The 2014 BUCS Regatta saw CUWBC’s most diverse spread of entries yet, with boats competing at all levels across the weekend.
On the Saturday, Holly Hill stormed to gold in the Women’s Beginner Sculls category, showing a strong performance that should lead to great things next season. Melissa Wilson and Claire Watkins got a chance to do more racing in the pair they had been training in for GB trials, entering the Championship category. In their A final, they flew out of the blocks to an early lead, which they managed to hold until around 900m. Unfortunately, their high intensity start then began to tell, and they dropped back to finish behind the field. Nevertheless, both athletes were very pleased with their performance in a pairing that has continued to gain speed and precision. As Melissa said “Leading Melanie Wilson and the other pairs who would have beaten us by so much two weeks ago was great!” Both Claire and Melissa gained valuable racing experience and are looking to take that into the summer regatta season.
On the Sunday, Blondie competed in the Women’s Intermediate Eights category, and Fi Macklin, Jilly Tovey, Emma Walker and Clare Hall in the Women’s Lightweight Coxless Four. The coxless four came first in their semi-final and looked forward to some close racing in the final. Blondie topped their semi too, but with an OUWBC containing past Blues winning theirs in a time 3 seconds quicker, they knew it would be a fight to the line in the final. In their final, the coxless four had a strong start and settled well, leading the field. They were focussed on their rhythm throughout the race and felt they had a strong performance. In the end, Durham rowed through Cambridge at around 1K and took gold, Exeter put in an amazing sprint to the line to take silver, and Cambridge the bronze, pushing Oxford out to fourth place. They were really pleased with their performance – 14s faster than the semi-final, and only a week of training together. Blondie put in a gutsy performance in a final that swiftly became a two-horse race between Osiris and them. Unfortunately, OUWBC had the stronger performance and took the gold by 5 seconds, with Blondie coming in to take silver comfortably.
Monday saw three crews racing – the Championship Coxed Four of Holly Game, Izzy Vyvyan, Kate Ashley, Emily Day and cox Esther Momcilovic; the Intermediate Double of Ella Barnard and Eve Edwards; and the Dev Squad crew entered in the Beginner Eights category. The coxed four had come on leaps and bounds since the first few somewhat-shaky outings two weeks ago, and the athletes were looking forward to putting their individual technical improvements to the test under race conditions. Each race was an improvement on the last, culminating in a bronze medal in the final. In what was her last BUCS race for CUWBC, Emily Day was particularly pleased to finally have “one of each” medal. The double was at somewhat of a weight disadvantage (the perils of being an “only just” ex-lightweight in a field of heavyweights!) but they raced with technical precision and just missed out on a place in the A final, but went on to take second place in their B final. The triumph of the day though belongs to the Dev Squad crew. They were head and shoulders above the opposition from the time trial onwards, demonstrating that a long stroke at a lower rate is considerably faster than rowing at rate 35 half slide. They stormed their final to take a comfortable gold – what a great introduction to rowing for CUWBC!
Overall, it was a very successful weekend, and the squad really made the most of the opportunity to compete in boats other than the eights we normally train in (or in Blondie and Dev squad’s case, to demonstrate our prowess in that category!).