The Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club travelled to Hanover, Germany last week to compete in the European Universities Championship (9-12 September) following qualification for the GB slots at the BUCS Regatta back in May. With nine athletes competing in the three different events over several days of racing, it made for a busy, but ultimately very successful, week.
Cambridge crossed the line in first place to win gold in the Women’s Eights Final on Saturday. The crew comprised of mixture of returning Blues, Blondies and Lightweights as well as a few athletes who have come through the Development Squad this year. From Cox to Bow: Rosemary Ostfeld, Daphne Martschenko, Fiona Macklin, Thea Zabell, Ashton Brown, Oonagh Cousins, Hannah Roberts, Imogen Grant, and Evelyn Boettcher.
Coming off a strong win in their heat where they finished 21.36 seconds ahead of the second place crew (Kazimierz University Bydgoszcz, Poland) they were confident in their performance, but determined to race aggressively from the start. The CUWBC eight jumped to a definitive lead from the first stroke with a powerful and fast start, and settled to a strong race pace rhythm that solidified their lead ahead of the rest of the field over the remainder of the 2km course. They finished 3.52 seconds clear of second place, ETH Zürich (Switzerland), and 4.59 seconds ahead of third placed, Universität Hamburg (Germany).
Six athletes raced multiple events each day in two other boat classes:
The Coxless four of Daphne Martschenko, Thea Zabell, Oonagh Cousins and Hannah Roberts had a shaky start to the championships, coming third in their initial heat, requiring them to go through the repechage in order to progress to the A Final. Just like the eight, this crew was a new combination with limited time together. Thus, each race of the championships brought a chance to learn and gain speed.
Second place in the repechage secured their slot in the A Final. This race was made up of experienced crews from Oxford Brookes University, Durham University, Universität Münster (Germany), Universität Mainz (Germany) and University of Vienna (Austria). In an exciting finish, the crew took fourth place with a close sprint to the line against Universität Münster. In their fourth place finish, the crew overtook two of the crews that had got the better of them in earlier rounds, highlighting the improvements achieved within just a few days of racing, and showing great promise for the coming year.
The final boat class was a pair stroked by Ashton Brown and steered by Fiona Macklin. With only a few sessions together, each outing in Germany brought new discoveries and new speed. It was exciting to see progress made between races and although the ultimate result was not what they would have hoped (third in the B Final, behind Universität Bremen (GER) and ETH Zürich (SUI)), it was good to get solid racing experience together.
All in all, EUSA provided a great to start the year with a strong win for the CUWBC in their primary focus event. The international racing experience gained by the athletes will serve the team well moving forward into the 2016 Boat Race Campaign.
Full results can be found here.