Saints row to glory

LYME PARKSt Stithians Girls Rowing Club overcame a strong headwind, incoming tide and fierce opposition to clinch the Junior Women’s 8+ race for the second time in a row at the Buffalo Regatta in East London.
The team of eight rowers, with Shannen Etter also aboard as the coxswain, took their eight boats, affectionately called Coscoroba, to the tournament on the Buffalo River with high hopes.

The team had won the race when it was first held at the regatta last year and hoped to make it a double from 9–11 February.
A second-place finish in the 500m event helped the girls find their bearings on the water and with belief in their hearts and rowing arms, they took on the 2 000m main event with confidence.

St Stithians Girls Rowing Club eight-team: Alessandra Gain, Amanda Aitken, Sydney Davison, Jordan Korevaar, Jennavieve Williams, Megan Cronje, Kate Pringle and Madison Crews with coach James Buchanan and coxswain Shannen Etter (back).

Up against St Andrew’s School for Girls, Clarendon High School for Girls, Somerset College and St Mary’s School, Waverley, the competition was fierce.

“We established ourselves as leaders right at the beginning and kept our rhythm,” said coach, James Buchanan, himself a former SA rower and coach. “Somerset tried to catch us, but we were ahead by two boat-lengths. We took it up a notch for the final 500m and no one could catch us.”

Somerset finished second and St Andrew’s third.
“It was a very special race for me as it is my last year at St Stithians and that was my last race as coxswain for our eight-team,” said Etter, who is also the club captain.

She added that the team had been together for more than two years and had only grown in strength. Her role as coxswain was to shout encouragement and advice to the rowers, ensuring their technique and steering were perfect.
St Stithians Girls’ College assistant sports director, Nicky White praised the team and especially Buchanan for instilling enthusiasm in the college’s rowing section, which has seen a surge of success and eager participants since he started in 2014.

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Nicholas Zaal

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