Rowing awards

The annual prize giving ceremony of the rowing club took place at Victoria Lake on Sunday.Individual awards were made, the captains for 2021/2 were announced, and two new additions to the Jeppe rowing fleet were christened.

The guest speaker was Naydene Smith, who rowed for South Africa at the 2012 Olympic games and who has won a silver medal at the World Championships. In her speech, she unpacked four often misunderstood concepts in rowing: body weight isn’t everything, you can be small but it’s the size of you commitment, and the amount of work you put in that counts; diet is the key to effective training; ergo times are a guide, but it’s what you do out on the water that counts; and watching international rowing on the TV at every opportunity is good for you.

Rowing director, Mr Simon Moore bemoaned the disruption that Covid-19 brought to the rowing programme, and praised the rowers for being so committed any way. He explained that this year’s awards were made in response to the little bit of rowing that did happen at the beginning of 2020 and on the basis of the efforts put in, and the attitudes of the rowers to land and water training during the lockdown.

The awards were:

Most improved senior oarsman: Tyler Janse van Rensburg

Most improved junior oarsman: Mario AhloJunior oarsman of the year: Logan Roodt

Senior oarsman of the year: Nicholas Bonthuys and Joshua Gillespie

Bruce Weller Trophy for team spirit and dedication: u14 age group

Alan Francis Trophy for service and dedication: Blayde Franken

Sandy Marks Trophy for Fortitude Despite Adversity: Joshua Gillespie

Terry Townsend Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Jeppe Rowing Club: Dylan and Thomas Kirby

Resilience trophy for never giving up: Terence Laughton

Glaive Award for education through rowing: Joshua Wallace.

Sven Clausen was named the captain for the 21/22 season, with Darian Ferreira and Joshua Gillespie the vice-captains.

Two of the 14 boats that have been added to the fleet – a Four, named JDR Tomlinson, and an Eight called Damascus – were christened at the ceremony. The JRD Tomlinson is named after Dr Tomlinson, the first rowing coach at Jeppe, and the man who is credited with starting the sport of rowing at schools in Joburg in 1959. The funds to purchase it were donated by Martin Maine, Jeppe’s first ever rower and the nephew of Dr Tomlinson.

The Damascus is a state-of-the-art Swift Carbon Elite Eight and it was bought for the school by the Jeppe Boats and Blades Trust, a fund-raising body started jointly by some old boys who were rowers, and members of the school’s parents rowing committee.

They raised the required R500 000, quite remarkably, during the 2020 Covid-19 shutdown and the boat was delivered in December.

There is a tradition at Jeppe of naming boats after blades and the steel used to make them. Damascus steel is remarkable because it is forged from different alloys. It is both very hard and still quite flexible.