Swanage Sea Rowers celebrate club success

The annual awards ceremony for the Swanage Sea Rowing Club in Dorset has taken place, highlighting the achievements and challenges of 2023 against a season of bad weather for rowing that led to the cancellation of many races.

At the Swanage Conservative Club on Friday 17th November 2023, there were trophies for individuals and teams, as well as recognition for those who went above and beyond in their contribution to the club’s success, all presented by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster.

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Swanage Men win the Pilot Gig Masters Championship 2023
Simon Fenech / SSRC

The Swanage men’s Masters champions in Paignton, Devon

Men’s Masters crew took gold

This year, the Swanage men’s B crew won the Jurassic League Cup at Sidmouth in August and the men’s Masters crew took gold by just three seconds at the championships in Paignton, Devon at the beginning of September.

While the women’s teams were the focus of attention in their Barbie outfits at the Newquay County Championships in September – a moment to remember for everyone!

Barbie fancy dress - Swanage sea rowing women's crew at Newquay
SSRC

The women’s teams made a (pink!) splash at Newquay, Cornwall

Swanage sea rowing womnen's A crew lineup at Newquay 2023
SSRC

Swanage women’s A crew lineup at Newquay, Cornwall

Putting Swanage on the gig rowing map

A major achievement for the club was the successful hosting of its first national gig rowing championships in September 2023.

With 66 crews, 33 gig boats and 400 competitors taking part, the event dominated the town for the day, really putting Swanage on the gig rowing map.

Chair of Swanage Sea Rowing Club Dan Bennett said:

“It’s really improved the standing of the club by organising the national supervets gig rowing championships in Swanage – a real feather in our cap. It was a lot of hard work but worth it!

“However the year hasn’t just been about the big events, as there’s also been the intra club competitions and the in house cups, where all the sections get to mix. And not forgetting the Swanage Carnival rowing competition which is always good fun.

“There’s been plenty of high points and everyone probably has their own personal highlight of the year – undoubtedly those on the men’s winning Masters team will remember that as the best bit of 2023 for them.

“Next year, the hope is for much better weather with good wind and sea states so we can have a full season of races. Our first regatta is in March and then it should go right through to October. The Great River Race in London is always good and we will hope to do well in the Jurassic League.

“Plans for the future include improving the club’s facilities – we do have an ageing fleet of boats and we need to look to see if we can invest in new equipment. There’s an aim to provide gym training facilities for the teams and also we’ve got a good junior squad, so we’ll be looking to build on that over the next year too!”

Super Vets championship at Swanage 2023

Swanage hosted the national supervets gig rowing championship in September 2023

Super Vets championship at Swanage 2023
Timothy Crabb

The championship was blessed with perfect weather for the day, showing Swanage off at its best

Awards 2023

Junior of the Year

  • Keren C
Junior of the Year Keren at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Swanage town mayor Tina Foster presents Keren C with the award for Junior of the Year

Club awards

  • Don Hardy Coxswain award – Paul Meacham
  • Katina Burridge Shield – Adrian Charters
  • Chipps Trophy for exceptional contribution to the club – Karen Welsh
Paul Meacham, mayor Tina Foster and Kath Hardy at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Paul Meacham (left) receives the Don Hardy Coxswain award from Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (centre) and Kathryn Hardy (right), wife of Don Hardy

Katina Burridge Shield - Adrian Charters at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Adrian Charters (centre) receives the Katina Burridge Shield for ‘unparalled commitment and service to the club’ from Katina’s son Max (right) and Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (left)

Chipps Trophy for exceptional contribution to the club - Karen Welsh at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Chipps Trophy for exceptional contribution to the club was presented to Karen Welsh (centre) for the catering at events, along with other members of the team, Sarah, Alison and Sue

Social section

  • Most improved women’s rower – Ulrike Wahl.
  • Most improved men’s rower – Richard Coleman
  • Exemplary award – the club’s secretary Debbie Witney
Most improved rower Woman: Ulrike Wahl at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Most improved women’s rower award went to Ulrike Wahl (right), presented by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (centre) and the club’s social captain Simon Wright (left)

Most improved rower man, Richard Coleman at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Most improved men’s rower award went to Richard Coleman (left), presented by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (centre) and the club’s social captain Simon Wright (right)

Wareham Wood Shop Award - Debbie Witney at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Exemplary award for outstanding achievement presented to club secretary Debbie Witney (right) by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (centre) and the club’s social captain Simon Wright (left)

Women’s section

  • Rower of the Year – Jess Stamp
  • Squad Woman of the Year – Astrid Richards
  • Row of the Year: Quarter Final, Newquay – Women’s A: Cox Hellie Wood, 6 Ruth Felstead, 5 Jo Harris, 4 Kelly Fenech, 3 Josie Walker, 2 Jess Stamp, 1 Holly Phillips
  • Broken Pin award – Women’s Carnival Fire Engine Pull team
Rower of the Year - Jess Stamp at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Rower of the Year award presented to Jess Stamp (left) by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (centre) and captain of the women’s section Lynne Harris (right)

Squad Woman of the Year - Astrid Richards at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Squad Woman of the Year presented to Astrid Richards (centre) by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (left) and captain of the women’s section Lynne Harris (right)

Jess Stamp, Jo Harris, Mayor Tina Foster, Ruth Felstead, Lynne Harris and Kelly Fenech at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Row of the Year went to the Swanage women’s A team for their row in the quarter finals at Newquay – Left to right Jess Stamp, Jo Harris, Swanage town mayor Tina Foster, Ruth Felstead, Lynne Harris and Kelly Fenech (not pictured Cox Hellie Wood, Josie Walker and Holly Phillips)

Broken Pin Award - Womens Carnival Fire Engine Pull Team Ruth Felstead, Mayor Tina Foster, Lou Sandford, Debbie Collier, Jess Stamp and Kelly Fenech at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Broken Pin Award went to the women’s Swanage Carnival fire engine pull team – there wasn’t a women’s category so they didn’t get an award from the carnival team but were happy to receive the broken pin as a consolation prize! Left to right: Ruth Felstead, Swanage town mayor Tina Foster, Lou Sandford, Debbie Collier, Jess Stamp and Kelly Fenech

Men’s Section

  • Club Man of the Year – Ian Buchanan
  • Rower of the Year – Adrian Charters
  • Masters Finalists Newquay – Cox Dan Bennett, 6 James Allen, 5 Ian Welsh, 4 Adrian Charters, 3 Mark Blanchard, 2 Martin Steeden, 1 Paul Meecham
Rower of the Year - Adrian Charters at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Rower of the Year was presented to Adrian Charters (right) by Swanage town mayor Tina Foster (centre) and Mark Blanchard (left)

Paul Meacham, Adrian Charters, Mark Blanchard, Dan Bennett, Mayor Tina Foster, James Allen, Martin Steeden and Ian Welsh at Swanage Sea Rowing awards night

Doing it for Barney! Sadly the team lost a club member Barnaby Quaddy to cancer but he inspired them to win the Masters Final at Newquay – Left to right: Paul Meacham, Adrian Charters, Mark Blanchard, Dan Bennett, Swanage town mayor Tina Foster, James Allen, Martin Steeden and Ian Welsh

Further information

  • Anyone interested in joining the Swanage Sea Rowing Club can get in contact via its Facebook group

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