Category: Schools Racing

National School Canoe Championships 2023

For the second year in a row, the MRC has directly partnered with the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race Organisation to put on the National School Canoe Championships on Sunday 19th November. Run from Hawley Lake in Farnborough, the National School Canoe Championships was created with the main objective to encourage grassroots paddling, and better preparation and development of school teams in paddlesport.

In 2023, five schools submitted entries with paddlers representing Norwich School, Heathside School, Lord Wandsworth College, Kimbolton School and Bryanston School. To take part, all schools have to show an active commitment to supporting paddlesport with their students. If you are interested in getting involved in 2024 and need advice on how to get paddlesport established within your school, contact the MRC Junior Development Lead here.

The morning involved a series of “500m” and “200m” sprint races for both the Senior/Experienced and Novice categories. The Novice category was mostly made up of crews who had only been in a boat for a matter of months. In the Senior/Experienced 500m final, Jared Hughes and Tate Morrison (Lord Wandsworth College) took the win in a close fought battle with Ted Umbers and Xander Finn (Lord Wandsworth College) and Sophie Dunlop and Henry Moult (Heathside School). In the Novice 500m final, Alex Williams and Joel Watt (Lord Wandsworth College) finished in the fastest time by over two seconds.

The 200m event takes the format of a knockout, where crews are eliminated in groups until the last remaining five boats go head to head in the final. In the Senior/Experienced race, it was Jack Ockenden and Jasper Godfrey (Bryanston School) who showed an exceptional final sprint, securing the win by over two seconds and therefore securing the overall Senior Sprint Trophy by a matter of milliseconds ahead of Jared Hughes and Tate Morrison (Lord Wandsworth College). In the Novice category, Alex Williams and Joel Watt (Lord Wandsworth College) took the win again and securing the overall novice sprint trophy too.

After some lunch, crews then competed in the marathon event. The senior/experienced category competed over five laps of the lake with four portages, whereas the novice category competed over four laps with three portages. Due the increasing headwind, the decision was made to reverse the course to a clock-wise direction. In contrast to the previous year, the senior race started with a large group of six boats off the start line, with crews battling it out for the best positions in the lead group. Out of the first portage, it broke down into four with Jack Ockenden and Jasper Godfrey (Bryanston School) battling their way back into the group. The portage seemed to be the area where opportunity arose with many errors causing breakaways and comebacks. The final portage was the decider with Jack and Jasper managing to open up a gap over Samuel Bull and Finn Taylor (Heathside School) and allowing them to take the overall win. Sophie Dunlop and Henry Moult (Heathside School) were third over the line and enabling them to take the mixed win. Maddison Mckernan and Imogen Field (Heathside School) took the ladies win.

Speaking after the overall marathon and sprint win, Jack and Jasper said, “We were really pleased with our success in the marathon and sprint events at the National Schools Canoe Championships. It was an incredible experience to race in the company of so many crews of such great quality. The racing was incredibly close in both sprint events, and in the marathon. We would like to thank the committee for their hard work, and we look forward to racing over Easter Weekend in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race.”

In the Novice category, another dominant performance from Alex Williams and Joel Watt (Lord Wandsworth College) saw them earn another trophy, with an impressive gap of nine minutes over the rest of the field. Emma Croucher and Tom Sumpton (Kimbolton School) took the novice mixed win and Grace Gadsby and Sofia Kulynych (Lord Wandsworth College) took the novice ladies win.

Overall, Lord Wandsworth College took the win in the Senior Team Trophy as well as the Novice Team Trophy.

Reflecting on the schools win, Richard Lovell, Lord Wandsworth College team leader, said, “Instead of hanging up the canoeing kit at the end of DW, LWC have been training hard both on and off the water, and the results speak for themselves. What is equally impressive is the effect this has had on the students who only got in a boat in September. We have never had so many younger people out on the water. The team of 10 boats who entered the Nationals has come from a squad of 40 students. With 12 of last year’s DW team returning, having them as role models has helped raise the standard. The challenge now is to convert them into club paddlers when they leave the school next summer.”

“The National Schools is a great opportunity for students to meet up and compete rather than just time trial in the events leading up to Easter. It’s also a great showcase to the parents, showing there is more to canoeing than just DW. It would be fantastic to see more crews attend next year.”

Another year of tight racing was a personal highlight for the MRC and enabled some of the school racers to receive a direct invite to attend the recent JDS training day. We are certainly looking to grow the schools racing scene and would be keen to speak to any schools wishing to start a schools programme.

Next years National School Canoe Championships will take place at Hawley Lake on Sunday 17th November 2024.

National Schools Championships 2023 – Entries & Final Details

The National Schools Canoe Championship is jointly organised by the Devizes to Westminster (DW) Race Organisation, and British Canoeing Marathon Racing Committee to promote schools canoeing in the UK by providing an event specifically for inter-school competition

It provides the opportunity for racing against paddlers from other school teams, particularly for crews preparing for the DW season, both returning 2023 crews and new crews making preparations for 2024, as well as encouraging schools to engage with paddlesport as part of their co-curriculum programmes.

The below information and rules govern the event and must be read by all participants, team leaders, school staff and support crew.

Entry Criteria and Eligibility

We encourage building partnerships between schools and clubs, where clubs provide an organised sporting activity to supplement school resources and staff.

Entry is open to Schools who:

  • compete in the annual Waterside, Thameside and DW Races, and/or:
  • wish to further their experience of canoe and kayak racing by promoting paddlesport as a sporting activity within the school

To be eligible, the School must demonstrate an active commitment to paddlesport and involvement in the preparation for the crew as follows:

  • Kayaking/Canoeing is listed as an available sport on the school website or prospectus and actively part of the co-curriculum programme
  • Entry form must be signed by a member of staff who will be in attendance on the day of the championship as team leader
  • Payment for entries must be submitted by the school

Entry fees are £15 per seat, including all racing costs (venue, safety cover, etc.)

Entries and fees should be submitted per the instructions on the Entry Form, and must be received by Monday 13th November at 4pm GMT.

Paddlers must be a current registered pupil of the School they represent. They must be under the age of 19 years, and not less than 13 years old, on the 1st of January 2023.

Class eligibility is determined as follows:

  • Experienced Class – at least one of the crew has completed one event in the previous season (Waterside, Thameside Series or DW) or has a divisional marathon racing ranking in division seven or above
  • Novice – neither member of the crew has previously competed in the Waterside/Thameside Series or DW, and have been paddling for less than one year

Teams must be nominated for the duration of the event, and will consist of three or four crews, with the times for the Fastest Three crews being counted for Team Prizes. All teams must be pre-nominated by the Team Leader who must submit a completed team entry form(s) by the entry deadline. Crews will not count as a team in any other circumstances.

Download the entry form here.

Classes and Distances

All Races will be Junior Doubles, raced in K2 or C2 in both Experienced and Novice Classes:

  • Sprint Regatta: 200M and 500M
  • Marathon Race: 15 KM
  • Novice Class Marathon race of 10KM

Individual and Team Prizes will be awarded. A full list of trophies will be published prior to the event.


Hawley Lake,

Old Minley Rd,


Surrey GU17 9QG

Event Format and Timings

TimeAdditional Information
08:45Arrival and Check-In OpenPlease do not arrive to the site earlier. Check-in can be found within the Sailing Club House.
09:15Team Leader BriefingWithin the Sailing Club House.
10:00Sprint RacesRace 1: Seeding Heats
Race 2: 500M Time Trial
Race 3: 200M Knock-Out Competition.
(Each Race has separate starts for Novice Class)
12:30LunchPlease bring your own lunch but some bacon rolls and hotdogs will be available in the club house.
13:30Marathon RacesCourses will comprise laps of the lake with buoyed turns and compulsory portages:
· Experienced Class Marathon Race – 15KM
· Novice Class Marathon Race – 10KM
15:30*Prizegiving and Departure*If not earlier.

Rules and Safety

Races will be held in accordance with the British Canoeing Marathon Racing Rules.

Buoyancy Aids: ALL Competitors must wear an Integral Foam Buoyancy aid or lifejacket conforming to one of the following European standards: EN 393 or EN 395 or ISO12402-5 or ISO12402-6. The EN standard must be clearly displayed via a label attached by the manufacturer.

Competitors must be able to swim 50 metres in paddling kit.

All crews and their supporters shall race in a fair and considerate manner and maintain a satisfactory standard of conduct throughout the event. Unsporting conduct by either paddlers or their supporters will be penalised. The decisions of the Organisers on all matters shall be final.

Disciplinary Matters: inappropriate behaviour by supporters and/or competitors will be penalised. Any failure to observe the rules or obey the instructions of any Race Official at any time may render the crew liable to disqualification or other penalty.

Canoeing and Kayaking are “Assumed risk”‐“Water contact sports” that may carry attendant risks. Participants should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.

Any relevant pre-existing medical conditions must be advised on the entry form.

Boats and equipment: must contain sufficient buoyancy to support their crews in the event of capsize. Sandwich construction boats are not presumed to have sufficient inherent buoyancy and must carry additional foam or other non-porous buoyant material. Closed and water-tight compartments built in by the original manufacturer may be accepted at the discretion of the Organisers, but must have adequate buoyancy at both ends.

British Canoeing Membership: All Competitors should be members of British Canoeing

The full event risk assessment can be found here. By submitting entries, Team Leaders are agreeing they have read it and agree with the control measures in place.

Please contact if you have any further questions or need further information:

  • Gareth Scragg – Junior Teams Liaison Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race
  • Holly Mobbs – MRC Junior Development Lead

SAVE THE DATE – National Schools 2023

More information to follow….

National School Canoe Championships 2022

Senior category start their marathon race after lunch

In a new endeavour for the 2022 season and onwards, the Marathon Racing Committee has been working closely with the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race Organisation to support and continue to facilitate school racing and development opportunities.

Reinstated as an annual event in 2013, the National School Canoe Championship’s objective is to encourage grassroots paddling, and better preparation and development of school teams in paddlesport. It has been well entered ever since by a range of schools, including Kimbolton School, Bryanston School, Lord Wandsworth College and Heathside School.

Novice category start their marathon event

In 2022, the criteria for entry was reviewed with a focus on schools playing an active part and commitment to supporting paddlesport within their schools. All schools are required to demonstrate paddlesport is part of their co-curriculum/sport offering. We therefore had eight different schools entering crews for a busy day of racing at Hawley Lake on Sunday 20th November.

The morning involved a series of “500m” and “200m” sprint races for both the Senior and Novice categories. In the Senior 500m final, Jago Taylor and Dominic Walker (Norwich School) finished first ahead of Jack Ockenden and Charlie Fane from Bryanston School. In the Novice 500m final, Oscar Brownfield and Ted Umbers just pipped Charlie East and Dan Corfield (both from Lord Wandsworth College) by a matter of miliseconds.

Jago and Dominic from Norwich School after winning the senior marathon and sprint events

The 200m event takes the format of a knockout, where crews are eliminated in groups until the last remained five boats go head to head in the final. In the Senior race, Jago Taylor and Dominic Walker (Norwich School) again took the win after a tough fight against Imogen Hunter and Theo Sales from Hills Road Sixth Form College. In the Novice category, Freddie Cullen and Oliver Groslin (Lord Wandsworth College) won by over five seconds.

After lunch, the crews took to the water to compete in the marathon event. The senior category completed five laps of the lake with four portages, whereas the novice category completed four laps with three portages. After the start, the senior race broke down to a lead group of three crews: Jago Taylor/Dominic Walker (Norwich School), Imogen Hunter/Theo Sales (Hills Road Sixth Form College) and Jack Ockenden/Charlie Fane (Bryanston School). After a couple of laps, Jago and Dominic made a break to take the win just over a minute ahead of Imogen and Theo in second.

In the Novice race, a dominate performance from Charlie Simon and Tom Shepherd (Lord Wandsworth College) saw them lead the race off the start and complete the course by the themselves to take the win. Isabel Davis and Alex Gherabi (Kimbolton School) took the ladies novice win.

Lord Wandsworth College crews at the portage on the novice marathon race

It was really positive to see, in both the senior and novice categories, that most crews were finishing within a ten minute window after the winner of the race. Close racing was the theme of the day throughout and crews were able to race hard no matter their position in the field.

Overall, Kimbolton School took the win in the Senior Team Trophy and Lord Wandsworth College took the Novice Team Trophy.

After taking the win, Jon Sweet, Kimbolton School team leader, said, “We always enjoy coming to this event. It’s a great introduction to racing for our new paddlers as well as giving the more experienced ones something to aim for. We are very happy to have retained the team trophy and are looking forward to [the 2023 season].”

The Kimbolton Canoeing Captain, Noah, also said, “Despite an especially competitive year, strong performances throughout helped the team prevail, winning the team marathon event for the second year running, after having not won it since 1999. We hope to continue this good form going into our Waterside series of races and… [Devizes to Westminster]… next year.”

Next years National School Canoe Championships will take place at Hawley Lake on Sunday 19th November 2023.

National Schools Canoe Championships 2022

The Marathon Racing Committee and Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race Organisation are proud to present details for the National Schools Canoe Championship 2022. Taking place at Hawley Lake on Sunday 20th November, this will be the first addition of the event with the Marathon Racing Committee’s support after many years of hard-work and success on the part of the DW organisation and Marsport Canoes.

All details and information on the revised qualification criteria can be found here. Entries must be submitted by Monday 14th November.

Any queries or questions can be directed through Holly Mobbs, the MRC Junior Development lead, or Gareth Scragg, the Junior Teams Liaison for Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.