Rowing

HISTORY

The club was founded in 1959 by Mr. C. B. Anderson. He was actively involved in the development of the club in its initial years and was a founding member of The Johannesburg School Boys’ Rowing Federation along with Dr. Tomlinson (Jeppe Boys High School). In 1961 – 1962 the school rowing tank was built with the enthusiasm and financial help of Mr. Anderson. At this stage we participated in six regattas – among these were the Vaal Riviera regatta and the V.L.C regatta, still in existence today.

By 1964 we started to partake in more regattas including the Wits-Viking regatta and the Bloemfontein regatta. We were finally a school to be contended with! Practices at Wemmer Pan had become a regular occurrence, and the club had set itself a target to be the best club in the next two seasons. With extremely dedicated training and an undying enthusiasm, the club realised this dream. By 1965 the club was quickly earning respect in South African rowing circles. Two camps were also held with the guidance and assistance of Mr. Tom Price and due to an intensive recruiting campaign, the club became the largest school-boy rowing club in the former Transvaal. During the incredible 1965-66 season King Edwards won all but one of the trophies that were possible for schoolboy oarsmen to win that year – at last, boys received Full Sports’ Colours for rowing.

By the 1970’s the clubs fleet consisted of five coxed fours, one eight, three singles and two tubs as well as the purchase of a new Stampfli coxed four in 1974 and a new Karlisch eight in 1975 at a cost of R5000!  In 1975, a new controlling body for rowing in schools was established: The South African Schools’ Rowing Union.  Our very own Mr. Tom Price was unanimously elected as its first president.  By the time he left King Edward VII School, he had dedicated no less than 13 years to the club, instilling a passion and love for the sport of rowing that is still alive and well today.

In particular, the early 80’s were extremely successful years, although during the late 80’s and early 90’s, a few schools challenged our top position in 1st eights.  King Edwards ended up with a long run of second placing’s to up-and-coming schools.  Incidentally, the schools current headmaster, Mr. M. Fennell is an old-boy of the rowing club – he was selected for Transvaal and was a top oarsman throughout his years here.

In 1993 the club gained international status at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. Also, since re-admission to the international arena for South African Junior National Team in 1993, many of our boys have represented the country at the World Junior (U19) Rowing Championships.  We also have had many old boys represent the senior National team at World Championship and Olympic Games.  The latest of whom is Shaun Keeling (Matric 2005) who represented South Africa in the Mens Pair that was 5th at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

Into the new millenium, the club now prides itself as an established force in rowing. It boasts a fleet just short of 40 boats and excellent standard of coaching.  It has excellent support of the school, parents and boys.  The club reached its 50th anniversary last year – and has once again become a highly competitive force in schools rowing in South Africa.

During 2010 KES VII won the first “Boat Race” held on the 5th December 2010. In 2011 the Club competed at the South African Schools Championships on the weekend of the 4th-6th March at Roodeplaat Dam and King Edward VII finished 4th overall in the competition.  Five of our under 16 boys were selected for the South African Schools Rowing Union squad that toured to Holland at the end of the 2011 season.

Boat Race requires a combination of power and endurance coupled with an exceptional technical expertise. Athletes will be subject to physical fatigue as well as extreme psychological pressure. Our boys had trained hard during the examination period and a final preparation camp at the Vaal River on the 28th of November left for Port Alfred on the 6th December .In 2016 we were seen as one of the possible favourites after our recent win at the Gauteng Championship’s. Boat Race is a different type of event however, being raced over 5.9km’s as opposed to the championship distance of 2 km’s. There will be strong competition from the coastal areas as well as from one or two local boats.

KES 1st VII won the 2016 Boat Race on the 10 December and were also awarded the ‘Most Improved School Crew’.

Rowing provides excellent educational opportunity.  Apart from the tough nature of the sport, boys learn to work as a team in the face of challenges – and they learn to understand the true meaning of striving, winning and sportsmanship – both on and off the water.

2017: Kings of Kowie again.

The King Edward first eight crew travelled to Port Alfred to race at the annual Schools’ Boat Race over December and to defend their 2016 title. They did not disappoint and came home victorious and are proudly KINGS OF KOWIE – TWO YEARS IN A ROW!

1st 8 Boat Race 2017 Prep



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