This past weekend, the club headed over to Strathclyde Park for Scot Champs. Traditionally, it is a small contingent from the club that enters this event so we were delighted this year to be sending a squad of 14. Friday evening saw the smaller boats take to the water for time trials, with some sensational results. Alex, in the single, took 2nd in a time of 07:02.16, less than 0.5 behind Edinburgh’s Matthew Curtis, who has previously raced on the international stage. For the pairs it was a similar story of success. Hannah and Kirstin took 3rd to two Edinburgh crews, both containing GB athletes. Our other pairs both performed well, taking 11th and 19th. Alex returned again in a composite 2- with George Watson’s College BC, his former club, placing 17th in a scratch crew.
On Saturday it was the WInt4+ who started racing with a straight final. The crew is a mix of novice and senior rowers who have come together to form one of our two crews heading to HWR. It was an unfortunate race for them, struggling to find the rhythm required after some crew shifts during the last week, they took 5th. It was then a race opportunity for our WNov 2x, a scratch crew looking for some racing experience, who took 5th in the first heat, not qualifying for the final. Alex, following on from his storming time trial, moved to the AB semi-final where a tough fought contest left him 5th, moving on to contest the B final.
The W Nov 4+ saw two racing outings over the course of the day, first taking 2nd in a close fought contest with George Heriot’s School and Glasgow University in H1. Moving through the final they did not have such luck and placed 5th amongst tough competition. A flurry of semi-finals for the W2- saw our three crews move to contest the C, B and A finals. It was 5th in the C final, 3rd in the B final and a hard fought 3rd in the A final, with Hannah and Kirstin taking bronze.
Sunday was the turn of the larger boats, with both the 4- and 4+ taking to the water with the opportunity to race the 8+ later in the day. It was 2nd for 4+, holding off Edinburgh and 3rd for the 4- in a competitive field with Edinburgh and Glasgow. Alex returned in the composite 2- and secured 3rd place in the C/D semi-final. As is often the case with rowing in Scotland, the weather deteriorated and racing was suspended. The 8+ had a high chance of medal placement and were disappointed not to be out on the water but by the time of the final, conditions had seriously deteriorated.
The weekend was a difficult contest, with conditions proving a constant challenge for all the crews out on the water. Without a significant deterioration in the conditions, we were confident of a strong performance from the 8+. With just a week to go to HWR, it is back to the final stages of preparation as we prepared to send two crews, the largest contingent in St Andrews history. Two years ago, the club did not enter HWR, last year we entered and qualified the 4+ and this year we have two crews entered, we’re excited to see what can be achieved.
The club would like to take this opportunity to say a particular thank you to Lily Steele, who ended her club rowing career this weekend. Her final outing was due to be with the 8+ on Sunday which unfortunately was cancelled. Lily is a home grown St Andrews talent, taking to coxing in her first year with the club. Since then, her development as a cox has been sensational. From motivating the novice boys during a challenging year through to our first ever qualification at HRR, Lily has lead the coxing of the club over the last 4 years. Her enthusiasm on and off the water is tireless and time and time again she has been the saviour of the day. The glue in the mens squad over the last couple of years, Lily has been a true asset to our club and we are devastated to see her leave us. Thank you Lily!
As ever, keep up to date with all our progress as we run into HWR across all social media throughout the week.