At Sheffield City we hold a "coming of age" celebration for our transition squad. The transition squad is a group of rowers whose goal is to enter the men and women's senior squads. Rowers who take part in the learn to row courses we run in April and May are enrolled under the watchful eye of Alice Kearse for a whole year. It's by no means an exclusive club. Rowers with the goal of entering the senior squads join the transition squad if they feel their skills need a bit of work. Ultimately they aim to enter the men and women's squad at the end of the rowing year. (For us, that's June!).
To "graduate" all rowers must complete a series of essential rowing and sculling skills - everything from capsize drills to learning to square blade in a single scull.
Congratulations to Meri, Kate, Georgie, Katy, Owen, Dexter, Rob, Chris and Hannah for putting in so much hard work this year!
This year's transition squad have excelled themselves. They entered a novice eight at the women's Head of the River Race. This is quite possibly the most daunting experience in the rowing calendar because you're competing against another 400 crews of all ages and abilities - from novices to Olympic standard. (Rowing's pretty cool that way!) They had a fantastic row and gained all kinds of experience.
Dexter and Rob have been filling in spots for the men's senior 8+ for the last few months and are making a fantastic addition to the squad.
It's worth noting that although many of the transition squad were novices and had never stepped foot into a boat only a year ago, Meri, Kate, Georgie and Katy are no longer novices, having earned themselves a sculling point at York Spring Regatta.
The club convened at the Admiral Rodney on club night. Each of transition squad was presented with a certificate by Alice, signed by captain Piers, and a pair of official club socks.
A few select members of the transition squad were given medals for various feats throughout the year. Rob Carr received a medal for his ability to manouvre a single scull. Georgie received a medal for bravery after being run into by another crew at York Spring Regatta. Fran received a medal for "the best comeback", because she had returned from having rowed several years previously. Hannah received a medal for her unwavering ability to deal with whatever the weather threw at her.
Many members were sporting club blazers and socks. Janet Vickers went the extra mile, showing off her Sheffield City belt, hat and pins!
Kate went on to surprise Alice by giving her a giant bouquet of flowers as a gesture of thanks from everyone in the transition squad.
These guys are a fantastic addition to the senior squads and we very much look forward to racing with them in the future. There's no doubt they're going to make us proud. Well, prouder... we're already very proud of them!