BOAT Race-winning cox Jack Tottem will be trying to keep the ladies in order when he takes the tiller of the Great Britain women’s eight at the World U23 championships in Bulgaria this week, reports NICK HARTLAND.
Wye rower Jack joins fellow Old Monmothian Iwan Hadfield, who races in the GB men’s four and will be looking to add to his 2019 World Junior 8s and 2021 World U23 fours bronze medals.
The duo were part of the same Monmouth School 8 in 2019, alongside 2022 World U23 gold medallist Robbie Prosser, that won Schools Head and National Schools’ Regatta 1st 8s titles.
But for Jack it’s been touch and go whether he could make the trip, having tested positive for Covid just hours after being selected last week.
Thankfully he has recovered in time and is now in Bulgaria ready to race with the crew.
Jack posted: “On Thursday afternoon, I was announced as a member of the GB U23 World Championships team. Hours later, I tested positive for Covid and thought my campaign could be over.
“After a few days at home, I’m delighted to say I’ve now tested negative. Unbelievably excited to get out to Plovdiv and join back up with this group of talented women.
“It’s been a season of almosts. Time to go and change that.”
Coxes are now allowed to steer boats of a different gender at international level, allowing former school boat club captain Jack to make the switch from his Leander Club men’s 8 that went within three feet of victory at Henley Royal Regatta earlier this month.
He has a wealth of experience, steering to European junior team glory with GB in 2018, and then putting Oxford on course for men’s Boat Race victory over Cambridge last year.
Iwan also has lots of international and overseas experience, most recently helping his California Berkeley University 8 retain the US Intercollegiate title last month in New Jersey.
With Iwan in the stroke seat, Cal took a two-seat lead over Yale by 500m before pushing out to almost a full length at half-way, where Washington had moved into second.
And despite a final surge by the Huskies, the OM’s boat was able to finish 1/2L up in a superfast 5mins 31.7 secs to secure the national title.
His other honours include stroking the GB junior 8 to World U19 bronze on the Tokyo Olympic course in 2019, and World U23 fours bronze in 2021 in the Czech Republic.
The duo are among six Welsh rowers in the GB U23 team, alongside Llandaff RC’s Angharad Broughton, who has returned from rowing at Washington in the US and races in the women’s four; Katherine George, daughter off Old Monmothian Julian George, who looks to add to her 2022 bronze in the same women’s double sculls event; Evelyna Davies who joins Tottem in the women’s 8; and Toby Lassen in the men’s 8.
And while they are representing GB in Plovdiv, other Wye rowers are off to Ireland’s Lough Rinn in County Leitrim to represent England and Wales in the Home Countries.
Former Monmouth Comprehensive School rower Katie Kearsey from Coleford, who studies at Nottingham University, will be looking to repeat her 2022 success at London Docklands with the England women’s team, while fellow alumni Sarah Lewis races for Wales after winning the club double sculls event with Falmouth at Henley Women’s Regatta.
Monmouth sisters Taryn and Darcy Birkett also steer the women’s and men’s team respectively, while Monmouth School students George Whittal-Williams, Alex Warner and Ben Jennery and Monmouth School for Girls’ rower Sophie Morrison launch out in the junior teams.