THE University of Chester provided the perfect base for the next generation of Great Britain’s Rowing Team when they visited the city to prepare for the upcoming World Rowing Junior Championships.
The team of 32 young athletes, aged 16-18, and their coaches stayed at the campus for nearly two weeks while going through a tough training schedule on the River Dee.
They have now flown out to the Czech Republic to compete against the world’s top young rowers.
Team manager John Layng was delighted to be able to bring his squad of 10 girls and 22 boys to the university again, a base they have used since the 1980s, and believes it is the best way of preparing his the youngsters for future challenges.
Mr Layng said: “The facilities at the university are absolutely ideal for us. The food and accommodation are really good and it provides a perfect setting for us as it’s a controlled atmosphere which allows us to focus the team.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to put each crew together and allow them to bond and socialise with each other.
“The River Dee itself provides a really good training setting for us as it is what we call ‘good water’.
“Sometimes the teams will row around 24km in each training session, and it’s great to have the space to do that without having to turn around so often like we have to elsewhere.”
The team has now returned to its base in Caversham, near Reading, where they will step up their training ahead of next month’s championships in Racice.
Hopes are high for the team, who performed well at a regatta in Germany in May, an event which usually gives an indication as to how teams will perform.
Mr Layng added: “It’s generally quite difficult to tell with juniors how they will perform, so we were pleased to get some really positive results in the regatta in Munich.”
It wasn’t all hard work for the team while in Chester though.
They were encouraged to explore the city themselves and to be independent.
Mr Layng said: “The team comes from all different parts of the country, and so Chester is a nice place to bring them.
“It is small and picturesque, while also being easy to get around, so coming here suits us down to the ground.”
For more information about the World Rowing Junior Championships, visit www.racice2010.com.