On Saturday 18th October, two coxless fours and a double scull from CUWBC set out to compete at the British Rowing Senior Championships. As always, there was a blustery Nottingham headwind, which resulted in the time trial being reduced to 1750m. The coxless fours, facing some considerably heavier and more experienced opposition, came 9th and 10th overall, with the double scull placing 12th to reach the A/B semi-finals.
In the break between races, the rowers were able to meet some of the GB women’s squad, including Helen Glover, Polly Swann and Kat Copeland, as part of British Rowing’s Women on Water initiative.
Following some good racing in the semi-finals, both coxless fours made it through to the B Final in lanes 3 and 4, finally getting the chance to race each other directly. The crew stroked by Millie Perrin had a strong start and took an early lead, but powerful and consistent rowing from Emma Clifton’s four through the middle of the race saw them draw level by the 1000m mark, and come out ahead in the third 500m. The crews ended up finishing in lane order, but both managed to improve significantly on their semi-final times.
The double scull of Melissa Wilson and Holly Hill improved on their time trial performance in the semi-final, placing fourth, to put them through to the B Final, with the draw for that race putting them in direct competition with their main opponents for the U23 Pennant, Tees RC. Despite being led by Tees by around a length at 500m, they rowed a strong middle 1000 to take them into 3rd place in the B Final, and 9th place overall, winning them the U23 Pennant.
The opportunity for side-by-side racing so early in the season, and with crews still finding their feet was a valuable experience all round. Once again, lining up alongside Olympians gave the CUWBC athletes a chance to measure themselves against some of the World’s best.
Melissa Wilson said, “I’ve rarely felt so calm in the run-up to such an event, and on the day there was a strong sense that we were just heading out to execute what we were capable of. Neither of us had competed in a 2x before, so we learnt a great deal from the racing as well.”
Coxless Four: Tricia Smith, Sarah Lucas, Christina Ostacchini, Emma Clifton
Coxless Four: Ella Barnard, Natasha Branch, Cath Aitchson, Millie Perrin
Double Scull: Melissa Wilson, Holly Hill