SA Schools National Championship

A Cut-Throat Competition Intensified Over 1000m

The South African National Rowing Championship was the climax of what has been a tumultuous season for the Bishops Rowing Club. Barrier upon barrier has been presented in different manifestations for each of our age groups. Covid outbreaks within the open age group, a mass exodus, in the U16 age group, were nothing short of handbrakes to the momentum that athletes and coaches attempted to maintain. However, the BRC was in high spirits come the three race days which constitute SA Champs.

South African National Rowing Championship 2022 – Results

U14 Age Group:
2x (Double): Theo Forsyth & Luke Ratcliff – 5th Place

U15 Age Group:
1x (Scull): Jack Breslin – 6th Place & John Van Der Watt – 8th Place
4x+ (Coxed Quad): Jack Breslin, Cameron Redfern, John Van Der Watt & Matthew Maurel – 6th Place
8x+ (Octuple): John Van Der Watt, Jack Breslin, Cameron Redfern, Matthew Maurel, Isaac Miller, Matthew Earle, Veer Daya, Vigo Du Plessis & Oliver Frankel – 4th Place

U16 Age Group:
4- (Coxless Four): Sebastian Cheminias, Matthew Le Roux, Isaac Miller & Jack Hartman – 4th Place

Open Age Group:
1st 4+ (Coxed Four): Noah Du Randt, Enrico Dundulachis, Thomas Mason, Lukas Barnard & Thomas Barton – 6th Place
1st 8: Jett Bacher, Didier Marx, Enrico Dundulachis, Noah Du Randt, Thomas Barton, Jonathan Bennett, Lance Brilus, Thomas Mason, Lukas Barnard – 8th Place

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First 8 Report – Bradley Smith

The first eight departed for the South African Rowing Championships in Gauteng on Monday 28th February. This preparation was to help acclimatize to the conditions and help set up the various boats for their races on the weekend. Although the weather and conditions hindered much of this prep, the team took full advantage of the water time available to them. The crew bonded well, progressed and sharpened their skills – the time was invaluable.

Friday – Racing Day 1:
Friday was the first day of the regatta, the seniors raced Coxless Pairs and Single Sculls. A tough event with five heats of eighty lanes for the Coxless pairs and, eight heats of eight lanes for the single sculls! Unfortunately, none of our boats made it through as the progression was the first boat of each race. A tough task.

Saturday – Racing Day 2:
Saturday was the fours racing for the open age group. The Bishops opens races a coxless four and a coxed four. Our coxless four improved tremendously but were unable to make the final missing out by a small margin. The coxed four had a tough race, considered a heat of death due to its competitiveness. Our boys came second in their heat and progressed to the final with the second-fastest time of the time in their boat class! The final, later in the day, was even tougher and with some starting drama. All said and done, the boys did phenomenally well but were unable to improve on their heats race. They came 6th overall.

Sunday – Racing Day 3:
Sunday saw the final event of the weekend, the prestigious eights race. Our boys had what was considered the heat of death, a number of particularly fast crews and a tough progression. Although our boys came 5th in their race, their time ensured that they were able to edge out Kes and progress to the final. The final, although a great race by our boys, was just too quick and our first eight came in 8th. However, it was a remarkable improvement from the start of the year that held many obstacles and issues.

Well done on a bumpy but great season, thank you for all your hard work.


U16 Report – Christopher Hale & Elizabeth Gross

The U16 age group against all odds had 9 rowers by the end of the season, losing 9 along the way. Coaches and parents are exceedingly proud of the positive attitude the u16s displayed this SA Champs and throughout the whole season. With the introduction of many new rowers into the age group, the more experienced athletes welcomed them with a fantastic attitude, remaining patient and helpful. The new rowers were hard-working and dedicated, and this paid off at SA Champs with the whole age group displaying the progress that they gained during the season. We are so thrilled with the genuine love for the sport that the u16s showed and especially look forward to the developments and achievements that the team will accomplish as they head into Junior Open.

When looking at the results at SA Champs the 8+ just missed out on the final, an impressive result given the circumstances, and the coxless four (4-) managed an impressive 4th place. This was accomplished with a crew who lost a rower on the day, had never rowed the combination before and had an athlete swap sides. These results are a testament to the attitude of this age group. Well done on a hardy effort gents!

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U15 Report – Nicholas Muller & Dannielle Ritson

The 2021 to 2022 season has been riddled with obstacles and challenges that the young u15 age group has had to overcome to achieve the exceptional results that they managed at this years South African championships. They have had scarce water time and have had to rely on their fitness and strength to keep themselves in a competitive bracket. The team has grown tremendously since their first camp back in September and have really galvanized their trust and understanding of each other. The best results of this past tour was by far their fourth place in the u15 Octuple. This is a very competitive division and showed the leaps and bounds that this age group has progressed in order to achieve this feat. Although they were disappointed to miss out on the medals, it has ignited a fire amongst them to train harder and push themselves even further to achieve greater heights in the years to come.

They also managed to place a very respectable 6th place in the u15 quads which is a promising sign for the future. The age group had dominated the local regattas this year and found it eye-opening when they were faced with far stronger opposition at the national championships. This has opened the door of possibilities for them as they now know the level at which they need to be if they are to achieve their dreams of a gold medal at these championships.

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U14 Report – Ally Winkler & Frank Nagel

Despite the challenging year due to obvious restraints, the grade 8’s performed exceedingly well at the regatta, easily the best Western Cape performing school! After an inspiring speech the night before racing the octopole, by Jordan (the self-proclaimed captain), the boys managed to achieve the 8th fastest time across 3 heats. Sadly, they just missed making qualifying for the final. Despite this, the boys rowed the best they’ve ever rowed before, really encapsulating the Bishops team spirit. The A Double showed they were there to make a statement. They raced hard in the heats and managed to place 5th in the final.

For the Grade 8 boys, SA Champs was a riveting introduction to racing at National Level. The boys learnt about regatta procedure, all the in’s and outs of racing and the consequences about positive and negative. What stood out to us coaches was how the boys came together during their races. They supported each other through racing and were always keen to lend a helping hand to the other age groups. The Grade 8’s showed how invested they are in the sport and to return next year even stronger.

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U14 Results

Scull – 1x:
Heat 1 – 4th Place: Theo Forsyth
Heat 2 -4th Place: Luke Ratcliffe
Heat 3 – 7th Place: Finn Moran
Heat 5 – 6th Place: Matthew De Jager

Semi-Final – 7th Place: Theo Forsyth

Double – 2x:
Heat 3 – 3rd Place: Theo Forsyth & Luke Ratcliffe

Final – 5th Place: Theo Forsyth & Luke Ratcliffe

Oct – 8x+:
Heat 3 – 4th place: Josh Moolman (c), Kai Bacher, Cameron Joubert, Finn Moran, Matthew De Jager, Angus Bromley, Jordan Planting, Nic Sedgwick, Liam Hacking.

Quad – 4x+:
Heat 1 – 5th Place: Matthew de Jager, Theo Forsyth, Cameron Joubert, Jordan Planting, Luke Ratcliffe.
Heat 3 – 5th Place: Liam Hacking (c), Kai Bacher, Angus Bromley, Nic Sedgwick.