphere was incredible as hundreds of school children gathered inside to take part in the event. My event was the Year 12 girls event with over 30 entries all completing a gruelling 2km. I had a race plan that I was going to stick to no matter how much I was losing by. The race started and I began in 4th place, however, I knew if I stuck to the plan the others would soon lose endurance and burn out. As the race went on with 1000m to go, I slowly clambered up into 3rd and soon into 2nd place with 600m to go. The last quarter of my plan was the part where I “emptied the tank”. At this point I moved swiftly from 16m behind to 1st place, racing to the finish. I finished first by 20m…it was a fantastic feeling.

I would just like to thank the school for being so supportive of all my sporting activities. Sometimes training gets so tough and the thought of racing can be so daunting but when I come into school and I am greeted with all the support, it makes my day repeatedly! I am so grateful to have such caring and wonderful women surrounding me and I appreciate every bit of support I get! It’s what keeps me going!”

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