St Benedict’s is recognised as the best rowing school in the country so it’s no surprise that five of its pupils recently represented South Africa at the World Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy. Selected to race in the U19 green and gold RMB National Rowing squad, the boys gave it their all, holding their own on a global stage.
Team manager and Bennies old boy, Darryn Roff, said the competition was stiff, but to be expected when you are being measured against the best in the world. “It’s an honour to represent your country and we’re incredibly proud of how our athletes performed. The boys put on gutsy performances in Italy which yielded exciting results.”
Gr 11 students, Mark Carreira and Conor Hurst, raced in the B final of the Junior Men’s Pair placing 12th in the world in a time of 6:54,07. Coach Athenkosi Hlekani, who previously coached the Bennies U16 team, was elated with the result, while Roff said that it was an outstanding performance considering Carriera and Hurst are both first year opens. “With this level of talent, coupled with the experience of competing internationally, we are confident they will replicate their qualification again next year.”
The matric pupils who competed included Jayden Thomson (coxwain), Dilano Sà and Ethan Romburgh. They raced in the A Final of the Junior Men’s Coxed Four, placing 4th in the world in an impressive 6:16,60.
“This was an exceptional performance not only for our boys but for South Africa too,” says Roff. “Finishing their school rowing careers on this high is a significant milestone for these young men and an achievement to be celebrated. We now wish them equal success as they knuckle down to write their final exams.”
Rowing is a St Benedict’s flagship sport and the school has retained the title of National Rowing Champions for 28 consecutive years and 45 pupils have national rankings. The boys truly love the sport and are looking forward to the start of the local rowing season which kicks off this month (September).
“Rowing is a sport that requires unbelievable discipline and ongoing perseverance, and these green and gold athletes bear testimony to hard work paying off. The commitment to rowing goes beyond the pupils with parents, teachers and coaches equally dedicated to our school – and the greater rowing community’s collective success – and for that we are truly grateful. All this bodes well for the future of rowing in this country,” concludes Roff.