Coleraine Grammar School rowers make history
Coleraine Grammar School pupils made a small piece of history when 42 rowers competed at Portadown regatta recently.
The rowers decked out in striking green with a red band colours were the first to don the new uniform in competition.
It was to be a day of firsts with 30 of the contingent attending their first competition including all the girls who only started rowing in February this year.
The Grammar school is in a fortunate position of being only one of four schools in Northern Ireland to offer rowing as one of its core sports to its pupils.
In a day when Northern Ireland weather displayed all its faces from strong wind, hail showers, bitterly cold to bright sunshine, the rowers battled the elements and other crews.
The junior 14 squad of boys made a clean sweep winning medals in all three categories single scull, double scull and quadruple scull.
The senior boys following on from a strong performance at the Irish Schools Championship in Limerick the previous weekend and won the club quadruple scull.
One of the best races of the day was the J16 single scull final when Hugh Moore battled the entire length of the 1000 meter course to unfortunately lose to a Portora sculler by a distance of one foot, such are the fine margins in this sport.
The girls competed in the junior 14, 15 and 16 categories rowing in both eights and quadruple sculls.
Despite some valiant efforts they all came up against more experienced opposition which was to be expected and on this occasion experience won the day!
The Grammar school rowing coach Jeremy Johnston praised the efforts and sportsmanship displayed by his pupils.
He was particularly pleased to see large numbers of parents and grandparents supporting the children during the day.
He also thanked the considerable effort put in by the team of volunteer coaches who through their efforts managed to get so many children ready for Portadown Regatta within three months of starting.
Jeremy went onto explain these first Regatta experiences are about the children getting a love for the sport and meeting like minded athletes from around Ireland.
In the coming months he intends to take ever increasing numbers to events.
In his words ‘the children are taking to rowing like ducks to water long may it continue!’.