Charlie White pushes for more rowing glory

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By North Devon Journal | Thursday, November 29, 2012, 07:30

CHARLIE WHITE is hoping 2013 will turn out to be as successful as 2012.

The Bideford Blues rower enjoyed an outstanding debut season, culminating in a home victory at the South Coast Championships Regatta.

This time last year he was unknown on the national rowing scene but a win at the England Indoor Championships changed all that.

Charlie became the junior 14 national champion at Manchester Velodrome, even surprising himself with the result.

Now he is back in training for a return to Manchester in January when he will step up in age group and distance.

"I have been training near enough every day, whether it be half an hour rowing after school, or running, or weights," he said. "It's been pretty tough.

"I'm quite a competitive person and I want to go out and win, so I just push myself."

That attitude stood out on the Torridge in September when Charlie, backed by vocal home support, triumphed in the junior 14 single sculls.

"It was a really good day," he said. "I knew the course, so it was an advantage.

"When I watch it back on video I can hear how many people are supporting me and shouting my name."

Sitting alone in the boat for the single sculls did not come naturally to Charlie at first.

"I couldn't get the hang of it," he said. "Pretty much every time I went sculling I fell in. I must have fallen in five or six times.

"I think it's because the boat is narrower, any little off-turn can send you in.

"I prefer single sculling because if I do badly it's my own doing, but quadding is fun because you can go a lot faster and there's more power in the boat."

The South Coast champion was invited to Great Britain junior 18 trials in Lincolnshire last month.

As the only 15-year-old there, he was rowing against competitors up to three years older.

Completing the 5km course in 20 minutes, he finished 103rd from 138 competitors and will expect to make an impression against his own age group when he returns for the junior 16s in February.

Charlie is grateful to his coach Tina Robertson and for support from Torridge District Council, Michelle White Fitness, West End Precision Engineering and Bideford Bridge Trust.

As an all-round sportsman, he also plays football for Bideford Blues and represents Bideford College at Rugby.

But with his dad Geoff and grandad Barrie White keen rowers with the Blues, Charlie was always destined to get on the water.

"That's the sport they both love so they have encouraged me to do it," he said. "I absolutely love it."

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