Rowing Blog

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Trinity 2020

Rowing 2.6 Challenge

RGS rowers have raised over £1,190 for Worcester-based charity, The Myriad Centre, by taking part in the 2.6 Challenge – a home-based charity fundraiser to replace the London Marathon scheduled for 26 April.

Head of Rowing, Mrs Jane Sullivan, took to her rowing machine at home to row 26km, while the rowers undertook a range of 2.6 Challenges based on running, cycling, rowing and body circuits.

“Rowing 26km on the rowing machine really pushed me – it’s a long way,” says Mrs Sullivan. “The row took two hours and five minutes which was well within my predicted time and I was pleased to have completed it, although my back was complaining for several days afterwards!”

Over the last week the rowers have completed their own challenges at home and have rowed, cycled and run over 500,000 metres between them. “It was great to see the enthusiasm for this challenge from our rowers,” says Mrs Sullivan. “It has been a tough season with the flooding and then school closure but we are trying to keep the rowing spirit going with regular team meetings, and training tips via the CoachNow app.”

The Myriad Centre in Worcester, provides day care provision for young adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) as they make the transition from school to adulthood. Activities include swimming, hydrotherapy, music therapy, day trips and a Saturday club for teenagers.

Myriad Centre trustee, Carol Bawden, said: "This is an amazing feat of fundraising and comes as a huge (and wonderfully unexpected!) boost to our charity at a very challenging time.

“Our profoundly disabled young people have now been isolated at home for nearly six weeks, many for the first time since early childhood. They are missing their friends and Myriad 'family' and of course not necessarily receiving the physical and cognitive interventions they need to keep them physically well and happy.

“The majority of our clients are in wheelchairs and require significant support, and their round-the-clock care is therefore a significant responsibility for families. This wonderful donation will enable us to continue to provide support for these families, during this difficult time, as well helping us to ensure that the charity remains financially viable for when we can re-open. Thank you so much to everyone for their support.”

Additional content if you need it:

During her 26km row Mrs Sullivan took to Twitter wearing rowing kit from 10 different rowing clubs, with followers invited to ‘Guess the Kit’ (answers below). Some well-known names from the world of rowing also sent messages of support including GB rowers Vicky Thornley, Karen Bennett, and Sir Matthew Pinsent.

Rowing kit quiz answers: RGS Worcester Boat Club; City of Cambridge Rowing Club; Evesham Rowing Club; Edinburgh University Boat Club; Harvard University; Putney Town Rowing Club; Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club; Worcester Rowing Club; England Home International vest; Reading University Boat Club.

Michaelmas 2019

Wycliffe Small Boats Head

Posted: Friday 13 December 2019

Rowing medal haul at Wycliffe Small Boats Head

After a Michaelmas term marred by flooding and the cancellation of six fixtures in a row, the rowers finally enjoyed their first fixture of the term last Saturday and were rewarded with a haul of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Wycliffe Small Boats Head is a 2.5k time trial race held on the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal and attracts a high level of competition from around the region. The flu-bug had cut a swathe through some of our crews and it is to our rowers’ great credit that they remained cheerful and raced their hardest in crew combinations that were often completely untried and untested!

Despite the challenges RGS Worcester crews earned two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze medal.

The winners were:

Women’s double: Megan Wright and Phoebe Ellis-Tait
Open double: Ben Jarvis and Daniel Hall

Silver medallists were:

Girls’ J15 coxed quad: Lucy Smith, Menna Sutton, Saffron Crump, Maddison Brown (coxed by Tobey Butler)
Open coxless quad: Nik Judge, Freddie Davies, James Preece, Angus Day
Open rookie double: Nik Judge, Angus Day

Bronze medallists were:
J18 coxless quad: Ben Walker, Adam Smith, Daniel Hall, Ben Jarvis

Full results are here:

The rowers are now in training for their main events of the winter season, The Schools’ Head of the River and the National Junior Sculling Head, in March, and hoping for some fine weather and low river levels to allow them to train!

First half-term rowing round-up 

The first half of the Michaelmas Term has been a trial of resilience and determination for the rowers and coaches! After a summer regatta season marred by one cancellation after another we were hoping for a better start to the new season.

A Good Start . . .

September started so well with beautiful weather and flat water – perfect for the preparation phase of the season (developing skills and learning new ones, including rowing the eight). 

Nottingham Training Fixture 

Then the rain came and, with it, high river levels which led to the cancellation of both Worcester Autumn and Evesham Junior Heads on two consecutive weekends. We made good use of the Fitness Suite and also took the rowers who were scheduled to race at Evesham on a day trip to the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. Those rowers who attended were rewarded with sunshine, flat water and lots of kilometres of training. It was well worth the effort particularly as the river at Worcester became unrowable again the following week.

New beginnings

We welcomed 20 new Year Nines to the Boat Club and while they have had very little time on the water, their enthusiasm for our indoor training has been infectious and we enjoyed hotly contested individual and team competitions in the final session before half-term.

Capsize Drill

Our Capsize Drill went smoothly with everyone who took part demonstrating the skills and confidence to cope with falling in the water. Thank you to our Captains – Emma Little and Adam Smith – and sixth form rowers Ben Walker, Tom Hislop and Phoebe Ellis-Tait who also volunteered for the afternoon to help our new recruits through the drill.

Learn to Row in the Sixth Form

A new initiative this term has been to offer beginner rowing to sixth formers. We have started small with four new recruits who have been learning the basics under the tuition of Miss Tuckwood and are already rowing in sweep and sculling boats alongside their friends who have been rowing since Year Nine. We hope that more sixth formers coming into RGS will be able to take up the opportunity of rowing and leave us with the skills to slot into a university boat club.

Atlantic Ambition

In September our J15s happened to be training in school when the crew of Atlantic Ambition were preparing for their fundraising dinner in Perrins Hall. Atlantic Ambition are a crew of four RGS alumni who are racing the Talisker Whisky Challenge to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic in December. The crew had brought their ocean-going boat to RGS Worcester and we spent an interesting half-hour learning about the challenges ahead. We will be cheering them on from Worcester!

Annual Rowing Awards Evening

A highlight of the half-term was the annual Rowing Awards Evening. Our school caterers Holroyd Howe put on a delicious Italian-style buffet, the Pullinger Boat Club (the rowing parents’ and friends’ association) organised the bar, and our captains ran the raffle.

Our award winners were:

Good Sports Awards

J14 Boy: Josh Marks

J14 Girl: Alexa Pinches

J15 Boy: James Preece

J15 Girl: Lizzie McCabe

J16 Boy: Tom Hislop

J16 Girl: Mia Fletcher

Newcomer of the Year: Saffron Crump

Girls’ Crew of the Year: WJ17 2x at National Junior Sculling Regatta

Megan Wright & Phoebe Ellis-Tait

Boys’ Crew of the Year: J18 2x at West Midlands Rowing Championships

Ben Walker & Adam Smith

Most Improved Girl: Maddie Brown

Most Improved Boy: Freddie Davies

Coxswain of the Year: Bethan Standing

Well done to all our rowers for their hard work and continued enthusiasm!

GB rowers in the making

A GB Young Potentials Day held in Worcester at the end of September attracted 28 rowers from seven clubs in the West Midlands, including seven from RGS Worcester.

Young Potentials, jointly hosted by RGS Worcester and King’s School Worcester, offered young rowers aged 15-18, with the potential to reach GB at under-18 or under-23 level, the opportunity to train together and learn about the GB selection pathway.

The day kicked off with a 2.5k Time Trial in single sculls, over a course that finished outside the RGS Worcester Boat House. The rowers then sculled downriver to the KSW boat house for lunch and a presentation from GB Junior Rowing Coach, Dan Cooper, who explained the commitment required for being an athlete and the importance on focusing on the basics of good technique.

Mr Cooper then outlined the land-based assessments required for GB Trials, including a practical session on core activation and ‘proper’ press-ups. The scullers took to the water again for an afternoon coaching session during which Mr Cooper explained some of the finer details of the rowing stroke.

“I was very pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to young rowers in the region,” said Head of Rowing Mrs Sullivan. “Rowing is a late-maturation sport and quite often rowers do not reach their full potential until their 20s. Dan Cooper’s experience as a development coach for the GB Junior Team provided our rowers with valuable insights on their support networks, keeping healthy and strong, and not cutting corners to make their boats go faster. It was a very productive day.”

Trinity 2019

End-of-Season Regatta

Posted 26 June 2019

After a week of floods, the RGS Worcester rowers managed to hold their annual End-of-Season Regatta on Saturday 22 June. Rowers from Year Nine to Upper Sixth took part in scratch crew racing over a 300-metre course in front of the RGS Worcester Boat House.

During the previous week the rowers and coaches had moved motor launches and boats to safety as Worcester was put on Flood Alert. Thankfully, despite the torrential rain which saw the river rise from its usual 0.9m to 4.55m, the river went down almost as quickly as it had gone up and the event went ahead.

“All our fixtures this half of term had been cancelled due to high winds or dangerous stream so it was a great relief that the River Severn went down almost as quickly as it had risen,” says Head of Rowing Mrs Jane Sullivan. “Nevertheless, we were quite concerned at the speed of the water on the day, and there were two trees blocking the rail bridge, so we made major adjustments to the racing plan.”

One of these was to ensure that the younger rowers were coxed by more experienced Senior Rowers. “It was fantastic to see our J16-18s helping out with our younger, less experienced crews and ensuring that they all enjoyed their racing,” says Mrs Sullivan.

The winners of the Junior mixed quad event comprised Lizzie McCabe, Lucy Smith, Harry Lord and James Robinson, coxed by Emma Little. The crew of Phoebe Ellis-Tait, Harry Chaplin, Daniel Hall and Harvey Boyle, coxed by Ben Jarvis, won the Senior mixed quad. Prizes were also awarded for rowing skills and these were presented to Maddie Brown and James Robinson in Year Nine, and a prize for coxing was awarded to Ben Walker.

We said farewell to our rowing captains, Harry Chaplin and Amelia Fish, both of whom took up rowing in Year Nine. who have passed the baton on to Lower Sixth rowers, Adam Smith and Emma Little, this season’s vice-captains. We were also delighted to see last years joint captains of boys' boats Matt Hill and Alec Berry - both are on their gap years but took time out to come and encourage the next generation of RGS rowers. 

The event was supported by the Pullinger Boat Club, the parents’ and friends’ association, who provided a magnificent barbecue and cake stall, and by boat sponsor Silver Fox Chambers, who donated prizes in the form of reusable water bottles.

It was also a first outing for our eye-catching new gazebo which will be the central point on riverbanks and lakes at our fixtures next year. Supporters can now look out for our green, RGS-branded gazebo - and take shelter from the elements! Thank you to the Pullinger Club who organised and raised funds for this essential item! 

Photos from our End-of-Season Regatta and other fixtures throughout the season are available to purchase on the Pullinger Boat Club Facebook page. Check out their page here:

Worcester Regatta

Posted: 21 May 2019

Worcester Regatta: a dead heat and three wins for RGS rowers

Our senior rowers won another three events at last Saturday’s Worcester Regatta, while our J15 girls produced an exciting neck-and-neck race which resulted in a dead heat.

The girls’ double of Phoebe Ellis-Tait and Megan Wright drew King’s School Worcester in their first round, winning through to face a second King’s crew for another win which put them into the final. Pitted against Wycliffe the RGS girls knew this race was going to be close – and so it was for most of the race. Then the RGS double pulled out all the stops to draw ahead for the win by 1.5 lengths. Well done girls!

Ben Walker, Adam Smith, Edward Smith and Ben Jarvis, raced against Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School in the first round of the J18 quad. Over the first half of the course the racing was neck-and-neck but the RGS boys put on a spurt in the final 200 metres of the race to win through to the Final against another Bishop Vesey’s crew. Once again the race started close but the RGS crew put on a push as they came around the bend for a win with the verdict of ‘easily’. The boys then split into doubles for the afternoon where there was a win for the duo of Ben Walker and Adam Smith in the J18 double. Well done to all our boys' doubles!

Having despatched Cheltenham Ladies’ College in the first round of their event, the J15 girls’ coxed quad provided one of the most exciting races of the day with a dead heat against the crew from King’s School that they’d beaten the previous week at Shrewsbury Regatta. The umpire ordered a re-row and the girls once again battled down the course with nothing more than the distance of a bow ball between them (about 3cm!). As the girls reached the line the spectators feared another dead-heat as only one bell was rung but the umpire declared a win for King’s, by two feet.

Our youngest rowers in Year Nine experience their first ever regatta. RGS put out four J14 coxed quads, two girls’ and two boys’ crews. The boys and girls, who have only been rowing since September rowed well but were slightly out-powered in their first rounds. We look forward to watching their progress!

Shrewsbury Regatta

Posted: 14 May 2019

The first open river regatta of the season provided three wins for RGS rowers last Saturday at Shrewsbury.

With river levels making for a very fast stream the course was shortened from 1k to 600m for safety reasons. Nevertheless, the competition was of a very high level and spectators were treated to some very close racing.

The women’s Junior 15 Coxed Quad of Zara Povey, Olivia Middleton, Lizzie McCabe and Olivia Richardson coxed by rowing vice-captain Emma Little, excelled in their event. They won their first round against North Staffordshire Rowing Club, then came up against Gloucester and won that race through to the final against . . . King’s School Worcester. It was a very tight race and we weren’t sure of the result as we only heard one bell on the finish but the RGS crew had done it!

In the Junior 15 double James Preece teamed up with Freddie Davies for their first ever doubles race. The boys had a bye into the second round where they were in the lead against Leicester Rowing Club but were impeded by a single sculler coming back from the finish. The umpire ordered a re-row and the boys confirmed that they were the stronger crew with another win against Leicester. They raced King’s Chester in the final which they won easily.

There were three RGS crews racing the J17 doubles event. Jack Beasley and Alex Owen were first of the RGS crews to race, beating a crew from Gloucester Hartpury to meet Ben Walker and Adam Smith in the second round. Ben and Adam won through to the final against Edward Smith and Ben Jarvis (who had beaten a crew from King’s School Worcester in the first round). Ben Walker and Adam looked on track for the win but came unstuck after hitting a buoy, allowing Ben Jarvis and Edward to come through for the win.

RGS also raced J15 boys’ quad and J15 girls who both faced the eventual winners in their first rounds and were knocked out early on.

Junior Sculling Regatta

Posted: 14 May 2019

National rowing medals for RGS girls

Two RGS Worcester rowers are celebrating after winning silver medals in the National Junior Sculling Regatta held at Dorney Lake last weekend.

Megan Wright and Phoebe Ellis-Tait, competed in the WJ17 double against crews from Maidenhead, the American School in London, Fulham Reach and Walton Rowing Clubs.

With the remnants of Storm Hannah causing difficulties on the lake, the organisers were forced to cut the time trial to 1500m. The girls battled with a very strong tailwind and choppy water to produce a time of 6:06.0, putting them in second place and six seconds behind the girls from Walton.

The girls were drawn in Lane 4 for the final which was raced from a stake boat start over the full 2k of the 2012 Olympic course. Phoebe and Megan blasted out of the start in first place and retained the lead to the 500m mark. Gradually Walton, the eventual winners, reeled them in and overtook by 1k. RGS were then challenged by Fulham Reach and Maidenhead and it was a testament to the determination of the RGS crew that they kept them at bay right up to the finish line which they crossed in second place. The girls rowed a time of 8:05.7, and while still six second behind the winners were pleased that they had closed the gap on the Walton girls.

Head of Rowing Mrs Jane Sullivan was delighted with the result – the first national medal for RGS girls for a number of years. “We have a very strong rowing programme for girls and boys, and our Head of Girls’ Rowing, Mrs Alison Foister, has worked very hard to ensure that all our girls can achieve in the sport,” said Mrs Sullivan. “We have had a number of medal successes this season with Silver medals at the West Midlands Championships and I hope that this is the first of many.”

RGS Worcester boys' raced in the J18 coxed quad event where they won a place in the B Final. The race didn't go as planned but the boys have vowed to come back fighting!

Lent 2019

West Midlands Junior Rowing Championships 2019

Posted: 7 March 2019

Champions of the West Midlands

Two RGS Worcester rowers have earned the title West Midlands Champions for their stunning performance in the J18 double scull at the West Midlands Junior Rowing Championships last Sunday. Ben Walker and Adam Smith dominated the race against nine other crews from the region, setting a blistering pace down the 1.8k course at Stourport-on-Severn to finish in a time of 6:57.5 to claim the gold. Their win came despite having to stop during the race to avoid a collision with an eight that had strayed out of its lane. They came off the water thinking they had lost the race but must have had some time in the bag as they beat the second-placed Stratford-upon-Avon crew by a second.

Earlier, Ben and Adam, had teamed up with Edward Smith and Ben Jarvis to race the J18 coxless quad against crews from AB Severn and Worcester Rowing Clubs. The boys threw everything at the race in their bid for the Gold but were pipped into the Silver medal position by AB Severn.

The WJ18 coxless quad also claimed Silver in their event with the crew of Megan Wright, Amelia Fish, Emma Little and Phoebe Ellis-Tait delivering a technically proficient and powerful race. The girls have been battling illness and injury in the past few weeks and were delighted to take the Silver, only three seconds behind the winners Evesham, and well in front of crews from AB Severn and King’s School Worcester.

The fourth medal of the day was a Bronze for Phoebe Ellis-Tait in the WJ16 single. Phoebe has only recently returned to the single scull as, over the winter, the focus of training was the girls’ quad, but she put in a powerful and technically proficient row to take third place over scullers from Stourport.

In the younger age groups RGS put out a range of doubles and quads. The girls’ J15 coxed quad (Olivia Richardson, Zara Povey, Olivia Middleton, Lizzie McCabe coxed by Isabella Hulbert) finished in sixth place in a competitive field of 11 crews. 

Olivia Richardson and Zara Povey had earlier capsized their double (luckily after posting a finish time) and, despite the freezing conditions managed to warm up enough to fulfil their commitment to the quad in the afternoon. The J15 boys’ coxed quad of Harvey Boyle, Nik Judge, Angus Day and Freddie Davies, coxed by Olly Bailey, missed out on the medals with a fourth place but rowed one of their best races to date and are ‘hungry’ for more!

RGS Worcester put out one J14 crew – a boys’ quad of Matt Smith, Ben Koutrouki, James Robinson and Harry Rutter, also coxed by Olly Bailey. The boys, who only started rowing last September, looked technically proficient and enjoyed the experience of their first rowing race.

Full results can be found via the link from the Rowing pages:

Photographs from RGS Rowing fixtures taken by Mr L. Little are for sale with profits going towards the rowing equipment fund. Visit The Pullinger Boat Club Facebook Page for details. 

The official photographer for the West Midlands Rowing Championships was DE Photography of Worcester

Worcester City Indoor Rowing Championships

Posted: 16 January 2019

Gold Hat-Trick for RGS Worcester Boat Club

The annual Worcester City Indoor Rowing Championships saw RGS Worcester triumph in three of the championship events with a hat-trick of gold medals, two silvers and a bronze.

In the individual 2k race Ben Walker and Drew Dixon were involved in a neck-and-neck fight in a hotly contested race against rowers from King’s School, Worcester Rowing Club and KES Stratford. In the final 50 metres Ben Walker pulled slightly ahead to win Gold in a time of six minutes and 50 seconds, followed by Drew Dixon who pulled 6:51 to take the Silver. Both boys well ahead of the bronze medallist from KES.

Ben and Drew then teamed up with Alex Owen and Jack Beasley for the 6th Form Boys 3k Team Relay. This was the boys’ hot-ticket race of the day competing against crews from King’s and Worcester Rowing Club. In team events the key to success (apart from power and strength) is a slick changeover between rowers and these boys were slick! Their average split time per 500 metres was 1:29 giving them an overall time of 8:55.6, nearly nine seconds ahead of King’s who took the silver.

Another dazzling display of teamwork saw the girls take Gold in the 6th Form Girls 3k Team event. Illness and injury had meant the girls team was short of a team member. Year 10 rower, Zara Povey, stepped into the team of Emma Little, Megan Wright and Phoebe Ellis-Tait and quickly gelled with the other girls without having any time to train with them. Once again, RGS dominated with good team work and determination. Cheered on by their supporters the girls took the win in a time of 10:42.6 well ahead of their King’s School rivals.

In addition to Drew Dixon’s Silver, there was an individual silver medal for Zara Povey racing in the Year 10 Five Minute Races.

Our Year Nine beginners all raced in the individual Four Minute races and then in the 2k Team Relays at their first rowing fixture representing RGS Worcester. In the 2k Team Relay the boys’ team of Matt Smith, Ben Koutrouki, Sam Winterbourn and Jacob Wood, were awarded Bronze for their time of 7:26.6.

A number of 'Good Sport' medals were awarded to the Year 10 Girls Team and the mixed Year 10 and Year 9 rowing teams. 


These are text files of the results from last Saturday. 

1 Y9 Boys 4 mi Results.txt

2 Y9 Boys 4min Results.txt

3 Y9 Girls 4 mi Results.txt

5 Y10 Boys 5 mi Results.txt

6 Y10 Boys 5mi Results.txt

7 Y10 Girls 5mi Results.txt

8 Y11 Boys 6mi Results.txt

14 6th Boys 2k Results.txt

18 6th Boys500 Results.txt

22 Y9 Boys Relay Results.txt

23 Y9 Girls Relay Results.txt

24 Y9 Mix Relay Results.txt

25 Y10 Boys Rela Results.txt

30 6th BRelay Results.txt

31 6th GRelay Results.txt

Michaelmas 2018 Blog Posts

RGS Worcester alumnus in Boat Race bid

Posted: 13 December 2018

Former Head Boy, Ben Thomson, has set his sights on rowing in one of the most famous rowing races in the world – the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. Ben, who is in his second year studying chemistry at Pembroke College, Oxford, learnt to row at RGS Worcester and represented the school as stroke man of the top RGS quad racing at National Schools’ Regatta and the Schools’ Head of the River in his final year.

(Photos from 2017.)

In September 2018 Ben was selected to train with the Oxford University Boat Club and recently competed in Oxford’s Trial Eights fixture on the Boat Race course from Putney to Chiswick.

Ben says: “I spent my first year at university rowing for the college M1 crew. College rowing is a lot of fun and the top crews can be of a very high standard – competitive with the top crews of many other university boat clubs. In the summer term my college rowing coach encouraged me to join the OUBC development squad.

“From there the natural progression was to trial for the squad at the start of this academic year. The trials process is essentially a month of testing and training before term starts where the coaches try to cut down the squad to about 20 guys. We did all sorts of ergo tests, including lots of lactate testing, which is something I hadn’t done before. Training with the squad is pretty intense, we do 12 sessions a week with a big focus on spending as many sessions on the water as possible.”

Head of Rowing Mrs Jane Sullivan comments: “I am delighted to see the progress that Ben has made with his rowing at Oxford. It is no mean feat to get into the squad in the first place and Ben has worked hard to retain his place. I followed the boats racing Trial Eights at the start of December and was pleased to see how well Ben was rowing and how he has fitted into the Oxford crews – he’s come a long way from his early days as a beginner pottering up and down the River Severn at Worcester. The training regime can be gruelling and let’s not forget that the training has to be fitted around a rigorous academic timetable – these are not full-time athletes but students trying to get a degree and pursue their sport too.”

(Photos taken at Trial Eights on Friday 7 December 2018.)

It’s not all work though, says Ben. “The squad atmosphere is a lot of fun, and we go on a lot of socials as a squad to try and keep all the training from getting too boring. We now have a couple of weeks off over Christmas before we go on a training camp in the South of France in the New Year, after that we start to do some seat races to set crews for the Boat Race so fingers crossed that all goes well.”

RGS Worcester will be following Ben’s progress closely in the run-up to The Boat Race on Sunday 7 April 2019. Further details of the Boat Race and reports of the Trial Eights Races are at:  

Michaelmas 2018 Round-up

Former pupil Mr David Packman names our new boats

September 2018

RGS Rowers were delighted to be able to show their appreciation to an extremely generous donor through a boat naming ceremony held at the RGS Boathouse on the banks of the River Severn.

Former pupil, David Packman (1947-56), has been a very good friend to the School over many years and it was through his generosity that the School recently purchased two new boats. These are lightweight cutting-edge designs which will make a tremendous difference to the pupils by enabling them to train and compete with equipment that is comparable to other leading rowing schools.

For David, it was a day of mixed emotions. He is never happier than when in the company of fellow rowers by a river in the sunshine. There was evident nostalgia because it was at RGS in 1954 when David first tried the sport that was to become a lifelong passion. After RGS David forged a career in the RAF rising to the rank of Group Captain. During this time he represented the RAF at Rowing in a number of countries while stationed around the world.

The day was tinged with sadness because David’s wife, Ann, passed away in 2015. Ann attended The Alice Ottley School (1951-56) and throughout their long and happy life together rowing was a shared activity. Ann preferred to limit her rowing to the warm waters of South East Asia but contributed an immense amount to the sport as an administrator. Most notably, Ann was a member of the World Championships organising committee in 1986.

To celebrate their love of Rowing, the happy times spent on the Severn and their fondness for the School, David elected to support those pupils following in his steps through the School. After a short speech from the Headmaster, Head of Rowing, Jane Sullivan produced a bottle of champagne which David used to name the boats.

The Headmaster thanked David for his support for the School and to RGS rowing. David wished all of the pupils well in their Rowing, expressed his relief that swimming across the Severn and back during March is no longer the safety drill for RGS Rowers, and encouraged them to set their sights high. To warm applause he then toasted the ‘Ann Packman’ and the ‘David Packman’ and all those who will row in them.

The boats then took to the water under the expert guidance of current RGS Worcester Boat Club Captains for the traditional row past.

Wycliffe Small Boats Head

It was wet, windy and very muddy on the Sharpness Canal for Wycliffe Small Boats Head (Saturday 1 December). We put out 14 crews and came home with two wins and a bronze medal.

Gold medal:

Women’s quad: Amelia Fish, Elle Mortimer, Megan Wright, Emma Little. This was the first time our girls have won a crew boat event at this fixture.

Bronze medal:

J18 quad: Ben Walker, Jack Beasley, Edward Smith, Harry Chaplin

We also had a win for the men’s double of Felix Haynes, Fraser Sparks (sadly the boys weren’t awarded a medal as they rowed out of division as Felix had to race early to do his AOOE duties, but their time was the fastest men’s double of the day).

Our J15s were racing their first winter head race - they survived! They were very cheerful all day even though conditions were very challenging (Freddie Davies raced a single during the windiest part of the day and stayed upright much to our great relief - and his).

Results: WSBH18-Results.pdf

Henley Sculls 

The J16-18 Performance Squad and a handful of Development Squad rowers raced Henley Sculls (Saturday 10 November). The weather was very changeable with sunshine, rain and a hail storm during racing - very challenging for our rowers.

The aim was for the rowers to see the progress they have made since Wallingford at the end of September, and to get a ranking of our single scullers.

Our highest placed crew was the J16 double of Malachy and James Larkin who achieved 3rd place in a field of 19, behind Wycliffe and RGS High Wycombe. 

The following boys also entered the J18 singles with 72 entries. Ben Walker came 44th, Edward Smith & Jack Beasley deadheated in 61st place, Harry Chaplin was 63rd, Ben Jarvis came in at 67.

The Larkin twins and Daniel Hall raced J16 single. Placings were: Malachy 13th, James 15th, Daniel 23rd.

We also entered the J18 double of Ben Walker and Adam Smith who achieved 7th place in a strong field.

We raced the WJ18 quad of Emma Little, Amelia Fish, Elle Mortimer and Megan Wright. They came in 7th place of 12. The good news was that they were only 5 seconds behind the Evesham crew that beat them by 25 seconds at Wallingford so they have made very good progress this term. 

The following girls also raced doubles: Emma Little, Megan Wright 14th of 19; Elle Mortimer, Amelia Fish 15th of 19; Phoebe Ellis-Tait, Katie Pickersgill 15th of 23

Mia Fletcher, Flo Hobson 23rd (of 23) - unfortunately they had several steering issues during the race!

Despite the challenges our rowers performed well, followed their race plans, and were a credit to their school.


Monkton Bluefriars Head

As Storm Callum hit the country (Saturday 13 October) there was some doubt over whether this event would take place but having been assured by the organisers that the river at Saltford was an oasis of calm, we decided to race (although giving single scullers the option to pull out). Our J15s and Development J16-18s raced and despite the wind all around us conditions at the venue were perfect (it is a very sheltered site) and we had a good day of racing.

Our top performers were the Larkin twins Malachy and James who won the J16 double in a time of 12:56.5 over 3k (only 1.2 seconds behind the J18 winners) and 2 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals from Bryanston.

The WJ15 coxed quad came second of four in their group beating Great Marlow School and Bryanston (Lottie Bond, Olivia Middleton, Zara Povey, Lizzie McCabe and coxed by Olivia Richardson) and just 15 seconds behind the GMS A crew.

The J15 boys were somewhat hampered by the absence of one of the rowers.... Jayden Fradd moved from the double into a single (the organisers allowed us to change events on the day) and Olivia Middleton subbed into the boys’ quad in the afternoon having raced in the girls’ quad in the morning.

Special mention goes to Will Rigby, George Garrity, Florence Hobson and Mia Fletcher, who rose to the challenge of being team leaders in the absence of our rowing captains who were training at Worcester yesterday. All the rowers raced well and were a credit to their school.

Worcester Small Boats Head

We sent a reduced entry to this event as we all had commitments to our school Open Morning (Saturday 6 October) and recorded three wins!

Ben Walker and Adam Smith raced J17 double and were the fastest junior double of the day with 15:33.08 over 4.5k. They beat all of the KSW doubles (J18, J17 and J16) and very pleasingly beat AB Severn, who they have never managed to beat before, and were only four seconds slower than the fastest junior quad of the day.

Malachy Larkin and James Larkin won the J16 double in a time of 16:08.02 - also a very fast time and 30 seconds ahead of their nearest J16 rivals from KSW.

Harry Chaplin and Jack Beasley raced J18 low PRI (for crews that have a low number of British Rowing points) and beat their club mates Felix Haynes and Fraser Sparks for the win.

We also fielded Ed Smith & Ben Jarvis at J17 (they came third in the event but their time was very respectable and would have given them a win in the J18 category), Daniel Hall and Harry Lord also raced J16 double but well down the field.

For the girls, Phoebe Ellis-Tait and Katie Pickersgill raced WJ16 double for Time Only (their category was raced during the morning). Their time of 17:54 was very respectable and would have placed them third had they raced in the morning.

Results: Small Boats Head 2018 Timing Afternoon FINAL TIMING.pdf

Wallingford Long Distance Sculls

Our Senior Performance Squad raced in singles and two quads at this premier event on the Thames (28 September 2018). The race list included St Paul’s, Westminster, Abingdon, Radley, Headington, Leander, Henley - so a little daunting for our boys and girls (and coaches…).

The main event for the boys was the singles, with a second event, the quad, in the afternoon.

We raced our J17 and J18 boys at J18. There were 100 entries:

Ben Walker ranked 49
Adam Smith 51
Edward Smith 72
Ben Jarvis 73
Harry Chaplin 81

Daniel Hall was placed 10th of 15 in the J16 single.

For the girls, the main event was the WJ18 quad of Amelia Fish, Elle Mortimer, Emma Little and Megan Wright, who joined RGS at the start of term. The crew had very little time to gel and came 7th of eight. However, their time was not far off and their km/h boat speed has increased significantly since last season. Emma Little and Phoebe Ellis-Tait raced their singles in the afternoon. 

Full results here:

J14s Learn to Row

RGS Rowing is growing! Our Year Nine group is the largest for some years with 26 boys and girls taking to the water this term (15 girls, 11 boys) and several more coming from rugby next term. All our beginners have made good progress and are discovering the joys of the octuple! 


2017-18 Rowing Blogs

End-of-Season Regatta and Boat Naming Ceremony

Posted: 2 July 2018

RGS Worcester welcomed its former Headmaster Mr Andrew Rattue back to the Boat Club last Saturday afternoon as he performed the naming ceremony on the coxed quad named in his honour.

The Boat Club has acquired six new boats over the past season and all were officially named on Saturday, followed by a Row Past and then the annual hotly-contested quad and doubles races.

Three legends of Worcester including the best-selling romantic novelist Dame Barbara Cartland and the composer Sir Edward Elgar, now have their names on boats in the club. Sir Edward Elgar was music master at the Alice Ottley School (which merged with RGS in 2007), while Dame Barbara Cartland, the best-selling romantic novelist and step-grandmother of Princess Diana, was an AO pupil.

Hannah Snell, while not having any known connection with the school, was felt a very worthy name for a boat. Born in Worcester in 1723, she joined the army disguised as a man, fighting in several battles before revealing herself to be a woman. She was given a full army pension and then opened a pub in London named The Female Warrior. Headmaster John Pitt said he looked forward to seeing the boat ‘do battle’ in the future.

Other boats named on Saturday included Andrew Rattue, former headmaster of RGS Worcester who returned on Saturday to performed the naming ceremony on the coxed four named in his honour. Two other fours were also named Butler of Wantage, after the co-founder of the Alice Ottley, and Michelle Whitefoot, named in honour of the Whitefoot family, great supporters of the school and the boat club.

Head of Rowing, Jane Sullivan, said: “We had a fantastic turn-out for the launch of our new boats which I hope will inspire our rowers. In rowing we have a phrase that you should ‘hear the boat sing’ so naming our new single after Sir Edward Elgar is entirely fitting!”

Rowers involved in the Row Past were:

Michelle Whitefoot quad: Adam Smith, Ben Walker, Ben Jarvis, Edward Smith

Butler of Wantage coxed quad (J15 National Schools' crew): James Larkin, Malachy Larkin, Daniel Hall, Harry Lord, Olly Bailey

Andrew Rattue coxed quad: Emily Smith, Mia Fletcher, Phoebe Ellis-Tait, Florence Hobson, Isabella Hulbert

Sir Edward Elgar single: Alec Berry

Hannah Snell single: Darcy Simon

Barbara Cartland single: Francine Bath

The afternoon’s racing saw rowers aged 14 to 16 racing in mixed quads, while the sixth formers raced in mixed doubles. Racing was very close and there were a number of blades clashes, and a dead-heat.

The Pullinger Boat Club, the parents’ and friends’ association, provided a magnificent barbecue, bar and cake stall and our thanks go to everyone who volunteered to help.

The day ended with presentations to the outgoing captains Alec Berry, Francine Bath and Matthew Hill, and farewell to our Upper Sixth leavers.

(Photos: Courtesy of Mr Michael Whitefoot)

(Photos: Courtesy of Mr L. Little)

Stratford Regatta

Posted: 20 June 2018

Our rowers enjoyed a successful day at Stratford Regatta last Saturday with all age groups competing at this popular event. We had three wins and several other very close finals. It was the first experience of racing for many of our new starters, while for some of our sixth form rowers it was their final race representing RGS Worcester.

The first win of the day went to Elle Mortimer and Amelia Fish in the WJ18 double. The girls won their first round against Stratford-upon-Avon and then beat Evesham Rowing Club to claim the win.

It was an all-RGS final in the J16 boys double as Ben Walker and Adam Smith were pitted against Alex Owen and Ben Jarvis. All four boys were in the quad that raced at National Schools’ Regatta and the race proved to be one of the closest of the day. With both crews neck-and-neck as they came around the bend Walker and Smith edged slightly ahead as the crews raced past the theatre. Cheers from the massed ranks of RGS supporters spurred both crews on with Owen and Jarvis catching up their opponents in the last 100 metres. As the boats crossed the finish line a verdict of dead heat was expected, however the umpire’s verdict was a win for Owen-Jarvis by a bow ball (that’s around 5cm).

The boys’ J18 single proved almost as close with Drew Dixon winning through his first round to face crew-mate Harry Chaplin in the final. Once again, there was nothing to split the boats as they headed around the corner, then Chaplin oversteered, narrowly avoiding a collision with the boats waiting on the landing stages. Dixon seized his opportunity and edged forward as Chaplin revved up the rating and power to get back in the race which went to Dixon by half a length.

Our J15 scullers had a good day of racing with a number of finalists. Katie Pickersgill racing the single for the first time won two rounds to get to the final where she came a close second to Evesham. Ben Wastie and Tom Hislop won their two heats but were then beaten in the final to Stratford having put up a good fight.

The Stratford ‘killer bend’ caught many of our rowers out and an altercation with a swan stopped Felix Haynes in his tracks during the men’s single sculls race. Although he valiantly fought to get back in the race he ran out of river and lost by half a length!

The girls’ four of Amelia Fish, Emma Little, Francine Bath and Darcy Simon, raced for the final time as a crew as Francine and Darcy are moving on to university next year.

RGS fielded a number of J14 crews. The boys raced two quads and a double while the girls raced one quad and two doubles. There were some close races and the boys and girls racing for the first time gained lots of valuable experience.

With the season drawing to a close the next whole-club event is the End-of-Season Regatta on Saturday 30 June at RGS Worcester Boat Club. The afternoon starts with a boat naming ceremony at 2pm followed by ‘splash and dash’ races and farewell to our captains. There is a barbecue, cake stall and bar organised by our Parents’ and Friends Association, the Pullinger Boat Club. All welcome.

National Schools' Regatta 2018

Posted: 5 June 2018

Friday 25 May - 1k time trials then 1k multi-lane for top 18 crews

We sent four quads to NSR on Friday 25 May racing over 1k in the time trial with the aim of being top 18 to progress through to the Finals.

The J15 boys’ coxed quad, James Larkin, Malachy Larkin, Daniel Hall, Harry Lord, and coxswain Olly Bailey, achieved 17th place, out of 61 crews, which qualified them for the C final. This was a tremendous result for these boys who moved up from 32nd place at the National Junior Sculling Head race in the winter. In the C final the boys came fifth, retaining their 17th place overall. They thoroughly enjoyed their first experience of six-lane racing - Olympic-style.

The J15 girls’ coxed quad, Florence Hobson, Mia Fletcher, Katie Pickersgill, Emily Smith, with coxswain Isabella Hulbert, beat four crews in their very competitive event which wasn’t enough to get through to the finals. However, the girls rowed a technically proficient race and are keen to get racing again at their next event.

It was the first Dorney experience for our J14s. The J14 boys’ coxed quad, Harvey Boyle, Jaden Fradd, Freddie Davies, Edward Fish, and coxswain: Edward Grubb

Came 47th out of 54 crews. While the J14 girls’ coxed quad, Lizzie McCabe, Olivia Middleton, Olivia Richardson, Madeleine Atkinson, and coxswain India Southwick, came 46th out of 52 crews.

Sunday 27 May - 1,750m time trials then 2k multi-lane for top 18 crews.

We sent two senior crews:

J16 coxless quad: Adam Smith, Ben Walker, Ben Jarvis, Alex Owen

Championship girls’ coxless four: Francine Bath, Darcy Simon, Amelia Fish, Emma Little

Both crews qualified for the C finals (boys were 17th, girls were 18th).

The boys came 5th in the C final and retained their 17th place. The crew has been juggling GCSEs with their rowing training but all agreed that the effort had been worthwhile to experience their first senior NSR racing and to be placed in the finals.

The girls came sixth in the C final and also retained their time trial placing. They had a tough event as the Girls 4- is for J18s and we had mixed ages in the boat including WJ16 Emma also taking GCSEs, and were up against the big school fours which included GB triallists.

The next fixture for the rowers is Stratford Regatta on Saturday 16 June where all age groups will be competing.

Evesham Regatta

Posted: 10 May 2018

RGS Worcester Boat Club kicked off the regatta season with four wins at Evesham Regatta last Saturday, one of its most successful hauls at this fixture.

The girls coxed four put on a magnificent technical display of sweep oar rowing in their event where they swept the board beating Bewdley Rowing Club and then Brasnose College to claim the win. Francine Bath, Darcy Simon, Emma Little and Amelia Fish were coxed to victory by their coxswain Ellie Jones.

There was victory for the pairing of Drew Dixon and Alex Owen racing in the men’s double event. The boys had showed great promise in the double at Easter Rowing Camp and, despite not having much practice in this boat they swept the board in the Open 2x B1 event against strong opposition from Pangbourne College Boat Club.

In the J15 boys event the crew of Malachy and James Larkin, Daniel Hall, Harry Lord and coxswain Olly Bailey claimed an early victory against Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School before coming up against their RGS clubmates in the final, which they won.

Rowing captains Alec Berry and Matt Hill raced in the men’s singles event. Hill beat scullers from Warwick Boat Club and Evesham Rowing Club to reach the final, while Berry was drawn against Hereford and Evesham Rowing Clubs in his half of the draw. As the event was running two hours over we arranged for the final to be raced at Worcester in the Games session. It was hotly contested but Alec Berry put on an early spurt to take the lead over an 800m course and was awarded the win.

Crews which won races to get through to their finals included the coxed four (Ben Walker, Jack Beasley, Adam Smith, Edward Smith with Harry Lord as coxswain), women’s B2 double (Nelly Ledger, Ellie Jones), women’s B1 double (Amelia Fish, Elle Mortimer) and WJ18 double (Francine Bath, Darcy Simon).

Well done to all our competitors!

Junior Inter-Regional Regatta

Posted: 26 April 2018

Five RGS Worcester rowers represented the West Midlands at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham last Saturday.

Their efforts contributed to an overall third place for the West Midlands – the highest placing for the region for a number of years. The JIRR is one of the major national events of the rowing calendar. Nearly 1,000 J14-16 rowers take part, from the 12 regions of England and Wales. There are 24 events ranging from J14 single to J16 eights, raced multilane over 1.5k at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. West Midlands fielded 84 rowers from 12 different clubs and schools, who had been through a selection process over the winter to gain their West Midlands vests.

Jack Beasley, Ben Walker, Edward Smith, Adam Smith and George Garrity (cox) raced in the J16 coxed four. It was the boys’ first experience of this level of racing and despite their first-time nerves they put in a good time and just missed out on a place in the A Final. With points at stake for the region they were told to go and win the B final to get the maximum six points. The B final was very exciting with RGS and a crew from Cantabrigians (Eastern Region) racing neck-and-neck the whole way - the RGS boys really upped their game from the heat, knocking five seconds off their earlier time. The RGS crew eased ahead in the final 250 with a magnificent sprint finish which put them over the line first for a 7th place overall (of 12). The boys were very sporting in their win and congratulated Cantabs for the tough race they’d had.

Head of Rowing, Mrs Jane Sullivan, who is also the West Midlands Team Manager for JIRR, said: “I was very pleased with the way the RGS Worcester crew rose to the challenge of their Final. Going into the race they were the slower boat based on heat times but the side-by-side racing gave them that extra push to up their game and come through to win their Final. It was exciting to watch!”

The Scullery - Oarsport Junior Sculling Head

Posted: 20 March 2018

RGS Worcester Boat Club sent six crews ranging in age from J15 to J18, to the Oarsport Junior Sculling Head at Dorney Lake on Tuesday 13 March.

The OJSH or The Scullery as it is also known, is one of the largest junior rowing races in Europe with thousands of young rowers competing on the London 2012 rowing lake.

Senior quads took to the water for the first races of the day on a pristine, calm, and beautiful lake – rather different to the conditions we have been experiencing on the River Severn of late!

The J18 quad of Alec Berry, Matthew Hill, Drew Dixon and Harry Chaplin posted a time of 14:19 over the 3.6k course. The girls’ quad of Darcy Simon, Francine Bath, Elle Mortimer and Amelia Fish sculled the distance in 15:59 minutes, while the J16 quad of Ben Walker, Ben Jarvis, Edward Smith and Adam Smith posted a time of 13:47 putting them in 25th place of 35 crews, and posting faster times than a number of rowing schools including King’s Worcester, and RGS High Wycombe.

The afternoon saw our younger crews taking to the water with a J15 girls’ octuple and two J15 quads battling it out on the famous lake.

The lack of water time this winter has been a challenge for our young rowers and the girls have only managed one complete crew outing in the octuple. The crew was made up of two J14 girls, Olivia Middleton and Lizzie McCabe, who joined J15s Phoebe Ellis-Tait, Katie Pickersgill, Mia Fletcher, Ella Gibbs, Emily Smith and Florence Hobson to make up the eight seats. Ably coxed by J16 rower, Ellie Jones, whose extensive experience of coxing at Dorney kept the girls focused on the job in hand, the crew looked technically proficient and they managed to beat three crews to gain 13th place.

Competitions in the boys’ quad event was fearsome with 59 crews battling it out on the lake. The A quad of James an Malachy Larkin, Ben Wastie and Harry Lord, coxed by Harry Chaplin, rowed a fine race to achieve 32nd place in the rankings. The B quad of Maxim Eddy, Daniel Hall, Tom Hislop and Guy Duffy, racing for the first time, focused on technique, aided by Adam Smith in the coxswain’s seat, and enjoyed the experience beating one crew, Wycliffe College.

With several fixtures snowed off, and even more affected by high river levels and high winds, the rowers have had few fixtures this term and are looking forward to the start of the regatta season in April!

Worcester Junior Rowing: Indoors

Posted: 23 January 2018

Worcester Junior Rowing League Indoors (RGS, KSW, Worcester Rowing Club) - Saturday 20 January

The annual Worcester sprints was bigger than ever this year with well over 200 competitors taking part. RGS Worcester Boat Club performed superbly despite being hit by illness and injury, which wiped out 10 of our 12 Year Ten boys!

We soldiered on and came home with our best ever medal tally of THREE Gold, NINE Silver and FIVE Bronze medals.

This was the first experience of a rowing competition for our Year Nine rowers and the girls did tremendously well to pick up Gold (Olivia Middleton) and Silver (Zara Povey) in the four-minute individual race.

There were also Gold medals for Francine Bath in the Sixth Form girls’ 500m sprint, and Gold for Jack Beasley in the Year 11 six-minute individual race.

Several of our Silver medallists were just pipped to the post in their individual events and have vowed to come back stronger and faster next year!

The medallists’ placings are as follows. Full results will be posted as soon as King’s have sent them over.

Headline Results: 3 Gold; 9 Silver; 5 Bronze

Gold: J14 girls’ 4-minute (Olivia Middleton)

Gold: J16 boy’s 6-minute (Jack Beasley)

Gold: Sixth Form Girls 500m sprint (Francine Bath)

Silver: J14 girls’ 4-minute (Zara Povey)

Silver: J15 Girls’ 5-minute (Katie Pickersgill)

Silver: J16 Boys’ 6-minute (Alex Owen)

Silver: J16 Girls’ 6-minute (Nelly Ledger)

Silver: J15 Girls’ 500m sprint (Ella Gibbs)

Silver: Sixth Form Girls 500m sprint (Amelia Fish)

Silver: J16 Boys 2k Team Relay (Alex Owen, Jack Beasley, Jacob Dyson, Ben Jarvis)

Silver: J16 Girls 2k Team Relay (Nelly Ledger, Emma Little, Lizzie Fearon, Jasmine Atkinson)

Silver: Sixth Form Girls 2k Team Relay (Francine Bath, Darcy Simon, Amelia Fish, Emma Little)

Bronze: Sixth form 2k (Matthew Hill)

Bronze: Sixth Form Girls 500m sprint (Darcy Simon)

Bronze: J16 Boys’ 500m sprint (Jacob Dyson)

Bronze: J15 Girls’ 2k Team Relay (Mia Fletcher, Ella Gibbs, Florence Hobson, Katie Pickersgill)

Bronze: J15 Boys’ 2k Team Relay (Guy Duffy, Maxim Eddy, Jaden Fradd, Max Collins - team made up on the day from the last ones standing!)

Worcester Autumn Head of the River

Posted: Thursday 12 October 2017

Hat trick of wins for RGS Rowers

The rowing squad kicked off the winter racing season with three wins at Worcester Autumn Head of the River on Saturday 7 October.

Year 11 rower Ben Jarvis, put in an impressive show of power and technique over the 4.5k course. In the J16 single sculls event, he overtook three competitors from King’s School Worcester and Hereford Cathedral School to take the win.

Also in the J16 category the coxless quad of Adam Smith, Alex Owen, Ben Walker and Jack Beasley, who have been training together all term, managed a clear victory of 23 seconds over their rivals from King’s – a convincing win putting them fourth overall in the Division One crews.

With a very fast stream on the River Severn making steering tricky the Intermediate 3 double of Alec Berry and Matthew Hill, enjoyed their first race in the Wintech Cobra, named after former pupil and GB Rowing coach Tom Dyson. They took the win in the afternoon, having both raced the course in their single sculls in the morning.

There was disappointment for the J15 coxed quad of Malachy and James Larkin, Daniel Hall and Ben Wastie (coxed by Olly Bailey). Having put in a tremendous effort to overtake three other J15 crews they were pipped into second place by 0.65 of a second to a crew from Hereford Cathedral School.

Three girls' crews raced - J15, J16 and J17 quads - and were pleased to have made improvements on their race times from last season.