TEES ROWING CLUB celebrated their 150th anniversary in style last weekend as more than 750 competitors attended the annual Tees Regatta.
In 2013, heavy wind and rain almost wrecked the Regatta, but 12 months on, brilliant sunshine made for a memorable day.
With more than 100 volunteers helping to organise the event, there were a number of extremely closely-fought races, with the Adaptive TA single sculls for women proving particularly exciting.
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Last year’s Henley Regatta winner, Sophie Brown, travelled from Sudbury to race against Tees’ Gillian Lathan.
A brisk wind made for challenging conditions, but Lathan edged ahead in the final 20 metres to cement her role as one of the rising stars of para-rowing.
Tees RC have embraced British Rowing’s Pathfinder initiative, which sees eight crews of various sized boats competing against each other over a 850m course.
The races proved especially popular, with the Bradford Masters C double seeing off two Tees quads in the final. In the eights race, Lancaster University confirmed their dominance of the senior men’s category by edging out Yarm School in a tight encounter.
Yarm School recorded a number of notable wins, with Cailin Barry claiming singles titles at IM3, IM1 and elite level. Ben Spencer also won three titles at novice, IM3 and IM1. Yarm’s senior girls eight were the fastest crew in the Pathfinder event.
Yarm School head to the National Schools Championship at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham this weekend, and will hope to achieve more success.
Last weekend’s Regatta also celebrated Tees RC’s tie up with 5th Regiment Royal Artillery, who are preparing for their first entry at the Joint Services Regatta later this month.
As part of their development, a special event was included in last weekend’s programme that saw a Tees and Regiment crew mixed to form two eights. The Yorkshire Regiment just came out ahead its Tees equivalent.
Tees RC have worked closely to forge links with the local community, and North-East firms QA Weldtech and GSE Systems competed for the Butterwick Cup. QA Weldtech were victorious, with the event raising £4,700 for the Butterwick Hospice.
This year’s Regatta was Kate O’Sullivan’s last as chairperson after 25 years, and the club were keen to pay tribute to her role in transforming the event into the pinnacle of the northern rowing calendar.
“She has done a fantastic job, and her hard work gives Tees RC the platform to build on its recent successes and ensure the future is even brighter,” said Tees RC member Steve Barker.
WHILE Tees RC were hosting the Tees Regatta last weekend, a number of the club’s elite members were outside the region competing in national and international competitions.
In the veteran D category at the National Masters Championship, the men’s eight were up against stiff competition to reach the final and lost out to a strong Marlow RC crew by a length.
A mixed quad of Denise McCardle, Richard Harandon, Dick Wilkinson and Janet Wilkinson finished fourth in their category, but there was more success for the men’s quad of J Cooper, D Cooper, P Buckworth and H Pelham, who won gold by less than a second in the Vet D category.
The women’s C eight finished third to claim a bronze medal, while John Winton won a silver medal in the novice men’s category as he made his debut on the national stage.
Meanwhile, Tees’ Laurence Whiteley produced a superb performance to win two gold medals at the International Para-Rowing Regatta at Varese in Italy.
It has been a frustrating time of late for Whiteley, as the GB Rowing Team are searching for a partner of the same classification to row with him in the TA mixed double scull.
However, the North-Easterner put this behind him to produce the fastest time seen internationally in the TAM1x final, winning by over eight seconds.
He then claimed another comfortable victory 24 hours later to prove that, while he is still in search of a partner, his own form is not a problem.