Cranleigh pupils won in every race in the recent National Schools Regatta, with kayakers Will Dahl and Jack Collins taking home the Sprint and Marathon individual titles.
Cranleigh had no returning paddlers to this event and was placed in the ‘novice’ section, consisting of those with less than six months’ experience, making such success all the more remarkable.
“A great day, great racing and a great result for Cranleigh! Our paddlers won every race and we’re delighted for them after the hard work put in training. Particularly pleasing was Louis Jenkin and Kiko Liu coming in as the second fastest mixed boat – an excellent result for a crew who hadn’t paddled or trained together before the event! Huge thanks go to all our supporters for making sure the event ran so smoothly,” said Coach Linda Baily.
The day began with 500m seeding heats. Cranleigh boats won all three heats and sent four boats through to the ‘A’ final. Will Dahl and Jack Collins were outright winners. Our other three boats fought hard against Blundell’s School to register a 3rd place for Archie Collins and Ben Whalley, 4th place for Harry Pite and Hugo Bonsey and 6th place for Chris Shaw and Charlie Wilson.
Next up, the fun and tactics of the 200m elimination, which saw 30 boats lined up on the start – the slowest five or six being eliminated at the end of the race. Five races later, Cranleigh had three boats in the final five. Will Dahl and Jack Collins won again, just holding off Archie Collins and Ben Whalley with Chris Shaw and Charlie Wilson in 4th place. Kiko and Louis were again the second fastest in their category.
After lunch, with the weather and Thames river conditions holding, the marathon began. By the end of the first quarter, Will and Jack had established a commanding lead which was never threatened. Archie and Ben couldn’t quite chase down a Blundell’s boat, but finished in 3rd. Harry and Hugo were involved in a cat and mouse chase with another Blundell’s boat and played a blinder on the portage, overtaking and maintaining their lead to take 4th place, all whilst Chris and Charlie were close behind in 6th place.