CUWBC put in another strong showing at BUCS this year, taking home three medals, two of them gold. Six crews raced over the three days of the regatta, in what were (for Nottingham!) perfect conditions.
The highlight of the weekend was undeniably the Lightweight Championship eight race, a straight final. After a last-minute substitution of Emily Maw for captain Charlotte McClean, the lightweights were eager to prove their speed on a national scale and put their disappointing defeat in Henley behind them. This they did in style, dominating the event right from the start. They created a comfortable 3s lead over the field in the first 500m, and continued to extend this lead all the way to the line, eventually finishing 10s clear of second-placed Reading. Theirs was a well-deserved victory and a fitting end to the season.
On Sunday, four members of the lightweight crew raced again in the lightweight coxless four category. They managed to hold off strong competition from a University of London crew to win their heat and go straight through to the final. Unfortunately, in the final a controversial umpiring decision about steering saw them disqualified.
The Championship eight (this year’s Blue Boat, with Blondie rower Ellie Wigham in for Izzi Boanas-Evans) also raced on Sunday. They qualified straight for the final from their heat, coming in second behind Reading. The crew recognised that the heat hadn’t been their best row, and so hoped to go one better in the final. However, Reading stepped it up a notch in the final, as did Newcastle, who had been the fastest qualifier in the other heat. The Cambridge crew stayed right up with Reading and Newcastle in the opening stages of the race, and fought hard to hold more or less level with Newcastle until the 1000m mark, trading the silver medal position back and forth between them. But in the second half of the race, Newcastle started to move away. The crew did their best to respond over the rest of the course, and also convincingly held off a late charge from Durham, but ultimately had to settle for a bronze medal. Although not quite the result the crew had hoped for, it was nevertheless a solid row against two very strong opponents.
Monday saw CUW race again, this time in coxed fours – half of the Blue Boat made up the Championship four; the remaining four entered as an Intermediate four, while four lightweights made up another Intermediate four. With time trials replacing heats and repechages, the pressure was on for all crews to qualify for the category’s A final. This they managed without any trouble.
The Championship four faced a very tough category, including familiar faces in the Reading and Newcastle crews from the previous day’s eights race. They stayed very much in the pack over the first half of the race. In the second half of the race, a real battle developed between Cambridge and Imperial for the bronze medal; however, in the closing stages, Imperial were able to inch ahead, leaving Cambridge in fourth place by just under a length.
The Intermediate fours A final consisted of the top six qualifiers from over 40 entries, and so had the potential to be a very competitive and exciting race. The heavyweight four had posted the fastest time in qualifying, but a less-than-speedy start saw them in third place at the 500m mark, with the lightweight four in second. However, the heavyweight four began to move back through and opened up a convincing lead over the rest of the course to take the gold medal. The lightweight four managed to stay with the heavyweight crews throughout the race, and in fact were in medal contention for much of it. Only in the last 500m did they begin to slip back, finishing in a creditable fourth place.
Overall, it was a successful weekend for CUWBC – the few disappointments tempered by some really competitive racing, some great results, and a fun way to end the season.
Lightweight Championship VIII: Harriet Marsh (cox), Martina Lagatierra-Wellington, Emma Copham, Emily Day, Hannah Morgan, Lenka Veselovska, Emily Maw, Christabel Lines, Olga Kasyanova
Championship VIII: Kate Richards (cox), Cath Wheeler, Fay Sandford, Anna Railton, Holly Game, Ellie Wigham, Rebecca Pound, Caroline Reid, Sarah Moir-Porteous
Lightweight IV-: Martina Lagatierra-Wellington, Emma Copham, Emily Day, Hannah Morgan
Championship IV+: Kate Richards, Cath Wheeler, Fay Sandford, Anna Railton, Holly Game
Intermediate IV+ A: Kate Stevens, Rebecca Pound, Ellie Wigham, Caroline Reid, Sara Moir-Porteous
Intermediate IV+ B: Harriet Marsh, Christabel Lines, Emma Copham, Lenka Veselovska, Olga Kasyanova