The Boat Club finished the season at a high with great performances from all crews at both Scottish and British University Championships. With over forty participating members, the University had never been so widely and proudly represented at these two culminating rowing events.
It is important to note that the selection process for racing crews for SSRC and BUCS was very arduous, especially within the novice squads. With the increasing size of the Boat Club, intra-squad competitiveness has doubled and athletic commitment to 5 a.m. water practices and land training has become a vital aspect of coaches’ selectivity.
Scottish Student Rowing Championships and Strathclyde Park Regatta
The 1500 metre course at Strathclyde Park proved to be a challenging setting with tough rowing conditions for our crews, exhibiting high crosswinds and choppy waters. As fourth-year Tracy Lee recounts, “SSRC/SPR was like rowing in a hurricane, but strangely addictive.” Despite these circumstances however, our crews performed admirably in their respective categories, proving that St Andrews is a quickly expanding team with potential for greatness in its near future.
The Senior Women led by Ms. Emmeline Reed, put up a strong fight against Edinburgh University at the Championship level, finishing second in their heat. The ladies were very pleased with the power and technique exhibited throughout the race.
The Senior Men competed at championship level at SSRC against Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde. Despite an unsatisfactory first day of racing in the coxed eight primarily due to water conditions, the crew regained its confidence and used their drive as fuel for the next days’ races. Both championship fours continued to outperform their rivals, beating crews from Aberdeen, and Strathclyde in their respective events.
Despite a couple of injuries on race day, the Novice women raced with poise and enthusiasm gaining invaluable experience as they readied themselves for the upcoming British Championships. Coach Emma Shaw, who ran alongside her crews, was thrilled to see the vast improvement of her novice crews since the beginning of the season.
British University Championships
The tradition-filled nine-hour journey to Nottingham for BUCS proved to be a great bonding experience. It set the tone for an unforgettable weekend filled with thrilling races over the 2K course at the National Water Sports Centre.
Races began on Saturday 3rd May with the Senior Men in the Intermediate 8+ and 1X categories. Mr. Thomas Thomson performed above everyone’s expectations as he raced the course four times that day, twice in the single and twice as five-seat in the eight. This was the first time a single was put forth by the university at British Championships, and the club was rewarded by a brilliant performance by Mr. Thomson, who recalls having “burnt much of his coal” during his last race. The coxed eight would miss the semi-finals by mere seconds, and achieve a final position of 16th among 35+ crews, having beat Cardiff University by 0.26 seconds in an exhilarating sprint during the C finals. The Senior Men’s first and second coxed fours raced on Sunday, finishing 16th and 45th respectively out of 60+ competing crews.
Sunday 4th May was the busiest of racing days for the club, with a total of eight races held amongst our crews. The Senior Women came in 22nd overall in the Intermediate coxed eights category, having come 4th in their respective final. The first coxed four would later win their final by over 21 seconds, placing 36th overall.
The Novice Women, with the strongest attendance out of all our crews with two full coxed eights, came in 15th overall in their respective category to the elation of their coach Ms. Emma Shaw. It was truly astounding to see the development that these young women had over the season and the club is extremely excited to have most of them back as senior members next year. The same can be said about the Novice Men. Their coxed eight finished in the top half of all novice crews and second in their final. As their coach Mr. Andrew Finch recounts,
“The weekend represented a tenacious and dogged effort when pitted against some of the best-funded and most competitive novice squads in Britain.”
Monday was the last day of racing in Nottingham, but more importantly it was the zenith of the 2013-2014 rowing season for the Boat Club. The novice crews and the Senior Women would race one last time before heading back to St Andrews. As Senior Men’s Captain Rowan Wood describes,
“I’m very proud of the efforts made by all four squads over the past two weeks. Promising results were obtained from both weekends, and I am excited to see the club develop further and achieve greater over the next couple of years.“
Boat Club Grows and Prospers
After a long journey back home, the crews returned safely for the end of term, eager for the summer to come and another season with a bigger, better, more competitive University of St Andrews Boat Club.
With an increased Senior Squad pool and an upcoming Boat House, the Club now looks onwards to the 2014-2015 season with a thirst for medals and a much higher standard of athletic performance.