Another Jeppe boy has been chosen to represent the country this year. He is Sebastian Prince, who is in the SA Junior Rowing Team that will be going to the World Championships in the Czech Republic in August.
He will be rowing in the coxed four boat and was selected following a long selection process which began at the SA Schools Championships back in March.
And the selection process is scientific and complicated. “It goes on prognostics,” Sebastian explained. “That means rowing a 1 500m course, in pairs, and choosing those who come closest to the world record over that distance. The rowers selected at SA Champs are swopped around, and eventually the best crews are put together. This time it’s a pair, the coxed four and a coxless four.”
The other boys in his boat are from KES, St Alban’s and St Benedict’s, and they have a hectic period ahead of them. “We were given a week off after the selection regatta, but our programme from now on is seven days a week for the three months before we leave, with the odd Sunday off,” Sebastian explains.
Not that he minds too much. “It means I won’t be able to play squash for the school this year,” he says, “but I love rowing and the other guys in the boat are my best friends. The days are long, we only get back from Roodeplaat after 6pm, and then it’s homework and studying. It’s the sacrifice you have to make, but luckily I’m doing OK and coping.”
He has a special word for the cox, Bakang Sibotloane of St Benedict’s. “He knows the right things to say to us and is very motivating.”
Sebastian actually started rowing as an 11-year old at Bishop Bavin School, before he and his mother decided he would come to Jeppe where the rowing programme was better developed. “It was the right decision, he said. “I am loving it here and thankful for the rowing opportunities we get.”
Jeppe is fortunate to have dedicated sportsmen like Sebastian Prince at the school, bringing us recognition on the international stage.