Left: The Under-16 quad – Back: James Wetselaar, Travis Van Velze, Josh Wallace, Connor Brinkman. Front: Sven Clausen (cox)
Middle: Under-15 double – Phoenix Griessel and Nic Bonthuys
Right: Under-14 double – Josh Gillespie and Zenith Griessel
The Jeppe High School for Boys Rowing Club took part in the South African Schools Rowing Championships, held in Pretoria from the 2nd to the 4th March.
Competing against 1400 rowers from schools from across South Africa and Zimbabwe, this is the premier schools rowing event in the country.
As a club, Jeppe had not won a Gold medal at SA Schools since 2003, and the boys had set about the last six months of training with a view to changing that record – and they certainly did.
The first highlights came on day 2 of racing, when in the space of 20 minutes, Jeppe collected 3 medals. Starting off with a bronze medal in the under-14 Octuple, just missing silver by 0.37s. This was quickly followed by the club’s 1st National Champions in 15 years – a gold medal for the under-14 Double of Zenith Griessel and Josh Gillespie.
In the very next race, the under-15 Quad came within one second of snatching a gold medal, bringing home a silver, and our 3rd medal in 3 races.
Jeppe was already heading towards its best National Championships in many years, and day 3 promised, and delivered, even more success. Again, it was the junior age groups that came to the fore – the first medal of the day coming from the under14 Quad who took silver.
Not to be outdone by his younger brother’s performance the day before, Phoenix Griessel and partner Nic Bonthuys led from the start in the under-15 Doubles race – storming home to not only a gold medal, but to a new National Record time taking 2s off a record previously held by current Olympian Laurence Brittain.
Then it was the turn of the seniors to step up, with the under-16 Quad (James Wetselaar, Travis van Velze, Josh Wallace, Connor Brinkman, Sven Clausen) producing an exceptional display to comfortably take gold in their event – Jeppe’s third at National Champions in 2018!
This brought the clubs tally of medals to 3 golds, 2 silvers and a bronze.
Other notable performances:
Sebastian Prince coming 4th in the u-19 Single.
The 1st 4+ coming 4th in the u-19 Coxed fours.
Liam McCourt and Aiden Buck coming 4th in the u-15 Double.
Nic Bonthuys coming 4th in the u-15 Single.