BMS Girls Row to Victory at Bedford Regatta 18 May 2022

On Saturday 07 May, two BMS rowing crews comprised of six talented young sportswomen won their respective events at the 156th annual Bedford Regatta.

The Women’s Junior 16 quad (WJ16 4X), Olivia Johnson, Tabby Lord, Stella Norris and Ellie Sillar, claimed victory over their competitors from Bedford Girls’ School and won their next race against a team from South African Schools rowing association convincingly by three lengths. In their final and thrilling race against Mossbourne Rowing Academy, they maintained their focus and crossed the finish line two lengths ahead.

Olivia and Ellie then joined Lilly Brittain and Jess Watson to form the Women’s Junior 18 quad (WJ18 4X) and together they rowed an extremely tight race against Great Marlow School A team. The judges declared this was to be re-rowed after a few clashes in the water, so despite their exhaustion, the girls turned the boat around and raced the opposing team once again. This was an exciting and intense race, in which they narrowly beat Great Marlow School A by just a few feet.

Jess commented: “When we knew we would have to redo the race, we were frustrated but so determined. We knew we could do it. This is our home event and we were so eager to win, everyone’s head was in the same place. The atmosphere and support on the day really helped – the crowd sees BMS blades in the water and everyone just starts screaming their support.”

Following this, they went through to their final, in which they beat Great Marlow School B team far more comfortably and celebrated their victory. All six girls have since been awarded tankards to commemorate their triumph at one of the largest single day river regattas in the country. The WJ18 4X will go on to race in the National Schools’ Regatta later in May.

All of the students, who range in age from 15 to 18, were supported enthusiastically by the large crowd of parents, students, teachers, alumni and friends of BMS who were stationed along the riverbank.

Mark Bavington, Director of Rowing at BMS, said: “I am immensely proud of every BMS rower who took part in Bedford Regatta, but I am particularly pleased for these six girls and their richly deserved victory. I hope that they get the chance to show off their hard work at Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta in the summer term.”