FOUR Zimbabwe schools set to take part at the 2018 SA Schools and Junior Rowing Championships to be hosted at Roodeplaat Dam near Pretoria have begun preparation for the 44th edition of Africa’s biggest annual schools rowing event.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
This year’s competition will be held from March 2-4 with Zimbabwean rowers looking to do better than last year’s tally of nine medals.
Approximately 50 young rowers from Chisipite, St George’s College, Arundel and Peterhouse will fly the country’s flag high at the schools championships.
“SA schools is the first weekend of March so preparations began in earnest at the beginning of the third term last year. Schools will be leaving for South Africa in the last weekend of February,” Rowing Association of Zimbabwe (RAZ) coach Kristine Johnson told The Sports Hub.
“Chisipite is camping at Small Bridge Dam just outside Penhalonga, but once we go back to school next term we will be back to Mazowe Dam. St Georges are also currently in camp at Mazowe Dam,” she said.
According to the distinguished rowing coach, the SA Schools Rowing championships are used as one of the platforms to choose the national junior squad for world championships.
“For the Schools and the school rowers it (the event) is the biggest and most important regatta of the season.
This is where we will select our national squad. This regatta plays a big role for those aiming for worlds in August,” said Johnson.
RAZ is also looking to send a strong team to the 2018 Youth Olympics to be staged in Argentina later this year.
Last year top junior rower Lorryn Bass from Chisipite Boat Club (CBC)’s won gold in the girls Under-16 Single Scull over 2,000 metres event while Holly Bicknell of Peterhouse Boat Club (PHBC) won gold in the girls Under-15 race Single Scull over 1 000 metres race.
Bass then teamed up with Ashley Craig to take silver for CBC in the girls’ Under-16 Double Scull event as the PHBC girls’ crew of Bicknell, Emma Kuipers, Jade O’Donavan, Victoria Wood and Rachel Erasmus (coxswain) settled for silver in the girls’ Under-15 Quad Scull event.
The Plunkett brothers, Rory and Patrick representing Hilton Boat Club (HBC) won silver in the boys Under-19 Double Scull event.
Stuart Duncan of St Georges Boat Club (SGBC) in the Boys under 19 Single Scull won bronze as well as Keagan Smith and Kenneth Raynor of PHBC in the boys Under-19 Double Scull event.
Other bronze medals were won by the pairs of Angie Perez – Burgos (CBC) and Aqua Evans (PHBC) as well as Bicknell and Shannon O’ Donavan of PHBC.