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Young people contest University-hosted rowing event

(20 November 2018)

Around 90 young people have competed in a county-wide rowing contest at Durham University.

The University’s Maiden Castle sports complex was the venue for the County Durham Schools Indoor Rowing Championships, with young people aged 11 to 18 racing on the indoor rowing machines.

Schools and local clubs sent young athletes to compete, and the four top-performing individuals from each School Year race qualified for the Regional Indoor Rowing Competition, which will be held back at Maiden Castle in February.

‘Really fun’

Elise Lambert, 13, from Durham Johnston School, Durham City, won Gold in the Year 8 Girls contest. She was inspired by rowing through a Team Durham Holiday Camp and last year won Gold in the Year 7 Girls race.

She said: “I like rowing because it’s a challenge. The competition has been really fun. It’s a nice atmosphere.”

Those young people that were successful in the County Championships will also be invited to participate in the University’s Junior High Performance Academy (JHPA).

This three-month programme offers young people weekly support and guidance sessions covering strength and conditioning, psychology, nutrition and health.

‘It’s invaluable for us’

Julie Shaw is a learning support assistant and rowing coach at St Leonard’s Catholic School, Durham City. Her daughters Ella, 14, and Emily, 13, took bronze in the Year 10 Girls and silver in the Year 8 Girls contests, respectively.

She said: “It’s amazing to have the University’s support. It’s had a massive impact, on the water and in the gym. We love being involved. It’s invaluable for us.”

Long-term commitment

Wade Hall-Craggs is Senior Rowing Coach at Durham University Boat Club, which provides coaches and student volunteers to help run the competitions and the JHPA.

He said: “Durham University and Durham University Boat Club are committed to supporting and nurturing the elite rowers of the future and allowing more people to enjoy rowing for fun and as a great way to keep fit.

“We are proud to have hosted the County and Regional indoor rowing championships at Maiden Castle for the past ten years now. It was great to see so many young people having fun rowing, and challenging themselves, mentally and physically.

“Congratulations to all those who have qualified for the regional contest, and we look forward to welcoming them back soon – both for that competition and, for many, to join the Junior High Performance Academy.”