Rowing: Club churns out a wealth of GB talent

HEAD coach at St Neots Rowing Club Martyn Rooney is optimistic that the club can build on a strong 2007 with more international recognition in 2008. The club is home for a number of Great Britain s international hopes and Rooney, who is also a GB coach, b

HEAD coach at St Neots Rowing Club Martyn Rooney is optimistic that the club can build on a strong 2007 with more international recognition in 2008.

The club is home for a number of Great Britain's international hopes and Rooney, who is also a GB coach, believes his charges have what it takes to earn selection.

"Last year saw Jacqui Round become the first ever St Neots rower to be picked to represent Great Britain at senior level, although illness prevented her from competing," said Rooney.

"Our seniors are already in action for the new year and the juniors get going this weekend at Boston with Great Britain very much on everyone's mind."


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In 2007, no fewer than seven junior Great British internationals were produced by the prolific club. Jo Fitzsimons was the top performer, racing for her country at the World Championships in Beijing.

Natalie Bream and Sam Howell both raced at the 12-nation Coupe de la Jeunesse in Italy while Bethany Astell, Polly Hetherington and Rachael Crockford were part of the GB eight in an U16 international meeting against France.

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Despite the club's success, funding is an issue with the cancellation of St Neots' 2007 Regatta due to flooding hitting the club hard.

St Neots RC had expected to make a profit from the event which was to be used to support the club's application for Project Oarsome Extra - a scheme whereby junior rowers are provided with state-of-the-art training facilities.

Rooney explained: "We are already a part of the Project Oarsome scheme, the idea of which is to get more young people into rowing.

"If we had been able to achieve Extra status it would have provided us with much-needed, high-quality equipment that would allow juniors to compete with the big private schools.

"We have the best record of any club in the country for consistently producing junior internationals. We will be disadvantaged by missing out on Extra status and I would appeal to anyone who may be able to help us - financially or otherwise - to get in touch with me."

Back on the water, Round is back in training following her bout of glandular fever and raced at the GB long-distance trials at Boston on Saturday.

Racing with Franki Jus-Buerk in the women's pairs, Round secured a fifth-placed overall finish and won the U23 in what was a strong field.

Saints' juniors get their competitive season under way this weekend when they take part in their own long-distance trials over five kilometres at Boston.

All of last year's internationals will be back to try again for the club, racing in single sculls on Saturday and either coxless pairs or double sculls on Sunday.

INFORMATION: Contact Martyn Rooney on 07941747909.

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