Fresh out of Spring Training Camp in Lochwinnoch at Castle Semple, the University of St Andrews Boat Club has had a busy start to Spring. In the month of March, the Club sent four crews to race the Tideway in London and trained in Lochore and Castle Semple.
On March 5, the University of St Andrews Senior and Novice Women raced in the Women’s Eights Head of River Race in London. As one of the largest head races in the country, the Womens’ crews took to the Thames for the second year in recent Boat Club history. With clear skies and brisk conditions, the women were excited for the afternoon of racing.
With the first boat looking to beat the 2015 finish of 147, the women were eager to start after a training session earlier that morning. Launching from the Tideway Scullers School, adjacent to the starting point of Chiswick Bridge, the Women took off at bow number 190 along the 6.8km course. The race began with a bout of hail but settled into more ideal conditions, as the women overtook 6 boats on the water. The first 8+ finished 101, moving up 46 places from the year prior securing the best finish for a UStABC boat in the club’s history. While content with this result, the women are determined to increase this placement for next year. With a goal set on making the top 50, they hope to use the strong returning numbers for next year and the fall season to work to achieve this.
The second 8+ had a great performance in the novice category placing 286, moving up 10 positions from their start number, a strong finish for the novice team at one of their first races.
Whilst the women were down in London, the men’s crews spent the weeks prior to Head of the River Race training at Lochore and then London from Tideway Scullers School. Taking to the Thames on March 19, the senior and novice men started off in bow numbers 181 and 326 respectively.
The senior men’s crew outperformed all prior St Andrews crews, improving over 40 spots on their previous best finish, 177th, in 2015 to finish 136th with a time of 19:53.86. Not only did the senior men set the standard for years to come, but this was also a momentous occasion for the novice men as it marked the first time that a second St Andrews men’s boat had been entered. The crew held on to their 326th position and gained valuable experience leading to the regatta season.
Immediately after HoRR, the women’s and men’s squads headed back to Scotland for five days to train at Castle Semple Rowing Club in Lochwinnoch alongside the Director of Rowing, Iain Rice, and assistant coach, Isaac Amick. Each day was broken up into three training sessions on the water followed by time to rest and study back in Glasgow. The Scottish weather held off for the beginning of the week, with a few choppy sessions and challenging wind speeds towards the end of camp. Having worked primarily in small boats focusing on technique and skill, the camp was a success for all those involved as the club prepares for the upcoming Scottish and British Championships.