The Senior Rowing Team came from all over China during the Christmas holiday, to race at the Shanghai Chinese and Foreign Enterprise Regatta on Sunday 27th December 2020.
Our school emphasises that sport helps people fulfil their aspiration for a better life and promotes well-rounded personal development and this regatta was a shining example of our pupils meeting this target.
Sunday saw the rowing team demonstrate all these qualities through teamwork, great spirit, and perseverance. They travelled from all over China to represent their School, they could have easily stayed in the comfort and warmth of their own homes. Showing strength of character, the team rallied when the call to Row went out, they all responded as none wanted to let our fellowship of rowing down.
We took a small team of 11 boys, entering four events, single, double, and quad sculls, before all coming together for the final event of the regatta the eight. The boys raced several times, digging deep because of little recovery time between races, but I did not hear one boy complain. Those recovering, even came out in the cold to support their teammates, such is the bond between them.
Rowing is regarded as one of most physically demanding of Olympic sports, anyone who has tried it can testify to this. Rowing looks elegant, graceful, and effortless, but this veils the high level of physical fitness and strength being commanded from every sinew to propel the boat.
Early on we encountered a few technical issues, but quickly overcame these and performed extremely well. Our youngest athlete T. Wang (Scott) won silver in the single scull event, sculling technically very well, he could not quite get back on terms with the eventual winner, who took a nearly lead and held on to win.
In Double Sculls W. Hua (Newton) and T. He (Elgar) were fastest qualifiers for the Semi-final, going out almost immediately after racing with very little recovery. This is when you learn about yourself in rowing, when you feel like you cannot go on, but you do so you do not let down those in the boat with you. This is also a good lesson for life, one of many rowing can teach! The Double went on to win their Semi-final, racing technically well. In the final although very tired, they worked together to take an early lead and held on with true grit and determination to win the Gold Medal.
The Quad of C. Zhang (Blake), K. Guan (Scott), W. Hua (Newton) and T. He (Elgar) missed out on Silver by 5/10th of a second and gold by 3 seconds coming away with only a Bronze. The team learnt that, no matter the circumstances, they should row their hardest until the very end of the race as the margins in high-class sporting competitions are extremely narrow. A lesson well learnt.
The Eight of T. Xu (Blake), D. Yu (Hawking), J. Qiang (Blake) , T. He (Elgar), TT. Zhi (Turner), K. Guan (Scott), C. Zhang (Blake) and W. Hua (Newton) coxed brilliantly by C. Wang (Elgar) rowed back up the course for a straight final, for some boys this was their 5th race, tired and cold they rose to the occasion yet again. Driving hard to establish an early lead they managed to gain two lengths with legs burning and turning to rubber, they maintained this lead all the way to the finish, taking a well-earned Gold.
The pupils racing at their first regatta did exceptionally well medalling in each event entered, coming home with 2 gold, one silver and one bronze. Special mention to W. Hua (Newton) and T. He (Elgar) who each came away with 2 gold medals and one bronze.
Understanding Rowing in Education
As Coach I am often asked why should I row? There are many reasons from college admissions, to personal development and satisfaction to camaraderie and teamwork. Rowing is a total team experience that completely immerses the athlete like no other sport.
The team experience in rowing is like no other -- athletes form very close life-long friendships. They feel a great sense of responsibility to the team and help each other develop and perform. Other sports talk about responsibility and teamwork, but in rowing it is the performance of the crew working together that counts more than any one individual.
Rowing will make you stronger, and more focused -- in fact, rowers are the toughest, most determined athletes you are likely to meet! Rowing works all the muscle groups and burns more calories than almost any other sport or exercise. It is a sport that demands endurance, strength, and skill. It requires consummate mental toughness and will maximize the potential of any athlete. Overall, rowing gives pupils a boost in their personal development and prepares them well with good habits for success throughout life.
In essence rowing fulfils all the elements we seek to achieve through sport participation.