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Calpe at XVII international open de Catalunya

On Saturday and Sunday the 15th/16th of April Calpe Rowing Club took a focused group of rowers to compete in the XVII international open de Catalunya held on lake Banyoles in the northeastern province of Girona in Spain. 
The natural lake was the venue for the rowing events in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. It regularly hosts rowing races and Calpe looked forward to a high level of competition and were not disappointed.
Teams from France, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom competed over the iconic 2000m course for seniors juniors and cadets, while veterans rowed the shorter 1000m.
On Saturday morning, Jayron Cerisola and Owen Rogers came 11th out of 15 entries in a high quality field in the U18 pair event, an early reminder of the challenging environment Calpe found themselves in. 
Calpe’s female U16 quad scull comprising of Mika Zammit, Sophie Lines, Siena Lee and Katie Zammitt were up next and showed good composure and temperament with tight technique to command an early lead which they extended to win their heat convincingly. When the times came in a crew from local Club Natació Banyoles had managed a faster time meaning CRC achieved second overall. This Calpe crew will be in the same age category next year and look to keep building on solid foundations.
In the veteran category evergreen Leslie Grech took a break from mentoring his young charges to race the shorter 1000m course in the veteran category. Les rowed a very competitive heat and when time adjustments were in, had placed a very creditable 5th out of 27 rowers.
In the afternoon Sophie Lines and Siena Lee were racing in the U16 pair with a crosswind picking up making steering tricky down the course. On their first full 2000m race together the Calpe pair managed the conditions and controlled their race to win their heat by a few lengths just coming second overall to a slightly faster crew in the other heat.
Calpe’s last race of the day was the hotly contested U18 male single scull category with 39 participants. All four Calpe rowers competed strongly finishing first or second in their heats, Thomas Zammitt finished 6th overall, Jake Navarro and Jayron Cerisola 15th and 16th respectively and Owen Rogers in 32nd place.
On the Sunday morning Thomas Zammitt and Jake Navarro were back on the water, this time in the U18 male double scull event. Another high quality, hotly contested event where Tom and Jake won their race with many lengths to spare- when all the heats were finished they placed 8th out of 32 entries.
Shortly after the Calpe U16 female single scullers were out on the water in another popular high end event with 32 entries. Sophie Lines impressively brought Calpes third silver medal position of the weekend across the line coming in second overall. Siena Lee placed 7th, Mika Zammit 12th and Katie Zammitt 19th.
The U18 male quad was on the water immediately after as the intense schedule continued- Thomas Zammitt, Jake Navarro, Jayron Cerisola and Owen Rogers moved powerfully away from their competitors to win their heat finishing 7th overall. 
Finally - with less than an hours respite from their single scull races- Mika Zammit and Katie Zammitt competed in the U16 double scull coming second in their heat as they battled down to the line, coming 9th from 19 boats overall.
The coaches were very impressed with the venue and organisation but mostly with their rowers. Due to exam commitments only a small squad of ten rowers had competed but still managed to finish higher in the league table than other clubs bringing 3-4 times their numbers.
The fact that most of the young rowers will return in the same age category next year with another year of training and experience under their belt was another boost for the club. The Coaches will now keep testing and trialling their rowers as they build towards July’s British Rowing Junior Championships in Strathclyde. - JZ

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