Rowers shine at Henley Regatta
ST NEOTS Rowing Club pulled off a memorable win at the prestigious Henley Women s Regatta for the second time in four years. Last weekend s event was also the second time out for Jo Fitzsimons, who was at bow in the club s quad scull in 2005 as a 15-year-
ST NEOTS Rowing Club pulled off a memorable win at the prestigious Henley Women's Regatta for the second time in four years.
Last weekend's event was also the second time out for Jo Fitzsimons, who was at bow in the club's quad scull in 2005 as a 15-year-old.
This year she stroked the Saints' coxed four where her crewmates were Natalie Bream, Bethany Astell and Polly Hetherington, with Kat Davies coxing.
Fitzsimons has come a long way since her first Henley win - last year she was part of the Great Britain coxless four that finished sixth at the World Championships in Beijing and has already raced for GB this year at the Munich International Regatta.
Her crewmates also have a strong pedigree - Bream represented Great Britain last year at the Coupe de la Jeunesse and raced at Munich. Astell and Hetherington represented Great Britain at U16 level last year.
Their Henley campaign began on Saturday with a win over St Edward's School and they followed this with a very impressive win against a composite crew from Reading, Molesey and Rob Roy.
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On Sunday, conditions had deteriorated with a very tough, strong head wind. The St Neots opponents in the semi-final were Groton School USA, but Saints took advantage early on and never looked back as they cruised to an easy win.
The final was contested in difficult weather conditions against Headington School and, despite some hair-raising moments, the Saints crew led from start to finish to clinch the title.
Jacqui Round, another St.Neots member, collected a second winner's medal following a success in the quad in 2005. This year she raced in a composite crew with Oxford Brooks University in the elite coxless fours - this crew has been selected to represent Great Britain at the World U23 Championships.
In the semi-final they beat a crew from Muckross, Ireland, before taking on the GB Senior crew being prepared for the European Championships who had beaten a crew from South Africa in their semi-final.
Round's crew had a very strong first half to the race and rowed past the enclosures with clear water between the crews. They answered repeated 'attacks' form their opponents and recorded a 1.5 length victory.
St Neots Rowing Club were also represented in the Women's Junior single sculls by Rachael Crockford. Crockford put in a very strong performance, holding Ali Brooks to less than two lengths before being beaten to the line.
St Neots coach Martyn Rooney said: "I was very pleased with all of our girls, but the performance of the coxed four against the other GB crew stands out as one to remember.
"It is always hard to row through opponents but they showed that belief and determination pays off.