History of the GB Junior Rowing Composite System

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In the 1970s it was normal procedure that the fastest school rowing eight would be selected to row in the World Junior Championships as a full school unit. This was confirmed by the provisionally selected crew winning the Junior Eights at the National Rowing Championships of Great Britain.

As an experiment in 1976 it was decided to create for the first time an eight composed of different clubs and schools to compete against the provisionally selected eight Emanuel School at the National Championships. This new crew was referred to as the "composite eight".

In order to select the eight, coxless pairs time trials were held at Molesey and the fastest five pairs were taken to select the final eight members of the crew based on technique. There were two weeks available for preparation.

At the National Championships Emanuel School won, but by an unconvincing margin for an established crew against a crew that had not raced before. The selectors decided on a second race.

It was also claimed that the headwind benefited the newer composite eight crew who were heavier. Therefore the race of 1,500 metres was rowed at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham in the opposite direction in a tailwind. It was possible to race the course "backwards" as the National Championships had already finished.

The composite eight won the second race. The selectors decided that a third race should take place the following day which the composite eight again won.

The first Junior composite eight raced at Villach, Austria, 1976. After this year all GB Junior eights were composites of schools and clubs. After 1980 all GB Junior fours were also composites.

Origins of the Concept[edit]

The concept of the junior composite system was taken from a conversation with a German rowing coach in Montreal, Canada in 1975.

External links[edit]