By Peter Bond (coach)
A small squad of 8 rowers and a coach attended the NSW grade championships at SIRC. Originally, 8 rowers and a coxn were entered but the coxn had to withdraw at the last minute leaving no-one to steer our sweep crews. Substitute coxns from other clubs were considered but the rowing association would only accept an Endeavour substitute. It had to be the (very) overweight coach or nothing.
Our juniors had two races in the four on Saturday. The crew of Mitchell Scales, Ayden Shepherd, Robert Weatherall and Prentice Bond with coxn Peter Bond could only manage seventh in the C Grade Four, but they were just warming up. In the D Grade Four, the Endeavour crew started fast, to be second after 100 metres. The third and fourth placed crews sat just behind Endeavour waiting for the crew to fade as the extra weight of the coxn took its toll. But the crew did not fade, holding them at bay by half a length then pulling away in the last 100 metres to finish a length ahead for a silver medal. The crew had all been there before but this was the first time the coach had ever stood on the podium at SIRC.
Sunday’s racing saw the juniors joined by 3 masters. The squad could not progress to the finals from the heats of MCQx and MD2x then they all got together in the D Grade Eight with the crew of Mitchell Scales, Ayden Shepherd, Isaac Shepherd, Owen Redhead, Dave Percival, Sean Donza, Robert Weatherall, Prentice Bond and Peter Bond. The row to the start was their first ever training session with practice starts cancelled due to the time it took to adjust foot stretchers and move the slides. Could they row together at a rating higher than 24? - they would have to wait for the race to find out.
Endeavour blasted out of the start at 40 strokes per minute and settled to 36 for the rest of the race. It was their first row together and they didn’t miss a beat. They were fast - but four other crews were faster, although they did beat two crews home. It was a lot of fun!