THREE Wye rowers and their crews made a splash in the annual British Rowing Awards.

Former Monmouth Comprehensive School trio Violet Holbrow-Brooksbank, Sarah Lewis and Katie Kearsey helped land the BR junior, club and university crew of the year honours respectively.

Violet, who took world U19 coxless four silver on the Paris Olympic course with GB in August, came into the Wycliffe College National Schools and Junior Sculling Head champion quadruple scull mid-way through the summer season, and helped the BR Junior Boat of the Year Crew to win the Henley Women’s Junior title before making the final at Henley Royal Regatta.

She also rowed with her clubmates to Schools Head 8s victory, U17 Junior Sculling Head and Junior Sculling Regatta glory and National Schools 2nd quads glory, before capping an unbelievable year by making the GB team and the world podium.

Sarah Lewis, right with Issey Barnes.jpg
Sarah Lewis, right with Issey Barnes.jpg (Greenbank Falmouth RC)

Masters rower Sarah, who rowed at Monmouth Comprehensive in the 1990s and won selection for the Wales team last summer, won the club award with Greenbank Falmouth double sculls partner Issey Barnes after storming to victory at Henley Women’s Regatta.

Announcing the Club Crew of The Year Award, British Rowing said: “Last summer was the very first time that Greenbank Falmouth had won an event at Henley Women’s Regatta when Sarah and Issey won the Rosie Mayglothling Trophy for Aspirational Double Sculls.

“They also qualified for the Stonor Challenge Trophy at Henley Royal Regatta.

“This was a particularly incredible achievement as Issey was relatively new to the sport.

“Geographically, in Cornwall, they are a long way away from racing venues so travel to competitions is challenging and expensive and their club did not own a suitable racing boat for them so they had to beg, steal and borrow slightly.”

Katie Kearsey at 7 in the Nottingham University boat
Katie Kearsey at 7 in the Nottingham University boat (Oarstruck)

And Coleford-raised Katie, who rowed and won with England at the Home Countries Regatta for the second year running last summer, is also celebrating with her Nottingham University crewmates.

Awarding the 2023 University Crew of The Year award, BR said: “The panel recognised the significant improvement of the performance of this crew over the year from underdogs to qualifying and then winning a round at Henley Royal Regatta.

“With many of the crew only learning to sweep that year, they really had a tough challenge to get up to speed with the likes of some of the other Championship level university crews. However, with the help of their new coaches Ade Roberts and Peter Boyes, they learnt quickly and began to form a solid unit.

“The 2023 BUCS Regatta was the first time Nottingham had a competitive Women’s Championship Eight for a very long time with the crew ending up fifth after a tightly fought final.

“They have certainly set a benchmark for future years.”

Meanwhile, Monmouth rowers are heading to the Severn this weekend to race over four miles at the Worcester Head of the River Race, as crews gear up for the championship time-trial head races in London on the Boat Race stretch of the River Thames in March.