Young rowers had their expectations ‘blown out of the water’ as St Matthew Academy, Lewisham, won the inaugural regatta for East London schools taking part in Active Row, the youth engagement programme run by London Youth Rowing and funded by Tideway.
The programme aims to get 8,000 young people across London active through indoor and on-water rowing.
And in October 2018, young rowers had the chance to row at Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre on fixed-seat boats, which are easier to control.
St Matthew Academy saw off competition from Stepney Green Maths, Computing and Science College in Tower Hamlets, with those involved left buzzing about the experience.
Luke Lachezar Bayrev, from Year 10, said: “Our experience at the Active Row Regatta was absolutely incredible.
“It blew our expectations out of the water! Overall, the event was fun, challenging and built up our teamwork skills in the boat.”
Charlie Nelson, also from Year 10, said: “My experience at the London Youth Rowing Regatta was amazing. The rowing was very challenging but I got the hang of it at the end, also we won as a team!”
Chloe Ahnert, from Year 8, said: “My experience at the London Youth Rowing Regatta as part of Active Row was amazing because we got to collaborate and work as a team to reach our goals.”
The boats were launched at low tide from the beach next to the activity centre, which is also next to Tideway’s site at King Edward Memorial Park, and the young rowers were given training sessions before competing in a race down river that finished close to the centre’s slipway.
The slipway was also funded by Tideway to ensure that the centre could continue to put boats into the water during construction, whilst at the same time increasing the level of safety for its activities.
Tideway’s Andrew Triggs Hodge, a three-time Olympic champion rower, presented medals to the rowers at the end of the event.
He said: “I am proud to be working with London Youth Rowing, connecting kids from communities – who’d never thought to row – with the River Thames, in east London, in rowing boats.
“The best bit? They loved it! This is opening up the sport and I love it!”