STAGING Olympic hero inspires Junior Academy - British Rowing

Olympic hero inspires Junior Academy

The Ross Junior Academy inspired by a direct invitation from Beijing Olympic gold medallist Andy Triggs Hodge to visit the his club’ Molesey Junior regatta performed incredibly well and notched up 9 wins and were crowned Victor Ludorum for the most successful club at the event. Andy had previously been comparing notes on developing juniors with Ross Club Captain Ian Howell during the winter and it was during this conversation the Olympic star offered the invitation to attend Molesey’s annual Junior regatta held on the Thames just down from Hampton Court Palace.

The events that unfolded as a result of this chance discussion are of truly fantastic proportions and really would be more suited to a work of sports fiction rather than fact.


The winning performances started with the WJ15 single Ellie Blackwood who worked through 2 rounds and won her final in convincing fashion. Other victories in singles included:

  • Nick Burden in J11 singles
  • Alice Reynolds in WJ11 singles
  • Johan Lai in J12 singles
  • Joel Bullock after capsizing went out and won his J13 singles

In the doubles events, George Probert and Sam Taylor won in J12. In the WJ11 Alice Reynolds and Christina Stephenson after they too were capsized by a passing pleasure boat returned to the water to win their semi final and then the final.

In the quads, Olivia Baynham Williams, Charlotte Westley, Megan Jephcote, Jess Crossman, with George Probert coxing won convincingly in the WJ12 quads, while Johan Lai, Scot Morris, Sam Taylor and George Probert with Rhodri Morris still won their heat even though Sam snapped his blade in half and then went on to win their final in the boys J12 event.

This was the first time the Squad had attended in any great number and the quality of performances by the Ross Academy scullers was the talk of the river bank. John Lewis junior captain commented "This was a day when everyone delivered wonderful performances, despite kit failures and capsizes the squad rose to the occasion, inspired by the quality of competition to deliver the best team performance of the season".

The icing on the cake was the surprise announcement that the Ross squad was the most successful competing club even out pointing the hosts who has over 43 entries. Club captain Ian Howell added "It was a sublime day. Even those who might not have won an event contributed to the success of the day with their wonderful team spirit. It was indeed a very proud day for our Club competing in such illustrious surroundings".

Report from Ian Howell, Ross RC