Welsh Coastal Rowing Squad Success in 2016

The Welsh Coastal Rowing Squad crews first international event will be the Irish Open at the end of September, before heading out to Monaco in October. Best of luck them in the upcoming events..

19 September 2016

Welsh Coastal Rowing Squad 2016

Back row from left: Thomas Miles, Aron Altman, Charles Kirk, Jac Davies and Ben Curtis Front Row from left: Swyn Williams, Bryony Jones and Charlotte Heath.

The crew will certainly look the part in their new red vests sponsored by Smiths Barbers, Carmarthen.

A little over a year ago Towy Boat Club was approached to host the development squad for Welsh Coastal Rowing. Delighted with such an opportunity the club jumped at the chance to be involved with such an exciting project. Following Blades training at Cardiff Bay, many of the club's rowers improved their skill set to enable them to assist with introducing coastal sculls to fellow Welsh Rowers.

The crew worked diligently under the expert guidance of head coach Alun Stedman of Aberdovey. A squad of committed rowers evolved and in 2015, the squad produced 10 Rowers that represented Wales in the Irish Open, 6 of those rowers medalled in that competition. Rosie Clayton and Kirsty Sanders,Gold. Bryony Jones and Amy Lawrence, bronze. Jac Davies and Chris Harding Bronze. Rowers involved in the squad came from a variety of clubs, Towy, Wisemans, Llanion, Neyland, Mumbles and Aberdovey. Success on an international stage saw more interest in the Squads work and rowers started attending from all over Wales. The recent summer camp saw 30 rowers take to the training water at Towy, rowers attended from, Caernarfon, Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Neyland, Llanion, Wisemans, Mumbles and Towy.

Continued success drove the club and squad to look forward at bigger competitions and the possibility of entering the World Championships became a dream. To expand the squad ready for 2016 season, an open day was arranged in November. With aspirations growing and true potential for world class rowers shining through, a winter programme was drawn up and the serious training commenced.

An important part of the training was gaining experience under a racing environment and completing time trials on coastal waters. The coaching team worked tirelessly in all weather conditions to ensure rowers were having plenty of opportunity to improve their competitive rowing log. Without the support of Towy Boat Club, this would not have been possible. Hosting the squad came with benefits for the Towy rowers as they received world class coaching on the doorstep. Many took full advantage of this opportunity and became valued members of the Welsh Squad.

Eight Welsh squad rowers were put forward for consideration for Team GB at the World Coastal Rowing Championship. Six of these rowers have been selected with automatic qualification for the championships.

  • Bryony Jones, Wisemans Bridge ranked GB 01. Bryony is in her second year of competitive rowing on coastal sculls. She has won every race that she has entered on a yole this year, hence being ranked top British Female. At the recent Boathouse Challenge, she kept ahead of the male competitors too. She is certainly one name to keep an eye on at the World Championships.
  • Swyn Williams and Charlotte Heath, Towy, ranked GB 01, both new to coastal sculls this year. Charlotte is in her first season of rowing. Swyn came from a Celtic Rowing background, having raced with Fishguard juniors prior to joining Towy Boat Club. They have been working together for 3 months and are proving to be a highly competitive pairing.
  • Aron Altman, ranked GB 02. Aron is the rowing captain at Towy Boat club and certainly leads by example.
  • Jac Davies and Thomas Miles, Towy, ranked GB 05. Jac is in his second year of competitive rowing and secured a bronze at last years Irish Open at his first major international event. He has a new partner in Thomas Miles, who was introduced to rowing in May of this year.
  • Charles Kirk and Ben Curtis, also from Towy Boat Club, were ranked at GB 06, narrowly missing out on automatic qualification, were extended an invitation to participate in the qualifying round prior to the main event in October. Charles competed in the Irish open last year, narrowly missing out on the final. He is hopeful of reaching the finals with his new partner, Ben.
  • It would be truly remarkable if all eight rowers from the Welsh Squad would end up representing GB at the event.

    Welsh Coastal Rowing Squad training in 2016

    Welsh Coastal Rowing Squad training in 2016

    Welsh Coastal Rowing Squad training in 2016

    One of the biggest challenges the squad face is the lack of funding for development and competition. All the work they do, is down to people's generosity for volunteering their time to assist on the project. The rowers are currently looking at ways to fundraise to cover the cost of hiring boats and entering the event. An online crowd funding account has been set up to help these talented youngsters fulfil their potential on a world stage. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/welshyoledevelopment