Rowing: Duo achieve GB progress

THREE young stars from St Neots Rowing Club have been trying out for the Great Britain Junior Squad – with the aim of going to the World Championships. Natalie Bream, 16, and Joanna Fitzsimons, 16, led the way for the club at the latest round of trials, h

THREE young stars from St Neots Rowing Club have been trying out for the Great Britain Junior Squad - with the aim of going to the World Championships.

Natalie Bream, 16, and Joanna Fitzsimons, 16, led the way for the club at the latest round of trials, held at Boston. Fitzsimons missed last year's trials through illness but made up for it this time around with excellent performances.

Both girls improved on their previous showings in the single scull trials but it was when paired with Lottie Howard-Merrill of Oxford's Headington School that Fitzsimons shone.

The pair reproduced the form they had shown at a recent Peterborough event, winning the coxless pairs by a huge margin of 22 seconds. Their time compared very favourably with the 'Gold Medal Standard' and bodes well for the World Championships to be held later this year in Beijing.


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Both Fitzsimons and Bream have been invited to attend the GB Junior Spring Assessment in April.

The third St Neots rower in action was Sam Howell, 15, but his performance in the boys' single sculls was hampered by flu. He struggled with the gruelling 5km course and finished much lower than he would have expected and will have to wait until April to get another chance to prove himself.

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Meanwhile, the Saints Junior 15 Women's coxed quad of Bethany Astell, Polly Hetherington, Ellie Milne and Lauren Thompson were racing much closer to home at the Bedford Eights and Fours Head.

They had already shown a good turn of speed at the Cambridge Winter League - where they beat all the boy's crews in the first two races. At Bedford they were up against crews from Bedford High School and Dame Alice Harpur School with their main rivals from Star Club opting for the coxless quads.

The Saints girls attacked the race from the start and overtook one of the Dame Alice Harpur crews at the halfway mark and caught up with another High School coxed four. The St Neots rowers won their event by five seconds and tied with the Star crew in the faster boat type.

The next time these crews meet it will be for the Schools Head of the River Race in mid-March.

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