The Windsor Boys' School Boat Club
Patrons: Sir Mathew Pincent OBE and Zac Purchase MBE
The Windsor Boys’ School Boat Club was founded in 1940 by members of Eton Excelsior Rowing Club, in an attempt to keep their club active during the Second World War. By the end of the 1950s the club had moved into its present boathouse on the River Thames, adjacent to the School’s playing fields.
The success of the club soared in the mid 1960s, with an eight competing at the Henley Royal Regatta in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. As with many clubs, the cycle of fortune fluctuated and the early 1970s saw a downturn in the club’s fortunes. More recently, the club has flourished, earning a nationally recognised reputation for excellence, particularly in the field of crew sculling.
In 1992 The Henley Royal Regatta instituted a race for Under-19 quadruple sculls, The Fawley Challenge Cup. Our record in this prestigious event is unrivalled by any other school club, with five consecutive wins to date (1994-98) and many other finals appearances.
Over the past few years, the top quad has made quarter final and semi-final appearances at Henley Royal Regatta, but the ultimate dream of regaining The Fawley Challenge Cup is still to be achieved.
Recognition for this level of excellence has come with numerous Windsor Boys’ School pupils being selected to represent the Great Britain team. James White and Ross Brogan were selected to the GB Coupe De La Jeunesse European Championship Team that raced at Lucerne, Switzerland, while Andrew Joel was selected to the World Junior Championship Team that raced in Trakai, Luthuania. Meanwhile old boy Adam Freeman Pask has just returned from the Senior World Championships in South Korea with a Bronze medal in the Lightweight mens four, an Olympic Class boat.
To get to this level requires a level of commitment and dedication by anyone who aspires to it. Boys start, however, in year 9 with a simple capsize drill and swim test, before developing their sculling skills on the River Thames throughout the whole of year 9 and 10. The aim is to give as many as possible the opportunity to row. Racing comes thick and fast in the summer and the aim is to get as many boys as possible up to a racing standard. Gym sessions from 7am during the winter and early morning sessions on the river during the summer months mean that the boys‘ skills develop quickly. As boys move into year 11, the training increases and the targets get higher, with representational honours on the card. The system at Windsor Boys‘ is progressive, and hopefully by the time boys reach the 6th Form their skills will be highly proficient, and with a really good understanding of what it takes to perform to a high level as an athlete. For those who don‘t quite make the lofty heights of representing their country there is still plenty of opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being a rower, including a very active racing programme across all the year groups, and of course, all the health benefits of being very fit.
Over the last couple of years The Boat Club has done a lot of travelling, including Belgium and France competing in International Regattas, racing in St Petersburg, Russia, and many training camps during the Easter holidays, usually to France too.
We take enormous pride in the achievements of all our boys at all levels, from our Junior 14 “D”s through to our International representatives. We know that such success does not come easily and is gained only through a dedicated approach and a great deal of hard work. We are also aware that such involvement contributes in many ways to the development of outstanding young men.
The first six weeks back since the summer holidays have seen over 250 boys across all year groups participate in some form of rowing.
“Marathon runners talk about hitting ‘the wall’ at the twenty-third mile of the race. What rowers confront isn’t a wall; it’s a hole – an abyss of pain, which opens up in the second minute of the race.
Next week, the major highlight of the rowing and sporting calendar will see The Windsor Boys’ School out competing for The Fawley Challenge Cup as the 1st Quad were pre-qualified following their success at the Nationals a few weeks ago.
The weekend gone saw boys racing at Dorney Lake all day on Saturday, and then the junior boys (year 9/10/11) racing at Thames Valley Park Regatta over in Reading on Sunday.
One of England’s stateliest homes, Blenheim Palace, seat of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill, was the spectacular venue last Saturday for the eponymous Junior Regatta.
Following on from Saturdays racing at Blenheim Palace, the Boat Club headed to Reading Amateur Regatta with a different set of boys. Reading Amateur Regatta is one of the oldest regattas in the world, as it celebrated its 175 year anniversary!!
For the first time since 1993, The Windsor Boys’ School won the Championship Quads at the Nationals on the weekend leading into the summer half term.
The J15 quad of Oliver Traynor, Julian Van Gelderen, Harvey Viotto, Liam Atkins and Max Smith (cox) were involved in a titanic battle, as they took Silver at the Junior Sculling Regatta held at Dorney Lake last Sunday.
Tom Smith and Bryn Ellery, selected to the British Rowing team at the Spring trials at the beginning of April raced in Munich last weekend, in what proved to be a brutal test of racing endurance.
Early morning starts are a way of life for rowers and last Saturday was no exception for The Windsor Boys’ School Boat Club racing at Bedford Regatta.