Matthew Atkinson, a second year student from QE has established himself as a national athlete by representing Tees Rowing Club at British Rowing’s annual Schools’ Head of the River Race in London. Matthew, who has been rowing for three years, travelled to the capital with three teammates to compete in the Championship Quad with the 4.5 mile (7.2km) long race taking them along the River Thames from Chiswick to Putney Bridge. The route follows the same stretch as the world-famous Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race with the group successfully completing the course in 19 minutes and 23 seconds, and finishing in a very respectable 30th place out of 55 squads. The team were also the first ever under 18s crew from Tees Rowing Club, a fantastic achievement which showcases their dedication and effort.

Matthew, who studies A Level Chemistry, Maths and Physics at QE, spends ten hours per week rowing and has mastered the art of balancing his love for sport and academic commitments. He and his teammates will next come together for the prestigious National Schools’ Regatta (25th – 27th May) taking place on Dorney Lake, Buckinghamshire, which was the 2012 Olympic Rowing venue and where Great Britain secured four gold medals. Looking ahead to the competition, Matthew says: ‘This is the second year that we have attended this event and are looking to improve on our performance from last year. Over the last six weeks, we have stepped up our training in preparation for the 2km sprint. This is one of the biggest under 18s events in the country, so preparation is key. After my A Levels, I hope to continue rowing at university.’

Kellie Pomeroy, Sports Development Co-ordinator at QE, adds: ‘It is always wonderful to hear about the sporting achievements of our students outside of College. Matthew is an exceptional student and rower alike, and we’re looking forward to cheering him on in the National Schools’ Regatta. His name is one that we will definitely be looking out for in the future and he deserves every success.’