Updated: Nov 18, 2019
After a meeting with Weybridge RC just over 2 years ago now, we found out that Jubilee High was one of the only local schools to have absolutely no student or staff affiliation with WRC. Some of that was down to the school’s demographics and the student’s perception that rowing was an elitist and non-inclusive sport, and a little bit down to the fact that as none of us are local to the area we didn’t know WRC was there. We were keen to try and change this.
We started with a small group of J14 boys and girls who along with myself quickly discovered just how much fun the challenge of trying to keep a ridiculously narrow boat upright and afloat let alone moving, without looking like Bambi on ice - it made the technicalities of Rugby look like child’s play. Cue lots of wet clothes and cups of Coke on the bank. With tales of the water getting back to school interest grew and so did the group. We continued to work with Rachel, Clive and Nick bussing the group down once a week and we slowly started to see some improvements. The school really started getting behind the sport and the rowing squad currently plays a big part in the school’s promotional video and prospectus. Check out the school website: Life at Jubilee High School.
For the second year in a row we entered the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) over at Lee Valley, taking a squad of J12, J13, J14, J15 and J16 boys and girls for what we thought would be a nice experience and give us something to aim for in years to come. After just over 3 months training we weren’t expecting much but the sense of competition in the air led to 3 top 40 finishes, two ‘GB Start testing’ invitations and most of the group finishing in the top half of their respective age groups. To say we were buzzing would be an understatement.
Student interest has continued to grow and we have converted one of our underused squash courts into the beginnings of our very own rowing suite, complete with 10 brand new ergos. We now run multiple ergo sessions both before and after school throughout the week which are becoming very well attended.
Now if you are involved in the junior section you might have seen two new faces helping out at the weekends over the past few weeks; both myself (Brendan) and Amy decided we enjoyed rowing so much we got ourselves on the Level 2 coaching course during the summer holidays and are now working towards becoming fully qualified rowing coaches.
Next on the list for Jubilee this year is the possibility of entering the Ball Cup Regatta with our J15 boys. On the senior side we are looking to enter our 4th community regatta; we’ve been progressing every year so it won’t be long until we start dominating the Cut.
The school and I are really looking forward to continuing to develop the relationship Jubilee High has with WRC and our long-term goal is to acquire our own boat and start competing in local regattas. I am currently looking into funding/sponsorship avenues to allow us to further develop our facilities, introduce the wonderful sport of rowing to even more of our students in the hope that one day there will be an Olympian saying I started at Jubilee and WRC.